ACC basketball had many great players and a lot of talent throughout the league last season. Coming into the 2022-23 season a lot of that talent has left, but some of it is returning. Here are the top 10 ACC basketball returning players.
1. Armando Bacot
North Carolina | F | Senior
2021-22 stats: 16.3 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 56.9% FG, 12.5% 3P, 67 FT%
Armando Bacot is arguably a top-three returning player in college hoops this upcoming season. He is one of the most dominant forces in the paint, and at times it’s pretty much inevitable for him to get a double-double. Bacot was the leader of the Final Four team from this past tournament, and he will now be the leader of a likely preseason top three team.
2. Caleb Love
North Carolina | G | Junior
2021-22 stats: 15.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.6 APG, 37.1% FG, 36% 3P, 86.3% FT
While Bacot will clearly the best player in the league and on North Carolina, the Tar Heels wouldn’t be given as much praise in the offseason if Caleb Love wasn’t on the team. A former 5-star recruit in the class of 2020, Love had an underwhelming freshman season, but had a major jump in his sophomore season. Many think Love is poised to have a great junior season and turn himself into an NBA draft pick.
3. Isaiah Wong
Miami | G | Junior
2021-22 stats: 15.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 45.2% FG, 30.2% 3P, 74.8% FT
When Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack was signed to an $800,000 NIL deal for his transfer to Miami, Isaiah Wong threatened to leave the Hurricanes if his NIL compensation wasn’t increased. Wong ended up staying with the Hurricanes and will be the most vital piece in their success this season. He is a fourth-year junior for the Hurricanes and his experience and play will be a huge asset for the team.
4. Jayden Garner
Virginia | F | Senior
2021-22 stats: 15.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 50.1% FG, 21.4% 3P, 79.3% FT
Spending his first three seasons at East Carolina, and his fourth at Virginia, Jayden Garner has consistently been a big contributor on the court no matter the team. He averages 17 points and 8 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the field in his college career. Virginia is a sleeper pick in the ACC this year for some, so watch out for Garner to lead that push to the top of the league.
5. Dane Goodwin
Notre Dame | G | Senior
2021-22 stats: 13.6 PPG, 4.7, RPG, 1.3 APG, 50.4% FG, 45.8% 3P, 82.3% FT
One of the best shooters in the conference, Dane Goodwin returns to a Notre Dame program that had a solid season last year but lose two of their top three scorers. Goodwin will likely take the reins and be the leader of this Fighting Irish team next season. The question is can he lead them back to the NCAA tournament?
6. PJ Hall
Clemson | F | Junior
2021-22 stats: 15.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 49.3% FG, 30.8% 3P, 78.1% FT
PJ Hall was the leading scorer last season for the Tigers and will likely play the same role this season. Hall took a big jump from his freshman to sophomore seasons by increasing his scoring 12 points and grabbing close to 4 more rebounds a game. There is a good chance these numbers could increase even more after the team loses the other 2 of its top three scorers in Al-Amir Dawes and David Collins.
7. Terquavion Smith
NC State | G | Sophomore
2021-22 stats: 16.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 39.8% FG, 36.9% 3P, 69.8% FT
Terquavion Smith was one of the best freshmen in the ACC last season, and he was also the second leading scorer for NC State. He’s an exciting player who plays with energy and can shoot it. The Wolfpack are bringing back 2 of their top four scorers in Smith and Casey Morsell and are also bringing in three double-digit scoring transfers. If the Wolfpack are going to improve in the ACC this season, then Smith in his second year will have to be the leading force.
8. John Hugley
Pittsburgh | F | Junior
2021-22 stats: 14.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 47.1% FG, 16.7% 3P, 71.0% FT
Hugley is returning after a big sophomore jump due to being able to play in all of the Panthers’ games this past season, which was not possible in his freshman season due to a suspension. The Pitt big man is one of the more paint dominant players in the conference, while also being able to knock down a three here and there. Hugley and teammate Jamarius Burton will be an impactful duo returning for the Panthers.
9. RJ Davis
North Carolina | G | Junior
2021-22 stats: 13.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.6 APG, 42.5% FG, 36.7% 3P, 83.3% FT
The third (and final, trust me) UNC player to appear on this list is junior guard RJ Davis. Davis increased all of his stats in his sophomore season from his freshman season and scored 30 against Baylor in the NCAA tournament to stop the Bears amazing comeback. Davis also took over the primary ball handler role on offense in the second half of last season and let Love play more off the ball in a scoring role. This greatly improved the offense for the team, and with Davis and Love as the starting backcourt going into next season, it’ll be hard to have a better backcourt than what the Tar Heels are bringing back.
10. Makai Ashton-Langford
Boston College | G | Senior
2021-22 stats: 12.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 39.7% FG, 29.3% 3P, 75.2% FT
Makai Ashton-Langford was the leading scorer for Boston College last season, just above his younger brother, DeMarr Langford Jr. Although the Eagles didn’t do much in the ACC last season, they bring back four of their top five scorers, and enroll three 4-star recruits. Hopefully the Eagles can be better than they were last season, but that charge will rely on Ashton-Langford’s leadership.
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