Friday, October 19, 2007

ACC Preview


  1. North Carolina – Too much depth, too much speed, too much power, too much size, too much scoring to even think about stopping in the conference this year. Should contend for National Championship.
  2. NC State – Sidney Lowe has a team with plenty of weapons (three NBA prospects to be exact in Grant, Costner and Hickson), good size and momentum from last season. The biggest question mark is the point guard spot. They need a leader there. And fast.
  3. Duke – This is one of the deepest Blue Devil teams in years but also one of the smallest. It will be interesting to see how Coach K can get this team together in a hurry and how to overcome its height issues.
  4. Clemson – Only one starter was lost from last year's team that won 25 games. There is balance and athleticism but the big question mark is at the point guard position.
  5. Virginia – The Cavaliers lost 18.4 points a game and a battle-tested guard in JR Reynolds but reloaded with depth at the position and returns one of the best warriors in the nation in Sean Singletary.
  6. Maryland – Nearly 40 points and three starters are missing from the starting lineup but the team boasts big bodies, a potential pro in Greivis Vasquez and one of the best coaches in the conference.
  7. Georgia Tech – Perhaps the biggest x-factor in the conference. The Yellow Jackets have a number of players with starting experience and add Lewis Clinch back to the lineup and a motor man down low in Gani Lawal.
  8. Florida State – Guard play will dictate this team's success and the offensive attack will be much more balanced. The key is rebounding. Who will step up on the glass?
  9. Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons could very well be the biggest surprise in the conference. The players are young. The coaches are young. The attitude and motivation will all be dedicated to the late Skip Prosser. The year started on a sad note and could end on a high.
  10. Virginia Tech – Gone are the senior leaders and enter a new brand of basketball. The Hokies have a huge recruiting class and one of the top athletes in the nation in Deron Washington.
  11. Boston College – There is a good chance the Eagles finish way ahead of this slot because that is what they do. They are the best over-achievers in the nation. Who will be the next under the radar recruit that makes it big? Rakim Sanders.
  12. Miami – The Hurricanes have the weapons but struggle against the big boys in the league. Frank Haith, once again, has an upward climb.

Preseason All-Conference

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, Jr., Forward

Brandon Costner, NC State, Soph., Forward

Sean Singletary, Virginia, Sr., Guard

DeMarcus Nelson, Duke, Sr., Guard

Gavin Grant, NC State, Sr., Forward

It is as tight of a race as it can get for elite status in the ACC this year. Hansbrough has all of the tools, the right team and motor to contend for deserved national first team honors. Singletary is the next logical choice for all-conference. After that, it's a crap shoot.

Player of the Year

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina

No one plays with more heart, power and passion in the ACC than this big man. He anchors the middle for the best team in the conference and could very well be playing in the Final Four at the end of the year.

Freshman of the Year

Kyle Singler, Duke

The Oregon native will be asked to do a lot from the outset. He has the skill set to play both inside and out and expect him to log major minutes on the blocks for the size depleted Blue Devils this season.

Preseason All-Freshmen Team:

J.J. Hickson, NC State

Kyle Singler, Duke

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech

Demontez Stitt, Clemson

Rakim Sanders, Boston College

Opportunity. That is what separates the productive rookies with those that have the potential word still attached to their names at this stage of the game. Each of the five players listed will have a chance to start and play major minutes this season.

NCAA tournament teams

North Carolina, NC State, Duke, Maryland, Clemson and Virginia

Top NBA prospect

Brandon Costner, NC State

He's an outstanding talent with great size, a great shot and inside-out capabilities.

Georgia connection

J.J. Hickson, NC State (Wheeler)

Jerome Burney, Maryland (Westlake)

Landon Milbourne, Maryland (St. Francis/Oak Hill)

Toney Dougals, Florida State (Jonesboro)

Jordan DeMercy, Florida State (Norcross)

Lewis Clinch, Georgia Tech (Crisp County)

Alade Aminu, Georgia Tech (Stephenson)

Matt Causey, Georgia Tech (Berkmar)

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech (Norcross)

Lance Storrs, Georgia Tech (Columbia)

Ty Anderson, Georgia Tech (Oconee County)

Solomon Tat, Virginia (Community Christian)

Terrell Bell, Virginia Tech (Stone Mountain)

Terrence Vinson, Virginia Tech (Lowndes County)

Cliff Hammonds, Clemson (Cairo)