2014 Conference Prospect Preview: ACC
For as talented as the Atlantic Coast Conference has become over the past few summers acquiring elite programs like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, they lack individual talent for the 2014 NBA Draft.
As a conference the ACC has one elite level prospect (Jabari Parker, Duke) and seven more prospects graded in the Top 60 according to the NDI Big Board today. The draft changes and fluctuates, which for the ACC more than any other conference could see a shift with talents rising up the board. There is no other conference with as many young, undervalued prospects as this group for this year and going forward.
Last year the conference produced seven total draft picks with four in the first round and one in the lottery.
Over the years the conference typically produces roughly 2.2 lottery picks and 5.2 first round picks total. This year there with all the changes and the talent is spreading in recruiting with 5/30 (one sixth) of the top talent going to the ACC. The conference has quality newcomers, returning talent, and very undervalued freshmen that will make the conference more competitive than expected.
Big Board Rank in (Parenthesis) for the 2013 NBA Talent
Here is a list of all the transfers this summer
Not all transfers are eligible this season; view the link above for details
Boston College Eagles
2014 NBA Talent: Olivier Hanlan & Ryan Anderson
Key Losses: NA
Incoming Talent: NA
It has been a few years since the Golden Eagles have produced NBA quality talent like Hanlan. The dynamic point guard took control of the offense as a go-to scorer and distributor as a freshman. Hanlan has good size and athleticism for his position to make plays attacking the rim and typically for a point guard, it is year two where the more natural instincts and flow of the game comes more organically. There is potential for Hanlan to be a surprise prospect to make the jump into the first round conversation.
Anderson is quality compliment as a stretch-four. He is not a strong three-point shooter, but can step out and score from the perimeter facing up against more traditional fours.
2014 NBA Talent: K.J. McDaniels
Key Losses: Milton Jennings (Italy) & Devin Booker (Undrafted)
Incoming Talent: Jaron Blossomgame
The Tigers move from the front-court of Jennings and Booker and to the more athletic wing combination of McDaniels and Blossomgame. This duo has more of an ability to make plays from the perimeter with McDaniels shoot the ball from the perimeter and score athletically inside. He flashed some potential last season coming on strong as the teams third leading scorer pacing the team from the perimeter. Blossomgame is a great athlete that can can play both forward positions as a face-up four that has the potential to be one of the better prospects in the ACC in a few years.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils have one of the more undervalued collections of talent in the country this year with freshman Parker as the centerpiece and Sulaimon, Hood, Jones, and Marshall as quality compliments.
Parker is capable of playing both forward positions as a polished and talented scorer. He is at his best as a face-up four with range all the way out to the three-point line. Parker is a skilled player that does not make all the explosive plays that his peers might make. This year Parker will be healthy for the first time in about a year at full strength which is something most scouts and talent evaluators forget. At full strength and healthy Parker was the top prospect in the nation before Andrew Wiggins re-classified and Parker hurt his foot.
Sulaimon and Jones will provide shooting from the perimeter and floor balance for play-makers like Quinn and Parker. As a more complete prospect Sulaimon has the ability to defend more than one position and make plays on both ends of the floor.
With Hood coming over from Mississippi State he has the ability to showcase his athletic ability to do a lot of different things on the basketball court. He was on a talented, yet underwhelming team in the Bulldogs before sitting out a year to have this opportunity. Hood is not great at one particular thing, but can do a little bit of everything on the perimeter as a defender, scorer, and quality rebounder for his position.
Florida State Seminoles
Key Losses: Michael Snaer (Undrafted)
Incoming Talent: Xavier Rathan-Mayes
Defensively the Seminoles have been one of the better teams in the conference in recent years with strong front-court players and this year they will make the transition of being more perimeter oriented. Miller is a big, athletic point guard that can make plays and has been up-and-down over his three years in college. Rathan-Mayes might have to shoulder the offensive scoring void that was left with Snaer graduating. He is an athletic guard that can switch between positions and score the ball at a high rate.
White is a quality defensive wing that can defend multiple positions. He is limited offensively, but is more of a niche prospect that excels on the defensive end.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2014 NBA Talent: Daniel Miller and Robert Carter
Key Losses: Mfon Udofia
Incoming Talent: NA
Udofia was up-and-down at best during his four years at Georgia Tech and the team will be turned over to the duo of Miller and Carter. They will shoulder the offensive load in the paint with Carter getting the opportunity to be the center of the offense with Miller taking on more of a leadership role as a senior. The Yellow Jackets will not be in contention in the ACC, but have some quality talent in the paint.
2014 NBA Talent: Shaquille Cleare, Dez Wells, Nick Faust, and Jake Layman
Key Losses: Alex Len (Suns)
Incoming Talent: Rodney Peters and Evan Smotrycz (Transfer, Michigan)
Decision-making was not the strongest point for the Terrapins last year with a talented yet undisciplined cast of athletes. The roster is as talented as any in the country, but at times they were erratic overall trying to utilize their talented centerpiece before Len entered the NBA Draft.
Wells and Faust will control the ball as play-makers, which from an athletic perspective makes the most logical sense, but from a basketball perspective they have proven to not be the right combination to win games. Wells has the size and athleticism to be a combo guard that can score and make plays from the perimeter. Last year Layman made strides as a freshman on the perimeter making plays on the offensive end. Collectively there is a lot of good pieces on the roster, but as a whole they do not seem to fit well on the court.
Losing Len opens up opportunities for Cleare inside and for more of an up-tempo style with four guard line-ups.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
2014 NBA Talent: NA
Incoming Talent: Sheldon McClellan (Transfer, Texas) and Angel Rodriguez (Transfer, Kansas State)
After a Cinderella run last year with the perfect storm of talent the Hurricanes are going to take a step back with a very thin roster featuring transfers McClellan and Rodriguez. The duo will run the offense the majority of the time.
The loss of Larkin, Kadji, Johnson, and Scott basically purges the entire offensive load and sets this team up from scratch.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Incoming Talent: Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks
The Tar Heels have a quality collection of wings like a typical North Carolina team with athletic versatility. Early on the team will be without Hairston, arguably their best all-around perimeter prospect. He will likely miss a large chunk of the season with his indefinite suspension from the team. The thick, strong Hairston can make plays with his body in the paint over-powering most players at his position. He is a quality shooter as well with NBA three-point range and can score in bunches changing the pace of the game with his scoring ability.
Highly touted tweener forward McAdoo has less pressure on him as a prospect that does not have as much expectations on him as he had in previous years. He is a talented forward with the ability to play and defend both forward positions, like a Jeff Green type, but is not as athletically dynamic as Green. Quality rebounder and team defender, but has to sure up his hands and offensive efficiency as he has been turnover prone over the years.
Tokoto and Johnson are terrific athletes on on the wing capable of filling a lane on the fast-break and making plays on the defensive end. Paige played better as the season progressed coming back from a summer injury that limited him early in the season. Collectively this is not the cast of first round picks like the Tar Heels have had in the past, but rather a quality amount of talent that can make for a underrated team overall in terms of wins and losses.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
2014 NBA Talent: T.J. Warren (53) and Tyler Lewis
Incoming Talent: Trevor Lacey (Transfer, Alabama), Anthony Barber, BeeJay Anya, and Kyle Washington
Of all the teams last season with elite levels of talent the Wolfpack could be at the front of the line of those teams. They featured 3-4 lottery level talents that either underperformed or were not put in a position to thrive. This year they move away from most of those prospects and center the offense around sophomore scoring wing Warren. He is not the most athletic prospect vertically, but is a talented scorer that can pace himself to methodically take control of a game. There were not a lot of instances where he was able to do that with the veterans on the roster.
Warren will play off of Lewis’ shooting, Lacey’s athletic play-making, and two dynamic freshmen that can come in and provide different paces to the game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Key Losses: Jack Cooley (Undrafted, Turkey) and Scott Martin (Undrafted)
Incoming Talent: Demetrius Jackson, V.J. Beachem
With the combination of Jackson and Grant in the back-court the Irish will be a faster, more athletic team with play-makers across the board. Jackson has great speed and athleticism for the point guard position. He is a quality defender and can play the full length of the court on both ends putting pressure on opposing teams point guards. With Grant as the veteran play-maker getting the opportunity to play more off the ball will open up more offensive diversity. Grant is a steady shooter from three-point range balancing his athletic attack off the dribble. Over the past two seasons Grant has played with great poise making plays late in games with the shot-clock winding down.
Sophomore forward Biedscheid does a little bit of everything using his size and length to make plays. This year he will have more freedom and opportunity to play both front-court positions and display his ability to rebound, score, and make plays for teammates.
Key Losses: Steven Adams (Thunder) and Trayvon Woodall (Undrafted)
Incoming Talent: Mike Young
In the interior the Panthers have been working with a plethora of big men and even with Adams in the NBA, they will feature Zanna and Patterson, with Robinson running the offense. Zanna has been a consistent interior rebounder and defender for the Panthers, but has not developed on the offensive end like an NBA prospect. He is undersized for an NBA front-court and is not the most athletic forward at the next level.
In the back-court Patterson and Robinson will pace the offense. Robinson is a methodical leader at the point guard position capable of running the offense. He is not an elite athlete which is masked by the Panthers offense. This group probably does not have any Top 60 caliber athletes in the NBA Draft, but they do have quality basketball players on the roster.
Incoming Talent: Tyler Ennis (46), Michael Gbinije, Tyler Roberson, B.J. Johnson
Athletically there are not many teams in the ACC that will be able to compete with the Orange. The 2-3 zone will allow them to come in right away and make an impact, then the potential trio of Fair, Grant, and Ennis will make them tough to beat down the stretch.
The loss of Carter-Williams and Triche will create a void on the perimeter in scoring and play-making, but with high volume scorer Ennis coming in as the teams point guard the drop-off will be less of a blow. Ennis played great this summer for Canada’s U19 Team. He is capable of scoring in bunches with NBA three-point range and an aggressive mentality attacking the rim. With Ennis attacking Grant can be used as a catch-and-attack secondary play-maker with Fair spotting up along the perimeter as a shooter.
Grant has been receiving rave reviews this summer as he continues to develop as a play-maker from the wing. He is a capable shooter, passer, and scorer that had a more reduced role last season. This year Grant could see a lot more time with the ball and has the potential to be one of the better play-makers from the three/four position.
Fair came on strong late last year and will need to be a leader as well as a go-to scorer late in games. He has the potential to be a stretch-four and change games with his shooting from the perimeter.
In the paint Christmas and Moussa-Keita will shoulder the minutes at the five as undersized athletes that can make plays on the defensive end. They have the athletes to defend in the zone and the scorers to make plays on the offensive end.
2014 NBA Talent: Joe Harris and Mike Tobey
Key Losses: N/A
Incoming Talent: N/A
This year the offense will center around one of the better shooters in the country and a young big man in Tobey that has been developing in the Team USA system. Harris was impressive last season as an all-around offensive player making 70+ three-pointers and 100+ free-throws scoring in a variety of ways. He is not the most athletic prospect scoring with the ball in his hands, but can score off the ball as a shooting specialist that can score inside the arc and at the line.
Tobey is quality interior athlete that can score in the paint and has shown flashes of his potential as a freshman. His summer with Team USA added to his development as an overall prospect.
Virginia Tech Hokies
2014 NBA Talent: N/A
Key Losses: Erick Green (Nuggets) and Robert Brown (Transfer, UAB)
Incoming Talent: N/A
After losing Green to Europe via the NBA Draft the Hokies offense will struggle this year with zero Top 100 Recruits on the roster. The team has lost Dorian Finney-Smith, Brown, and Green in recent years to transfer and graduation.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2014 NBA Talent: N/A
Key Losses: C.J. Harris (Undrafted)
Incoming Talent: N/A
It has been a few years since the Demon Deacons have produced high level talents like Chris Paul, Josh Howard, and Al-Farouq Aminu. This year will not be different than the past few seasons as they do not have any projected prospects for the 2014 NBA Draft. With the loss of Harris they lose their leader and will feature undersized junior forward Travis McKie and one Top 100 Recruit (according to ESPN), point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre running the offense.