Category Archives: ACC Basketball

An Apology to Wake Forrest’s Jeff Teague

Through out life, we should learn from our mistakes.  And I have done a good deal of learning in my time on earth.  I am also a man of honor – stop laughing –  and I admit when I am wrong.  Trust me, I was wrong.  So here it goes.

I am sorry Jeff.

I spent days and maybe even weeks breaking down the ACC.  I highlighted every team and most players on those teams.  I predicted that Wake Forrest would finish fifth behind Clemson – which is still possible.  And in that same article, I talked about James Johnson and how talented I thought he was – he still is.  I highlighted Johnson as the “most important player on your team”.  I wrote about the freshmen phenom Al-Froug Aminu and the rest of the first year wonders.

jt2You were the second player I highlighted, but all I said about you was; Jeff Teague is a scorer and who got better in conference play.  He is the only double figure scorer from last season and he and Smith  should compliment each other very well.”

I am sorry I did not write more about you and did not highlight you as the most important player on your team, because you are.

I am also sorry that I did not put you on any of my All-ACC Team’s.  I am even more sorry I did not even put you on the “honorable mention” list.

I am sorry.  Right now, you are the best player in the ACC and are a sure first team All-American candidate.

You lead your team over UNC and scored a career high 34 points on UNC’s Ty Lawson and then held him to only nine points and forced him into 4 turnovers.  I am sorry I listed Lawson on my All-ACC first team and that you made Lawson look silly.  You were the best player on the floor.  No question.

You have stepped up for your team when they needed you and your play as matured.  You are the leader on the No. 2 ranked team in the country – or No. 3, depending on the poll.  You have improved in every major statistical category.

You are raised your scoring from 13.9 to 20.6 ppg.  You average four rebounds, four assists, and four steals a game and you are shooting 54 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the free throw line.

I am sorry.  Right now, you are the best player in the ACC and are a sure first team All-American candidate.  You lead your team over UNC and scored a career high 34 points on UNC’s Ty Lawson and then held him to only nine points and forced him into 4 turnovers.  And I listed him on my All-ACC first team.

So, in closing, I am sorry Jeff for underestimating you and I will never do it again.

Good luck the rest of the season, take it easy on Duke.

Daniel Damico

Duke’s Gerald Henderson: What Is He Waiting For?

We have seen flashes of brilliance.  A knack for making shots in crucial moments and his jump shot was closing on the rank of “consistent”.  His ability to read the court and defenders was improving and his shot selection was much better.  His basketball skills were about to catch-up to his athletic talents.

Gerald Henderson

Through Gerald Henderson’s career, his athletic gifts – specifically his vertical –  have elevated his status.  His ability to jump over and around defenders gave us the comfort that a blossoming into greatness would happen soon.

At the end of last season, Henderson was on the cusp.  All the signs pointed that way, everyone could see it, and we all jumped on the bandwagon.  Henderson was about to move from a potential big-time talent to a bona fide division one super-star.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

This season, we have seen those same moments of jaw-dropping athleticism.  Dunks over bigger players and blocks at the rim when it seemed an easy lay-up for the opponents.  Those moments are spectacular, they are memorable, and they will get Henderson on Sportscenter.

What makes the great players truly great?  They dig down deep and find ways to put those moments together.  Moments which turn into portions of games,  portions that turn into whole games of greatness.  And then maybe, just maybe, a season where everything “clicks”.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

Burden to Bare?

The expectations are here.  The criticism is coming on faster and heavier and Henderson knows something is out of whack.  So why is this different?  Why is this more difficult?  Henderson has risen to the occasion before.  He has been playing with high expectations his whole basketball career.  Both direct and indirect.

Henderson grew-up while  his father, Henderson Sr., won three  NBA Championships.  Two with the Boston Celtics and one with the Detroit Pistons.  During his 13 year career, Henderson Sr. played with many of the greatest players in NBA history.

Henderson Sr. wore the Celtics jersey with the greatest frontcourt of all-time; Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale.  He also suited up along side Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley Isiah Thomas, and Joe Dumars through out his NBA career.

As a  five-star recruit coming out of high school, Henderson was selected a McDonald’s All-American.   When recapping his play against players like Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and Brandon Wright in the all-start type game in 2006, DraftExpress.com called Henderson “The most complete player on the floor”.

Rivals.com rated Henderson as the 11th best player in the country and 2ndbest shooting guard behindhis former high school teammate and current underrted UNC star, Wayne Ellington.  Of the ten players that were rated ahead of Henderson on Rivals.com, all but three, Ellington, Ty Lawson of UNC, and Chase Budinger of Arizona, are in the NBA.

Sophomore to Junior

This preseason, Henderson was selected to the All-ACC First Team with UNC’s Ty Lawson and Tyler Hanbrough, Boston College guard Tyrese Rice, and Miami guard Jack McClinton.  Henderson also appeared on the Preseason Wooden Award Top 50 as athlete to watch as a possible winner of the award.

There has been plenty of ups and downs this season.  In a tough game against South Illinois, Henderson scored a season high 20 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor and going six for seven from the foul line.

In Duke’s next five games, Henderson highest scoring output was 14 points facing 1-AA Montana and in Duke’s 76-60 win over Purdue  in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge,  Henderson had a season low 2 points.

In his defense, in that same game at Purdue, Henderson had nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.  While Henderson is struggling to find offensive consistency, he is too talented and is finding  other ways to contribute.

I Think I Can

We always hear about players who are pressing.  Players pressing because the moment is so big, the other team is highly ranked – or a rival-  and they want to their individual play to reflect the importance of game.

As a Duke player, Henderson is no stranger to crucial games in front of a national audience.

Henderson personally extended the Blue Devils season when he went coast to coast to score a finger roll with11 seconds left in the game to beat Belmont in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.  Duke plays in the ACC and you can see at least one of their games a week on ESPN.  To top it all, Henderson has played in the greatest rivalry in college basketball against UNC.

In the nine “biggest” games last season for Duke; 2 UNC, 2 Clemson (1 in ACC Tourney), 1 GT (ACC Tourney), 1 Davidson, 1 Wisconsin,  and 2 games in the NCAA Tourney (Belmont and West Virginia), Henderson performed above his season averages, averaging 14.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks in those games.  Henderson averaged 12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 steals and .9 blocks a game through out the season. 

But why is he pressing?

College Education

I believe there are a few reasons.

Other than Grant Hill’s last two seasons, Duke will never feature a “one-man team”.  Henderson is on the most talent rich team Duke has had since 2004.  This years Duke team has multiple McDonald’s All-Americans and other top-tier talent, and Henderson is not the first option on offense.  Like a lot of talented players who are not utilized at every moment, Henderson’s attention goes in and out.  At times, he becomes invisible on the floor.

Duke uses a very fluid offense that favors no one player, other than Kyle Singler.  Coach K features him only because he is a versatile and talented “big-man”.  At times Duke will run a set to get Henderson the ball and let him create, but he is not called-on to carry a team like Stephen Curry does at Davidson.

Secondly, I do think Henderson is forcing the issue and not allowing the game to happen.  Whenever he gets the ball on the perimeter, he is in a hurry.  It looks unnatural.   There is almost the sense that Henderson needs to dunk on the entire opposing team to validate the Blue Devil fans belief in him.

Lastly, Henderson figured this would be his last season at Duke, so everything means more and needs to more memorable than before.  The NBA is calling and and Henderson wants to bluster his resume.

Like any good college student, he wanted to show interested employers that he not only spent the time in the classroom learning the theory.  But that he is talented and experience enough to put the theory into practice.

No Madness Yet

Coach K is not panicking – at least not yet.  No Duke player is in the top five of any major offensive statistical category in the ACC, but Duke is still the third highest scoring team in the conference at 81.7 points per game.  The Blue Devils are fourth in shooting percentage – even after the horrible game against Michigan.  They are also third in threes per game, making 6.1 three pointers a game as well.  But are only shooting 30.7 percent behind the arc, which is the 4th worst in the conference.

Everyone can take a breath deep.  Duke has only lost one game to a better than advertised Michigan team who also beat UCLA earlier this season.

Here is Henderson’s saving grace; everyone will forget by March.

Duke and Henderson will be in enough high profile games and have enough opportunities to erase all the worries and show that he is still a relevant player in college basketball and the NBA.  That he still has the potential to, and can, live-up to all the hype.  Ultimately, that his future is yet to be determined.

Years down the road, when Henderson has been drafted into the NBA and is making millions of dollars playing a game for a living.  We all will look back at these struggles and call this a journey.  A journey to the top of the mountain – a mountain he can probably jump over.

ACC/Big-Ten Challenge Follow-Up: In Defense of the Big Ten

There have been many college basketball types complaining that the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is lopsided and pointless. 

Some say that the Big Ten will never be able to play to the level of ACC and that the ACC will never lose.  So why play? 

And if you were to quickly glance at only a couple of games, you could easily find evidence to back up that claim.

I understand that North Carolina ran over Michigan State at Ford Field—a somewhat “neutral” site.  Duke finally left Durham to play a road game in West Lafayette, IN and even though is was on the Boilermakers home court, Purdue didn’t even show up to play.

But many of the games were hard-fought and close in the final minutes.  There were many showcased teams that focused on the team concept versus teams with a lot of  individual talent.  It paired four highly ranked teams against each other and featured at least six others who will hear their names on Selection Sunday.

While the ACC has never lost the challenge, to say that the Challenge is pointless is a little ridiculous.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a comment that I thought the Big Ten could win or at least earn a draw in this season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  I was almost right.  

Even though they did not win, the Big Ten performed better than it has the last few years of this early season basketball extravaganza. (Now that is a great word.)

The difference this season was the scheduling committee decided to have teams face each other that will end up in the same relative position in their respective conferences.  So the matchups were more even in nearly every game.

Since 2003 the ACC has won the challenge; 7-2, 7-2, 6-5, and 8-3 in both 2006 and 2007.  This season the challenge ended up 6-5 in the ACC’s favor.

Each conference has had teams that were head and shoulders above the rest of the opposing conference in years past.  Yet this season, the play of the teams in the middle of the pack in each conference has been fairly level and is what ultimately made this year’s challenge entertaining.

The matchup of Boston College and Iowa came down to a missed free throw in the final seconds.  Maryland came back to beat Michigan.  Northwestern took over the game with their style of play against Florida State.  And Georgia Tech had a last-second heave at the buzzer to steal the game from Penn State, but could not.

In 2007, the three closest games were VT over Penn state by five, Clemson over Purdue by three, and Indiana over GT by four.  The total was a combined point difference of 12. 

In 2008 the three closest games were Wisconsin over VT by two, Clemson over Illinois by two, and Boston College over Iowa by two.  The point difference of those three games was six.  There were also four other games with a total point difference of 16.

As the Big Ten is reasserting itself as a power conference , I would like for the schools to consistently play each other.  Have UNC host Michigan State next year.  Next season Purdue goes to Cameron to face off with Duke.  Send Minnesota to Virginia to continue with the Ralph Sampson story line.

Establishing rivalries would add another layer of significance to the games and prove that each individual game is as important to win as part of the rivalry, not just a part of the challenge.  There are very few non-conference or non-border-sharing rivalries in college basketball and we could use some more.

Every season the ACC is involved in the same old debate about which conference is the best.  The Big Ten has recently fallen very far from an “honorable mention” in that conversation.  And I can not totally disagree.

Yet since the ACC/Big Ten started in 1999, each conference has had a total of eight teams in the ten Final Fours that have taken place in the same amount of time.  With the ACC winning three national championships and the Big Ten only one.

Below is the break down for each season with the champions in bold

1999 – Duke, Michigan State and Ohio State (because of violations they have forfeited this appearance) – UConn

2000 – Wisconsin, MSU and UNC,

 2001 – Duke and MSU,

2002 – Indiana and Maryland

2003 – none – Syracuse

2004 – Duke and Georgia Tech – UConn,

2005 – UNC and MSU,

 2006 – none – Florida

2007 – Ohio State – Florida

2008 – UNC – Kansas

So to claim that the ACC is a more dominant conference is false.  They are definitely the most hyped conference and the choice favorites of some ESPN “experts.” 

But here is the reality: there are always going to be conferences who have more high exposure players, more future NBA draft picks, more Hall of Fame coaches.  Yet, that does not guarantee a championship, let alone a trip the Final Four.

We have also seen that players who were not draft-worthy when they were freshmen are now projected as a top-ten pick as a junior.  We have seen juniors who were guaranteed first round picks come back to take one more shot at finally winning the last game of the season.

Now more than ever in college basketball, “the playing field is level,” and every team is a twist of fate away from making a run deep into March or losing in the first round to a mid-major. 

Case in point: UNC is a Ty Lawson or Tyler Hansbrough twisted ankle away from booking flights to Detroit in the spring—even though Detroit will still have snow.

So to the the decision makers of the Big-Ten and ACC: You have a good product, it just needs a little tweaking to get the most out of it.  Just get rid of the East Coast bias, promote rivalries when possible, and continue to make fair match-ups.

Even if the ACC continues to win, it will at least be entertaining.

Tuesday Night Hoopla

78849124KC010_MARYLAND_V_DUThis Game Should Have Been Better

Two minutes.  Jon Scheyer made a three-pointer after two fast paced hard fought minutes.  Two minutes later, Purdue finally scored when Chris Kramer final hit a jumper to make the game 7-2.  It would seem that the Boilermakers were a little to hyped to play Duke Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

In the second half Purdue had another scoring draught of over four minutes and if JaJuan Johnson had not scored eight points in a row, Purdue would have not scored until 10:48 left in the game when E’Twaun Moore hit a jumper.

In the match-up of  star 6’8” sophomore forwards, Duke’s Kyle Singler out-played Purdue’s preseason Big-Ten player of the Year candidate,  Robbie Hummel.  Even if the stat lines don’t look as such.

I must admit, even as a Dukie, I did not buy into Singler until a few games into the season.  Working hard over the summer to add 10 pounds of muscle, Singler looks the part of a McDonalds All-American.  And the game at Purdue furthered my belief that he can lead  and make playes in big games when needed.

Coaches will say that no game is more important than any other.  That’s crap.  And you get see the evidence all over the court Tuesday night.  Players were diving for loose balls, attempting to take charges, giving hard fouls.  Even Singler seemed to be amped up for Duke’s first real test of the season.

Singler finished the evening with 20 points and 12 rebounds – six offense – and hit shots when his team needed them.  Singler was all over the place with hustle plays and guarded Hummel and did not allow any east shots.

Hummel was completely invisible until halfway through the second half and then he ended with 15 points and 8 rebounds.  But his play did not affect the game nearly as much as Singler.  For that matter, all Purdue players games did not affected the out come as much as Singler as Purdue looked rushed in their offense and over-matched by Duke’s talent.

I have never been on to beleieve that stats alone can tell the whole story of a game.  Well, Tuesday night it certainly did.  Two key stats showed how lopsided this game truly was; Duke out rebounded Purdue 43 to 26.  And the Boilermakers shoot 2 for 13 from the three point line and Duke shoot 8 for 22.  Schyer also finished with 20 points.

Colt – 45

Ralph Sampson’s kid is coming to Minnesota.  Tubby Smith had instantly proved his importance to the Gopher Nation as Sampson highlighted the 23rd best recruiting class in the country, but there was another tall post player who was a part of the recruiting class.  And that player has started all seven games and Tuesday night in the Gophers toughest game this season, he had the best game of his short career.

The 6’10” 235-pound Colton Iverson came in to his senior his under the radar in Yankton, South Dakota.  Not many people knew who he was and even fewer knew less about his game.

Iverson stock rose to be ranked among Top 150 recruits after a strong senior season when he averaged 17.5 ppg, 12.9 rpg and 2.7 blocks and a summer where his AAU team won the Hoosier Shootout and he won the tourney’s MVP. His stock so much that even Billy Donavan and the Florida Gators were interested.

In the Minnesota’s  win against Virginia, the Gophers looked for Iverson on offense and he responding finishing 5 for 6 from the floor, 4 for 6 from the foul line for 14 points.  He also grabbed seven rebounds and four of which were offensive.

Iverson altered more shots than he blocked (2) but along with Ralph Sampson and Damian Johnson, the Gophers frontcourt finished with seven blocks, 14 rebounds and 20 points.  Compared to the four best Cavalier post players who had 11 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks.

Quick Hits

Miami’s Jack McClinton’s best shot of the night?  After starting off the game 4-4 from distance, McClinton took a shot at Ohio States guard Anthony Carter and slapped Carter in the face.  After a quick conference with the refs, McClinton was ejected.  Ohio State won 73-68.

The Memphis Tigers blew out  the Marist Red Foxes 100-61.  Here is the stat-line for Memphis guard Tyreke Evans: 10 for 13 from the floor, 2 for 4 from behind the arc, 2 for 6 from the chariot stripe – weak, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and 24 points.   Marist was tough.

In the same “why the hell are you playing each other” vein,  Notre Dame beat South Dakota 102-76.  Notre Dame’s Randy Ayers finished with 35 points, 6 rebounds, shot 9 for 14 from distance and 12 for 20 from the field.

New Jersey Institute of Technology lost again.  Stony Brook outscored the Highlanders, 60-39.

By the end of the Tuesday the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was all tied-up at 3-3.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Wisconsin beat Virginia Tech on a last second shot by Trevon Hughes to give the Big Ten a “commanding” 1-0 lead over the ACC.  Check here for a ESPN’s recap and highlights.

Tonight is No. 4 Duke at No. 10 Purdue in a game I will watch with anticipation.  I will recap that game and the Ohio State at Miami game or Virginia at Minnesota for Fox tomorrow.

Here is the complete schedule and not all games out on TV.

Monday, Dec. 1

Wisconsin at Virginia Tech

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Duke at Purdue
Clemson at Illinois
Ohio State at Miami
Virginia at Minnesota
Iowa at Boston College

Wednesday, Dec. 3

North Carolina vs. Michigan State (from Ford Field)
Indiana at Wake Forest
Michigan at Maryland
Florida State at Northwestern
Penn State at Georgia Tech

ACC Men’s Basketball 2008-09 Preview, Part Four: UNC, Duke, ‘Canes and All-ACC Awards

Player of the Year: Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

Freshmen of the Year: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

All-ACC First Team
G Ty Lawson, UNC
G Jack McClinton, Miami
G James Johnson, Wake Forest
F Gerald Hernderson, Duke
C Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

All-ACC Second Team
G Tyrese Rice, Boston College
G K.C. Rivers, Clemson
G Wayne Ellingson, UNC
F Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
F Kyle Singler, Duke

Honorable Mention

G Jon Scheyer, Duke, F Danny Green, UNC, G James Dews, Miami, G Greivis Vasquez, Maryland, F Rakim Sanders, BC, G Lewis Clinch, GT, F Trevor Booker and G Terrance Oglesby, Clemson, G A.D. Vassallo and F Jeff Allen, VT

1. UNC #1 on Bleacher Report top 25
2. Duke #8
3. Miami #17
4. Clemson
5. Wake Forest #22
6. Virginia Tech
7. Georgia Tech
8. Boston College
9. Maryland
10. North Carolina Sate
11. Florida State
12. Virginia
Conference Rank: 1
North Carolina Tarheels

Head Coach: Roy Williams
2007-08 Recap: 36-3 (14-2 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: C 6’9” Alex Stepheson, G 6’3” Quentin Thomas
Key Additions: G 6’1” Larry Drew, F 6’10” Ed Davis, C 7’0” Tyler Zeller

Starting Line-up
G Ty Lawson 5‘11” Jr. 12.7 ppg, 5.2 apg
G Wayne Wllingson 6’4” Jr. 16.6 ppg, 4.5 apg
F Marcus Ginyard 6‘4” Sr. 6.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
F Deon Thompson 6’8” So. 8.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg
F Tyler Hansbourgh 6’9” Sr. 22.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg

Tyler Hansbourgh came back to complete the mission. After winning every award and it being announced that his jersey will be retired at UNC, Hansbourgh could cement himself as one of the greatest college players ever.

Even at only 5’11”, there is no more important player on this team then Ty Lawson. While Hansbourgh gets the accolades, it is Lawson that drives this team. When he was out a handful of games last season, UNC looked slow and uncomfortable in their offense.

Smooth shooter Wayne Ellingson is the Tarheel’s first option on the perimeter. While shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc, Ellington will have to focus on defensive.

Marcus Ginyard is the defensive stopper and has guard most players from point to power forward.

The Tarheels are expecting improvement from Deon Thompson. After Alex Stepheson transferred, Thompson’s play must become more consistent.

Sixth man extraordinaire, Danny Green even though he is the only player off the bench that provides double digit scoring, it is his hustle and defense are what make him a Carolina favorite.

In the backcourt the Tarheels have experience at back-up in Bobby Frasier and we should see Larry Drew III as the “point guard in training” to replace Lawson when he leaves.

The freshmen forwards each have their specialty; Ed Davis is the rebounder and Tyler Zeller is the shooter. They bring in added height and depth to a rather short frontcourt.

FORECAST
Roy Williams has to be pacing in anticipation of the 2008-09 season. The Tarheels roster is stuffed full of talent and the expectations are higher that they have been since Williams has been on the UNC bench.

If there is a weakness one this team, it is that they are not a very tall team. There two tallest players are incoming freshmen Davis and Zeller, neither are going to be expected to add much more than five fouls and garbage time. Drew could see some time if Lawson gets hurt.

The only thing that could keep the Tarheels from bring the championship back to Raleigh would be injury – and a couple good teams!

Conference Rank: 2
Duke Blue Devils

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
2007-08 Recap: 28-6 (13-3 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: G 6’4” DeMarcus Nelson, F 6’6” Taylor King
Key Additions: G 6’4” Elliot Williams, F 6’1” Miles Plumlee, F 6’8” Olek Cryz

Starting Line-up
G Nolen Smith 6‘2” So. 5.9 ppg, 1.3 apg
G Jon Scheyer 6’5” Jr. 11.7 ppg, 2.4 apg
G Gerald Henderson 6‘4” So. 12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg
F Kyle singler 6’8” So. 13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg
F Lance Thomas 6’8” Jr. 4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg

At 6’4” he is the Duke player the takes the jump ball at tip-off. Gerald Henderson is a phenomenal athlete, and his basketball game is finally catching-up. At times he is flash of the best player in the ACC and then other moments he is completely invisible. Henderson must find a personal comprise and also find ways, in the offense, to get his shots.

Sophomore guard Nolen Smith was declared the started my Coach K just a couple weeks ago. Smith is a budding offensive threat and a much better defender than people give him credit.

After living in the sixth man role for two years, Jon Scheyer gets the chance in the starting line-up. When he first came to Durham he was known as a distance shooter, but his game has evolved and is really a threat from anywhere on the floor.

Kyle Singler added twenty pounds of muscle to his wiry frame, which should help in the post. Teams must be track of him everywhere he goes on the court. He is a solid post scorer, good outside shooter, and is the main weapon in the screen and pop. His defense will be an issue as he will be match-up with bigger post players, depending on how is in the line-up for Duke.

The second forward or center spot is a tossup right now. Lance Thomas started last season, but he very well could be plucked from the line-up for 6’10” Miles Plumlee or 7’1” Brian Zoubek. No matter the decision, the three of them will be need for added muscle along with David McClure. Olek Cryz can get off the floor and thinks every shot should be a dunk.

Greg Paulus is going to play his begin his senior off the bench after starting since his freshmen year. Don’t let this fool you, he will split minutes with Smith and whoever is having the better game, will be in at the end. He is deadly from distance and is the most experienced player on the roster.

McDonald’s All-American Elliot Williams is explosive. He has the handle off a point guard and is not afraid to get to the basket. Finding him minutes is a must, but where. This season he will back-up Scheyer and Henderson – and then next season start in place of Henderson.

FORECAST
Since Josh McRoberts left a few seasons ago, Duke has been thin on the front line. But this season, Coach K actually has options. While all the offense will flow through Singler, there are many bodies to help with defense and rebounding.

Even though Duke lives by the three, the new distance will not hurt them. Most of their guys stood five feet behind the old line.

Caoch K will have this team play is signature pressure defense and but will look to find different ways to get all the players to their full potential on offense.

Conference Rank: 3
Miami Hurricanes

Head Coach: Frank Haith
2007-08 Recap: 23-11 (13-3 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: C 6’9” Anthony King, F 6’7” Raymond Hicks
Key Additions: F 6‘6” Fr. DeQuan Jones, F 6‘9” Fr. Cyrus McGowan

Starting Line-up
G Lance Hudle 6‘2” Sr. 8.0 ppg, 2.4 apg
G Jack McClinton 6’2” Sr. 17.7 ppg, 2.6 apg
G James Dews 6‘3” So. 10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
F Brian Asbury 6’7” Sr. 8.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
F/C Dwayne Collins 6’9” Jr. 8.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Who was the biggest impact player in the ACC not playing for a team in the Carolinas? That would be Jack McClinton. 6’1” he is a major threat from deep, is very capable of getting to the foul line and then shooting over 91 percent when he gets there, and is confident in the clutch. After considering jumping the NBA, McClinton came back to Miami and his stock should rise, along with the amount of wins for this team.

Super quick point guard Lance Hurdle is one of four key seniors on this team. Along with McClinton the offense starts with Hurdle. Hurdle must improve on his ability to deliver passes to the open shooter. Averaging only 2.4 apg with scorers like McClinton and James Dews, is ridiculous. Hurdle needs to connect to the rest of the offense in the natural flow of the offense to get easy and open shots.

James Dews is the last guard in this three-headed monster. He also shots over 90 percent from the foul line and 40 percent from the field. While he might have the stats of McClinton, he must elevate his game if this team wants to succeed.

Brain Asbury, another experienced senior for the Canes, should start at the beginning of the season. But Asbury has sixth man written all over him for the long of the season.

At 6’9”, Dwayne Collins is one of three players at that height. The Canes are not tall, but they take up space. He is a tough defender, great leaper, solid rebounder – especially on the offensive end – and can score on the block.

Arkansas transfer Cyrus McGowan is the most likely new face to compete for a starting spot.

Sophomore guard Eddie Rios is a starter in training and is a stellar ball-handler to take over next season

McQuan Jones will see plenty of playing time at the 3 spot. He is a very talented recruit and is the cornerstone for the future.

FORECAST
When would you have thought that the University of Miami would have a basketball team that has higher expectations that is football team?

Coach Haith knows that he is about to turn Miami from a cellar dweller to a top five ACC program.

Miami has talented pieces on offense, but it was their defense that was second in the ACC. If they can keep that a focus while getting a lift from the newcomers to the roster, this team should be ranked all season and make some of those Carolina teams very upset.