Assuming Malcolm Delaney does not hire an agent and he returns to Virginia
Tech next season, the Hokies will bring back almost their entire team intact. In
that scenario, Tech would return all five starters, 98.5% of their points scored
and 96.3% of their minutes played. They would be the oldest and most experienced
team in the ACC.
The numbers presented in this article make some assumptions. First of all,
they assume that Delaney will return to Virginia Tech. Second, they don’t take
into account the fact that ACC players like Ed Davis and Derrick Favors could
declare for the draft.
With that said, have a look at these numbers and see how far out in front the
Only Boston College and Florida State come close to matching the experience and
production that Virginia Tech will return next season. Let’s take a quick look
at the specifics of each team.
Virginia Tech (25-9, 10-6, NIT Quarterfinals)
Malcolm Delaney is not projected to be drafted at this point, so his return
to Virginia Tech is likely. If that happens, the Hokies will return all five
starters. They lose only senior forward Lewis Witcher, and possibly walk-on Paul
Debnam as well. In addition, they’ll add Florida transfer Allen Chaney to the
starting lineup, and he is expected to be a significant contributor.
The Hokies may also get contributions from a pair of freshmen: point guard Ty
Garland and wing Jarell Eddie. Tech should be deeper and more talented than
they’ve ever been under Seth Greenberg.
Boston College (15-16, 6-10, No Postseason)
Boston College returns all five starters. They lose backup three-point
specialist Tyler Roche, but he was their only senior. The Eagles will have
plenty of experience to work with during the 2010-11 season.
However, they won’t be working with coach Al Skinner anymore. The long-time
successful coach was let go recently and replaced by Steve Donahue, who guided
Cornell to the Sweet 16 this year. Donahue has no experience coaching at a major
program, either as an assistant or the head coach. It’s a very curious hire by
Donahue will have an experienced team to work with next year, but the major
question is how he’ll fare on the recruiting trail. Donahue has coached at Ivy
League schools Pennsylvania (as an assistant for ten years) and Cornell (as a
head coach for ten years), as well as two years at Division II Philadelphia
University. Donahue has never had to recruit for a Division I scholarship
Florida State (22-10, 10-6, NCAA First Round)
The Noles are as good as it gets defensively, but they were knocked out of
the first round of the NCAA Tournament again because they can’t score. They lose
only starting forward Ryan Reid, and rising sophomore wing Michael Snaer should
be able to provide them with the credible scoring threat that they lacked this
Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton could potentially put their names in the
NBA Draft. Alabi in particular would be a very high draft pick. However, he
still needs to develop offensively and another year of college would do him a
lot of good. The Noles also add Jon Kreft, a 5-star center who sat out this
Florida State will probably be picked anywhere from second to fourth in the
ACC next season.
NC State (20-16, 5-11, NIT Second Round)
The Wolfpack lost starting forward Dennis Horner and starting guard Farnold
Degand. They do bring back one of the ACC’s best inside players, Tracey Smith,
as well as starting point guard Javier Gonzalez.
NC State also adds two Top 50 guards in Lorenzo Brown and Ryan Harrow. They
should be a more talented basketball team in 2010-11. However, they still don’t
look strong enough to finish in the top half of the ACC.
Clemson (21-11, 9-7, NCAA First Round)
The Clemson Tigers lose Trevor Booker, their best player. Gone also is
reliable wing David Potter. To make things worse, head coach Oliver Purnell has
left the Tigers to take over the struggling DePaul basketball program. As of
now, Clemson is coachless, so it’s hard to predict what kind of team they’ll
have next year.
Milton Jennings, the former 5-star recruit, will be entering his sophomore
season. He, along with Devin booker, need to step up in the frontcourt to
replace the loss of Trevor Booker. The Tigers still have the players to finish
in the top half of the ACC, but how will they respond to their new coach?
North Carolina (20-16, 5-11, NIT Finals)
North Carolina was pretty bad during the regular season, but snuck into the
NIT, where they began to play their best basketball. The Tar Heels lose starting
forward Deon Thompson and starting wing Marcus Ginyard. They could also lose
forward Ed Davis to the NBA.
Despite those losses, there is still plenty of talent left on the team and
entering the program. Rising sophomore forward John Henson will be ready to have
a big season, and a healthy Tyler Zeller can make a big difference as well.
The Tar Heels also signed an excellent recruiting class, including 5-star
players Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock. UNC should get back to being a
contender in the ACC next season.
Georgia Tech (23-13, 7-9, NCAA Second Round)
Georgia Tech retained coach Paul Hewitt, but lost Gani Lawal to the NBA, and
Derrick Favors could be next. Yellow Jacket fans would have preferred to keep
Lawal and Favors and have Hewitt ride off into the sunset.
GT will still have some good players, but they would be in serious trouble
without both Lawal and Favors. The Yellow Jackets are never really a threat in
the ACC, even with good players, so they are likely headed down in the standings
this coming season.
Rising sophomores Glen Rice, Jr. and Brian Oliver will have to take on more
of a scoring role next season.
Duke Blue Devils (35-5, 13-3, National Champions)
Coach K will have to replace some good players, such as point guard Jon
Scheyer and inside players Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek. However, Nolan Smith
and Kyle Singler should be back, the Plumlee brothers should be ready to play
bigger roles, and Andre Dawkins will be able to hit outside jumpers.
Duke also adds Liberty transfer Seth Curry, as well as talented freshman
point guard Kyrie Irving. Coach K and his staff will still have plenty of talent
to work with, and they are expected to be the team to beat in the ACC for the
second year in a row.
Miami Hurricanes (20-13, 4-12, No Postseason)
Miami showed their talent level in the ACC Tournament when they beat Wake
Forest and Virginia Tech, and nearly knocked off the eventual National
Champions. The Canes were a very young team this past year that started to peak
at the end of the season.
However, they still lose some talented and experienced players. Star forward
Dwayne Collins is gone, as is senior guard James Dews. Three-point specialist
Adrian Thomas and power forward Cyrus McGowan are two other significant
contributors who won’t be back.
Still, Miami has some good young players in Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson,
Malcolm Grant, DeQuan Jones and Julian Gamble. They should move up in the ACC
standings this year.
Virginia (15-16, 5-11, No Postseason)
The Hoos will be missing departed seniors Jerome Meyinnse, Solomon Tat and
Calvin Baker. However, their most significant losses are Sylven Landesberg, Jeff
Jones and Tristan Spurlock. Landesberg was the team’s leading scorer, and he has
decided to play professional basketball. Jones was a solid wing player, and
Spurlock was a promising rising sophomore.
The Cavaliers return just five scholarship players. With so many losses, Tony
Bennett will have to rely on the veteran play of Mike Scott and Sammy Zeglinski.
The Hoos also have a 6-man recruiting class coming in that will have to help
On paper, there isn’t a lot to suggest that Virginia will be competing for a
spot in the NCAA Tournament this year.
Maryland (24-9, 13-3, NCAA Second Round)
Gary Williams is losing his top three scorers: ACC Player of the Year Greivis
Vasquez, shooting guard Eric Hayes and forward Landon Milbourne. The Terps have
some experienced players coming off the bench to take their place, but don’t
look for Maryland to contend for the ACC Championship again.
Rising sophomore center Jordan Williams has a promising future, and he’ll be
asked to take on more of a scoring role next year. Maryland is also bringing in
five freshmen, and some of them will have to help immediately.
Gary Williams is an excellent coach, but replacing Vasquez, Hayes and
Milbourne in one offseason will be difficult.
Wake Forest (20-11, 9-7, NCAA Second Round)
Wake Forest lost the core of their basketball team, and they also lost their
head coach. Dino Gaudio was fired on Wednesday by A.D. Ron Wellman, and a search
has begun for a new coach. Whoever takes over the Demon Deacon program will
inherit a roster decimated by graduation and attrition.
Al-Farouq Aminu, who averaged a double-double last year, declared for the NBA
Draft. Seniors Ish Smith, Chas McFarland, David Weaver and L.D. Williams are
also gone. Wake returns just one starter, rising sophomore C.J. Harris.
The Demon Deacons do bring in a very good recruiting class, but those players
will need time to mature. Wake will be picked at or near the bottom of the ACC