October 9th, 2012
By Eriel Parra
Historically the ACC has been dominated by the usual powerhouses, in Duke and North Carolina. But thanks to some terrific coaches in the ACC, they have upped the talent level league wide. There are now many terrific pro prospects outside of the usual powerhouse schools. Continue reading to see who the top 10 prospects in the ACC are.
1. James McAdoo---SO---North Carolina---PF---6’9---230lbs.---01/04/1993
Coming back from a freshman year in which he only played 15.6 minutes per game, McAdoo will have a perfect opportunity to display his skills and demonstrate he deserves to be considered a top 3 prospect for next year’s draft. McAdoo is physically built like an NBA player, and is known for using his length as an advantage in both the offensive and defensive side of the court. His ability to create fast break opportunities by changing shots and disrupting passing lanes will be an important attribute to the Tar heels this year. Offensively, he is a very versatile forward with a variety of post-up moves and a reliable face-up jumper that will only get better as he gains more experience. His jump shot mechanics look promising, and if he becomes a more consistent shooter, he could become a thread as both a wingman and a post player. With the departure of John Henson and Tyler Zeller, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure of leading the Tar Heels to the top of the ACC.
2. C.J. Leslie---JR---North Carolina State---SF---6’9---200lbs.---06/25/1991
Leslie, the first of three NC State players in our list, is a small forward that can score at will (14.7PPG). Coming back from a very productive freshman year that lead to an All-ACC Second team selection, Leslie will look to keep his numbers up and improve some areas of his game that will lead him to become a better player and ultimately be in a good position when entering the league. Even though his high scoring average last season was mainly achieved through post moves and transition opportunities, Leslie’s athleticism also gives him an opportunity to beat the defense off cuts. Also, Leslie possesses good ball handling skills that allow him to beat the defense off the dribble and a perfect combination of quickness and explosiveness that gives him an advantage when playing against slower defenders. C.J. Leslie’s size will be a disadvantage at the pro level; therefore he must become a consistent shooter in order to establish himself as a versatile player. If Leslie keeps his scoring ways during his sophomore season, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be a first round pick in next year’s draft.
3. Mason Plumlee---SR---Duke---PF/C---6’11---235lbs.---03/05/1990
Plumlee is an excellent athlete with a lengthy body that allows him to run the floor and change shots in the defensive side, especially when trying to block shots in the painted area. The All-ACC third team selection that averaged 11 points and 9 rebounds per game last year, enters his senior year as one of the top front court players in the country and as the top rated Blue Devil prospect in this year’s squad. Mason Plumlee is very effective when reading the defense and playing without the basketball; which usually allows him to be at the right spot most of the time. Due to his excellent athleticism and basketball IQ, Plumlee takes advantage of these situations and is often finishing alley oops, put backs, or pick-and-roll plays with exciting dunks. MasonPlumlee’s draft stock increase will solely depend on his ability to gain strength during the offseason and improve his offense throughout this basketball year, and if Mason develops a good on-court chemistry with point guard Quinn Cook, then Duke will be a solid contender in the conference.
4. Alex Len---SO---Maryland---C---7’1---240lbs.---06/16/1993
The only Maryland Terrapin in our list is 7’1 center Alex Len. Built like an NBA center, Len has demonstrated his potential can be as noticeable as his height. During his freshman season, his offensive play improved dramatically throughout the season. His offense is based on opportunities around the basket both when cutting to the basket and when posting up. In the low blocks, he exhibits a variety of moves (both when facing up and when having the back to the basket) that prove he has the potential to be a very good NBA player. With one year of college basketball experience, Len is very likely to trust his offensive abilities and increase his shot opportunities. Due to his size and good basketball knowledge, Lens defensive abilities are also very impressive; especially when blocking shots (2.1 Blocks Per Game). If Len keeps gaining weight and developing his offensive game rapidly, he will be a possible candidate to be part of an All-ACC team and climb up the ladder of prospect rankings for the NBA draft.
5. Lorenzo Brown---JR---North Carolina State---PG---6’5---186lbs.---08/26/1990
Paring up with C.J. Leslie to produce a great combination, Brown will be responsible to control the Pack’s offense this season. Last year, Brown was able to average 12.7 points per game, 6.3 assist per game, and lead the ACC with1.8 steals per game. his productive year grabbed the attention of many, and he has been rated as the best point guard in the nation. His quickness and athleticism combined with his ball handling skills lets him blow by defenders easily, and his pass first mentality is an indicator that he could be a great point guard if he cuts down on turnovers. Offensively, Brown’s dribbling skills allow him to be a thread in isolation and pick-and-roll situations, where he can create open opportunities for himself and his teammates. His mid-range pull-up and spot-up shots look very good mechanically, but a little more consistency and range to his shot will help him become even more efficient. Brown has had problems with his decision making and finishing his drives to the basket, but if he improves it as his career progresses he will be interesting to watch at the next level.
6. Reggie Bullock---JR---North Carolina---SG---6’7---205lbs.---03/16/1991
Reggie Bullock starts his junior year as the most experienced player in North Carolina’s roster. Being the only returning player to average more than 25 minutes per game last year, it is understood that Roy Williams will trust Bullock to be the first or second option of the team’s offense. Reggie, one of North Carolina’s talented wingmen, has the ideal body for an NBA wingman. An excellent spot-up shooter, Bullock’s offense is highly dependent on his efficiency from outside the three point line. Due to his body frame and quickness, Reggie Bullock can be a thread in transition both when taking it to the basket and when shooting from long range spots. He is also very effective when playing without the basketball, and when coming off screens to find easier scoring opportunities. Bullock is the best scoring shooting guard in the ACC, and if he gets committed to attack the basket more often, he will be able to use his size and body frame to his advantage. Adding a mid-range shot, attacking the basket more often, and gaining strength to finish upon contact in the painted are will make Bullock the most versatile wingman in the ACC this year.
7. P.J. Hairston---SO---North Carolina---SG---6’5---220lbs.---12/24/1992
Hairston comes back from a freshman year in which he didn’t really play a very important role in the Tar Heel’s offense. However, Hairston shows the offensive intangibles needed to become a dominant scorer in the ACC. He is a very athletic wingman with a beautiful shooting stroke and very efficient spot-up shooting. Hairston is also a very athletic shooting guard and he should use his body as an advantage more often since at times it looks like he settles for the jump shot instead of driving the basket and look for free throw opportunities. However, it is very likely that his decision making as a scorer will get better during his sophomore year. Learning to play without the basketball by making more cuts to the basket and running the floor more often will give him more scoring opportunities and that way he can become efficient in the transition game too. If Hairston performs at a high level as one of the main sources of offense for the Tar Heels, he will have both the skills and the numbers to be rates as one of the top shooting guard prospects in college basketball.
8. Michael Snaer---SR---Florida State---SG---6’5---200lbs.---06/21/1990
Last season was a record breaking year for the second senior in our prospect list. Not only did Snaer average a career high 14 points per game, but he led the Seminoles to their first ACC championship in school history. The fact that he led the school to its first conference championship earned him the Most Valuable Player award of the 2012 ACC tournament and an All-ACC Second team selection. Even thou he drastically improved his shooting percentage last season, he still needs to be a better shooter off-the-dribble; especially from the mid-range area. Snaer’s lack of strength is still an issue as a senior, and if he doesn’t get stronger it will be extremely difficult for him to improve his efficiency when attacking the basket. One of Snaer’s most noticeable strengths is present in the defensive side. Due to hid ferocious and energetic style of play in both team and individual defensive possessions has earned him an ACC All-Defensive team selection. If Michael keeps his effective defensive mentality and expands his offensive arsenal, he could find a steady job in the league upon graduation.
9. Richard Howell---SR---North Carolina State---PF---6’8---257lbs.---09/26/1990
The third NC State player in our list is Power Forward Richard Howell. Howell is a strong big man with excellent rebounding skills (finished third in the ACC in rebounding: 9.2 RPG) and an offensive game that is constantly under development (even after averaging 10 PPG). An average post-up player with great hands who’s very effective in catch and finish situations off pick-and-rolls or cuts, Howell is still becoming comfortable during offensive opportunities. His face-up and mid-range jump shots need consistency but he shows potential to improve in this area. He also needs to get better in situations where his back is facing the basket by adding more go-to post moves to his repertoire. Another are where Howell should get better at would be when running the floor in fast break situations. An increase in his speed when going up-and-down the floor can result in more scoring or rebounding opportunities for both himself and his teammates. If he manages to improve these areas throughout his senior season, Richard Howell will play a vital role in the success of the Wolf pack this year.
10. Rasheed Sulaimon---FR---Duke---SG---6’4---190lbs.---03/09/1994
Sulaimon is a high rated freshman shooting guard with impressive scoring abilities and excellent athleticism. A 2012 McDonald’s All-American, he is expected to be a solid contributor from day one. It has been mentioned by many that Sulaimon should fill Austin Rivers’ vacancy left in Duke’s lineup. With so many good shooting guards in the roster it will be very interesting to see how playing time will be distributed by Coach K, but it is clear that Sulaimon is a perfect fit for the Blue Devils due to his effectiveness from long range and quick catch-and-shot from behind the three point line. Also, his efficiency when attacking the basket is an indicator that he can create plays for himself and others. There are expectations that his aggressive play and continuous improvement throughout the year will affect the success of the Blue Devils in a positive way. The combination of Sulaimon and Seth Curry in the backcourt will be Duke’s bread and butter, and with the help of Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee in the Post, there is a big chance that Duke will return to the top of the ACC standings.
Honorable Mention: Travis McKie (Wake Forest), Ian Miller (Florida State) Ryan Kelly (Duke), Reggie Johnson(Miami), Erick Green (Virginia Tech), Seth Curry (Duke), Dexter Strickland (UNC).