It appears that Gani Lawal and Greivis Vasquez will be returning for the 2009-2010 season while Jeff Teague will be taking his act to the NBA.
In my opinion this effectively eliminates the difference between Tech, Maryland, and WFU and makes them all look like lower rung NCAA tournament teams for next year (7-10 seed area?).
(note: I'm not trying to project brackets here, or saying how their seasons will go, just giving an example of where I feel their talent levels are at this point)
I believe the decision by Vasquez to return was vital to Maryland's chances of being competitive next season.
Without him, they'd have been lucky to be an NIT team. With him, they can actually build on last season (21-14, 7-9 ACC a No. 10 NCAA seed). The only guy they lose is Neal (and Dupree, who didnt play, transferred). In a weakened ACC, they should move up from a three-way tie for seventh place.
On the other hand, I think the decision by Teague is devastating to Wake Forest's chances of remaining among the ACC's elite teams. They had three NBA-talents in the rotation last season, but now two of them (Teague and Johnson) will be in the NBA. I love Aminu and think Tony Woods has a lot of potential (the Deacs will be a lot better if Dino moves him ahead of that stiff McFarland) ... but how far can they go with a backcourt of Ish Smith, LD Williams and some non-descript freshmen?
A year ago, their fatal flaw was erratic 3-point shooting -- and now their top three 3-point shooters are gone (Teague, Hale and Johnson). Let's see ... Ish Smith hit 24.1 percent of his 3-point tries; Gary Clark hit 28.6; LD Williams hit 24.5 percent; Amuni hit 17.9 percent (7-of-39!).
On paper, Wake's going to see a lot of zones ... I think they have a hard time remaining in the first division of the ACC.
Georgia Tech moves up in the standings even if Lawal had stayed in the draft. His return gives them an awesome front line with Derrick Favors and Zack Peacock up front, plus a couple of more stud recruits. The question will be the backcourt, where Hewitt's recruits are less heralded.
But they should get some bounce from Shumpert's experience, plus Mo Miller should be more helpful after he was injured most of last year.
A year ago, Tech finished 12th in the league, winning just two ACC games. But they weren't all that far away from the middle of the pack. They lost three ACC games in OT, two more by one point and three more by five points or less. It wouldn't take a big improvement -- in a league that will be noticiably weaker -- to make a big jump in the standings.
How far, I don't know, but middle of the pack sounds about right.
Yeah, seems like more of a year for inside guys (or versatile forwards) next year in the ACC.
Just off the top of my head, some of the better front court players will be:
BC---Rakim Sanders and Joe Trapani
GTech---Derrick Favors and Lawal
Clemson---Booker (and some incoming big guys)
UNC---Thompson, Ed Davis, Zeller, and Henson
I'm certainly missing some good players, but looks like a shortage of shooters, and an abundance of inside players.
You left out the Florida State guys, especially Solomon Alabi, who may have the most NBA potential of anybody in the league. Their frontcourt is loaded -- Alabi is a near-certain lottery pick, Chris Singleton had a solid freshman season and Xavier Gibson has a world of potential. Plus Ryan Reid is back is they need a thug ... PLUS there's speculation that they may add Jonathan Kreft, the 7-foot dope dealer who was signed two years ago, then released from his scholarship when police found crack up his crack.
Backcourt is, like a lot of ACC schools, a problem for the 'Noles. Derwin Kitchen has to step up his game a lot. Michael Snaer made turn out to be their best perimeter player.
Other big men you might mention -- Tracy Smith is NC State's top returning scorer; Miami's Dwayne Collins pulled his name out of the draft and is the 'Canes told returning scorer and rebounder; Mike Scott is Virginia's second best player. And Jerai Grant at Clemson could have the experience to hold off Milt Jennings and the younger Booker.
I certainly agree with your main point -- that the league will have plenty of frontcourt studs and a lack of backcourt stars. Indeed, I'd argue that Elliot Williams and Nolan Smith could be (along with Scheyer) among the top 10 guards in the ACC next season.
Is this a clever way to stay in the draft and also stay in college? I wonder what his new college first name should be? Ideas?
Last edited by JBDuke; 06-15-2009 at 08:36 PM. Reason: Fixed typo in title
I think the league will be decent, not great. Wake will be weaker but Tech will be stronger. Clemson and Fl. State will be a little weaker but MD will be better. It should be interesting. I think Gaudio could be in trouble down the line, not next year, but in the future. It seems like he could be one of those assistants who is a great recruiter but a questionable head coach. He totally lost his team last year. From where they were to where they went was awful. He might need to hire an experienced head coach to sit on the sideline.
Duke is awesome. If you don't realize that, then you need awesome lessons.
Thanks to SilkyJ for being awesome.
I'd take Vasquez over Teague any day of the week.
Teague must be getting some bad advice.
How tall is he anyway? About 5'8"" or somewhere close?
Last edited by JBDuke; 06-15-2009 at 09:02 PM. Reason: removed reference to deleted post
I remember reading somewhere that Sweaty had said that GV would only stay in the draft if he thought he would go in the top 25. That seemed to be a bit of a stretch, so I guess his decision is no surprise. The soul patch alone should be reason enough to keep him out of the first round.
He still has Duke #1 since the team is more established than Carolina, but he obviously expects a very tight race, which seems fair.
I think Wake took the biggest hit losing Johnson and Teague. Those were their only two consistent perimeter scoring threats. Ish Smith was a terrific backup PG, but he's going to have to carry a lot of burden next year, as will Aminu. I will not be surprised if Gaudio is let go after this year.
Top tier -
1. Duke-UNC tie, 12-4
3. Ga Tech, almost certainly the by-far biggest jump up from '08-'09, maybe challenge for 2d, but let's say 10-6
Middle/muddle tier -
4. FSU - Alabi, Singleton, Kitchen, Dulkys may improve noticeably, and Snaer is reported to be excellent, 9-7
5. BC - lots of experience, Skinner gets his guys to play his system very consistently, Trapani 2d maybe 1st-team ACC, 9-7
6. Md - still smallish, but now lots of experience and several solid players, 9-7
7. Clemson - loss of Oglesby hurts, but Booker surely 1st-team ACC, long-shot possible CPOY?, 8-8
8. Va Tech - Allen and Dulaney, maybe I've got 'em too low, 7-9
9. Wake -devastating losses to early NBA, 7-9
Bottom tier -
10. Miami - I sure don't see them as dead last, as blogger Giglio insists, but maybe they're closer to bottom than I'd have figured, so, 5-11
11. UVa-NCSt tie - both are a year away even from middle of, uh, the pack - 4-12
Have I got some team way, way too high or way, way too low?
I'm not ready to pick the league for next year, but I do have a few opinions as I wrestle with my picks.
-- I definitely have Duke-UNC a clear 1-2 in that order. We all know the flaws that Duke has, but five of top six players back from a 30-win ACC champs? Versus a UNC team that lost four of its five starters? UNC was better than Duke last year, but not by a lot. In fact, you can make the case that the Heels' edge in '09 was Ty Lawson -- he powered them to come from behind victories in both matchups and when he missed the ACC Tourney, Duke won the championship. Lawson is gone.
UNC is loaded with unproven talent. You question Duke's backcourt? Take at look at UNC, which will depend on the overwhelming average Larry Drew at the point. They have NO returning 3-point shooting (their returning players shot a combined 15-of-50 3-pointers last season -- all by Graves and Drew). They have a bunch of good young big men, but they really need Dexter Strickland and Leslie Monroe to be immediate offensive forces. They need Davis and Henson to become stars ... it definitely could happen, but they face a lot more what-ifs than Duke.
-- I don't see a clearly No. 3 team. I agree that Georgia Tech moves up a lot -- as much because their backcourt is older and more settled as by the addition of Favors. I think Maryland moves up, just because Gary returns so much and because he adds two talented young big men. I think Virginia moves up because they are also older (remember, they started an all-freshman backcourt last season and their two best frontcourt players were a sophomore forward and a freshman center). Plus, I think Tony Bennett has the reputation as a superb tactical coach (he took a 13-win WSU team to 26 wins in his first season).
-- Balanced against the teams moving up, I see Wake moving way down (maybe not quite to 11th as Giglio had them) after losing two of their three future pros. Their returning 3-point shooting is almost as bad as UNC's. Obviously, UNC moves way down -- they'll still be good, but not nearly as good as last season. I think NC State moves down (although they don't have far to fall). They have a nice recruiting class coming in, but not a great one. They lost their three best players and they're still grappling with the Gonzales-Mays-Degand monstrosity at the point. I think Clemson moves down ... I don't see how they make up for the loss of Rivers and Oglesby. Look, their late collapse last season was somewhat overshadowed by Wake's decline, but Clemson lost five of their last six games. Significantly, that slump coincided with Rivers' shoulder injury. He kept playing, but lost a lot of his effectiveness. By coincidence, when Rivers slumped, so did Booker. He's an active, but undersized post man -- how much will he be hurt by the disappearance of Clemson's perimeter game? Adding Jennings and the younger Booker is nice, but it doesn't address the problem. I think Miami is weaker without Jack McLinton and VPI without Vassallo.
-- BC and FSU are the two teams I don't know what they do. Each lost a GREAT college point guard ... but each returns a strong core. I'd be hesitant to pick BC No. 3 as Giglio did, but I see his point. I respect Al Skinner and I agree that he's got potential stars in Rakim Sanders and Reggie Jackson, plus solid players in Trapani, Raji and even Southern. The key will be how well Biko Paris steps in at the point -- he'll never score like Rice, but he has the potential to be a better floor leader and defender. I have less respect for Leonard Hamilton, but I love his frontcourt studs and think Snaer will bring a lot on the wing (in fact, he's my pick to be the ACC's leading freshman scorer). Can Derwin Kitchen or Luke Loucks play the point effectively? I really don't know.
I guess my overall point is that the ACC will be SIGNIFICANTLY weaker, but significanrly more balanced than in 2009. That's why I think Duke is a clearcut preseason favorite -- with their core group, they don't have to be better to win the regular season ... if they are anyway near as good (and they should be with the added experience of Williams, Smith and Singler, plus the addition of two big men prospects balancing out the lost of Henderson) that will be enough.
Right now, I'm looking at the 2010 ACC:
2. North Carolina
Next Tier (alphabetical order)
Don't hold me to that ranking, but that what I'm thinking after the draft deadline.
There'll be a solid amount of raw talent next year, but I don't think the level of play will be anything close to what it was this year without the depth of big-time playmakers we were lucky enough to get to watch this season. While this year felt like it could have been "the big year" for a bunch of teams - UNC, Duke, Wake, Miami, BC, Clemson, VT - this year just feels like a rebuilding year for every program except for Duke, Carolina and mayyybe MD and GT. And even out of those four, Duke will have to deal with a guard shortage and UNC and GT will be hugely reliant on unproven freshman talent. And Maryland is... Maryland.
Hey, if nothing else maybe the teams that separate themselves will be a little less beat-up come tourney time next year...
About three months ago there was a thread discussing the potential impact of the draft. I provided a listing of those players for each team who were coming (committed recruits) or going (seniors or NBA bound). I limited the recruits to those who are 4 or 5 star rated by Scout. The assumption is that those players may have an impact as freshmen. I am not aware of any transfers into the ACC. The following is an updated list:
BC Coming None Going Rice
Clemson Coming Jennings(6-9), Booker(6-7) Going Rivers, Ogelsby
Duke Coming Kelly(6-10), Plumlee(6-11) Going Paulus, McClure, Henderson
Florida St. Coming Snaer(6-4, Shannon(6-7) Going Douglas, Echefu
Ga. Tech Coming Favors(6-9), Udofia(6-1), Holsey(6-8) Going Clinch, Aminu, Bell
Maryland Coming Williams (6-8), Padgett(6-8) Going Neal
Miami Coming Scott(6-4), Adams(6-5), Kirk(6-8) Going McClinton, Hurdle, Graham, Asbury
UNC Coming Henson(6-10), Wear,(6-9), Wear(6-9), Strickland(6-2), McDonald(6-5) Ginyard(6-5) Going Hansbrough, Green, Frasor, Lawson, Ellington
NCState Coming Howell(6-7), Brown(6-4) Going McCauley, Fells, Costner, Ferguson
Virginia Coming - Spurlock(6-7) Going Diane, Soroye
Va Tech Coming Raines(6-8) Going Vasallo, Diakite
Wake Coming Stewart(6-7) Going Hale, Johnson, Teague
I agree with most that the ACC will be down next year but so will several of the conferences. I like Duke to lead the conference followed by UNC. I like both teams but Coach K and Williams will need to sort out their frontcourts and figure out ways to bolster their backcourts. I expect Maryland to be in the next rung. They return a bunch of experienced players, including the best returning guard in the conference, they get some needed size from incoming recruits, and they play what appears to be a much easier conference schedule than last year. I agree with Olympic that BC and FSU will be good teams although they lost their star players. FSU, in particular, has size, experience and several talented players. Who knows about Georgia Tech. Will the big men get in one another's way and can their coach get them to play together.
The ACC is going to be really down next year. I like Duke's team but they have alot of holes. The holes have alot of talent but can they get it all together with just a decent backcourt? FSU has to get everyone on the same page to fill Douglas's void. There is no clear cut dominant team.