Early 2006-07 ACC Basketball Outlook

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From top to bottom, the ACC is viewed by many analysts as the best basketball
conference
in America. Not necessarily every year, but most years. The ACC did not have as
many top-level teams this year as in years past, and only four teams advanced to
the NCAA tournament, but the quality of the league was still very good. Next
year will be even better.

It has been well-documented on TechSideline.com and by other media outlets that the
Hokies will have a lot of experience next season. Tech returns five starters,
and the only seniors lost off this year’s team were from the end of the bench.
VT is expected to be one of the deepest and most experienced teams in the ACC.
That’s true, but the gap won’t be as large as many would imagine.

The following table examines returning starters, returning percentage of
points scored, and total career starts made by returning players for each team in
the ACC.

2006-07
ACC Basketball Returning Talent
Team Returning
Starters
Total
Starts
Returning
% of
Points
Returning

Boston College
3 228 66.1%

Clemson
3 196 63.3%

Duke
2 71 27.5%

Florida State
4 168 76.5%

Georgia Tech
5 140 95.8%

Maryland
4 150 61.0%

Miami
2 127 43.8%

NC State
2 151 56.8%

UNC
4 113 79.3%

UVA
5 253 98.3%

Virginia Tech
5 361 97.8%

Wake Forest
2 66 29.9%

The Hokies rank at or near the top in all three categories. Tech returns all
five starters, as do Virginia and Georgia Tech. Returning players scored 97.8%
of Tech’s points in 2005-06, a number that is roughly the same as UVA and GT.
There are also three other teams in the conference that return four starters,
and every school but Wake Forest, Duke, Miami and NC State returns three or more
starters.

Where the Hokies stand out is in career starts made by returning players. A
total of nine returning VT players have started games in their career (and
walk-on Chris Tucker, who has never started a game, has seen extensive playing
time). Those nine players have combined for 361 starts throughout their careers.
Jamon Gordon, Zabian Dowdell and Coleman Collins have started since they were
freshman and have three full years of experience in the Big East and ACC. Deron
Washington has started for two years in the ACC. Markus Sailes started every
game in Tech’s final year in the Big East, and saw starting time this year. In
short, there isn’t a more experienced team in the conference, or maybe in the
country, than the Hokies.

But the rest of the conference doesn’t consist of a bunch of young pups.
There will be some very experienced teams in the ACC next season, much moreso
than 2005-6. Here is a detailed look at each team.


Boston College


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Jared Dudley
(16.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Sean Marshall
(11.5 ppg, 4 rpg)
John Oates
(3.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg)

Craig Smith
(17.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
Louis Hinnant
(7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg)

2 seniors
3 juniors
3 sophomores
5 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
228

Percentage of Points Returning:

66.1%

Boston College loses All-American forward Craig Smith, but the Eagles should
still be an NCAA tournament team next season. Jared Dudley is one of the best
small forwards in the nation, and Tyrese Rice will be ready to step in as a
starter at point guard. Al Skinner always gets the best out of his players, and
next year will be no different.


Clemson


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Vernon Hamilton
(12.2 ppg, 79 stls)
Cliff Hammonds
(9.7 ppg, 97 ast)
Sam Perry
(6.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg)

Shawan Robinson
(12.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Akin Akingbala
(12.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg)

1 senior
3 juniors
4 sophomores
5 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
196

Percentage of Points Returning:

63.3%

Losing Akin Akingbala and Shawan Robinson will be tough. The status of James
Mays, who was suspended from the team for the spring semester because of
academics, is unknown at this point. Even if Mays does return, there isn’t a
lot of depth in the frontcourt. The backcourt should be good.


Duke


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Josh McRoberts
(8.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
Greg Paulus
(6.8 ppg, 169 ast)

J.J. Redick
(26.8 ppg, 2 rpg)
Shelden Williams
(18.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg)
Sean Dockery
(7.1 ppg, 3 rpg)

0 seniors
1 junior
6 sophomores
6 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
71

Percentage of Points Returning:

27.5%

No seniors and just one junior. No J.J. Redick or Shelden Williams. The only
returning starters are sophomores Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus, and no proven
consistent three-point threat is coming back. That all adds up to a rebuilding
year in Durham, which means Duke will have a winning record in the ACC and will
advance to the NCAA tournament.


Florida State


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Al Thornton
(16.8 ppg, 7 rpg)
Alexander Johnson
(12.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
Jason Rich
(9.8 ppg, 3 rpg)
Isaiah Swann
(8.2 ppg, 81 ast)

Todd Galloway
(7.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg)

3 seniors
3 juniors
3 sophomores
4 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
168

Percentage of Points Returning:

76.5%

Many analysts claim that Florida State was cheated out of an NCAA tournament
berth this season after finished 9-7 in ACC play and winning 19 games overall.
If the Seminoles don’t make the Big Dance next season, they will have only
themselves to blame. They will be a very experienced team and will return their
top four players, provided Al Thornton does not leave for the NBA.


Georgia Tech


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Anthony Morrow
(16 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
Ra’Sean Dickey
(13.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Jeremis Smith
(11 ppg, 8.2 rpg)
Zam Frederick
(10.6 ppg, 110 ast)
Mario West
(5.2 ppg, 45 stl.)

None

1 senior
4 juniors
4 sophomores
4 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
140

Percentage of Points Returning:

95.8%

Georgia Tech was a bad team this past season. Bad, but also talented. They
started four sophomores and a freshman for much of the season. All their key
players are returning for the 2006-07 season, and they should return to
postseason play. Joining the returning players is a very talented recruiting
class, led by Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton, who are ranked #3 and #7 in
the nation by Rivals.com. After a good 2006-07 campaign, the Jackets should be
ready to have a big season in 2007-08.


Maryland


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Ekene Ibekwe
(10.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
Mike Jones
(10.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
D.J. Strawberry
(10.3 ppg, 125 ast.)
James Gist
(8.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

Nik Caner-Medley
(15.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg)

5 seniors
1 junior
1 sophomore
6 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
150

Percentage of Points Returning:

61%

Maryland should have a good team next year. With two inside players
like Ibekwe and Gist, an outside shooter with the ability of Mike Jones and the
savvy D.J. Strawberry, there is no reason this team can’t be in the NCAA
tournament next season. Of course, that’s what everyone said the last two
seasons.


Miami


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Anthony Harris
(10.1 ppg, 77 ast.)
Anthony King
(8.8 ppg, 7 rpg)

Guillermo Diaz
(17.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
Robert Hite
(16.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Gary Hamilton
(3.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg)

2 seniors
3 juniors
4 sophomores
4 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
127

Percentage of Points Returning:

43.8%

Losing All-ACC guard Guillermo Diaz a year early to the NBA will obviously
damage the Hurricanes. With both double figure scorers gone (Diaz and Robert
Hite), Miami will need some of their younger players to step up. There is still
talent on this team, and a lot of the Hurricanes’ more talented players will
be underclassmen next year.


North Carolina


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Tyler Hansbrough
(19.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
Reyshawn Terry
(14.7 ppg, 6 rpg)
Wes Miller
(7.3 ppg, 58 ast.)
Bobby Frasor
(6.4 ppg, 134 ast.)

David Noel
(12.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg)

2 seniors
1 junior
5 sophomores
6 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
113

Percentage of Points Returning:

79.3%

UNC is still going to be pretty young next year, but they will also be the
most talented team in the ACC. Incoming point guard Tywon Lawson is an amazing
player, and could step in and be an immediate starter. The Tar Heels will set
the standard for the rest of the ACC next season.


NC State


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Cedric Simmons
(11.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
Engin Atsur
(11.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg)

Cameron Bennerman
(14.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Ilian Evtimov
(10.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
Tony Bethel
(9.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

1 senior
3 juniors
3 sophomores
6 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
151

Percentage of Points Returning:

56.8%

NC State will lose some major contributors after this season, and they will
be difficult to replace. Herb Sendek, who is feeling more and more pressure with
each loss, will have a difficult time getting his team to the Big Dance next
year. The Wolfpack will have just one senior, and must break in three new
starters against a very talented and experienced ACC.


Virginia


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Sean Singletary
(17.7 ppg, 121 ast.)
J.R. Reynolds
(17 ppg, 92 ast.)
Adrian Joseph
(9.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
Jason Cain
(7.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
Tunji Soroye
(1.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

None

3 seniors
3 juniors
2 sophomores
5 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
253

Percentage of Points Returning:

98.3%

Dave Leitao did an outstanding job in his first season as UVA’s head coach.
They will return all five starters and will feature one of the top backcourts in
the ACC. If they can develop a great post presence, the Cavaliers have the
potential to develop into an NCAA tournament team.


Virginia Tech


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Zabian Dowdell
(15.3 ppg, 103 ast.)
Coleman Collins
(14.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Jamon Gordon
(11.4 ppg, 6 rpg)
Deron Washington
(10.5 ppg, 5 rpg)
Markus Sailes
(3.7 ppg, 51 ast.)

None

5 seniors
2 juniors
3 sophomores
4 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
361

Percentage of Points Returning:

97.8%

Virginia Tech will be the most experienced team in a very experienced ACC
next season. Barring injuries, Tech will have a full complement of players for
the first time in years. This will be the deepest team the Hokies have ever put
on the basketball court, with at least ten players that will be capable of
playing major minutes. The Hokies have a chance to finish in the top half of the
ACC if they can learn to finish games.


Wake Forest


Returning Starters

Starters Lost

2006-07 Roster

Harvey Hale
(5.7 ppg, 66 ast.)
Kyle Visser
(4.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

Justin Gray
(18.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Eric Williams
(16.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg)
Trent Strickland
(11.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg)

2 seniors
0 juniors
4 sophomores
7 freshmen

Games Started by Returnees:
66

Percentage of Points Returning:

29.9%

Next season looks to be a tough one for the Demon Deacons. They return two
seniors, but neither has been anything more than a role player thus far. Their
roster will feature four sophomores and as many as seven freshmen. They will
have a lot to learn, and next year will likely be a long one for Wake Forest
fans.

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