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2022-2023 ACC Basketball Preview

The ACC has widely been regarded in public perception as the best basketball conference for how visible some of its programs are nationally, but the reality was the ACC hasn’t been that good lately. They have averaged a 5.25th finish in the NET ranking the 4 seasons it has existed. They have pretty much been at the bottom of the P6 in the aggregate. Now they have to replace the greatest coach of all time after 40+ seasons, and let’s be honest, have a rookie coach who no one knows really if is up for the job at that level.

Duke in theory should recruit itself, should, will it all work out is still the question though. There are many examples where it hasn’t included 7 miles over with Matt Doherty. I had my concerns about UNC and Hubert Davis last season and he certainly proved me wrong. I’m a believer now. That still doesn’t assuage the same ones with Jon Scheyer. At least with Davis, I could see it more because he had been around longer and had exposure to other all-time coaches’ points of view with a long NBA career and playing for Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Rick Carlisle, and Doug Collins.

Let’s take a quick look at our national rankings to get an idea of the tiers I have each team on. As you can see we probably start Duke off lower than anyone will, and have already had some pushback on that. 14th Whoa is me.

Here are our national ranks, and you can see the tiers we have these teams on.

1-363 ranking

ACC Basketball Standings

National Rank
2North CarolinaACC
46Virginia TechACC
56Florida StateACC
62Notre DameACC
74NC StateACC
78Boston CollegeACC
81Wake ForestACC
110Georgia TechACC


Instead of an All-Conference team, I?ve listed the Top Returning Players by Peak Adjusted Efficiency for SOS. Most will likely come from this list anyway, but the awards are more team driven. I?m more interested in who is doing the most when they are on the court. The players can?t control the team that was put around them. If they are putting up tangible numbers at top efficiency per possession on bad teams, that is more impressive to me. It?s coming under more pressure and game planning for them, with less viable options around them to take the pressure off. This list encompasses the players that have been the best on a D1 court going into the season.

ADJ effRank
5Armando BacotUNC
9Jesse EdwardsSyracuse
14Norchad OmierMiami
20Jayden GardnerVirginia
22Nijel PackMiami
23PJ HallClemson
31Pete NanceUNC
44John HugleyPitt
55Justyn MuttsVirginia Tech
70Jordan MillerMiami
71DJ BurnsNC State
85Jao ItukaWake Forest
87Jaylan GaineyFlorida State
89Javon FranklinGeorgia Tech
100Terquavion SmithNC State
102Isaiah WongMiami
117Ryan YoungDuke
125Caleb MillsFlorida State
148Hunter TysonClemson
149Grant BasileVirginia Tech
164Jacob GrandisonDuke
172Dane GoodwinNotre Dame
192Reece BeekmanVirginia
193R.J. DavisUNC
194Joseph GirardSyracuse

(Last year?s NET, Seed, and Tournament Finish on the top header line for reference. Deep bench players are not listed, only those in the projected rotation. I also included player ADJ eff rankings. ADJ eff Rankings and qualifying explanation here.)

1. North Carolina

North Carolina17 NET8 seedPERF
Armando Bacot6-10, 24016.5ppg 13.1rpg29.1Sr
Pete Nance6-10, 22514.6ppg, 6.5rpg24.7Gr
Leaky Black6-8, 1954.9ppg, 4.3rpg12.3Gr
Caleb Love6-4, 19015.2ppg, 3.4apg15Jr
R.J. Davis6-0, 16013.4ppg, 3.6apg16.5Jr
Puff Johnson6-8, 1903.1ppg, 2.0rpg15.6Jr
Dontrez Styles6-6, 2102.0ppg, 1.4rpg11.4So
Jalen Washington6-9, 2054*Fr
Seth Tremble6-1, 1754*Fr
Tyler Nickel6-8, 2154*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
5Armando Bacot
31Pete Nance
193R.J. Davis
266Caleb Love

The lack of a proven stretch 4 replacing Brady Manek WAS the concern. How would this offensive-driven team look without the same level of floor spacer and clutch performer? I expected them to land Matthew Mayer 1st from Baylor with their last scholarship, it was seemingly a perfect fit for both that didn?t transpire. I guess patience comes to those that wait because they landed the rich man’s version of Pete Nance. Not only is he the better player, but he also shot 45% from three. They got all the stretch they need and more now. Even the average rebounding will be mitigated by Bacot, and he will give Bacot room to work and get putbacks. It’s an incredible add.

Even without a proven stretch 4 I still think they would have to start in the top 5 with the core 4 they return off a team that was peaking towards the end of the season. They were also miss seeded as well with a 17 NET ranking at the end of the season, which was no 8th seed. Puff Johnson acquitted himself well in the national title game and would have been a workaround as a starter.

Tyler Nickel is the most intriguing freshman, averaging 34.7ppg, 9.4rpg, and making 91 threes at 41% in high school last year fits that style at least, even if unproven. I had thought he might be the sleeper and have a chance to play, but Pete Nance completely changed this team. They are without a doubt top 2 now IMO and have a legit chance at #1.

2. Miami

Miami47 NET10 seedPERE8
Anthony Walker6-9, 2104.2ppg, 2.5rpg16.1Jr
Norchad Omier6-7, 23017.9ppg, 12.2rpg(@Arkansas St)34.8So
Jordan Miller6-6, 20210.0ppg, 5.9rpg20.3Sr
Isaiah Wong6-3, 18015.3ppg, 4.3rpg18.0Jr
Nijel Pack6-0, 18017.4ppg, 2.2apg(@Kanas State)22.7So
A.J. Casey6-7, 2004*Fr
Christian Watson6-6, 1804*Fr
Wooga Poplar6-5, 1952.3ppg, 1.4rpg9.8So
Bensley Joseph6-1, 1952.3ppg, 1.6rpg7.1So
Favour Aire6-9, 2154*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
14Norchad Omier
22Nijel Pack
70Jordan Miller
102Isaiah Wong

I love what Miami did in the portal. They had the best portal year of any program despite only landing 2 players, they were 2 of the top 10 players money could buy by the Hoops Resource Transfer rankings. They paid for it but I think it will pay off with Wong and Miller back off an Elite 8 team of overachievers. This year I don?t think they will need to overachieve with the additions.

Pack is going to have the ball in his hands more at Miami where he was off the ball more last year. He?s proven he can do both at a pretty high level and he averaged nearly 4 assists as a freshman, so I believe he is ready for this role again. Kendric Davis had a higher ceiling but Pack to me was the most rock-solid guard in the portal with the highest floor. Omier just gets it done and while he won?t wreck the ACC like he did the Sun Belt I expect he?s still very productive as well. Rebounding seems to translate very well from level to level and he?s an elite one. We also shouldn?t forget Larranaga is a great coach that can take lesser rosters far.

As a side note if Miami is going to be this big of a player in the NIL market going forward this could be a city that is attractive for young guys with lots of money to spend just as it is in the NBA.

3. Duke

Duke10 NET2 seedPERF4
Dereck Lively7-1, 2155*Fr
Ryan Young6-10, 2459.0ppg 4.2rpg(@Northwestern)23Jr
Jacob Grandison6-6, 2059.6ppg, 3.8rpg(@Illinois)17.1Sr
Dariq Whitehead6-6, 1905*Fr
Jeremy Roach6-1, 1758.6ppg, 3.2apg11.7So
Jaden Schutt6-4, 2154*Fr
Kyle Filipowski6-10, 2205*Fr
Tyrese Proctor6-4, 1704*Fr
Mark Mitchell6-8, 2155*Fr
Kale Catchings6-6, 2209.1ppg, 4.0rpg(@ Harvard)Gr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
117Ryan Young
164Jacob Grandison

This is lower than most everyone else will rank them yet I could see 15+ spots lower in fact. If they weren’t Duke I’d probably put them in their 20’s. Are they even the same Duke now the guy that’s been there 4 decades is gone? I don’t personally think so, but let me conform on this one like everyone else.

I just don?t trust the combination of a rookie 34-year-old coach with his training wheels still on trying to lead a team driven by teenagers in the age of the super senior, everyone?s older than they even usually are. It doesn?t seem to square to me, there has to be some level ofon-the-jobb training. This guard rotation looks pretty weak as well at this point. Is Roach good enough to settle all the question marks there and settle down this young team? He’s #413 in Adjusted Efficiency of all the returners nationally.

AJ Green visited Duke but then he stayed in the draft so the help is not coming from there and even he wouldn?t have been a panacea. Grandison was much needed, but he’s more of a role player and was starting at PF at Illinois. Can he be as effective at SF, I’m not sure, but I think Duke needs both him and Young on the court at least early in the season and I think that’s how they may have to play to accomplish that.

There are just red flags and not many difference-makers left available. They got a reclassified player in Proctor but that usually doesn’t work out great. Is he more like Marvin Bagley or Emoni Bates? No matter what people rank him in the portal, Bates wasn’t well last year. The age of the super senior, everyone is a year older is still a thing. Duke didn’t need a high school junior.

There has to be a learning curve, especially with a team this young that doesn?t have a lot of built-in muscle memory of doing winning things at the college level. This team could have high variance outcomes and if you told me they were 5th or 35th that wouldn?t shock me at the end of the year. For some of these other teams, I don?t have to wonder if their superstar will kick butt or if their coach can coach which is where I stand at this point.

The top 15 is generous with all these question marks. It seems like Whitehead will be depended on to do much of the perimeter scoring and he averaged 17.1ppg 5.1rpg, and 2.4apg at Montverde. Lively came in at 14ppg, 14rpg, and Filipowski at 19.1 ppg, 10.8 RPG, and 3.2 APG. It feels like one or two of them has to nearly equal that kind of point production at the college level that they were in high school. That?s a big step.

4. Virginia

Virginia68 NETNIT3R
Kadin Shedrick6-11, 2166.9ppg, 5.1rpg23.7Jr
Jayden Gardner6-6, 23515.3ppg, 6.4rpg22Gr
Armaan Franklin6-4, 19411.1ppg, 2.8rpg13.9Sr
Reece Beekman6-3, 1748.2pg 5.2apg18.2Jr
Kihei Clark5-9, 16010.0ppg, 4.4apg13Gr
Ben Vander Plas6-8, 22314.3ppg, 6.8rpg(@Ohio)20.6Gr
Francisco Caffaro7-0, 2504.3ppg, 4.6rpg13Sr
Taine Murray6-5, 2052.0ppg, 0.9rpg9.5So
Isaac Traudt6-8, 2054*Fr
Isaac McKneely6-3, 1804*Fr
Leon Bond6-6, 1904*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
20Jayden Gardner
192Reece Beekman
300Ben Vander Plas

Yeah, these are mostly the same guys that went nowhere last year. Yeah, they can’t throw it in the ocean from the outside. That said I’m still a sucker for regular-season Tony Bennett. Yes, I say regular season even with a national championship in his pocket. I think they make the move back toward the top 30. K. Clark is a game manager low upside a solid floor guy, but at this point, he’s got to be like an extension of Bennett.

The biggest add this spring is the desperately needed floor spacer, Vander Plas. He’s not even a great 3-point shooter at 33% but with the futility and volume UVA shoots them at, that’s even an improvement. Especially coming from a stretch big and hopefully drawing out an opposing big to give Beekman and Gardner more of a path to the basket. Having a year in the system for starters like Gardner and Franklin should help. In this system I think matters more than most.

I just need to see how they deploy Vander Plas. Does he take more of Gardner’s minutes, or Shedrick, that will be the most interesting part? I don’t think Gardner is capable of playing SF but that’s the other option Bennett could try. Vander Plas being on the court to provide some shooting and space is highly needed regardless of how they go about it.

The question that most likely needs to be answered will be can how he and Gardner could hold up together in the post. Gardner still needs to be on the court a lot for this team to have a chance IMO, and he could some space Vander Plas can help with to maximize his game which I believe has another level if he could get any spacing help. Gardner previously held up pretty well playing a lot of center in the AAC, so I could see them working defensively together in the post with another year of Gardner in this system.

5. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech22 NET
Grant Basile6-918.4 Pts, 8.5 Reb(@Wright St)25.1Sr
Justyn Mutts6-710.1 Pts, 7.4 Reb20.9Sr
Darius Maddox6-56.4 Pts, 1.9 Reb17.6Jr
Hunter Cattoor6-310.0 Pts, 4.0 Reb15.1Sr
Sean Pedulla6-15.4 Pts, 1.3 Ast17.9So
Sean Pedulla6-15.4 Pts, 1.3 Ast17.9So
Mylyjael Poteat6-97.7 Pts, 4.2 Reb(@Rice)24.4So
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
55Justyn Mutts
149Grant Basile
259Hunter Cattoor

Virginia Tech got a raw deal last year with an 11 seed. This is a team that deserved much better with a 22 NET ranking and having just won the ACC tournament the day before. They got an unexpected, nice surprise when Justyn Mutts withdrew his name from the NBA draft. They do still have big shoes to fill with Keve Aluma, but I think Mike Young did a pretty good job replacing him. They did very well for themselves, adding a couple of other ground-bound productive centers in Grant Basile and Mylyjael Poteat. The real question will be how well they hold up on defense, I expect them to remain quite productive on offense. Basile is the most likely starter, and he did anchor a top 75 NET Wright State team 2 seasons ago. Wright State had a very good 22nd-ranked defense with him playing 27 minutes a game, albeit vs a low major schedule. Things didn’t go as well with last year’s 241st defense. I do not think the losses of Alleyne and Murphy are all that major. They should be able to replace them internally. This is a team that should still have a lot of bites.

6. Clemson

Clemson81 NET
PJ Hall6-10, 23515.5ppg, 5.8rpg24.4Jr
Hunter Tyson6-8, 21510.0ppg, 5.5rpg19.2Gr
Brevin Galloway6-2, 2158.3ppg, 1.4apg(@ Boston College)8.9Gr
Alex Hemenway6-3, 1855.2ppg, 1.3rpg12.7Sr
Chase Hunter6-3, 2046.7ppg, 1.8apg13Sr
Dillon Hunter6-3, 1754*Fr
R.J. Godfrey6-4, 1804*Fr
Ian Schieffelin6-8, 2253.1ppg, 2.8rpg12.1So
Ben Middlebrooks6-10, 2251.2ppg, 1.1rpg10.3So
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
23PJ Hall
148Hunter Tyson

Brownell is competent enough, and he has a floor raiser big with enough experience and shooting around him to check in at this level. This is kind of where Brownell lives over time though. At some point, you would think the extended mediocrity might be enough for Clemson to move on. I think his seat is a little warm, so he may need to get to the NCAA. On paper, he probably has enough talent, but I think this is kind of where he ends up around 50th and a little short of the NCAA.

7. Florida State

Florida State104 NET
Jaylan Gainey6-99.3 Pts, 6.9 Reb (@Brown)24.5Sr
Matthew Cleveland6-711.5 Pts, 4.6 Reb15.9So
Jalen Warley6-63.7 Pts, 2.5 As9.7So
Darin Green Jr.6-413.3 Pts, 2.6 Reb(@UCF)14.9Sr
Caleb Mills6-412.7 Pts, 2.4 Ast18.5Jr
Cam’Ron Fletcher6-76.8 Pts, 3.4 Reb18Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
87Jaylan Gainey
125Caleb Mills
218Matthew Cleveland

FSU had a blip in the radar for an otherwise consistent career of Leonard Hamilton spanning now 2 decades at Florida State. I’m sure others will be higher on Mills and Cleveland than I will be, but I do think there is at least enough here to get them to the back end of the NCAA bubble discussion. I have them going from #104 NET last year to the 56th so that’s a lot of belief in Hamilton and their program essentially just one player from Brown that averaged 9ppg. I do think Gainey is better than the pedigree would suggest, but a lot of this ranking improvement is certainly coming from Hamilton’s track record. If he has a season like it had last year it’s usually followed by an upturn in the next season or two. That’s the reasoning.

8. Notre Dame

Notre Dame43 NET11 Seed2R
Nate Laszewski6-10, 2279.3 Pts, 6.5 Reb16.7SR
Dane Goodwin6-6, 20013.6 Pts, 4.7 Reb18.4SR
Cormac Ryan6-5, 1959.2 Pts, 4.8 Reb15,7SR
JJ Starling6-4, 1805*FR
Marcus Hammonds6-2, 16018.1ppg, 2.9apg(@Niagra)21.5SR
Ven-Allen Lubin6-8, 2204*FR
Trey Wertz6-5, 1954.0 Pts,2.0 Ast9SR
J.R. Konieczny6-6, 1951.6 PtsFR
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
172Dane Goodwin
227Cormic Ryan
246Nate Laszewski

I believe Mike Brey may have felt his seat getting a little hot entering last season, coming off 2 losing seasons out of the last 3. He seems to have steadied the ship again. While they do not project to be great they should be on the NCAA bubble this season in contention for another double-digit seed. They are replacing 2 of their 3 best players. While they added a good player in Marcus Hammonds from Niagra I do not think he’s at the caliber of player they lost with Wesley or Atkinson. Therefore, any improvements will need to come internally or from a freshman. That can happen to a degree, but as old as some of these players are you are kind of getting most likely what they are at this point from the returners, and I expect little from a freshman at the level in the age of the super senior. They do have a top 25 Five Star player incoming, though. This still feels like a bubble team to me.

9. Syracuse

Syracuse83 NET
Jesse Edwards6-1112.0ppg 6.5rpg27.5Sr
Benny Williams6-81.9ppg, 1.4rpg5.6So
Judah Mintz6-34*Fr
Symir Torrence6-32.6ppg, 2.9apg13.7Sr
Joseph Girard III6-113.8ppg, 4.4apg16.5Sr
Chris Bunch6-74*Fr
Justin Taylor6-64*Fr
Quadir Copeland6-63*Fr
Maliq Brown6-93*Fr
Peter Carey6-113*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
9Jesse Edwards
194Joseph Girard

Gone are the Boeheim boys, but the back is father Jim for his 77th season.

I kid, of course, it’s only, in reality, his 47th season as head coach and 54 at the school including as an assistant. He started coaching Syracuse in the 1960s. It is quite amazing when you realize he has been on the Syracuse campus for almost 60 years since he was a student. I thought there was little question he would hang up the clipboard when his sons graduated at 78 years old this season, but there seems to be no stop in this man. The fact he had college kids in his late 70s would be a good indication he’s pretty youthful for his age.

The good news is I see a path to improvement. I’m sure personally it was fun to coach his sons, and they helped drive one of the best offenses in the nation (27th), but there was a big trade-off that came with that. Syracuse’s defense suffered and was ranked 332nd. The acclaimed zone apparently couldn’t hide them both. This season the defense should be much, much better, and they return one of the best players in the country no one talks about in Jesse Edwards.

Edwards was pretty incredible last year offensively and was the one bright spot on the defense with a much better defensive rating than the team average overall (102 vs 107). With an incredible 131 Offensive Rating, he was most of the reason for them having one of the best offenses in the nation as well. He was most of the reason Syracuse was competitive at all in the impact numbers.

Buddy Boeheim for all his awards and 1st team All ACC had a 111 Offensive rating and a negative net rating. He was sucking up usage and 38 minutes a game, not driving anything positive in the impact numbers. I think his moving on will help this team a lot actually which seems weird to say for a near 20ppg scorer. Returning a solid experienced point guard in Girard with Edwards is a good C/PG combo to start with and build around and I would expect the Syracuse system to function better overall this season if they can get any shooting around them and the defense has to improve.

Unfortunately, the bad news is Syracuse didn’t get any proven help around those two and they have zero other proven help internally to scale up. Everyone else they return was playing mostly in garbage time or deep on the bench. Boeheim must believe he has all the time in the world as many freshmen as he signed this year and not going into the portal. They are going to have to depend on these freshmen as well heavily and these aren’t 1 and done obvious types of talents. I don’t think replacing his kids is as big of a task as it would seem but it’s a lot to ask a freshman to step up in the age of the super senior where everyone is pretty much a year older than their class. More proven experience around Edwards and I would have them higher but I just can’t go there with so many freshmen.

10. NC State

NC State134 NET
DJ Burns6-9, 26015.0ppg, 4.5rpg(@Wintrhop)28.9Sr
Jack Clark6-8, 18212.0ppg, 5.8rpg(@LaSalle)14.7Sr
Casey Morsell6-3, 1967.2 Pts, 3.6 Reb10.5Sr
Terquavion Smith6-4, 16016.3 Pts, 4.1 Reb19.8So
Jarkel Joiner6-1, 18013.2ppg, 2.3apg(@Ole Miss)17.3Sr
LJ Thomas6-2, 1753*Fr
Ebenezer Dowuona6-11, 2354.1 Pts, 4.1 Reb12.5Jr
Dusan Mahorcic6-10, 2305.5ppg, 4.1rpg(@Utah)15.9Sr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
71DJ Burns
100Terquavion Smith
230Jarkel Joiner

Burns won the Big South Player of the Year while only playing 20.9 minutes a game which has to be some sort of record. He was incredibly productive in those minutes but how do you not play the guy more? His conditioning couldn’t have been that bad, and he was going home after the games with 2.1 fouls to give each night so that excuse some coaches give doesn’t apply. This is what happens though when you nail a player of his caliber to the bench for half the game, he leaves, and I can’t say I blame him. Winthrop’s loss is NC States’ gain. I’ll say good for him to get out of there. Burns was also a top 150 recruit and comes with that pedigree as well.

While he will not dog walk the ACC like he did the Big South the adjustments for SOS show he’s still a quality player in the grand scheme of college athletics. NC State needs him as poorly as they played without Manny Bates last year who is off to Butler now. They also have to replace Seabron who is off to the NBA after averaging 17.3 Pts, 8.2 Reb, 3.2 Ast. They did have some fortune with Terquavion Smith returning though. That one I don’t understand as he was a projected 1st Round Draft pick. Being a year older next year unless he blows up isn’t going to help his stock much. It’s far more likely he could slump and tank it and he’s never getting back that year of the money. I would say always go if you are 1st round projected. It’s a win for NC State though especially as light on backcourt depth as they already were.

11. Boston College

Boston College141 NET
Quinten Post7-0, 2409.4 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 021JR
T.J. Bickerstaff6-9, 2076.6 Pts, 7.2 Reb,16.2JR
DeMarr Langford6-5, 29511.3 Pts, 4.8 Reb15.5SO
Jaeden Zackery6-2, 20010.4 Pts, 2.7 Ast14.6FR
Makai Ashton-Langford6-3, 18312.0 Pts, 3.4 Ast14.6JR
CJ Penha Jr6-7, 22020.3 Pts 10.1 Reb (D2)Sr
Mason Madsen6-4, 1903.9pppg (@Cincy)Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
287T.J. Bickerstaff

Continuity is king here. The top 5 have been together and helped set a pretty solid floor. I don’t see a lot of room to explore though, and the bench is questionable. If Penha can emerge from D2 and be a valuable player, I’ll feel better about what they have. The Eagles do have a solid starting 5 though. I think Earl Grant needs to prove a lot that he can coach at this level before I would expect bigger moves from them. He wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire in the CAA in recent years before he got the call-up to the big leagues. The starting talent seems good enough to make some moves, so we’ll see if they happen.

12. Wake Forest

Wake Forest42 NETNIT
Davion Bradford7-0, 2657.7ppg, 4.3rpg (@Kansas St 2021)16Jr
Andrew Carr6-9, 21010.0ppg, 5.1rpg (@ Delaware)18.3Jr
Daivien Williamson6-2, 17011.8ppg, 2.5rpg14.7Sr
Jao Ituka6-1, 19615.3ppg, 3.1rpg(@Marist28.2So
Tyree Appleby6-1, 17010.9ppg,3.7apg(@Florida)15.7Sr
Damari Monsanto6-6, 2257.4ppg, 3.4rpg17.2Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
85Jao Ituka
284Andrew Carr
286Tyree Appleby

Unlike the previous coach profiled, I’m a big believer in Steve Forbes, but I do have a lot of questions about this roster. Had you told me last preseason that Jake LaRavia would be a near-lottery pick draft and Alondes Williams would the ACC Player of the Year in 2022 I would have said lay off the crack rock star. They completely blew away my expectations and what Williams was able to do is nearly unprecedented.

Williams went from a part-time starter 18-minute, 6ppg role player on pretty average efficiency to a superstar. There was almost no indication in the numbers about what would eventually come. I can’t say I see Andrew Carr as the next Jake LaRavia Having said that I think we have to give Forbes the credit for his eye for talents and putting them in positions to succeed. He did it at East Tennessee State, and he won big in JUCO as well. I like the Jao Ituka addition. If any player has a chance to be a sneaky sleeper in the ACC it’s probably Ituka. He will probably need to be an unexpected hit because I don’t see much other star potential projecting out. Maybe Forbes and his eye for talent will prove me wrong again though. Daivien Williamson who he brought with him for ETSU is the most accomplished returner at 11.8ppg, 2.8rpg 14.7 PER. Damari Monsanto would be the top sleeper of the returners to leap IMO.

13. Pittsburgh

Pitt193 NET
John Hugley6-9, 24014.8ppg, 7.9rpg21.1Jr
Blake Hinson6-7, 23710.1ppg, 4.6rpg (@Ole Miss 2020)10.3Sr
Jamarius Burton6-4, 20512.4ppg, 3.5rpg13.3Sr
Greg Elliott6-3, 1857.0ppg, 2.0rpg(Marquette)16.9Sr
Nelly Cummings6-0, 18014.7ppg, 3.4apg(@Colgate)15.4Sr
Fede Federiko6-10, 20511.7ppg 8.6rpg (JUCO)Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
44John Hugley

Jeff Capel is the 16th highest-paid coach in the nation. What is perhaps more stunning is his contract runs through 2027. I have no clue what they were thinking, giving him the extension and number they did after a 14-19 season in year 1 at Pitt. He’s been there 4 seasons now and has yet to have a winning season, and Pitt’s average NET in these 4 years is #133. To say Pitt isn’t getting a return on their investment is an understatement and they probably can’t afford to fire him and eat that number. Capel did have a lot of turnovers this offseason but the good news is he returns John Hugley (14.8 Pts, 7.9 Reb, 21.1 PER) as well as Jamarius Burton (12.4ppg, 3.5rpg 13.3 PER). Hugley is a star, but I’m not too excited about what he has around him again this season. I can’t see them escaping from the bottom of the ACC.

14. Louisville

Louisville is one of the richest handful of programs in the nation. They could have just about had any coach they wanted and they hired a 56-year-old alum rookie head coach. I expect he’s more qualified than Jon Scheyer but it’s underwhelming to me in a similar way. There are so many proven coaches that would have wanted the job that has actual head coaching records. The best I can say about his assistant resume is that he’s been around the block and coached multiple coaches. That’s better IMO than just having exposure to one way of doing things. Still, if I had the choice to hire a coach I’d rather have Chris Mack than Kenny Payne.

I’m not impressed with the team Louisville has returning. Sydney Curry is the only player that pops statistically in the minutes he’s played, and he can’t even get on the court. Hopefully, Payne will recognize that and play him more. When your best-projected players are El Ellis, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, and Jae’Lyn Withers I can’t say I have too much hope for you staying out of the bottom of the ACC. Factor in a first-time head coach and there has to be some learning curve. A lot of people like Huntley-Hatfield (3.9ppg, 2.9rpg 12.6 PER) more than I do, but he barely played at Tennessee. When he did, he wasn’t even good. If he’s who you are planning on getting you back, good luck.

I think El Ellis, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, and Jae’Lyn Withers are all more role players types on good teams. That only leaves Curry or freshman K. Lands to emerge to take them to another level. Lands was a 4 Star Top 65 type recruit and now will be going against players as old as they have ever been in College basketball. That’s a tough ask for a freshman.

15. Georgia Tech

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
89Javon Franklin

I remember when Georgia Tech went to Final 4’s. That seems like a different era these days and yet it’s not been that long ago when they were in a national title game in 2004. You could pencil this program into the basement of the ACC most years in the last decade-plus though. Pastner did seem to have turned righted the ship finishing 4th and 5th in the ACC 2 of the last 3 seasons, but last year they regressed.

This seems like it may be nearing the end unless the new transfers from South Alabama and Gardner-Webb can ride in and save the day. I like Franklin from the USA a lot, he pops in my model. He has an Auburn pedigree before S. Alabama as well although he didn’t see the court much. Still, I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere close to good enough to get them to an NIT or NCAA. Pastner probably needed another one of those at this point to keep his job. The seat has to be getting warm again.

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