Next year appears to be a down year for the ACC as far as top teams are concerned but there are several good players remaining and a few good players entering the league. My take on the top players, by position, in the upcoming season is as follows:
Point Guard – Singletary (UVa), Lawson (UNC), Paulus (Duke), Rice (BC), Vasquez (Md), Douglas (FS), Smith (WF)
PG Summary – Singletary and Rice are gunners and should challenge Hansbrough for league scoring honors. Lawson and Paulus will likely get some All ACC consideration. This is a very strong position for some teams who have depth at PG – UNC, Duke, Md and Wake. On the other hand, NC State and Georgia Tech need to find PGs among their returnees/frosh.
Off Guard/Wing – Clinch (GT), Ellington (UNC), Nelson (Duke), Scheyer (Duke), Henderson (Duke), Grant (NCS), Rich (FS), Washington (VT), McClinton (Miami)
OG/W Summary – This position took a hit by graduation and defection to NBA. By necessity, McClinton will probably be the highest scorer at this position but he will not be the best player. Clinch should be the top player on a good Tech team while Ellington, Grant and Rich will be top supporting players on their respective teams. Duke’s success will depend on its’ perimeter players. Nelson is the senior captain who will probably lead the team in scoring; Scheyer may be the best all around player on the team; and Henderson has the physical tools that make NBA scouts take notice. Some teams, such as Md, FS and VT need to find replacements for key players who left.
Frontcourt – Hansbrough (UNC), Costner (NCS), McCauley (NCS), Gist (Md), Mays (Clem), Booker (Clem), Thompson (UNC), Collins (Miami), plus freshmen Singler (Duke), Hickson (NCS) and Lawal (GT)
Frontcourt Summary – Hansbrough should be the best player in the league for the third straight year. Costner and Gist should have big years and Booker, Thompson and Collins should develop as sophs. Frontcourt is a strong position at UNC, Clemson and NC State and there is potential at Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami and Maryland.
Predicted All ACC by position: PG – Singletary; OG/W – Clinch, Nelson; Frontcourt – Hansbrough, Gist
Nice post and analysis. Lewis Clinch is a good dark-horse kinda pick for a guy to surprise some folks and be a first-team All-ACC player next season. He was one his way to a really special soph campaign when he ran into academic problems and got suspended. Obviously, there is no way to know how the extended layoff affected him -- it is my understanding that he was not allowed to practice with the team 2nd semester and even this summer -- but the kid was tearing it up when he went out.
I know it was against somewhat inferior competition, but he was averaging 17+ ppg through his first 10 games. He's as good a 3-point shooter as there is in the conference. It will probably help him to play alongside a "pass-first" PG in freshman Mo Miller this season as opposed to being on a team with Crittendon and Young, who were both looking for their shot A LOT of the time.
As an aside--- be on the lookout for Va Tech's freshman class. They brought in a bunch of athletes to run with Deron Washington. I bet one or two of them step up and relly have an impact. I hear this Jeff Allen kid is the real deal. Remember his name. He's a bear inside and has a lot of bounce. He's going to grab a ton of rebounds. His high school/prep school years certainly prepared him for ACC calliber play as he weent to DeMatha, Oak Hill, and Hargrave.
-Jason "aside from Hansy and Singletary, there is no one in the conference who is a lock for even 2nd team All-ACC... that's unusual" Evans
P.S.- Well, maybe Rice...
"Hansbrough should be the best player in the league for the third straight year"
I like the way GW67 quitely slipped in the bit about TH to see if folks are actually paying attention.
For the record, I don't even think TH was the best player in the ACC last year. I'd put Thornton and Dudley above him.
I forgot to take my Ginkgo this morning! Of course, Redick and Williams were the top two players in the ACC during Hansbrough's freshman year.
I agree with Jason re Clinch. The little that I have seen him play, he was outstanding. In addition to Clinch, I think that Thompson (excellent offensive moves around basket and agressive going after the ball), Collins (the most impressive frontcourt athlete - good defense and rebounding plus nice short jumper) and Booker (very good fundamentals who improved as the season progressed) are the players who could be dark horse candidates for All ACC this year. As we have discussed many times, Henderson may have a breakout year as well but that was expected of him as a freshman.
Andre Dawkins: “People ask me if I can still shoot, and I ask them if they can still breathe. That’s kind of the same thing.”
jimsumner - In addition to forgetting my Ginkgo, I had my brain fried yesterday playing golf with my oldest son at the Glen Riddle Golf Club just East of Ocean City. The Golf Club was built on the farm and stables where Man O' War, War Admiral and many other racing horses were housed. Terrific golf course and wonderful afternoon but I probably shouldn't be playing golf in the afternoon heat at my age. Anyway, I agree with you that Thornton was probably the best player in the ACC last year.
I started this thread after my son commented that it will be a real down year for the ACC this coming season and I thought about the players returning. IMO, one of the weakest years for the ACC was the year after the Terps won the title. The All ACC team that year was Julius Hodge, Dahntay Jones, Steve Blake, Ed Scott and Josh Howard. This was the All Star team that couldn't shoot straight and, IMO, it was one of the weakest in recent memory. My feeling is that this year's All ACC team will likely be much better.
Not sure I am ready to annoint Deon Thompson as an all-ACC any more than Collier, Osby, Lance, Dickey or Jeremis Smith.
Here's a reply I dug out from a Deon will be All-ACC thread on another board
I know it does not go by position and recipients from prior year are not automatic, but here is a starter set of competition, and this list does not even include Lawson:
1 *Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina (106), 318
2 Sean Singletary, Virginia (100), 312
3 Tyrese Rice, Boston College, 177
4 Brandon Costner, N.C. State, 94
5 Jack McClinton, Miami, 48
Honorable mention (20 or more points)
6 Ben McCauley, N.C. State, 36
7 James Mays, Clemson, 34
8 DeMarcus Nelson, Duke, 34
9 James Gist, Maryland, 28
10 Tywon Lawson would get the nod before Deon, but I would think 3rd team or Honorable Mention may be in his reach, but each ACC team probably has a returning guy or new recruit they feel has just as good a shot as UNC fans feel Deon has.
First order of business is to win the ACC which would increase number of UNC recipients, but Ellington, Green and Ginyard are also competition for Deon.
NC State with a good finish might make a case for Gavin Grant.
Duke might have Singler or Henderson or maybe even Paulus.
GA Tech might have Dickey, Morrow, Jeremis Smith or Lewis Clinch.
Clemson might have KC Rivers or Booker or Hammonds.
MD might have Vasquez or Osby
BC might have Oates
FSU might have Swann or Rich
VA Tech might have Deron Washington or A J Vassallo
UVA might have Diane
somebody may surface for Wake
Only freshman I listed is Singler but JJ Hickson, Lawal and there are more
You listed Jon Scheyer, Tony Douglas, Ish Smith and Dwayne Collier whom I missed and I had a few you did not have as potentials: Dickey, Morrow, Jeremis Smith, KC Rivers, Cliff Hammonds, Osby, Oates (questionable but someone on BC besides Rice may surface), Swann, Vassallo, Diane, Ginyard and Green.
Very few locks but I would give players who got votes last year the early edge.
With respect to all defensive team, all five first team guys are gone but Honorable Mention all Defensive Nelson and Mays are the early favorites
ACCBBallFan - I suspect that you are right about those who got votes last year, at least in the eyes of the media when they pick the preseason teams. I made my picks strictly from memory. There are a bunch of players who may emerge who I didn't identify such as Skeen of Wake but based on my view at this time, the ones I identified look to have either the game or the potential to be one of the top 15 players in the ACC next year.
I will briefly comment on a few that you mentioned then give you my two cents on Thompson.
Dickey, Morrow and Smith - all are nice players who will be part of the support cast for Clinch, IMO.
KC Rivers and Cliff Hammonds - again, they are nice players who will score some points but Clemson will go as far as Booker and Mays takes them, IMO.
Swann - He shares the ball more than Douglas but is not the scorer that Douglas is nor the all around player that Rich is.
Thompson - From the little I saw of Thompson, I liked his offensive play and his defensive rebounding. His problem may be that he is very similar to Hansbrough and may not be a good complement. Williams successfully handled this situation several times at Kansas and I expect the he will get these two frontcourt players to play well together.
To those who included DeMarcus Nelson as All ACC, I hope you're right. But based upon his play the past few years, I can't see how he'll be one of the better players in the ACC.
In fact, I doubt that he'll be one of Duke's top players in 2007-08. I would expect that Singler, Paulus and Scheyer will all be more productive than Nelson in the coming season.
Oh, and did I mention that he was our best perimeter defender too?
Look, it is always hard to forecast who is going to step up and the such, but projecting Nelson, a senior, as one of Duke and the ACC's top players is hardly a reach.
-Jason "personally, I think Paulus will be our best player next year" Evans
I expect DeMarcus Nelson to have a very good senior season as he will benefit from the addition of Nolan Smith. Last year, Nelson frequently had to guard our opponents fastest player. For example, Ty Lawson when we played Carolina. Smith will be able to assist in that role and allow Nelson to be the 2-guard on both ends of the court.
I consider All-ACC to be a distinct possibility for DeMarcus Nelson in 07-08.
First Team -- Hansborough, Singletary, Lawson, Costner, Mays
Second Team -- McCauley, Paulas, Vasquez, Singler, Rice
Third Team -- Toney, Gist, Nelson, Henderson, Clinch
Jason "did I tell you that he was our best exterior defender" Evans is almost correct; well, not really.
David McClure was your best exterior player, but only if you count the zone aspects of K's, "he never plays zone defenses," half-court defense. McClure in every switch situation always remained with the ball out front, no matter who was coming off whom, and probably played the best defense for a team in the history of the planet, in my opinion, last year.
DeMarcus will shoot less, but almost always when he is is in rhythm, unlike last year when I believe that he was told he had to shoot regardless; will get many more rests this year; will have much more arc on his shot this year because he will have more legs under him because he will be asked to do much less and will get more rest; will finish more effectively this year but only because of the same stuff I just said: and may well end up being Duke's best player next year, but only if someone else doesn't, but I would not put my money on Paulus but only because of the foot which I hope will not continue to plague him but wishen and hopin won't make it necessarily so.
Otherwise I completely agree that Jason "I am always correct" Evans is spot on.
But our offense last year was awful. Awful. Being the offensive leader on last year's team is like being the best looking girl at an ugly girl convention. Tis the epitome of darning with faint praise.
DN has huge holes in his Offensive game. Even the apologists on this board have to begrudge that. His outside shot is inconsistent, some of his drives are extremely ill-concieved, and his ball handling is mediocre.
That said, he made huge strides with his body last summer, and if his skills make a similiar jump this year, he can be All-ACC somewhere. He certainly has the raw ability, it just needs to be molded.
Regarding the All-ACC teams this year, we could be looking at a 99 type scenario. UNC is clearly the class of the conference next year. If they stay healthy, and the returning players improve (not a lot, just a modicum), UNC could be dominant. They might not lose a single conference game. At most, I see them losing only 1-3 (extreme outside, barring catastrophic injury) games this year.
If they do go undefeated, or lose only 1 game, then they should dominate the All-ACC teams. I can easily see them with 3 members of the 1st team, with TL, TH, and WE. Singletary could swoop up another spot, with the fifth slot open to whoever surprises this year. Probably someone from the next team in conference, us or Clemson.
We may not like it, but UNC has a bunch of talented players, and next year is a down year for virtually everyone else. The only team in conference stronger than usual is Clemson, and they are not world beaters. (I say that Duke is worse than usual, if better than last year, while NCSU could be approximately where they were in better Sendek years)
Which brings me to a question for the board.
Next year does not look like a NC type of year. It is not outside the realm of possibility for Duke to be a NC contender, but we are not even a darkhorse favorite at this time, nor should we be.
Next year however, we could be a team loaded with talent and experience. Most of the best players on the team are Soph or Fr. Only 3 players are older, DN, GP, and MP with the latter two almost certainly returning. Might this year not be a good one to focus on the future? I love DN, and I want him to play, a lot, but not 30+ mpg. It will not translate into significantly more wins this year, nor will a heavy dose of DN help when he is gone.
Does any one else want to see a focus on Duke building for the next NC title run, next year? Even if it may mean a few, if any, less wins this year?
All I am saying is that it wouldn't hurt for KS and GH to get used to having the reigns in their hands this year.
Case and point: he knew McBob was leaving after last year b/c they decided that after his FRESHMAN year, and he therefore knew that Zoubek would be critical in the frontcourt this year, yet zoubek sat and sat last year...
The story of Duke teams the past 10 years has been superb regular season play and somewhat dissapointing Tournament results. I hope some karma comes around that this is the year we can come from a 3 or 4 seed and knock off some other teams for a change. However, I don't think we'll be so good next year that the first weekend will be a breeze and we could very well be going home early again.
I hate to look to far forward into the crystal ball, but even if the worst case scenario comes to pass and we lose GH and KS early, we'll still be primed for a title run in 09.