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2009-10 College Basketball Preview: ACC

Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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1. North Carolina (1st in ACC, 13-3 in ACC, 34-4 overall, National Champs)

2009-2010 Outlook:

A team that loses four players from the national championship team to the NBA shouldn't be able to compete for a second straight title. That's not the case at Chapel Hill. Roy Williams' squad is re-loaded with talent. Marcus Ginyard is back from injury and Will Graves returns from suspension. Ed Davis is expected to make the leap to superstar status and another loaded recruiting class, led by lengthy combo forward Jon Henson, should once again have UNC as the team to beat in the ACC.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Ed Davis (So)/Tyler Zeller (So)

PF: Deon Thompson (Sr)/David Wear (Fr)/Travis Wear (Fr)

SF: John Henson (Fr)/Will Graves (Jr)

SG: Marcus Ginyard (Sr)/Leslie McDonald (Fr)/Justin Watts (So)

PG: Larry Drew II (So)/Dexter Strickland (Fr)

Gone: PF-Tyler Hansbrough, PG-Ty Lawson, SG-Wayne Ellington, SF-Danny Green, G-Bobby Frasor

Player to Watch: Drew III- With Ty Lawson leading the attack, the highly-recruited Drew didn't have to be a major contributor in his freshman season. Now that Lawson is in the NBA, someone will need to step into the role of floor leader. Drew will assume those duties and if Carolina is to compete at a high level, he will have take control of the reins. Freshman Dexter Strickland will push Drew for minutes.

2. Duke (2nd, 11-5, 30-7, Sweet 16)

2009-2010 Outlook:

The Blue Devils backcourt took a major hit when Gerald Henderson left early for the NBA Draft and Elliott Williams transferred to be closer to home. Still, Duke returns some quality talent including All-American candidate Kyle Singler. Freshmen Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly will hopefully give Coach K an inside presence the team greatly lacked last season.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Mason Plumlee (Fr)/Brian Zoubek (Sr)

PF: Lance Thomas (Sr)/Miles Plumlee (So)/Ryan Kelly (Fr)

SF: Kyle Singler (Jr)/Olek Czyz (So)

SG: Jon Scheyer (Sr)/Casey Peters (Jr)

PG: Nolan Smith (Jr)/Andre Dawkins (Fr)

Gone: SG-Gerald Henderson, PG-Greg Paulus, G-Elliott Williams (transfer-Memphis), F-David McClure

Player to Watch: Dawkins- When the Blue Devils found out they would be without Henderson and Williams this season, Dawkins decided to enroll at Duke a year early since he had enough high school credits to graduate. Dawkins was a top-20 type recruit in the 2010 class and will need to play right away to give the Dukies the depth they need in the backcourt.

3. Maryland (7th, 7-9, 21-14, NCAA Second Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:

Having Greivis Vasquez return for his senior season was a major plus for Terrapins. Eight of their top nine players return from a year ago and should give Gary Williams one of the most experienced teams in the conference. There isn't a true lost post presence which might hinder the Terps ability to compete with the better teams in America.

Projected Depth Chart

F: Dino Gregory (Jr)/ Jordan Williams (Fr)/Steve Goins (So)

F: Landon Milbourne (Sr)/Jin Soo Choi (So)/James Padgett (Fr)

SG: Sean Mosely (So)/Cliff Tucker (Jr)/David Pearman (Jr)

G: Adrian Bowie (Jr)/Eric Hayes (Sr)

PG: Greivis Vasquez (Sr)

Gone: F-Dave Neal, F-Braxton Dupree (transfer-Townson), C-Jerome Burney (injured)

Player to Watch: Mosely- The second year player is a big-time talent who will need to take on more of scoring punch from the 5.3 points per game he averaged last season. Vasquez too often had the shoulder the load for Maryland and could use some help on the wing. Improving his three-point shot would be a major addition to Mosely's game.

4. Clemson (5th, 9-7, 23-9, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:

The Tigers were an early season surprised last season when they won their first sixteen games. They quickly fell back to reality posting a five-hundred record the remainder of the regular season. Trevor Booker is one of the more physical players in the conference and will be joined by his younger brother Devin. If fellow freshmen Milton Jennings and USC-defectee Noel Johnson can make immediate impacts, Clemson could be very dangerous.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Jerai Grant (Jr)/ Karolis Petrukonis (Sr)/Catalin Baciu (So)

PF: Trevor Booker (Sr)/Devin Booker (Fr)

F: Milton Jennings (Fr)/David Potter (Sr)/Bryan Narcisse (So)

SG: Noel Johnson (Fr)/Tanner Smith (So)

PG: Demontez Stitt (Jr)/Andre Young (So)/Donte Hill (Fr)

Gone: G/F- K.C. Rivers, G-Terrence Oglesby (pro-Europe), C-Raymond Sykes

Player to Watch: Stitt- Clemson suffered an unexpected loss when Terrence Oglesby decided to leave school and sign a pro contract overseas. That leaves a void in the backcourt that Stitt will have to pick up. He's been a steady force for the Tigers in his first two years, but will need to elevate his productivity.

5. Florida State (4th, 10-6, 25-10, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:

The loss of All-ACC Defensive and First team selection Toney Douglas will be a major obstacle for the Seminoles to overcome. Derwin Kitchen will likely assume the point guard responsibilities while freshman phenom Michael Snaer will take over at the two. If Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton make the expected strides, FSU should once again be a tough team to beat.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Solomon Alabi (So)/Xavier Gibson (So)

PF: Ryan Reid (Sr)/Terrence Shannon (Fr)

SF: Chris Singleton (So)/Jordan DeMercy (Jr)

SG: Michael Snaer (Fr)/Luke Loucks (So)/Deivadis Dulkys (So)

PG: Derwin Kitchen (Jr)/Pierre Jordan (So)

Gone: PG-Toney Douglas, PF-Uche Echefu

Player to Watch: Alabi- The 7-1 product is still a work in progress on the offensive end, but should be a shot blocking force in the paint. If his development continues at a steady pace, he will be a difference maker, potentially in the Hasheem Thabeet mold; something that most teams at the college level are lacking.

6. Georgia Tech (12th, 2-14, 12-19)

2009-2010 Outlook:

The Yellow Jackets suffered some major growing pains last season, but received great news when Gani Lawal decided to come back for his junior season. Add in one of the top recruits in the nation in Derrick Favors and multi-talented combo guard in Iman Schumpert, and G-Tech could be one of the sleepers in the conference, if not the country.

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Gani Lawal (Jr)/Brad Sheehan (Jr)/Daniel Miller (Fr)

F-Zachery Peacock (Sr)/Kammeron Holsey (Fr-out for season torn ACL)

F: Derrick Favors (Fr)/Brian Oliver (Fr)

G: D'Andre Bell (Sr)/Nick Foreman (So)/Lance Storrs (Jr)/Glen Rice (Fr)

PG: Iman Schumpert (So)/Maurice Miller (Jr)/Mfon Udofia (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Alade Aminu, G-Lewis Clinch

Player to Watch: Bell- Spinal surgery forced Bell to miss all of last season, but he has been given the okay to return to the court this fall. He should provide a veteran presence to a relatively young Yellow Jacket team and help replace the loss of leading scorer Lewis Clinch.

7. Wake Forest (2nd, 11-5, 24-7, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook: It was a good news, bad news sort of off-season for Dino Gaudio's group. The bad; underclassmen Jeff Teague and James Johnson bolting for the NBA. The good; Al-Farouq Aminu returning for his sophomore season. Aminu should blossom into one of the elite players in the conference and help provide Wake with one of the deepest frontcourts in the country. Consistent guard play might be the difference between a trip back to the tourney or spot in the NIT.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Chris McFarland (Sr)/Ty Walker (So)

PF: Tony Woods (So)/David Weaver (Sr)

SF: Al-Farouq Aminu (So)/Ari Stewart (Fr)

SG: L.D. Williams (Sr)/Gary Clark (Jr)/Konner Tucker (So)

PG: Ishmael Smith (Sr)/C.J. Harris (Fr)

Gone: PG-Jeff Teague, PF-James Johnson, G-Harvey Hale

Player(s) to Watch: Woods and Walker- Both bigs had less than stellar debut seasons for the Demon Deacons. Still, the skill and potential is there for each of them to turn into important pieces to Wake's puzzle and possibly form a “twin tower” type of tandom.

8. Miami, FL (7th, 7-9, 19-13, NIT)

2009-2010 Outlook:

The Hurricanes went as Jack McClinton did last season. With McClinton now in the association, someone will need to step up and assume the role as team leader. Dwayne Collins is a physical force and freshman Durand Scott should help pick up some of the scoring slack. If DeQuan Jones can be a consistent contributor, the U could surprise some people.

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Dwayne Collins (Sr)/Julian Gamble (So)/Reggie Johnson (Fr)

PF: Cyrus McGowan (Sr)/Donnavan Kirk (Fr)

SF: Adrian Thomas (Sr)/DeQuan Jones (So)

SG: Durand Scott (Fr)/James Dews (Sr)/Garrius Adams (Fr)

PG: Malcolm Grant (So)/Antonie Allen (Fr)

Gone: PG-Jack McClinton, F-Brian Asbury, G-Lance Hurdle, F-Jimmy Graham, G-Eddie Rios

Player to Watch- Grant- The Villanova transfer will likely take over the point for Miami. He is a solid shooter and knows how to the run the point. Unlike his predecessor McClinton, Grant will be more of a distributor than shoot-first scorer.

9. Boston College (5th, 9-7, 22-12, NCAA First Round)

2009-2010 Outlook:

Only one player is gone from last season. Problem is that one player was a three-year starter at the point and leaves as the school's fifth all-time leading scorer. The biggest question for BC is who will replace Tyrese Rice's leadership and go-to mentality? It will be a season of transition for Al Skinner's squad that could lead to a promising 2010-2011 season since there is only one senior on the team.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Josh Southern (Jr)/Evan Ravenel (So)

PF: Joe Trapani (Jr)/Courtney Dunn (Jr)

SF: Corey Raji (Jr)/Tyler Roche (Sr)

SG: Rakim Sanders (Jr)/Dallas Elmore (So)

PG: Reggie Jackson (So)/Biko Paris (Jr)

Gone: PG-Tyrese Rice

Player to Watch: Sanders- He has NBA potential and those skills will need to be on display in the Eagles are to have any hope of seeing the post-season. He gets after it on the defensive end, but will need to bring it every night on O' for BC.

10. Virginia Tech (7th in ACC, 7-9 in ACC, 19-15 overall, NIT)

2009-2010 Outlook:

A.D. Vassallo, Malcolm Delaney, and Jeff Allen combined to account for 70% of the Hokies' scoring last season. Vassallo has graduated, but Delaney and Allen return to form a nice one-two punch. Until Va Tech finds another player or two to help Delaney and Allen, they will be stuck in the lower tier of the conference.

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Jeff Allen (Jr)/Gene Swindle (Fr)/Cadarian Raines (Fr)

F: Victor Davila (So)/ Lewis Witcher (Sr)

F: J.T. Thompson (Jr)/Manny Atkins (Fr)

SG: Dorenzo Hudson (Jr)/Terrell Bell (Jr)/Ben Boggs (Fr)

PG: Malcolm Delaney (Jr)/Erick Green (Fr)

Gone: G/F-A.D. Vassallo, C-Cheick Diakite, G-Hank Thorns (transfer-TCU)

Player to Watch: Thompson- The Hokie junior will likely take Vassallo's spot in the starting line-up. He won't replace Vassallo's scoring ability or range from deep, but if he can double his points per game from 6.5 last season, Virginia Tech could be a sleeper of the conference.

11. Virginia (11th, 4-12, 10-18)

2009-2010 Outlook:

Tony Bennett comes to UVA to hopefully lead a much-needed re-building process. The transition won't be an easy one, but having young talent like Sylven Landesburg and Tristan Spurlock should help. Bennett's teams at Washington State were known for their defensive abilities, and while that trait should carry over to Virginia, expect the Cavaliers to get more up and down than Bennett's Cougars did in Pullman.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Assane Sene (So)/Jerome Meyinsse (Sr)

PF: Mike Scott (Jr)/Will Sherrill (Jr)

SF: Tristan Spurlock (Fr)/Jamil Tucker (Sr)/Solomon Tat (Sr)

SG: Sylven Landesburg (So)/Mustapha Farrakhan (Jr)/Jeff Jones (Jr)

PG: Calvin Baker (Sr)/Sammy Zeglinski (So)/Jontel Evans (Fr)

Gone: C-Tunji Soroye, G/F-Mamadi Diane, C-John Brandenburg (transfer-Colgate)

Player to Watch: Scott- His 26 point, 18 rebound performance in VA's season opener last season opened some eyes. He posted eight double-doubles including a 17 rebound game against Liberty. Scott is the Cavs' only legitimate scoring threat inside and will have to effective to open some things on the perimeter.

12. N.C. State (10th, 6-10, 16-14)

2009-2010 Outlook:

It was a strange off-season for the Wolfpack as Brandon Costner decided to skip his senior season for a chance to go pro while Trevor Ferguson chose not to return to school. Add in the loss of senior starters Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley and in-coming freshman shooting guard Lorenzo Brown who didn't qualify academically, and it will be another long year for Sidney Lowe's bunch.

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Tracy Smith (Jr)/Jordan Vandenberg (Fr)

F: Dennis Horner (Sr)/Deshawn Painter (Fr)/Richard Howell (Fr)

F: C.J. Williams (So)/Josh Davis (Fr)/Johnny Thomas (So)

SG: Julius Mays (So)/Scott Wood (Fr)

PG: Javier Gonzalez (Jr)/Farnald Degand (Sr)

Gone: PF-Brandon Costner, G/F-Courtney Fells, F/C-Ben McCauley, G-Trevor Ferguson, F-Simon Harris

Player to Watch: Smith- His ten points and 4.5 boards per game are the top of each category for returning players. He often deferred last season to Costner, but will have to take on a more prominent role for the inexperienced Wolfpack this season.

All-ACC First Team

Greivis Vasquez, Maryland

Kyle Singler, Duke

Trevor Booker, Clemson

Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech

Second Team

Ed Davis, North Carolina

Sylven Landesburg, Virginia

Rakim Sanders, Boston College

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech

Dwayne Collins, Miami (Fl)

Third Team

Chris Singleton, Florida State

Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech

Jon Scheyer, Duke

Landon Milbourne, Maryland

All Freshman Team

Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

Michael Snaer, Florida State

Durand Scott, Miami (Fl)

John Henson, North Carolina

Tristan Spurlock, Virginia

All-Defensive Team

Ed Davis, North Carolina

Trevor Booker, Clemson

Solomon Alabi, Florida State

L.D. Williams, Wake Forest

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech

Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to:

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