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College Basketball

ACC Basketball Preview 2020-2021

1. Virginia

Returners- Kihei Clark, Tomas Woldentensae, Jay Huff, Casey Morsell, Kody Stattman
Additions- Sam Hauser, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Reece Beekman, Carson McKorkie

Expectations

Virginia has a very solid roster that is set up to be ACC favorites and be right at the top of National Championship contenders. They will be led by the point guard play of Kihei Clark who makes a major impact in getting others involved and his on-ball defensive ability. Also, Casey Morsell will have the opportunity to take a leap as a sophomore being a more consistent shooter and providing size on the defensive end. Next, Jay Huff emerged inside for Virginia with toughness around the basket on defense and his ability to make shots as a stretch big.
Now, the best player for this team will be Sam Hauser as a dominant wing scorer being able to play inside and out with great experience. Hauser will be the favorite for ACC player of the year and one of the best players in the country. The x-factor for Virginia will be Jabri Abdur-Rahim being that potential scoring threat needed for Virginia off the bench. If the offense can improve with its overall shooting from the perimeter Virginia will be in a great spot for one seed entering the NCAA tournament.

2. Duke

Returners- Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker
Additions- Jalen Johnson, Mark Williams, Patrick Tape, Jaemyn Brakefield, Jeremy Roach, D.J. Steward, Henry Coleman

Expectations

Duke will have yet another young roster with a very good freshman class coming in. Furthermore, the returning play of Wendell Moore as a true two way player for Duke will be key to give a catalyst immediately on offense. Also, Matthew Hurt will need to be the primary frontcourt option for Duke with his ability to face up and shoot from the perimeter, he is the most important player for Duke’s success. The two other veterans in Joey Baker and Jordan Goldwire must be stars in their roles with Baker’s shooting and Goldwire’s defense.
Additionally, the most important freshman will be Jeremy Roach taking over the point guard duties from Tre Jones. He must bring stability for Duke at this position. Jalen Johnson has the potential to be their best player being the classic Duke freshman wing to lead the way in scoring. The biggest question mark for Duke is the interior play and overall impact with it either being Mark Williams or Patrick Tape who can emerge inside. Further, the x-factor for Duke will be D.J. Steward bringing great offensive ability and shooting that is needed for Duke. Duke will be a top 10 team and compete at the top of the ACC with Virginia.

3. Florida State

Returners- MJ Walker, Balsa Koprivica, RaiQuan Gray, Anthony Polite, Malik Osborne, Nathaniel Jack
Additions- Scottie Barnes, Sardaar Calhoun, Quincy Ballard

Expectations

Florida State will have another very competitive team with the ability to compete at the top of the ACC. MJ Walker must prove to be the lead guy for Florida State this season as the primary scorer on the perimeter. Also, Balsa Koprivica has the potential to be one of the best bigs in the ACC with his athleticism and ability to score around the basket. Additionally, the versatility and athleticism always define
Florida State and that will be no different from Anthony Polite and Malik Osborne. Now, the freshman impact of Scottie Barnes will be evident on Florida State with his toughness and ability to play multiple positions along with his defensive mindset. The x-factor for this Florida State team will be RaiQuan Gray, with his shooting ability in the frontcourt and ability to stretch the defense. Leonard Hamilton has another gritty Florida State team set to have great success this season.

4. North Carolina

Returners- Garrison Brooks, Leaky Black, Armando Bacot, Andrew Platek, Anthony Harris
Additions- Caleb Love, Walker Kessler, Day’Ron Sharpe, R.J. Harris, Puff Johnson

Expectations

Roy Williams and North Carolina are looking to rebound from a disastrous season last year headlined with a star-studded recruiting class. Their success will be primarily because of the interior presence they will bring in waves. That starts with Garrison Brooks who has a great touch and feel around the basket. Along with, Armando Bacot showing flashes of being a shifty big to contain the post and the additions of Walker Kessler and Day’Ron Sharpe ready to make an instant impact.
North Carolina might be there best offense with the interior success they will have. Furthermore, the most important freshman will be Caleb Love leading the way as the point guard who will dictate their overall success as a team. The major concern for North Carolina will be there shooting from three, which must improve with Puff Johnson, Caleb Love and R.J. Davis making shots. Further, the x-factor for North Carolina will be Anthony Harris who missed all of last season with a torn ACL he can bring stability to that backcourt with Love. North Carolina will have a rebound season and only improve as the season goes on and could be a tough out come tournament time.

5. Miami

Returners- Chris Lykes, Kam McGusty, Isaiah Long, Anthony Walker, Sam Waardenburg, Rodney Miller
Additions- Earl Timberlake, Matt Cross, Nysier Brooks

Expectations

Miami will be set to make a return to the NCAA tournament with a very competitive roster. The point guard play for this team is extremely stable with Chris Lykes. The senior guard brings great energy and scoring ability. Also, Kam McCusty gives this team a go-to option on the wing that can score at a very high level consistently. Isaiah Wong will be a guy who could make this Miami perimeter dangerous who could grow into a really productive scorer for Miami. Additionally, the frontcourt now has stability with Nysier Brooks and the toughness he will provide after sitting out last season transferring from Cincinnati.
The two highly touted freshmen in Earl Timberlake and Matt Cross could have a great impact on Miami adding options on the perimeter. The x-factor for Miami will be Sam Waardenburg who can bust open any game with his shooting ability from 3. Jim Larranaga has his best team in a few years and should return to the NCAA tournament easily.

6. Louisville

Returners- David Johnson, Samuell Williamson, Malik Williams, Aidan Igiehon
Additions- Carlik Jones, D’Andre Davis, Jaelyn Withers, J.J. Traynor

Expectations

Louisville will have the best backcourt duo in the ACC. With rising sophomore David Johnson and Radford transfer Carlik Jones together they will be a tough perimeter. Next, Samuell Williamson has the potential to develop into one of the best wings in the ACC with his athleticism and scoring ability. Additionally, Malik Williams will provide stability to the frontcourt that is needed with losing Steven Enoch.
Another player who could have a larger impact on Louisville is Aidan Igiehon who has potential especially on the defensive end. Furthermore, the depth will be tested from Louisville and will need the likes of Jaelyn Withers and J.J. Traynor to step up majorly. Chris Mack will have a very solid team and should return to the NCAA tournament.

7.Clemson

Returners- Aamir Simms, John Newman, Al Amir-Dawes, Clyde Tapp, Hunter Tyson, Chase Hunter
Additions- Nick Honor, P.J. Hall, Olivier-Maxence Prosper

Expectations

Brad Brownell has a very good roster with one of the best players in all of the country in Aamir Simms. Simms will have the ability to be a matchup nightmare for teams with his versatility and ability to score the basketball from all three levels. Next, the backcourt will be very good with Al-Amir Dawes and Clyde Trapp leading the way for Clemson.
Also, John Newman is a scoring machine on the perimeter as well and can get very streaky. This team is pretty deep as well with having guard depth with Nick Honor the transfer from Fordham and a highly touted freshman P.J. Hall. Furthermore, the x-factor for this team will be Olivier-Maxence Prosper with his ability to be a major versatility wing for Clemson. Clemson is poised to be the sneaky team in the ACC who is tough to beat and primed to get an NCAA tournament bid.

8. Georgia Tech

Returners- Jose Alvarado, Mike Devoe, Jordan Usher, Khalid Moore, Moose Wright, Bubba Parham
Additions- Saba Gigiberia, Jordan Meka, Tristan Maxwell

Expectations

Georgia Tech after coming off NCAA violations and a ban to the 2020 NCAA tournament has a very solid team entering the season. The backcourt of this team has Jose Alvarado and Mike DeVoe leading the way. Each of these guards has the ability to take over games at any point.
Additionally, the transfer in Jordan Usher from USC will have a great impact on the wing giving them that position in need filled well. The biggest question remains how good will be the frontcourt for Georgia Tech and Khalid Moore with Moses Wright will be the two who need to deliver in that department. Now, the x-factor for this team will be Bubba Parham who can bring great energy to the backcourt for Georgia Tech. Josh Pastner has a very big season ahead at Georgia Tech with NCAA tournament expectations.

9. NC State

Returners- Devon Daniels, DJ Funderburk, Braxton Beverly, Jerricole Hellems, Manny Bates
Additions- Thomas Allen, Cam Hayes, Shakeel Moore

Expectations

NC State needs to be able to put it all together under Kevin Keatts with having talented players but too many inconsistencies. Now, Devon Daniels has the ability to get on a hot streak as a shooter and slasher to the basket. Furthermore, DJ Funderburk brings great toughness and energy to the interior for NC State and has the ability to be one of the best forwards in the ACC.
Also, Braxton Beverly must continue to grow as the point guard and have true demand for the offensive flow. Additionally, Manny Bates is a really productive player for NC State especially around the basket with his shot-blocking ability. The additions to this team will be very important to NC State’s success with Thomas Allen and Cam Hayes especially. NC State has enough talent to make it to the NCAA tournament but needs to mesh all the parts together.

10. Syracuse

Returners- Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe, Quincy Guerrier, Jesse Edwards
Additions- Alan Griffin, Kadary Richmond, Woody Newton, Frank Anselem

Joseph Girard III - Men's Basketball - Syracuse University AthleticsExpectations

Syracuse will have a potent perimeter from the three-point arc with their shooting ability. Now, that starts with Buddy Boeheim as one of the best shooters in the ACC. Next, the other big-time shooter is Alan Griffin transferring from Illinois and will make plays on a consistent basis from the perimeter. Additionally, the biggest jump must come from Joe Girard who needs to be a more efficient point guard as a shooter and get others involved on a more consistent basis.
Furthermore, the interior must develop to be more effective with Jesse Edwards and Bourama Sidibe. The x-factor for this team is Marek Dolezaj because if he can be the versatile forward they need it can get Syracuse back to the NCAA tournament. Jim Boeheim is looking to have some greater success as he gets towards the end of his run at Syracuse.

11. Notre Dame

Returners- Prentiss Hubb, Nate Laszewski, Juwan Durham, Dane Goodwin
Additions- Cormac Ryan, Matt Zona, Elijah Taylor, Tony Sanders

Expectations

Mike Brey will have a veteran-laden team at Notre Dame and has the potential to be a solid team in the ACC. Furthermore, Nate Laszewski has the ability to be one of the better frontcourt players in the ACC with his scoring ability. Next, Juwan Durham needs to be an enforcer for Notre Dame on the glass and protecting the basket.
Also, Prentiss Hubb will be the most important playing at the point guard position and needs to be consistent for Notre Dame to reach their potential. Continued, Dane Goodwin will be important for Notre Dame on the wing as a scorer and defender. As a collective group, this team needs to show growth and progression with experience throughout the season. The x-factor for Notre Dame will be Cormac Ryan with his shooting ability coming over from Stanford. Mike Brey needs this team to deliver in a big for this season and start to compete again in the ACC.

12. Virginia Tech

Returners- Wabisse Bede, Tyrece Radford, Nahiem Alleyne, Jalen Cone
Additions- Cartier Diarra, Cordell Pemsl, Keve Aluma,

Expectations

Mike Young is entering year two after surpassing the expectations for his first season at Virginia Tech. Now, the loss of Landers Nolley is a massive blow to the progression of Virginia Tech’s program. Furthermore, the addition of Cartier Diarra will need to have a major influence on both ends of the floor especially offensively.
Wabisse Bede will need to have great control of the team from the point guard position. Also, Tyrece Radford will need to show further development as a sophomore for Virginia Tech on the perimeter. Continued, they will have another impact transfer in Keve Aluma from Wofford who has ties to Mike Young. Also, the X factor for Virginia Tech will be Nahiem Alleyne who can add additional production to the perimeter for Virginia Tech. For Virginia Tech this will be another rebuilding season to get this program back to compete towards the middle and top of the ACC.

13. Pittsburgh

Returners- Xavier Johnson, Justin Champagnie, Au’Diese, Terrell Brown
Additions- Ithiel Horton, John Hugley IV, Williams Jeffress, Noah Collier

Expectations

Jeff Capel must start to have some success translate to the court at Pittsburgh with losing Trey McGowens to transfer adding to the pressure. Furthermore, the play of Justin Champagnie has tremendous last season with his athleticism and ability to play on both ends. Also, Xavier Johnson will be the lead guard for Pittsburgh who must have a huge season.
Further, Au’Diese is a vital factor in Pittsburgh’s overall success towards the wing needing to produce on both ends. Continued, Terrell Brown will be very important to Pittsburgh’s interior giving them a force inside. Now, a player who could have a great impact is transferred Ithiel Horton from Delaware giving them another scoring guard. Continued, the x-factor for Pittsburgh could very well be Williams Jefferies who can have a strong impact inside as a freshman. Pittsburgh has talent but must put it together and start to improve in the ACC standings.

14. Boston College

Returners- Jay Heath, Steffon Mitchell, Wynston Tabbs,
Additions- Makai Ashton-Langford, DerMarr Langford Jr., CJ Felder, Rich Kelly, Andre Adams

Expectations

Jim Christian has pressure on him to start building towards some success at Boston College that has been lacking. Now, they are returning one of the best frontcourt players in the ACC in Sheffon Mitchell who will need to be great for Boston College to move up in the ACC. Next, the impact of transfer Makai Ashton-Langford coming over from Providence.
Having DerMarr Langford Jr. giving them perimeter help will be huge. Also, Jay Heath and Wynston Tabbs bring back some experience for Boston College. Now, they need to elevate to give this team an opportunity to have a deep perimeter. Furthermore, the x-factor for Boston College will be CJ Felder who has the ability to be on the wing. Lastly, Boston College has the potential to compete in the middle of the ACC.

15. Wake Forest

Returners- Jahcobi Neath, Ian DuBose, Isaiah Mucius, Ismael Massoud, Quadry Adams
Additions- Jalen Johnson, Jonah Antonio

Expectations

Steve Forbes is now the man in charge at Wake Forest and the rebuilding of the program begins with an uphill climb in the ACC. Next, the backcourt will be made of Jahcobi Neath and Ian DuBose. As these are who will need to provide stability for Wake Forest. Also, they will add a talented wing transfer from Tennessee in Jalen Johnson. Johnson will need to defend some of the best wings in the ACC and be a go-to scoring option. Further, Isaiah Mucius has the potential to be the main guy in the frontcourt for Wake Forest.
Having Ismael Massoud producing in the frontcourt and being a long term player for Wake Forest. Additionally, an x-factor for Wake Forest can be Jonah Antonio who can bring scoring off of the bench throughout the season. Steve Forbes has his work cut out for him in year one to start to sustain success at Wake Forest.

Images Courtesy of, Bleacher Report, Duke Athletics, Syracuse Athletics

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