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ACC BASKETBALL

2015 ANNUAL S I DE IN

S E G A P E V I 10 ExCOLNUS EA M

ACC BASKETBALL 2015 ANNUAL

BOSTON COLLEGE ♦ CLEMSON ♦ DUKE ♦ FLORIDA STATE ♦ GEORGIA TECH ♦ LOUISVILLE ♦ MIAMI ♦ NORTH CAROLINA ♦ NC STATE ♦ NOTRE DAME ♦ PITTSBURGH ♦ SYRACUSE ♦ VIRGINIA ♦ VIRGINIA TECH ♦ WAKE FOREST

EACH T

Preseason Team Rankings by David Glenn Page 2

Future of the ACC Tournament Page 8

The Impact of New Rules on the ACC Page 11

PLUS...

Volume 4: Issue 3

2015 Newcomers ACC in the NBA Draft All-ACC Picks Recruiting Analysis

VOLUME 4: ISSUE 3

NATIONAL EDITION SPECIAL ISSUE FALL 2015

DISPLAY UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2015


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Texas sho Georgia Tech offers

heights Needed at theCollege’s

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A look at Boston for the 2016 class. biggest needs

pg. 6

show the crosby targeting 2016

Clemson is Eric Crosby. defensive tackle

pg.7

“Your Atlantic Coast

Charming Prince to land 4-star Duke is trying . Prince Sammons

pg. 8

Mixed Signals commit is also A Florida State looking at 10 schools?

pg. 9

No. 4

up its fourth Georgia Tech picked2016 class. the commitment in

pg. 10

DIANA L. PORTER/FO

R THE HOUSTON

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ip offer from his first ACC scholarsh spring McGusty received recipient of several offers this guard Kameron been the Katy, Texas shooting June. The 6-5 McGusty has others. early Indiana, among Georgia Tech in such as Texas and McGusty. He from programs recently offering low Jackets in mid-April, from Texas in BY ADAM POWELL received an offer arrival in Austin. scholarship shortly after Shaka Smart’s Indihas been on a the offers from GregGeorgia Tech May 27 he’s gotten weeks, as Brian Since Tech. recent in e of the offering frenzy Tech, and Georgia the latest for have taken advantag ns and ana, Texas is just ory and his staff The offer to McGusty in the 2016 class. to make evaluatio Tech spring AAU season needs. Gregory and Georgia Jackets offered assess their long-termappear to be in decent Prior to McGusty, the Yellow from Chicainto The Yellow Jackets a 5-9 point guard Charlie Moore, standpoint heading Tech offered shape from a depth especially after adding go. In the month of May, Georgia Ekiyor, New season, 6 Eddie scorer. forward the 2015-201 Tech’s leading New Hampshire and New OrleAdam Smith, Virginia s departures York forward Kassoum Yakwe, to be numerou over the span the Yellow But there’s going guard Lamar Peters season, requiring talent in ans point following next of a couple weeks. ents in the ’16 class, and with some quality Jackets to reload With no commitm ips openthe 2016 class. high school as many as four potential scholarsh (Adam only one 2015 2015-2016 season Hunt, After signing Ogbonda – ing up after the man Sylvester Georgesprospect — big and wide for Smith, Nick Jacobs, Marcus all exhausted is searching far have Tech will efforts Georgia senior class. Their and Charles Mitchell for Gregory talent in the rising turned to the Lone Star ), it makes sense g out their eligibility have most recently week, the Yellow JackJackets to be branchinoffers and the Yellow this more and more State, as earlier ip offer to shooting this spring, extending intrigued scholarsh be a d might that ets extended 180-poun promising targets McGusty, a 6-5, the ACC. in Katy, to guard Kameron y of playing in Lakes High School as the possibilit have offers product of Seven Yellow Jackets Currently, the itted prospects Texas. the No. 71 player out to nearly twenty uncomm list The McGusty country. ranks the Rivals 150, while around far its current Rivals the Texas in the 2016 class the middle as nationally in nearly evenly down Composite ranks s, as Georgia pros- is split the 247Sports and forward prospectareas. A plays No. 218 overall tly as as guard in both shooter the country’ could rise significan ris- Tech clearly has a need help Georgia pect. That number g profile could certainly list and recruitin er like McGusty g them a capable McGusty ’s offer out as far as providin r. Tech summer. Boies this perimete Texas Tech, Auburn, Yel- shooter along the So far Texas, have joined the Indiana and se State,

Conference Insider

News Source”

EXPLAINING UVA’S WINNING APPROACH PAGE 35

Wallace? too Where’s Louisville before He’ll be at long.

pg. 11

Hot seat!Golden has the hottest Miami’s Al seat in the ACC.

pg. 16

a great pass is still ck Jawon Pass

Quarterba football targets. one of UNC’s top

pg. 17

one Who’s number the the running for State is in nation’s top prospect.

pg. 18

Finalist luke, I am your up tight end Luke

pg. 19

The Irish shook finalists. Farrell’s college

will he flip?Tony Butler on the pg. 20

Is Pitt commit to Michigan? verge of flipping

spot Save the last remains on the pg. 21

A look at who board. Syracuse recruiting

g Capehart

courtin making a push for pg. 26

Virginia is Capehart. 2017 athlete Tahj

A.B.--After beamer s the candidate pg. 27

We break down Beamer. to replace Frank

Clawson vs. Colbert pg. 28

Wake Forest coach comedian’s shot.

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GERRY BROOME/AS

ACC Moves on with

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E, THAT SYRACUS LOOK AT THE PLAYERS THEIR MEN’S A COMPREHENSIVE AND WAKE FOREST LOST OFF IN. TECH, THEY HAVE COMING VIRGINIA, VIRGINIA , AND THE PLAYERS BASKETBALL ROSTERS

PAGE 34

Talent am Churning Out Florida Prep Progr AQUINAS HIGH SCHOOL, WHICH ’S ST. THOMAS THE LAST DECADE. WE PROFILE FLORIDA TO THE ACC OVER HAS BEEN A PIPELINE

PAGE 31

THE ACC: BUSINESS OF N Page 5 CAMP SEASO look at the important

A closer camp season June football How do schools around the ACC. conduct their around the league summer sessions?

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Volume 4: Issue 3

Team Pages

Letter from the Editor Thanks for reading the ACC Sports Journal’s 2015-2016 ACC Basketball Annual. We hope you’ll find this publication to be an informative guide to what should be another exciting season of college basketball. With Duke defending a national championship, and North Carolina and Virginia looking to get over the hump and compete for their own NCAA title, the 2015-2016 season should once again provide countless thrills for ACC basketball fans. Numerous teams, such as NC State, Miami, and Florida State, will have a chance to make big moves in the standings this winter, while others, such as Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech, are looking to move out of the league’s bottom third and into the upper echelon. Many months of planning, research, writing, and editing has gone into this year’s ACC Basketball Annual. We’ve attempted to provide readers an extensive team-by-team glimpse around the league. We’ve crunched some numbers in order to determine trends that help explain why teams have been moving up or down in the standings in recent years. We’ve also written about the league’s decision to move the ACC Tournament outside North Carolina for three straight years, as well as the new rules that will modify the landscape of college basketball. With tipoff around the corner, we hope you enjoy this look at the upcoming season. ADAM POWELL EDITOR

Teams presented in order of ACC Sports Journal’s projected final standings.

1. VIRGINIA

6. NOTRE DAME

11. WAKE FOREST

2. NORTH CAROLINA

7. NC STATE

12. CLEMSON

3. DUKE

8. FLORIDA STATE

13. GEORGIA TECH

4. MIAMI

9. SYRACUSE

14. VIRGINIA TECH

10. PITTSBURGH

15. BOSTON COLLEGE

26

36 46 56

5. Louisville

66

76

126

86

136

96

106 116

146

156

166

ACC Sports Journal EDITORIAL STAFF ADAM POWELL apowell@curtismedia.com DAVID GLENN dglenn@accsports.com MARK CARROLL mcarroll@curtismedia.com SHAWN KREST skrest@curtismedia.com BRICK OETTINGER boettinger@curtismedia.com

ADMINISTRATION AND BUSINESS JASON KONG jkong@curtismedia.com JOYCE LEDBETTER HOWARD HOLLAR

GRAPHIC DESIGN GREG DE DEUGD

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EDITORIAL INTERNS PARKER PRESTON, BEN COLEY, STEPHEN BUS & TONG XING SUBSCRIPTIONS: For inquiries call 800-447-7667, visit ACCSports.com, or e-mail support@accsports.com The ACC Sports Journal (ISSN:1532-8821) is published 30 times per year, 26 bi-weekly and 4 special issues, by Curtis Sports Media, LLC, 3012 Highwoods Blvd, Ste 200, Raleigh, N.C. 27604. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Periodicals postage paid at Raleigh, N.C. 27676 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ACC Sports Journal, 3012 Highwoods Blvd, Ste 200, Raleigh, N.C. 27604. Copyright: Curtis Sports Media, LLC, 2015.

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David Glenn’s

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Some ACC programs are richer in tradition than others, but where does each team stand entering the 2015-16 season? David Glenn provides his predicted order of finish. 2

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MARK J. TERRILL/AP

1. NORTH CAROLINA These are strange times for UNC basketball. A few years ago, ESPN and other media organizations designated the Tar Heels as the most successful college hoops program of the last half-century. More recently, though, those same outlets hammered Carolina for its disgraceful academic scandal, which is the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation, and the historically clean men’s basketball program drew the greatest public scrutiny. Dean Smith, one of the top coaches in hoops history and the universally respected godfather of Carolina basketball, died in February. Bill Guthridge, Smith’s long-term assistant, loyal friend and eventual successor, passed away in May. In a wicked twist of fate, two men of famously unwavering character, who helped create an almost mythical concept (high-level athletic/academic success with integrity) some called the Carolina Way, died just as that phrase was being used as a punch line. Roy Williams (a proud Smith protégé) just passed the 12-year milestone in Chapel Hill, and what a dozen it was: two NCAA titles, 11 bids to the Big Dance, seven trips to the Sweet 16 or beyond, two conference titles, six first-place ACC finishes and a

parade of Tar Heels into the first round of the NBA draft. While some have speculated that Williams, 65, will retire sooner than originally planned because of what he calls the recent NCAA “junk” and the lingering recruiting complications that result from multiple years of uncertainty, those who know him best insist that the adversity actually makes him even more likely to see things through to the other side defiantly. Despite the negative headlines, UNC’s returning roster suggests that 2015-16 will fit Williams’ most successful themes quite nicely, and any NCAA sanctions (if they hit men’s basketball at all) would come too late to impact this season. When healthy, senior guard Marcus Paige is an AllAmerican, and sophomore forward Justin Jackson projects as a first-round NBA draft pick and potential All-American. Veteran big men Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks also are All-ACC candidates and future pros, so special things certainly remain within reach.

2. DUKE The most dominating decade or so in the history of college basketball probably always will be John Wooden’s seven consecutive NCAA championships (1967-

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73) at UCLA, or the Bruins’ larger 10-titlesin-12-years stretch under the Wizard of Westwood from 1964-75. The only other legitimate candidate for GOAT status in the sport is 36th-year Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose fifth national crown in March capped the most dominating 30year run (1986-2015) in history: five NCAA championships, 29 NCAA Tournament trips, an .822 winning percentage (860186), 22 Sweet 16s, 13 ACC titles, 12 Final Fours and 12 first-place ACC finishes. Only two programs (UCLA, Kentucky) have more NCAA titles than Coach K has personally, and only one school (UNC) has more ACC championships. Wow. Krzyzewski, who will turn 69 on Feb. 13, has won in virtually every way imaginable. When he had some of the best players (Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner) in college basketball history, he won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992. When he was loaded with NBA talent (Jay Williams, Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer, Chris Duhon), he won again in 2001. He cut down the nets with a relatively modest roster, but lots of juniors (Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith) and seniors (Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek), in 2010. Then he did it one more time “Kentucky-style,” with three NBA-bound freshmen (Jahlil Okafor,

▶▶▶

3


DAVID GLENN’S RANKINGS Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones) leading the way in 2015. In his spare time, over the last decade, Coach K led USA Basketball out of a temporary rut and into a 75-1 record, including back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012; his American squad will be the overwhelming favorite again in 2016. Thanks to their massive NBA exodus, this year’s Blue Devils may not claim that same lofty status in college basketball’s preseason, but the additions of four more 5-star recruits (point guard Derryck Thornton, wing guard Luke Kennard, wing forward Brandon Ingram, power forward Chase Jeter) and Rice center transfer Sean Obi certainly will give Coach K another chance to work his magic.

3. VIRGINIA With the exception of the Ralph Sampson era (1980-83) under coach Terry Holland, Virginia only rarely has had the combination of talent and experience that’s required to compete at the top of the ACC and on the national scene. Prior to their resurgence over the past four seasons of the six-year Tony Bennett era, the Cavaliers had just one conference title in 60 years, only two first-place finishes over 30 years and just three NCAA trips during a recent 16-year stretch. Welcome to a new Golden Era in Charlottesville. For the first time in decades, the Cavaliers are doing just about everything the top programs do consistently: win championships (2014 ACC title, back-to-back first-place ACC finishes), populate the NCAA Tournament (three trips in four years, including a Sweet 16 run in 2014), send players to the NBA (Mike Scott in 2012, Joe Harris in 2014, Justin Anderson in 2015), sign quality major-college transfers (star forward Anthony Gill, future star Austin Nichols) and even lose high-profile commitments to elite programs (Sacha Killeya-Jones to Kentucky). A debate lingers over exactly how far Bennett can take UVa, with the only disagreement surrounding the Cavs’ slow tempo and how that might complicate recruiting. In every other way, Bennett is viewed as the perfect fit, and his team once again is an ACC title contender, led by three seniors (Gill, guard Malcolm Brogdon, center Mike Tobey) and super-savvy junior point guard London Perrantes.

4

RYAN M. KELLY/AP

UVa head coach Tony Bennett is looking to lead the Cavaliers to their third straight ACC regular-season title this winter. Virginia has gone a combined 32-4 in ACC regular season competition over the past two seasons.

4. NOTRE DAME Notre Dame’s hoops history is hard to explain, at least in ACC terms. Like N.C. State and Virginia, the Fighting Irish had their glory years in the 1970s and/or 1980s, including a trip to the 1978 Final Four. Unlike the Pack and the Cavs, however, the Irish have made regular NCAA trips over the last 10 years. On the down side, prior to last year’s thrilling runs to the ACC championship and the Elite Eight, the Irish had failed to win a single Big East title in 18 seasons there, and they hadn’t been past the Sweet 16 since 1979. Maybe that’s why last season’s ACC title and overall success (32-6, 14-4 ACC) seemed to carry with them more than the typical meaning, both for the program and personally for Mike Brey, now entering his 16th season with the Irish. Brey has been plenty familiar with the ACC for decades, having worked at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski from 1987-95, but his maiden voyage through his old/new league had been a disaster (2013-14: 1517, 6-12 ACC, no postseason). The ensuing bounce-back campaign both erased the only major hole (high-level postseason success) on Brey’s resume in South Bend and served as a reminder that the Irish

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weren’t going to get lost simply because of the many challenging twists and turns offered by their new neighborhood. Depth and experience could be concerns now that departed star seniors Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton are in the NBA, but the Irish’s starting lineup (including more NBA prospects in point guard Demetrius Jackson and center Zach Auguste, plus wing Steve Vasturia and forward Bonzie Colson) again should be among the ACC’s best.

5. MIAMI Think about this: If you were 28 or older in March 2013, when the Hurricanes cut down the nets after capturing their first ACC basketball title, there was a part of your lifetime in which Miami did not play D-I hoops — at all. Yes, it’s still hard for many to believe, but UM stopped sponsoring the sport entirely for the 14-season stretch from 1972-85. Gradually, Bill Foster, Leonard Hamilton, Frank Haith and now Jim Larrañaga helped bring it back. Larrañaga’s 2013 campaign, which ended in the Sweet 16, unquestionably stands as the greatest year in UM’s relatively modest history, that rare example ▶ ▶ ▶


DAVID GLENN’S RANKINGS of luring the national hoops spotlight to a school far more famous — and at times infamous — for its football program. Many in the national media gave coach of the year honors to Larrañaga and All-America recognition to point guard Shane Larkin, while closer to home Larrañaga reeled in the ACC coach of the year award and Larkin received the coaches’ vote as the league’s top player. This year’s Hurricanes should enable a second trip to the Big Dance under Larrañaga, with four triedand-true starters (point guard Angel Rodriguez, wings Sheldon McClellan and Davon Reed, center Tonye Jekiri) returning from last year’s 25-win NIT runner-up, and another major-college transfer (Oklahoma State power forward Kamari Murphy) among those offering additional help in the post.

6. LOUISVILLE Everyone knows Rick Pitino. How many coaches — in any sport, ever — earn such high levels of prominence and respect that they, over time, are handed the keys to two marquee NBA franchises (New York Knicks, Boston Celtics) and two legendary college programs (Kentucky, Louisville)? The Basketball Hall of Fame actually voted him in even before his 2013 NCAA title with the Cardinals. With UofL being the league’s newest member, ACC fans may not know everything about its stellar basketball history, but thanks mainly to Pitino and two-time national champion Denny Crum, the Cards rank among the top seven programs in the country in NCAA titles (three), Final Fours (10) and NCAA trips (41). Pitino’s presence actually is one of the main reasons that, despite numerous signs suggesting otherwise, Louisville again is considered an ACC contender, after its impressive debut (27-9, 12-6 ACC, Elite Eight) a year ago. Not a single player on the team’s 2015-16 roster averaged even 20 minutes per game for the Cardinals last season. Stars Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier both left early for the NBA, steady senior Wayne Blackshear also is playing professionally, and three more potential contributors transferred. Even Pitino hinted during the offseason that he might be in for a rare rebuilding year, but after a wild stretch on the recruiting trail, then the team’s successful summer trip

MARK WALLHEISER/AP

Coming off a 27-9 season in 2014-2015 that included a run to the Elite Eight, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is working with a less experienced Cardinal squad in his second season in the ACC.

to Puerto Rico, he changed his mind. Versatile big men Mangok Mathiang and Chinanu Onuaku are expected to serve as the anchors on what could be yet another brilliant defensive team for Pitino, and Drexel transfer Damion Lee (the fifthleading scorer in DI last season) may provide a better perimeter scoring threat than anyone the Cards had last year. In the end, it will be up to Pitino and sophomore point guard Quentin Snider to make the many new puzzle pieces fit together.

7. SYRACUSE Jim Boeheim is a Hall of Famer, a living legend and the personification of Syracuse hoops. He played for the Orange (196366), served as an assistant for the program (1969-76) and has been the head coach ever since. Finally, though, the end of the amazing, unforgettable Boeheim Era is near. He will turn 71 this season, his 40th in charge. SU officially confirmed this summer that long-time assistant Mike Hopkins will take over when Boeheim retires, no later than 2018. What will this program look like whenever the big transition actually takes place? On one hand, as recently as 200913, Syracuse had two first-place (Big East) finishes, four Sweet 16 trips and a Final

www.accsports.com

Four run (2013) over just a five-year period. On the other hand, it has been more than a decade since Carmelo Anthony led the Orange to their only national championship (2003), and more recently an almost unbelievable combination of NCAA scandal, resulting sanctions (appeal still pending), early NBA exits, transfers, major injuries and non-qualifying recruits left the program shorthanded at times. This year’s team will have both experience (point guard Kaleb Joseph, wing guard Trevor Cooney, all-purpose man Michael Gbinije, power forward Tyler Roberson) and another high-level talent infusion ( freshman wings Franklin Howard and Malachi Richardson), but good health and good chemistry will be necessities in a season like this.

8. NC STATE Only eight major college basketball programs have won more NCAA titles than the Wolfpack’s two, and it’s a very impressive list: UCLA (11), Kentucky (eight), Duke ( five), Indiana ( five), North Carolina ( five), Connecticut ( four), Kansas (three) and Louisville (three). Moving forward, one NCSU goal is to trend upward like fellow two-title programs Florida and Michigan State, rather than fading away

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DAVID GLENN’S RANKINGS like Oklahoma State (1945-46) and San Francisco (1955-56). Fifth-year coach Mark Gottfried knows all about the Wolfpack’s national championships in 1974 and 1983 because he hears about them from fans and media on a regular basis, and extroverted Cardiac Pack hero Dereck Whittenburg is entering his third year on staff. Gottfried is similarly familiar with the ugly fact that State’s most recent ACC title came in 1987. Amazingly, in a league overflowing with more famous coaches, Gottfried is the only one (out of 15) who can say that he has never missed the NCAA Tournament while at his current stop. Assuming good health for a roster with only nine scholarship players, the 2015-16 Pack figures to make its coach five-for-five in Raleigh, with thrilling point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber, developing power forward Abdul-Malik Abu and intimidating center BeeJay Anya leading the way.

9. FLORIDA STATE FSU enters the national college basketball conversation about once every 20 years. Hugh Durham made it happen in the early 1970s, including the program’s only trip to the Final Four (1972), which ended with a championship game loss to superpower UCLA. Pat Kennedy got things rolling again about two decades later, including with back-to-back second-place league marks, Sweet 16 trips and Top 25 finishes in the Seminoles’ first two (1992, 1993) ACC seasons. About 22 years later, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton finds himself just three seasons removed from an impressive four-year run (2009-12) that included four NCAA bids, a Sweet 16 trip and the program’s first ACC title (2012). Now entering his 14th season in Tallahassee, Hamilton has detractors who remember the nine NCAA misses (including the last three in a row) more than the four invitations, but also supporters who believe that another one of his famous recruiting flurries has the Seminoles poised for an all-out blitz back toward the top of the league. One of the keys to this season will be smoothly blending mega-hyped freshman wings Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley into a rotation that returns all five starters, including 35-minutes-per-game perimeter players Devon Bookert, Montay Brandon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

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SARAH BENTHAM/AP

Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning heads into his second season in WinstonSalem with a more experienced squad, but the team has dealt with considerable offseason attrition, including the dismissal of Madison Jones and multiple transfers.

10. PITTSBURGH Unless you go all the way back to 1941 (the Panthers’ only Final Four trip) and beyond, the best stretch in Pitt basketball history is the 12-years-and-counting Jamie Dixon era. Hired in 2003 as a first-time major college head coach, after his mentor Ben Howland left for UCLA, Dixon has led the Panthers to 10 NCAA Tournaments, three Sweet 16s, one Big East title, two first-place finishes in the Big East and (in one of just two non-NCAA seasons) one CBI championship. While making the transition from the Big East to the ACC in 2014, and fielding regular inquiries from other high-profile programs about their coaching vacancies, Dixon received a contract extension from Pitt all the way through the 2022-23 season. Mediocre recruiting results led directly to the Panthers’ only two NCAA misses on his watch (2012 and 2015), and that issue remains a concern in a super-competitive ACC that includes four coaches already in the Hall of Fame, but strong player development has placed this program firmly in the middle third of its new league. This season, four quality returning starters (point guard James Robinson, wing guard

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Chris Jones, wing forward Jamel Artis, power forward Michael Young) who understand Dixon’s way give the Panthers a legitimate chance to return to a familiar place: the Big Dance.

11. WAKE FOREST Duke and UNC are primarily responsible for the perception — an accurate one — that ACC basketball has been a North Carolina-centric topic forever, but the other two members of the Big Four have made major contributions, too. In fact, while most know that the Blue Devils (19) and the Tar Heels (17) have the most ACC titles, it’s easy to forget that N.C. State (10) and Wake Forest ( four) still rank third and fourth on that list. That history serves as the backdrop for everything from Wake fans’ overwhelming unhappiness with former coach Jeff Bzdelik, whose four seasons in WinstonSalem were mostly miserable, to those same fans’ relatively booming optimism behind second-year coach Danny Manning, whose first two recruiting classes offered much-needed doses of talent and hope. Most fans understand that ACC titles are hard to come by, as are ▶ ▶ ▶


DAVID GLENN’S RANKINGS talents such as Wake-to-NBA superstars Tim Duncan and Chris Paul, but they won’t accept the basement, either. Bzdelik’s final two seasons actually offered slightly better records than Manning’s first (13-19, 5-13 ACC) with the Demon Deacons, but a capable combination of sturdy seniors (guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, big man Devin Thomas), intriguing sophomores (guard Mitchell Wilbekin, stretch forward Dinos Mitoglou) and 4-star freshmen (guard Bryant Crawford, center Doral Moore) should get this program pointed back in the right direction in Manning’s second season.

12. VIRGINIA TECH If you lined up the 15 ACC basketball programs side by side and compared their histories — from prep All-Americans to NBA draft choices, through NCAA titles, league championships, all-conference players, and even winning records and the other good things that can happen in between — Virginia Tech would finish dead last. If you look back at the ACC standings over the past three seasons, that’s also where you’ll find the Hokies: dead last, dead last, dead last. Tech authored one of the most impressive coups of the 2014 coaching carousel when it hired Buzz Williams away from Marquette, where he had come to feel unappreciated despite a 2012-13 season that included a first-place Big East finish and a trip to the Elite Eight. Given his impressive track record, relentless energy and recruiting ability, nobody expects Williams to become yet another Tech disaster, like Bobby Hussey, Ricky Stokes or James Johnson. Williams appears far more likely to build at least a competitive program, as Bill Foster and Seth Greenberg did in Blacksburg. Former Maryland guard Seth Allen and sophomore wing Justin Bibbs lead a group of transfers and underclassmen who are simply too talented for another trip to the ACC cellar.

13. CLEMSON In 2012, Florida State earned its first ACC basketball championship, during its 21st season in the league, after leaving the old Metro Conference. In 2013, Miami — another football-first school — cut down the nets at the ACC Tournament for the

first time, during its ninth season after arriving from the Big East. In 2014, Virginia ended its skip-an-entire-generation hoops drought, claiming a second ACC title to go with the one it claimed in 1976. In 2015, second-year ACC member Notre Dame continued the fresh-faces theme, grabbing its first basketball tournament title in any league. Even current SEC member South Carolina once captured the ACC hoops crown, in 1971. Clemson, a 1953 charter member of the ACC, is now into its seventh decade in pursuit of a similar basketball breakthrough (The only other long-term schools without an ACC hoops title are Boston College and Virginia Tech, which both arrived just a decade or so ago). Little of this bleak history is the fault of sixthyear coach Brad Brownell, of course, but it’s hard to believe that the team’s long-term lack of success isn’t holding him down. The Tigers continue to be well-coached and strong defensively, but offensive efficiency remains a major challenge. With that in mind, sharp-shooting San Francisco guard transfer Avry Holmes hopes to help junior forward Jaron Blossomgame, sophomore forward Donte Grantham and senior center Landry Nnoko.

14. GEORGIA TECH Bobby Cremins always will have a special place in ACC basketball history, thanks to his roles as a former Georgia Tech coach (1982-2000), a former South Carolina player (when the Gamecocks were ACC members), a Bronx-accented broadcaster and an impossible-to-dislike person. His success with the Yellow Jackets — including three ACC titles and a run to the 1990 Final Four — still shines particularly brightly, mainly because they were mostly horrible before he got to Atlanta, and they’ve been mostly mediocre (or worse) since he left. Like Cremins, fifth-year Tech coach Brian Gregory has a likable personality and an appreciation for the Yellow Jackets’ unique place in the ACC universe. Unlike Cremins, though, Gregory simply hasn’t brought any elite-level talent to Atlanta. As a result, the toughness-defenserebounding formula Gregory learned from Tom Izzo at Michigan State hasn’t been enough to lift the Jackets out of the league’s bottom tier even once in four attempts. Now squarely on the hot seat,

Gregory desperately needs a strong senior season from proven two-way wing Marcus Georges-Hunt, plus lots of immediate help from an entire five-man lineup of veteran players who started their college careers with other major programs: point guard Josh Heath (South Florida), wing guard Adam Smith (Virginia Tech), forward James White (Arkansas-Little Rock), returning power forward Charles Mitchell (Maryland) and center Nick Jacobs (Alabama).

15. BOSTON COLLEGE In terms of name recognition and sheer respect, it’s difficult to beat former BC coaches Bob Cousy (1964-69), Chuck Daly (1970-71), Tom Davis (1978-82) and Gary Williams (1983-86). More recently, Al Skinner was not a huge name, but he lifted the Eagles to an even higher level, with seven NCAA trips in a nine-year stretch from 2001-09, beginning with a campaign that saw BC sweep the Big East regularseason and tournament titles and claim a No. 7 national ranking. Second-year coach Jim Christian is respected by his peers, but he has neither a big name nor anything close to that high-level success. His resume consists of a strong six-year stretch at Kent State (137-59, two league titles, two NCAA bids, three NIT trips) in the Mid-American Conference, followed by an ugly fouryear run at Texas Christian (56-73, CBI bid) when the Horned Frogs were in the Mountain West Conference, then a solid two-year tenure at Ohio (49-22, NIT/CIT bids) back in the MAC, and most recently a predictably brutal BC debut (13-19, 4-14 ACC) last season. After another offseason flurry of incoming/outgoing transfers, plus the decision of All-ACC guard Olivier Hanlan to turn pro after his junior season, the Eagles have only Florida guard transfer Eli Carter, senior center Dennis Clifford and an endless string of question marks. David Glenn, who has covered the ACC since 1987, was the editor and lead writer for the ACC Sports Journal and ACCSports.com from 1994-2013 and remains a contributor to both. Also the host of The David Glenn Show, a syndicated sports radio program based in North Carolina, he is the state’s only Sportscaster of the Year winner from the sports-talk genre.

7


The ACC Tournament’s Northern Exposure By Adam Powell

Throughout its six-decade history, the ACC’s annual men’s basketball tournament has been a highly anticipated and hotly contested weekend of hoops action. It’s also been consistently located in three towns within the state of North Carolina. Only 11 out of 62 ACC Tournaments throughout the league’s history have been played outside of Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. But that’s about to change in the coming years. Never before in history has the ACC Tournament been held outside North Carolina in back-toback years. But in a bold move — consistent with the league’s decisions in recent years to expand throughout the Northeast and into the Midwest — the event will be held outside North Carolina for three consecutive years from 2016 through 2018, before returning in 2019. The upcoming 2016 ACC Tournament is slated to be played at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and the 2017 and 2018 ACC Tournaments are headed to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn before coming back to North Carolina in 2019 (Charlotte) and 2020 (Greensboro). “We are pleased that the ACC Basketball Tournament will be played at Barclays Center in 2017 and 2018,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford at the time of the league’s announcement in the spring of 2014. “Barclays Center has quickly emerged as one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in the world, and Brooklyn is a hot spot within the New York marketplace, which is an important part of our league’s new footprint. This is an outstanding opportunity for our players, coaches, alumni and fans that continue to support the ACC and our 15 member institutions.” It’s a bit of a calculated risk for the ACC to

8

move its featured annual showcase — as well as one of its biggest moneymakers aside of television revenue — outside of North Carolina, where it has consistently been a popular and well-attended event through the decades. But the league has faced some minor criticism in recent years for keeping the lucrative event close to home. Going back to 1990, 21 out of the last 26 ACC Tournaments have been held in either Greensboro or Charlotte — including a run of 11 straight seasons from 1990 to 2000 in which it was hosted in one or the other of those two cities. But with the league’s significant expansion over the past dozen years, it seems to make good sense — both financially and diplomatically — for the league to expand its ACC Tournament footprint, as it has its overall footprint in general. It’s probably a reasonable expectation that a lot more ACC basketball fans will flock to places like Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn to watch the ACC Tournament than St. Petersburg, Florida, where the St. Pete Times Forum — now known as the Amalie Arena — felt as much like a large cave than a basketball facility during the 2007 ACC Tournament. The league hasn’t returned the ACC Tournament to the Sunshine State since 2007. And depending on how things go in the coming years in D.C. and Brooklyn, it may be a long time before Florida returns to consideration. To be fair to Miami and Florida State, both schools would go on to win ACC Tournaments back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 — with Miami’s coming in hostile territory in the Greensboro Coliseum in 2013. But when the ACC Tournament was held in their backyard, there weren’t many Miami and FSU fans — or fans of many of the other schools for that matter — in attendance.

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CARL CLIFFORD

Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center, the host of the 2005 ACC Tournament, will also host the upcoming 2015 ACC Tournament. This will be the fifth ACC Tournament held in the nation’s capital region, as the 1976, 1981, and 1987 events were held in Landover, Maryland. With the recent expansion of Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Louisville, who each have sizable fanbases throughout the Northeast, the ACC is stretching its legs, banking on the idea that supporters of those programs — as well as fans of other league schools in the region — will flock to the Verizon Center and Barclays Center. By heading to Brooklyn, the ACC is looking to tap into the success that the Big East had for so many years in the New York City area with its conference tournament in Madison Square Garden, which became a celebrated March Madness tradition. For its first 13 editions — from 1954 through 1966 — the ACC Tournament was held in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh. In its heyday, Reynolds Coliseum was one of the premier palaces of college basketball in the South. NC State won five ACC Tournament titles on its home court in the Reynolds Coliseum years, including the first three events in 1954, 1955 and 1956. The 1967 ACC Tournament, which was the first to be played away from Raleigh, was also the first to be held in the Greensboro Coliseum. Twenty-six of the next 49 ACC Tournaments were to be played in the same town as league headquarters. The move to Greensboro coincided with North Carolina’s rise to hardwood prominence under

Dean Smith, and the Tar Heels would win the 1967 ACC Tournament, along with five of the next 10 ACC Tournaments held in Greensboro through its 1982 NCAA championship run. The ACC Tournament first moved outside the borders of North Carolina in 1976, when Wally Walker and Virginia upset UNC at the old Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. It returned to Landover in 1981, with Sam Perkins and the Tar Heels proving victorious, and in 1987, when Jim Valvano won his second ACC Tournament crown at NC State. Valvano’s first ACC Tournament title with the Wolfpack, which came in an unforgettable threeday stretch in Atlanta’s Omni in 1983, was the league’s first trip into the Deep South for its annual showcase. Over the years, the ACC Tournament has come to Atlanta a total of six times. Along with NC State’s 1983 title run, the Omni also hosted the first of Bobby Cremins’ three ACC Tournament titles at Georgia Tech in 1985, as well as the memorable UNC-Duke basketbrawl in the 1989 championship game. Duke won a pair of ACC Tournament titles at the Georgia Dome in 2001 and 2009, while Florida State won its only ACC Tournament in Philips Arena in 2012.

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LITTLE NY

Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will host the 2017 and 2018 ACC Tournaments — the first time in history that the league’s signature event is leaving its traditional footprint. Aside from the half-dozen ACC Tournaments held in Atlanta, the 2007 event in Florida and the trio held in Landover, there’s one other venue outside of North Carolina that has previously hosted an ACC Tournament — the same arena that’s hosting the upcoming 2016 event. The Verizon Center previously hosted the ACC Tournament in 2005, back when it was known as the MCI Center. Behind J.J. Redick, the 2005 Blue Devils won the sixth of what would ultimately be seven ACC Tournament crowns in an eight-season span from 1999 to 2006. The Blue Devils won three more ACC Tournaments in a row from 2009 to 2011, but schools from outside North Carolina (Florida State, Miami, Virginia, Notre Dame), have won the last four ACC Tournaments — the first time in history that has happened. Washington, D.C., might have made a little more sense as an ACC Tournament destination when Maryland was still in the league, but it’s still a centrally located area in the league’s new footprint. Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how the league treats the nation’s capital as it explores where to host the ACC Tournament in the future. The upcoming 2016 event will help the league gauge whether Maryland’s departure hurts or helps as far as attendance, but it shouldn’t affect television ratings one way or the other. Brooklyn is an intriguing diversion for the league

10

from its traditional ACC Tournament destinations. No ACC Tournament has ever been held before in the New York City metropolitan area. But from the standpoint of national exposure, it makes a plenty of sense for the ACC to head to Brooklyn. For Syracuse fans, in particular, the announcement that the ACC Tournament was coming to Brooklyn in 2017 and 2018 had to come as welcome news. The Orange, of course, have a massive following throughout New York and surrounding Northeastern states. Combined with the fact that those will be Jim Boeheim’s final two years as head coach, one can expect that Syracuse fans will be out in full force in Brooklyn for the 2017 and 2018 ACC Tournaments. 
 Naturally, there are people who will criticize the league’s decision to pack up the ACC Tournament and head north. But all things considered, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C., are safe destinations for the ACC. They’re located in large metropolitan areas where the ACC is not just relevant, but significant. Unlike Florida — widely considered a football state — Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn are basketball hotbeds. Only time will tell, of course, if the Brooklyn experiment will work out for the ACC. But as the league embraces and adjusts to its new footprint, the northern exposure for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 ACC Tournaments could be the tip of the iceberg as the league assesses its long-term future and seeks other venues in the coming years. ♦

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How will new rules affect the ACC? By Adam Powell College basketball will have a somewhat different look for the 2015-16 season, as the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight panel enacted a series of modifications during the offseason designed to speed up the pace of the college game, while reducing some of its physicality. With multiple ACC teams looking to be in the hunt for a national championship this coming season — as well as many others seeking a rise in the standings — it’s going to be interesting observing how the various programs within the league adjust to the new rules. In recent years, there has been growing discontent with the speed —  or lack thereof — in college basketball, along with the large numbers of contested plays around the basket that often result in defensive blocking fouls or offensive charging fouls. Much of the time, these plays lead to significant physical contact and often contribute to serious injuries. During the offseason, the NCAA addressed both concerns with new legislation. The new rule change that will get the most attention heading into 2015-16 is the NCAA’s decision to lower the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds. It’s been more than 20 years — since before the 1993-94 season — that the NCAA last shortened the length of the shot clock in college basketball. At that time, it went from 45 seconds — its original length when it was instituted in the 1980s — to 35 seconds. Proponents of fast-paced, high-scoring basketball are celebrating the NCAA’s decision to lower the shot clock, suggesting it will increase the amount of field goal attempts, as well as offensive and defensive rebounds, in each game. Supporters contend that a shorter shot clock will dramatically increase the action in college basketball, making it more enjoyable to watch in person and on television. Some say it doesn’t go far enough and would eventually like to see college basketball get closer to the NBA’s 24-second clock.

Among ACC programs, the 30-second shot clock rule could most directly affect Virginia, the ACC’s two-time defending regular-season champion. While the Cavaliers are well-known for their stifling defenses under head coach Tony Bennett, they’ve also become notorious for a plodding, low-scoring offensive game that some detractors around college basketball have criticized. UVa’s situation is not unlike North Carolina’s when the NCAA first instituted a shot clock in the 1980s. It was thought at that time that Dean Smith’s Tar Heels, who were famous for closing out victories in the 1970s and early 1980s with their stalling “Four Corners” offensive set, wouldn’t be able to adjust to the speed and pace of having to get a shot off every 45 seconds for an entire 40 minutes. Many thought a shot clock would spell the end of UNC’s stranglehold on the ACC. And while the Tar Heels were pulled off the throne multiple times in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, it was due more to the squads Mike Krzyzewski, Bobby Cremins and Jim Valvano had built at Duke, Georgia Tech and NC State than the institution of the shot clock, as UNC evolved into one of the nation’s highest-scoring teams under the new rules. Similarly, there are plenty of folks who believe that Virginia will struggle to stay atop the ACC if it’s forced to take shots more quickly on offense and unable to wither down the clock as efficiently as the last two seasons. But there are two sides to every coin, and the advantage for Virginia with the new rules may not be as much on the offensive end as on defense. While Virginia will have to come up with a shot sooner each possession offensively, UVa’s vaunted defense could have a much easier time sticking to their men and holding up the opposition with five fewer seconds on the shot clock. A UVa program that already prides itself on shot-clock violations may wind up getting many more this

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SEAN PAVONE

College basketball’s new shot clock rules will force Virginia to play quicker offensively, but it could greatly benefit the Cavaliers on the defensive end of the floor, as they’ll have five fewer seconds now to have to shut down the opposing team. season and in the future. Another rule change intended to speed up the pace of college basketball is a modification allowing coaches one fewer team timeout that they can carry over to the second half. In the past, coaches could carry as many as four timeouts over to the second half. Now, three will be the limit. By reducing at least one potential second half timeout per team, the NCAA figures it will cut down on the extra numbers of last-minute clock stoppages that are so abundant in close games, particularly in the postseason. Two more timeout-related rule changes being introduced are new stipulations that timeouts cannot be called during live action, as well as a new modification that coaches cannot call timeouts within 30 seconds of designated media timeouts, eliminating the cumbersome “double timeouts” that seemed to sprout up from time to time in recent seasons. The live action timeout nullificaiton is championed by those who compare a live timeout in basketball to calling a timeout during the middle of a football play, or live action during the middle of a baseball game. In the NCAA’s documentation revealing the new rule changes, it also states that officials will be focusing more in the 2015-16 season on resuming play quickly after timeouts. Delay of game warnings will be issued to teams that don’t comply, with

12

one-shot technical fouls to follow for subsequent infractions. There will also be a new focus on making quick substitutions after a player has been disqualified for fouling out. In the past, teams had 20 seconds to replace a player who had fouled out of the game. The new rule allows 15 seconds for such substitutions. Aside of the new shot-clock rule, arguably the other biggest major rule change for 2015-16 is the expansion the restricted-area arc from three feet to four feet — thereby increasing the amount of space with which a secondary defender will be forced to stay outside of in order to attempt to draw an offensive foul. The four-foot restricted-area arc was instituted as an experimental rule in the 2015 postseason NIT, and the number of plays that resulted in a charging call or defensive blocking foul was reduced from 2.77 to 1.96 per game. With Duke’s heavy emphasis on tough defense and attempting to draw opposing charging fouls, many felt the Blue Devils would suffer most when the three-foot restricted area rule was first put into place prior to the 2011-12 season. And while it did take some adjustments at first, the Blue Devils quickly adapted. A couple years later, Duke proved to be one of the nation’s more active defensive squads during its recent 2015 NCAA title run. It will be interesting to see how the new four-foot

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SEAN PAVONE

The NCAA is attempting to cut down flopping this coming season, as the governing body has given officials the authority to penalize players who attempt to fake fouls. In addition, the three-feet arc near the basket for secondary defenders to attempt to draw charging fouls has been expanded to four feet. restricted area affects the way Duke, as well as other ACC schools, play defense around the basket. One suggested rule change that will be interesting to watch this coming season will be the proposed use of video review to determine whether players fake fouls. The NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Rules Committee admits that deceptive fouls are a growing concern in college basketball, and this season they’re going to attempt to cut down on them by giving officials the authority to penalize players who fake fouls. Like so many rules in sports, this particular one will be very much at the discretion of the officials themselves. Like balls and strikes for a baseball umpire, determining whether a player faked or legitimately drew a foul will be something of a judgment call, subject to criticism on both sides. But with so-called “flopping” seemingly on the rise around college basketball, this could be a way for officials to take back some control. One experimental rule that will be interesting to watch during the 2016 postseason NIT is the implementation of a six-foul disqualification. This will be similar to the NBA’s current rules as opposed to the college and high school standard of a five-foul disqualification. Many observers have been calling for the six-foul disqualification in college basketball, and it could very well be the next major rule change to come down the NCAA’s pipeline.

Keep in mind that the six-foul rule won’t be in place during the 2016 NCAA Tournament, or the regular season. ACC schools will not be affected by this proposal for the 2015-16 season unless they reach the postseason NIT. However, the 30-second shot clock and the four-foot restricted-area arc were both experimental rules in the 2015 postseason NIT, and each were deemed successful enough in their implementation to become permanent rules across the college basketball landscape this season. So if the six-foul experiment goes well next spring in the postseason NIT, it may not be long before it also becomes a permanent rule, as well. It appears with these new rule changes and experimental rules that the powers that be in college basketball are trying even more to bring their sport closer — both in style and substance — to the NBA. With a shorter shot clock and rules designed to force more shots with less physical contact around the basket, college basketball is attempting to give fans more action. The ACC, as one of the country’s premier leagues, will be at the forefront of these rule changes. How the various teams around the league adjust to the new rules —  and figures out ways to take advantage of them — is going to be one of the more fascinating storylines in the ACC in the upcoming 2015-16 season. ♦

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The ACC in the NBA Draft 17.3

12.6

17.1

8.5

6.5

5.6

54

41.8

3.0

PPG

PPG

RPG

RPG

BLOCKS JAHLIL OKAFOR PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

3

JUSTISE WINSLOW MIAMI HEAT

16 11.8

6.7

4.0

5.6

63

45.2

59

PPG

19

PPG

RPG

APG

3FG%

JUSTIN ANDERSON DALLAS MAVERICKS

21

STEALS TYUS JONES MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

24

9.3

15.7

17.5

6.9

9.2

9.1

2.1

56.6

78

PPG

PPG

RPG

29

PPG

RPG

BPG

RPG

FG%

MONTREZL HARRELL HOUSTON ROCKETS

32

BLOCKS RAKEEM CHRISTMAS INDIANA PACERS

36

12.5

19.5

8.3

7.4

4.2

4.3

42.3

4.2

5.6

PPG

PPG

RPG

41

PPG

APG

3FG%

14

TERRY ROZIER BOSTON CELTICS

12.2

STEALS

PAT CONNAUGHTON PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS

10

APG

16.5 APG

CHRIS MCCULLOUGH BROOKLYN NETS

RPG

3FG%

PPG

JERIAN GRANT NEW YORK KNICKS

PPG

APG

RPG

OLIVIER HANLAN UTAH JAZZ

42

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RPG

J.P. TOKOTO PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

58

LEFT TO RIGHT: Bob Leverone/AP, David J. Phillip/AP, Seth Wenig/AP, Tony Dejak/AP, Ryan M. Kelly/AP, Karl B DeBlaker/AP, Heather Ainsworth/AP, Seth Wenig/AP, Kevin Rivoli/AP, Mark Duncan/AP, Mary Schwalm/AP, Mark J. Terrill/AP

Twelve ACC players were selected in the 2015 NBA Draft. Where did they end up?


Brick Oettinger

Team-By-Team Top Plays

AT ACC SPORTS JOURNAL For over fifty years Brick Oettinger has been recognized as one of the nation’s top BASKETBALL recruiting experts. His vast experience and backgrounD makes him one of the nation’s most highly regarded voices.

PRINT Every edition of the ACC Sports Journal will feature Brick’s latest analysis and updates as well as stories on basketball recruiting in the ACC and around the nation.

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15


ACC Newcomers By Brick Oettinger

Except for North Carolina’s Tar Heels, whose normally stellar basketball recruiting has been adversely affected by the academic scandal in its African and Afro-American Studies Department, and already loaded Virginia, every Atlantic Coast Conference member will have at least three newcomers on its scholarship roster this coming season. The newcomers category contains freshman recruits, eligible transfers from Division I schools and junior college products. We haven’t included transfers required by NCAA rules to sit out the 2015-16 season. Within the ACC, Duke clearly has landed the best crop of newcomers. In fact, the Blue Devils’ talented aggregation is also the best from a national perspective, edging Kentucky for the top spot.

CLEMSON

DUKE

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-2 Florida graduate point guard transfer Eli Carter has proven he can successfully compete in both the Southeastern Conference and (earlier at Rutgers) the Big Ten.

PRIME NEWCOMER: The Tigers hope that 7-0 FL JC sophomore C transfer Legend Robertin is appropriately named.

PRIME NEWCOMERS: 6-5 OH freshman WG/PG Luke Kennard (whom we rank No. 4 in the class of 2015); 6-10 NV freshman BF/C Chase Jeter (No. 13); 6-9 NC freshman WF Brandon Ingram (No. 17); and 6-1 NV freshman PG Derryck Thornton (No. 21).

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-5 NC freshman WG/PG Jerome Robinson; 6-4 FL freshman WG Matt Milon; 6-9 GA freshman BF John Carlos Reyes (late offers from Clemson and Georgia Tech); 6-7 NH freshman WF/WG A.J. Turner; AZ freshman WG Sammy Barnes-Thompkins; and 6-5 TX freshman WF/WG walk-on Gordon Gehan.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-2 San Francisco junior PG transfer Avry Holmes; 6-1 GA freshman PG Ty Hudson. This program is noted for its sticky defense but still appears middle of the road, at best, in the ACC.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-9 Rice sophomore C/BF transfer Sean Obi; 6-11 FL freshman C Antonio Vrankovic (No. 63); and 6-7 TX freshman WF/BF Justin Robinson. National champion Duke has another elite crop of recruits, including three McDonald’s All-Americans plus a point guard who almost certainly would be the fourth had he not graduated from high school a year earlier than expected. Add in an eligible sophomore transfer who, as a freshman, paced Conference USA in rebounds and was among the leaders in blocked shots, and while the Blue Devils lost a great deal of talent, they still look like a national top-10 team, and possibly even better than that.

The numbers (seven newcomers) are impressive, but is the talent? The Eagles still look like a good bet to finish last (i.e., 15th) in the league.

N.C. STATE

NORTH CAROLINA

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-6 FL freshman WG/WF Maverick Rowan (No. 54).

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-8 NC freshman BF/WF Luke Maye (No. 53).

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-5 CA freshman WG Rex Pflueger (No. 69).

PRIME NEWCOMER: 7-0 FL JC junior C transfer Rozelle Nix.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-4 West Virginia senior WG transfer Terry Henderson; and 6-7 NC freshman WF Shaun Kirk.

OTHER NEWCOMER: 6-4 VA freshman WG Kenny Williams (No. 77).

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-6 NY freshman WF Matt Ryan (No. 75); and 6-8 NJ freshman WF/ BF Elijah Burns.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-4 Coppin State graduate WG transfer Sterling Smith; 6-9 Brown senior C/BF transfer Rafael Maia (from Brazil); 6-9 Richmond senior BF transfer Alonzo Nelson-Ododa; and 6-4 NY freshman WG Damon Wilson.

The persistent Wolfpack struck recruiting paydirt this summer with the commitment of sharp-shooting Maverick Rowan, who turned down his father Ron’s alma mater, St. John’s. When we viewed him in action at the Nike EYBL National Championship in July, we were impressed by his improvement over the past year. Now the Pack needs to corral some more quality big men.

16

BOSTON COLLEGE

Academic problems have resulted in NCAA involvement, which, in turn, has badly hurt UNC’s recruiting. Two good, fundamentally sound players were signed to help fill roster gaps, but neither was a McDonald’s All-American, which UNC is accustomed to securing.

The Fighting Irish have snared a trio of solid players, although we’ll be surprised if any of them become truly outstanding ACC players. The closest may be Californian Rex Pflueger, who does everything well and is better than his fairly limited national reputation.

The Panthers will have the services of three Division I transfers, who aren’t major stars but should contribute both size and experience. The tallest and arguably most promising is JUCO center Rozelle Nix, but we won’t be shocked if two or even three of the others prove to be important role players.


FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

PRIME NEWCOMERS: 6-4 FL JC junior PG/WG transfer Benji Bell; 6-6 VA/FL freshman WF Dwayne Bacon (No. 28); and 6-4 GA freshman WG Malik Beasley (No. 36).

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-1 Virginia Tech graduate PG/WG transfer Adam Smith.

PRIME NEWCOMERS: 6-6 Drexel graduate WF/WG transfer Damion Lee; and 6-2 Cleveland State graduate PG/ WG transfer Trey Lewis.

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-9 Oklahoma State junior BF transfer Kamari Murphy.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-5 NH/NY freshman WG/WF Terance Mann (No. 56); and 7-3 FL freshman C Jean Marc Koumadje. The Seminoles have garnered considerable talent, especially on the perimeter, and we expect them to finish in the top half of the ACC this coming season. Note that combo guard Benji Bell was MVP of the National Junior College tournament and could emerge as one of the best players in the ACC, while wing Dwayne Bacon was a McDonald’s All-American.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-8 Alabama senior BF transfer Nick Jacobs; 6-8 ArkansasLittle Rock senior BF transfer James White; and 6-8 MD freshman C/BF Sylvester Ogbonda. The Yellow Jackets continue to rely heavily on transfers from Division I schools, as two (BF Nick Jacobs and PG/WG Adam Smith) gain eligibility this fall. Regardless, the new faces must perform extremely well for this team to have a realistic chance of finishing above the bottom third of the ACC.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-7 FL freshman WF/BF Deng Adel (No. 52); 6-3 NH freshman WG/PG Donovan Mitchell (No. 65); 6-9 KY freshman BF/C Raymond Spalding; and 5-11 FL freshman PG/WG Ryan McMahon.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-7 FL freshman WF Anthony Lawrence; and 6-10 NC freshman BF/C Ebuka Izundu. The Hurricanes could parlay a strong crop of veterans and lots of size into a berth in the NCAA tournament. Even though the newcomers are relatively unexceptional, by ACC standards.

To counter significant personnel losses, the Cardinals have added six new players, including two Division I transfers with proven ability to post big numbers on the scoreboard. This team should get better and better over the course of the season, and we believe that it will wind up ranked in the national Top 25.

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-6 NJ freshman WF/WG Malachi Richardson (No. 31).

PRIME NEWCOMER: 6-8 NH/ MA freshman BF/C Jarred Reuter.

PRIME NEWCOMER: 7-0 FL/ GA freshman C Doral Moore (No. 42).

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-9 NH freshman BF/WF Tyler Lydon (No. 48); 6-10 NJ freshman C/ BF Moustapha Diagne (No. 62); and 6-4 VA freshman WG Franklin Howard.

OTHER NEWCOMER: 6-5 Tennessee junior WG/PG transfer Darius Thompson.

PRIME NEWCOMERS: 6-1 Maryland junior PG/WG transfer Seth Allen; 7-0 TX JC junior C transfer Johnny Hamilton; and 6-6 VA freshman WF/BF Chris Clarke (No. 64).

The Orange’s program fell off somewhat last season, but the overall talent level this coming season appears improved, at least slightly. Thus we consider the ‘Cuse a solid possibility to make the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Incoming freshman wing Malachi Richardson, a McDonald’s All-American, is an outstanding point-maker who could lead the team in scoring from Day 1.

The deep Wahoos haven’t added a whole lot, but they really didn’t need to this year. It is worth mentioning that the roster for the 2016-17 season already has four verbal commitments from current prep rising seniors, plus an excellent Division I transfer (6-8 junior BF Austin Nichols from Memphis) who will be eligible.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-7 South Florida junior BF transfer Zach LeDay; 6-8 FL freshman BF/C Kerry Blackshear; 6-6 JC junior WF/ WG transfer Ty Outlaw; and 6-1 MD freshman PG Justin Robinson.

OTHER NEWCOMERS: 6-9 FL freshman BF/C John Collins; and 6-2 DC freshman PG/WG Bryant Crawford. Danny Manning has gotten off to a good start in recruiting, and the Deacon program appears to be on an upward track after several down years, especially by Wake’s traditional standards. All three signees possess starting-caliber ability within the ACC, and the two big men are particularly intriguing.

The Hokies are building a solid roster that presently contains a total of seven new players. One of them, scoring guard Seth Allen, has transferred in from Maryland, where he demonstrated a knack for posting big numbers against strong ACC competition. Buzz Williams definitely has his team on the way upward within the league.

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ACC Roundtable With a new year of college basketball approaching, the writers from ACCSports.com sit down to discuss various ACC-related topics. WHO IS YOUR PICK TO WIN THE ACC REGULAR SEASON? TOURNAMENT? MARK CARROLL: I like North Carolina to win an ACC regular season title this season for a lot of the same reasons that I liked Virginia a year ago. Talent is the single most important factor in how much a team can accomplish. Beyond talent, experience and coaching also help. The Tar Heels have a talented and experienced roster with a Hall of Fame coach, so they’re the easy choice here. On the court, it all starts with Marcus Paige. As a junior, Paige played through injuries for much of the season, but by the end of the year, he reminded everyone why he was a first-team All-ACC selection the year before. Outside of Paige, UNC has two of the better big men in the conference in Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks, a former top-10 recruit in Justin Jackson and a promising young point guard in Joel Berry. The roster as a whole is loaded with talent, and it doesn’t hurt that the Tar Heels’ starting lineup will include two seniors and at least one junior. As for the ACC Tournament, I’ll stick with Roy Williams’ team. UNC has reached the ACC title game in four of the last five conference tournaments, and although it lost each time, in only one of those years (2012) did the Heels have as strong of a roster as they will this season. I also wouldn’t sleep on Virginia, but what separates North Carolina and UVa is the fact that the Cavaliers lost more. The departure of Justin Anderson is a greater loss for Virginia than the departure of J.P. Tokoto is for UNC, and I just think there are more answers in Chapel Hill right now. SHAWN KREST: Someone needs to dethrone the champion before I choose against Virginia. Sure, the Cavaliers lost two outstanding players in Justin Anderson and Darion Atkins. More impressive are the players that Virginia returns. Malcolm Brogdon is the level of player who simply does not come back for his senior year anymore. Getting him back is the equivalent of adding one of those one-and-done recruits that Duke and Kentucky build around. Except that Brogdon has three years of experience and knowledge of the league. Getting back Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey are also gifts for Virginia. 6-11 centers also don’t stick around for their senior year very often. The Cavs also add a point guard transfer from Tennessee— Darius Thompson—who will back up London Perrantes. Virginia redshirted a 3-star 6-10 center last season, and Jack Salt will be on

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CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP

The return of sophomore Justin Jackson, along with a veteran nucleus, is going to give UNC a chance to win its seventh ACC regular season title under Roy Williams this season.

“The departure of Justin Anderson is a greater loss for Virginia than the departure of J.P. Tokoto is for UNC, and I just think there are more answers in Chapel Hill right now.” court this year as Tobey’s backup. Take all that talent, and coach Tony Bennett’s suffocating defense, and add the intangible of the veterans having something to prove after an NCAA run that ended too soon last season. I find it hard to envision Virginia dropping too far in the ACC this season. ▶▶▶

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As for the ACC Tournament team to watch, both the Cavs and Tar Heels are loaded with talent. It would be no surprise to see either team hugging in the confetti shower on the court. But again, I’m going to go with the team that has something to prove in the ACC Tournament. Duke has revamped its entire roster from the team that won last season’s national championship. Coach K should have the group of 5-stars blended by the time the postseason rolls around, and he’ll remind them of the fact that Duke has gone four years without an ACC Tourney title. That doesn’t seem very long, but the Blue Devils only had one other stretch that long in the Coach K era and have had only four droughts of four years or more in the history of the program. ADAM POWELL: It’s difficult to go against Virginia as far as the ACC’s regular season. The Cavaliers are the league’s two-time defending regular season champions, and Tony Bennett returns much of the nucleus of the squad that led them to those titles, including All-ACC standout Malcolm Brogdon and others, such as Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey and London Perrantes. UVa has become the team that nobody wants to play, and for good reason. They are efficient, rarely beat themselves and play stifling defense. Over the past two seasons — amidst critics, doubters and outright haters — Virginia posted a 32-4 record in ACC regularseason play to claim the program’s first back-to-back outright league titles in school history. It’s hard to go against Virginia these days. In the ACC Tournament, North Carolina looks like a team that could be tough to handle. UNC combines quality depth with veteran leadership — both of which can be very helpful in a multi-day, single-elimination tournament. UNC proved last year with victories over Louisville and Virginia in Greensboro that this particular group can be a tough challenge in the ACC Tournament. Now they’ll look to get over the hump and win that one additional game that eluded them last March, when they lost to Notre Dame in the title clash. UNC, in fact, has lost in the ACC Tournament championship game in four out of the last five seasons — falling to Duke in 2011, Florida State in 2012, Miami in 2013 and Notre Dame in 2015. Some would say the Tar Heels are due. And with all they’ve got returning, this just might be the year for UNC to get back in the ACC Tournament championship and finally prevail again.

WHICH DARK HORSE ACC TEAM IS MOST LIKELY TO MAKE AN NCAA RUN? MARK CARROLL: I’ll take NC State. In fact, if not for Trevor Lacey’s decision to leave school a year early, the Wolfpack would probably be too good to qualify as a “dark horse.” Looking back at last season, Mark Gottfried’s team took down Duke, Villanova, Louisville and North Carolina, and it had a pair of narrow losses against Virginia and Notre Dame. The Pack proved it could hang with the nation’s best, and most players on the roster already have experience playing in the NCAA Tournament after reaching the Sweet 16 last year. Down the stretch, point guard Cat Barber had a major hand in NC State’s success. His speed off the dribble makes him difficult to defend, and when he’s hitting from long range, he’s one of the

MARK WALLHEISER/AP

Xavier Rathan-Mayes became the first freshman in ACC history to have three 30-point scoring games. Now he’s looking to help the Seminoles make a rise in the league standings.

“The returning experience on this Florida State team — along with the infusion of young talent the Seminoles have coming in — could very well be enough to get this program back into the Big Dance.” more dangerous players in the ACC. Despite the loss of two key players in Lacey and three-point ace Ralston Turner, the team’s backcourt should still be in solid shape now that Terry Henderson will be in the mix after sitting out last season as a trasnfer. Henderson is another player who can hit shots from beyond the arc, as is incoming freshman Maverick Rowan. In the frontcourt, forward Malik Abu is someone I expect to take a significant step forward as a sophomore, and center Beejay Anya could be the top defensive player in the league if he can stay on the floor. With Lennard Freeman and the Martin twins, the team can go at least seven- or eight-deep, so if Barber can stay healthy at the point, there’s a strong chance the Wolfpack can make it to the second week of the Big Dance again this season. There’s no doubt the talent is there with this team, but Gottfried’s squad will need to be more consistent this year. However, if the Pack is playing its best basketball at the end of the year like it was last season, it’s not a team I would want to face.

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ACC ROUNDTABLE

RYAN M. KELLY/AP

Malcolm Brogdon is the only member of the 2015 first-team All-ACC team that has returned to college for the 2015-2016 season. One of the leaders and catalysts of Virginia’s surge to national basketball prominence under Tony Bennett, Brogdon will look to become the first Cavalier since Ralph Sampson in 1982-1983 to be named ACC Player of the Year.

"Malcolm Brogdon should be the clear-cut ACC Player of the Year this season." SHAWN KREST: Miami doesn’t have any household names on its roster, and you know what that means: Coach Jim Larranaga is rubbing his hands together in his lair and chuckling an evil laugh. Larranaga has once again stocked his roster with talent, culled from high schools, JUCOs and other college programs. The Canes will be led by scoring machine Sheldon McClellan and underrated point guard Angel Rodriguez, who will look to revert to his Kansas State days after suffering through a shooting slump last year. Miami has another transfer it’s ready to unleash on an unsuspecting ACC. Kamari Murphy sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State. The power forward averaged 6.1 points and 6.3 rebounds as a sophomore, and he’ll add power and grit to the Miami frontcourt. The Canes also bring back seven-foot senior Tonye Jekiri and 6-10 stretch four Ivan Cruz Uceda. The pair give the Canes size, and Uceda’s inside/outside game complements Jekiri’s low-post power. Jekiri may be the most underrated player in the league. He also will get a year grooming his replacement, 6-10 Ebuka Izundu, whom he helped recruit to Miami.

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Miami also has a roster packed with interchangeable swing men, allowing the team to go big or small, depending on which provides a matchup advantage for Larranaga. Add to that Larranaga’s wizardry from the bench. Like Jekiri, Larranaga is often overshadowed by the big names elsewhere in the league, but he’s proven to be a worthy foe to the Hall of Famers at the top of the league. Miami won’t be favored in the league this year, but they’ll win far more than their share and very quickly establish themselves as the team no one wants to play. Again. ADAM POWELL: Florida State not only brings back much of the personnel from last year’s squad that went 8-10 in ACC play, but they bring in one of the league’s top incoming freshman classes. With ACC Player of the Year candidate Xavier Rathan-Mayes returning as one of the league’s top scorers, along with Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon along the perimeter, the Seminoles have a solid rotation of guards and wings. Add in freshmen Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, and head coach Leonard ▶ ▶ ▶

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ACC ROUNDTABLE

Hamilton should have waves of bodies to throw at opposing teams in the backcourt. Around the basket, FSU will have seven-footers Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo, as well as a variety of capable power forwards. FSU also has Benji Bell coming in — a JUCO sharpshooter who could help the team’s outside shooting numbers. FSU could be in position with their depth to start wearing down teams, especially as they get into the heat of the ACC’s regular season in February and early March. By that time, FSU could be peaking and gelling while other teams are running out of gas. The returning experience on this Florida State team — along with the infusion of young talent the Seminoles have coming in — could very well be enough to get this program back into the Big Dance. And with this team’s combination of post and perimeter depth, they could be a real handful come March.

game to Brogdon’s 14.0. When you take the team’s offense into consideration, Brogdon’s true value starts to shine through. Carolina averaged more than 12 points per game more than Virginia’s offense. That means that Brogdon supplied 21.4 percent of his team’s points, compared to Paige’s 18.1 percent. In other words, Brogdon’s 14.0 points per game would have been the equivalent of 16.6 points in UNC’s offense, while Paige’s 14.1 ppg would be 11.9 in the more deliberate UVa scheme. Brogdon shot better than Paige, from the field and the line. He out-rebounded him and was the keystone for the conference’s best defense. Brogdon would have been a landslide choice for Defensive Player of the Year, but Virginia inexplicably didn’t nominate him for the award. He’ll win it this year, and should also win the overall honors as the league’s best player. Regardless of which player takes home the hardware, the argument will rage throughout the regular season.

WHO IS YOUR ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR?

ADAM POWELL: Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes is the ACC’s top returning scorer, having averaged 14.9 points per game last season for the Seminoles as a freshman. Rathan-Mayes was the first rookie in ACC history to score 30 points three times in a single season, as he scored a career-high 35 points at North Carolina and at Miami, and then tallied 30 points in FSU’s triumph over Clemson in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Rathan-Mayes’ 35 points were the most by a Florida State freshman ever in a single contest, and his 30 points in the ACC Tournament were the most ever by a first-year Seminole player. With more talent around him this season, Rathan-Mayes shouldn’t have quite as much a target on his back as he did late last season, when teams figured out how skilled he was and began placing more emphasis on slowing him down. If Rathan-Mayes can pick up his 3-point shooting from last year’s 28.1 percent clip, there’s no reason to think he can’t be among the league’s top scorers this season and a solid candidate for Player of the Year honors. One of the challenges to his candidacy will be whether or not Florida State plays well enough to earn him top billing. If the Seminoles are around the top of the standings, and RathanMayes is among the league leaders in several categories, there’s no reason to think he can’t win Player of the Year.

MARK CARROLL: Based on the way Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon and North Carolina’s Marcus Paige played two years ago, it’s surprising that neither player has left for the NBA yet. Brogdon had another tremendous season a year ago, and although Paige saw his numbers dip as a junior, he was still clearly the Tar Heels’ best player. Going into the 2015-16 season, I think Brogdon and Paige are the two clear favorites to win ACC Player of the Year. For me, the difference is defensive impact. Paige is one of the most underrated defenders in the conference, but my preseason ACC Player of the Year vote is going to go to Brogdon, whom I thought was the league’s best defensive player last year. As a member of the All-ACC Defensive Team, Brogdon was the top defender on a Virginia team that held its opponents to just 51.5 points per game. His work on that end of the floor was a big reason why UVa held opposing teams under 50 points on 15 different occasions a year ago. For much of last season, Brogdon was also the Cavaliers’ No. 1 scoring threat. Despite playing for a team that likes to slow the tempo, he is the ACC’s No. 5 returning scorer after averaging 14 points per game. Brogdon is reliable as a ball-handler and a free throw shooter, and as he showed against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, he can be a guy who blows up offensively even when opponents know he’s going to be taking the next shot. There’s always the chance that someone on another team could break out this year, but Brogdon seems like the obvious pick to win ACC Player of the Year. SHAWN KREST: Malcolm Brogdon should be the clear-cut ACC Player of the Year this season. That takes nothing away from Marcus Paige. Both can make a case for being the best player in the league, and both teams have an equally strong case for being the ACC’s top squad. Paige’s style of game makes him a strong candidate. He’s more likely to hit the dramatic shots and have the eye-catching performances that catch voters’ eyes. Brogdon, however, is a unique talent. As I said in the question on ACC champions, players like Brogdon simply don’t come back for another year of college these days. He’ll be a man among boys. Paige had a slight edge in scoring last year, 14.1 points per

WHO IS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR? ADAM POWELL: Duke’s Luke Kennard gets the nod for a variety of reasons. Not only is he one of the more dynamic scorers entering college basketball this season, but he won’t have a lot of people playing ahead of him in the Blue Devil backcourt. With Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow departed to the NBA, Kennard will have ample opportunity to showcase his talents and become the next great Duke newcomer. While fellow freshman Brandon Ingram and sophomore Grayson Allen could steal his thunder from time to time, Kennard is a magician with the ball in his hands and should keep Duke fans happy quite a bit with his all-around perimeter skills. If Kennard doesn’t win the honor, it could very well be his teammate Ingram, who arrives at Duke as one of the most improved high school players in America. Everyone knew Ingram could play throughout his prep career in Kinston, North Carolina.

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ACC ROUNDTABLE

But what he’s done over the past year is emerge from a quality college prospect into a player that many feel is now a surefire future pro — a long wing with a collection of tremendous physical and athletic gifts. With Kennard and Ingram along the perimeter, as well as Grayson Allen, Duke should have plenty of firepower away from the basket this season even without Jones, Winslow and Quinn Cook.

WHO IS YOUR CHOICE FOR BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR? MARK CARROLL: With Jerian Grant now in the NBA, I think an enormous opportunity opens up for Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson. While Grant and forward Pat Connaughton received much of the attention — and deservedly so — as the Irish won 32 games and completed one of their best seasons in school history last year, Jackson was, in a way, the forgotten man. The point guard started 38 games for Mike Brey’s team, scoring 12.4 points per game and maintaining one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the conference, and with a couple key players from last season now in the NBA, he’ll be one of the focal points for Notre Dame as a junior. While Jackson wasn’t Notre Dame’s first option on offense during his sophomore year, he still had his moments. His 20 points against Wichita State helped power Brey’s team past the Shockers, propelling them to the Elite Eight. Other memorable games included a 21-point, five-rebound performance at Louisville and a 22-point outing in an overtime win over Michigan State. His 59 steals from last season were 17 more than any other returning Irish player. Jackson will be counted on as a leader moving forward, but he already seems to be moving in the right direction. In the offseason, he participated in Stephen Curry’s SC30 Select basketball camp and came away with a leadership award. While he won’t be playing with Grant or Connaughton, a few other talented players will be stepping into bigger roles for Notre Dame this season. The pieces are there for Jackson to take a major leap forward. SHAWN KREST: When I think of breakout player of the year, I think of someone who is a dominant defensive player and still manages to come close to averaging a double-double on offense. Except my vote for this year’s breakout player is the guy who did that last season. Miami’s Tonye Jekiri is best known as a defensive specialist. He was second runner-up for the DPOY award last season. But he averaged 9.9 rebounds to lead the conference and added more than eight points per game. Despite the impressive accomplishments, Jekiri always seems overshadowed by several other players, both in the league and on his own team. This should be the year that the seven-footer is able to seize the spotlight for himself. With Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez keeping defenses honest from the outside, the senior big man will be able to stake his claim in the paint. He’ll also have Kamari Murphy providing support in the post. Barring an injury or slump, Jekiri will average double figures in points and rebounds and stands a good chance of leading the ACC on the boards again this year. Jekiri spent his offseason on campus, honing his game, and he’ll have a big man to practice against this year, in 6-10 freshman

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DAVID RICHARD/AP

With Jerian Grant departed from the Notre Dame roster, Demetrius Jackson is going to have a chance to step up in a big way for the Fighting Irish. Ebuka Izundu, which should help keep him sharp and ready for the clashes in the paint during ACC season. Unlike many breakout players, Jekiri wouldn’t be coming out of nowhere. He’s an established top-flight ACC player, but he could be on the verge of a quantum leap. ADAM POWELL: Damion Lee arrived at Louisville after a stellar three-season run at Drexel, and it shouldn’t take too long before fans throughout the ACC will be very familiar with this graduate transfer. Lee was one of the nation’s top 10 scorers last season, averaging over 20 points per game with the Dragons. Now he finds himself in position to catapult into the conversation for All-ACC honors or even ACC Player of the Year honors in his lone season of eligibility with the Cardinals. Lee had scoring outputs of 36 points, 29 points and 28 points in three different games during Louisville’s mid-August Puerto Rico tour. With those types of scoring numbers, Lee is unquestionably going to be relied upon heavily by Rick Pitino this season. With much of Louisville’s scoring and rebounding gone from a year ago, the sky is the limit as far as how Lee can help the youthful Cardinals. If he shoots the ball as well this season as he did at times in Puerto Rico — and throughout his career at Drexel — Lee could turn out to be one of the ACC’s top scorers.

WHICH TEAM IS MOST LIKELY TO PLAY ITS COACH ONTO THE HOT SEAT THIS YEAR? ADAM POWELL: Clemson needs to show some improvement this season in Brad Brownell’s sixth year with the Tigers, or his seat could certainly start warming up. After going 22-12 in his first season in 2010-11 and reaching the second round of the NCAA

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ACC ROUNDTABLE

Tournament, the Tigers failed to return to the Big Dance in each of the next four seasons. The Tigers have not recruited at a very high level under Brownell, and have therefore struggled to collect the type of talent necessary to get to the top of the ACC standings and stay there. The Tigers have consistently been average under Brownell — posting four out of five seasons with a range of eight to ten victories in ACC play. The only truly bad season they’ve had under Brownell was 2012-13, when the Tigers finished 13-18 and 5-13 in league competition. Clemson reached the semifinals of the NIT and finished 23-13 in 2013-14, but underachieved last season with a 16-15 overall record and 8-10 mark in ACC play, failing to reach the postseason. If the Tigers don’t return to the postseason this year, Brownell could very well be coaching for his job in 201617.

YOU’RE DUKE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR KEVIN WHITE. WHO DO YOU HIRE TO REPLACE COACH K, AND WHEN? MARK CARROLL: I’ll answer the second question first. If I’m Kevin White, I’m holding onto Mike Krzyzewski for as long as I can if Duke recruiting continues to soar the way it has in recent years. The Blue Devils are on a different level than every other program in the ACC when it comes to landing the nation’s top prospects, so as long as my head coach is healthy and willing to come back, I’m not going to fix something that isn’t broken. Coach K is 68 years old, but I don’t think he’s lying when he says he still feels energized. At the same time, you can’t expect the Hall of Famer to stick around for more than five more years, so I’ll operate under the assumption that he’ll voluntarily step away from coaching between now and the 2020-21 season. Whenever Krzyzewski retires, he’ll likely be able to hand-pick his successor. If I’m compiling my own list of candidates, I have a couple guys in mind. Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was a popular name back when he was at Butler, but that would be an expensive hire to make a few years down the road. My favorite option is former Duke player and assistant Johnny Dawkins, who would be an excellent fit for a variety of reasons. Dawkins will have around a decade’s worth of head coaching experience by the time Coach K retires, and as the current head coach at Stanford, which is another private, academically prestigious university, he might be the most realistic candidate to take over in Durham. While Dawkins’ teams at Stanford have only reached the NCAA Tournament once, the Cardinal have won the NIT twice in the last four seasons. If he can make it to the Big Dance a couple more times in the next few years, I really like him as the guy to succeed Krzyzewski. SHAWN KREST: If I’m Kevin White, I’m extremely happy, because I already have Coach K’s successor under contract. When the coaching legend decides it’s time to step down, the reigns will pass smoothly to his current number one assistant—Jeff Capel. Capel is a former Duke player with head coaching experience in a Power 5 conference. He’s also one of the key components to the historic recruiting run Duke has embarked upon in recent years. While Duke and Coach K have enough tradition and accomplishment to easily capture the attention of any 5-star

CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP

The question as to who will someday replace Mike Krzyzewski as Duke’s head coach has been an intriguing conversation that has crept up around the ACC in recent years.

“Dawkins will have around a decade’s worth of head coaching experience by the time Coach K retires.” high school prospect, Capel has been the closer, able to build and maintain relationships with players and bring them to Durham. By the time K has decided he’s had enough, and, as Kevin White, I’m letting him call his shot, Capel will be ready to step in and keep the train moving in the same direction. Despite that, I suspect that if I found myself in the Duke A.D. office, I’d probably be an evil Kevin White. Even though I have the succession plan all mapped out, with the stamp of approval from everyone involved, I’d probably still make a call to South Bend, to see if Mike Brey, another former Duke assistant who is widely accomplished as a head coach, was interested in returning to Durham. Brey has shown he can compete and win in the ACC, both on the court and on the recruiting trail. He’s used to recruiting at a school with strict academic requirements, and bringing him on board would remove an opposing coach who has quickly established himself as a thorn in Duke’s side. So I might have my people get in touch with his handlers, to float a trial balloon and gauge his interest. Just in case.

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GAME OF Recruiting Runs BY SHAWN KREST

Email skrest@curtismedia.com

Coach Mike Krzyzewski stood, stone faced, at the back of the gym, between games at the 2015 Peach Jam. On one side, assistant Jon Scheyer struggled to keep a poker face, as he mumbled something to his boss. On K’s other side, assistant Jeff Capel texted on his phone. Down at courtside, small forward Jayson Tatum wore an ESPN headset and held up a Duke t-shirt, while the announcers asked the consensus top-four prospect in the class of 2016 why he’d just chosen the Blue Devils. In a locker room nearby, No. 1 overall 2016 recruit Harry Giles fought back tears, after his team had just lost to Tatum’s on a buzzer beater. There’s a very good chance that Giles will hold up a similar dark blue Duke shirt later in the year, when his college announcement takes center stage. Somewhere, Michael Porter and Wendell Carter, top-five talents in the class of 2017, were likely watching. They’re both seriously considering a Duke commitment as well. Duke is in the midst of a recruiting hot streak that most programs dream about. Tatum gives the Devils a top-four recruit (using 247Sports Composite Rankings) in each of the last four years—prior to Tatum, there was Brandon Ingram (No. 3 in ‘15), Jahlil Okafor (No. 1 in ‘14) and Jabari Parker (No. 4 in ‘13). Throw in Austin Rivers (No. 2 in ‘11) and Kyrie Irving (No. 2 in ‘10), and Duke has six top-four recruits in seven years. The tidal wave of recruiting success shows no signs of ebbing in the near future and has led to speculation on its historical standing. Is this the best recruiting run ever? While Duke’s run is impressive, it’s arguably not even the best current recruiting streak. Kentucky has seven top-five recruits in the last seven years and eight in the last eight years. The Wildcats have landed the top recruit in the nation twice over that span and pulled in a pair of top-fives in two seasons. Most recently, Kentucky added a 2016 pledge from former Virginia commitment Sacha Killeya-Jones. Kentucky coach John Calipari’s true recruiting strength lies in the depth of his classes. Expanding the scope to top-10 recruits demonstrates Calipari’s

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dominance. Kentucky pulls away from the rest of college basketball, with twice as many top-10s as anyone else in the last decade. Over the last 10 years, nearly one in five top-10 players have signed with Kentucky — a truly mind-boggling statistic. Within the ACC, however, Duke is as far ahead of the competition as Kentucky is on a national level. UNC is the only other ACC team to sign multiple 5-star recruits in recent years. The Tar Heels have pulled two top-five recruits (Harrison Barnes and John Henson) and five top-10s in the last decade. After the Tar Heels, the recruiting talent level has another precipitous dropoff. The rest of the current ACC programs combined to land three top-five recruits in the last 10 years. Pitt (Steven Adams, 2012) and Louisville (Samardo Samuels, 2008) did it before joining the league. The only ACC program, other than Duke and Carolina, to sign a top-five as a member of the league was none other than Georgia Tech, which landed Derrick Favors in 2009. Looking at top-10 players, the ACC shows up a little more often, although probably not as much as one might expect of the nation’s top basketball conference. Florida State has a commitment from class of 2016 recruit Jonathan Isaac. Prior to that, it’s a long time before uncovering other ACC programs in the top 10. Prior to joining the league, Syracuse had Donté Greene (No. 9 overall in 2007). In the league, C.J. Leslie (NC State) was No. 10 overall in 2010. Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest) was No. 10 in 2008. Going back in history, there may not be any runs that compare to Duke’s current streak, but several programs brought in a series of impressive classes. Everett Case, Frank McGuire and Vic Bubas set the tone for the ACC’s out-of-region basketball recruiting in the league’s early days by relying heavily

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on Midwestern and Northeastern talents in the 1950s and 1960s. North Carolina’s 1982 team was preceded by a series of recruiting wins. The Heels landed Jimmy Black in 1978, James Worthy and Jim Braddock in 1979, Sam Perkins and Matt Doherty in 1980 and Michael Jordan and Buzz Peterson in 1981. Duke’s Final Four run in 1978 was set up by landing Jim Spanarkel, Mike Gminski and Gene Banks in the mid-70s. Georgia Tech had a couple of impressive runs. A 1982 class that included Mark Price and John Salley helped jump-start the Bobby Cremins era in Atlanta. He added Bruce Dalrymple, Duane Ferrell and Tom Hammonds in the next three years, giving the Yellow Jackets four straight ACC Rookies of the Year. The Jackets kept rolling with Dennis Scott in 1987, an impressive Kenny Anderson/Malcolm Mackey class in 1989, Travis Best/James Forrest in 1991, and Martice Moore/Drew Barry in 1992. That run culminated with Stephon Marbury in 1995, although an argument could be made that 1997’s Dion Glover/Alvin Jones/Travis Spivey class should also be included. The Tar Heels were at it again in the earlyto-mid 1990s. The run started with the super 1990 class of Eric Montross, Derrick Phelps, Brian Reese, Pat Sullivan and Clifford Rozier, five top recruits that preceded Michigan’s Fab Five by a year. That group formed the nucleus of the 1993 UNC national championship team, which Dean Smith celebrated by adding Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace later that year. Two years later, the Heels brought in Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter, followed by Ed Cota a year after that, as Smith set the table to make sure his handpicked successor inherited a top team. Duke jump-started the Mike Krzyzewski era with a 1982 recruiting class that included Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins, Jay Bilas and David Henderson. The Devils added Tommy Amaker, Billy King and Danny Ferry in successive years. After “off years” on the 1986 and 1987 recruiting trail, in which the Blue Devils only brought in starters Alaa Abdelnaby and Robert Brickey, Coach K added Christian Laettner in 1988, Bobby Hurley in 1989 and Grant Hill in 1990. Most of the historic recruiting runs in the ACC culminated in Final Fours. Several produced national titles. Duke’s current run has already resulted in one NCAA Championship. It remains to be seen what other dividends it produces. ♦

How NCAA teams have fared in recruiting Top-10 talent over the last ten years Top-5 Recruit (0-5 Years)

Top-10 Recruit (0-5 Years)

Top-5 Recruit (6-10 years)

Top-10 Recruit (6-10 years)

KENTUCKY DUKE KANSAS ARIZONA UCLA CAL BAYLOR LSU PITTSBURGH FLORIDA NORTH CAROLINA TEXAS MISSISSIPPI STATE OKLAHOMA STATE FLORIDA STATE MARYLAND UNLV MEMPHIS OHIO STATE INDIANA USC GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE KANSAS STATE GEORGETOWN NC STATE CINCINNATI OKLAHOMA WAKE FOREST SYRACUSE

25


VIRGINIA

CAVALIERS

“It’s exciting to see the momentum and the excitement in the community and the appreciation for what has been done.”

Head Coach Tony Bennett 26

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

Virginia entered the 2014-15 season as the media’s pick to finish fourth in the ACC. The Cavaliers got off to a fantastic start, winning their first 19 games, including a 7-0 start in ACC play. A broken finger and an appendectomy kept star Justin Anderson out for eight contests in the second half of the season, but UVa still brought home its second straight ACC regular-season title. Anderson returned, but the Wahoos were ultimately ousted by Michigan State in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.

Tony Bennett’s squad will likely be a top-10 preseason team — maybe even top-five — again this year, and it will be tested several times before ACC play begins. Four seniors will be in the rotation, including ACC Player of the Year candidate Malcolm Brogdon. The Cavaliers will be the top team in the conference defensively, but they’ll need to find someone who can replace the offensive production of the departed Justin Anderson. Regardless, this is one of the three or four best teams in the conference.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

With West Virginia, California and Villanova on the docket for non-conference play, Virginia will have several opportunities to pick up a quality win early in the season. The Wahoos will be challenged on a regular basis once the ACC slate starts up, but two contests stand out the most. UVa will host UNC for its lone regular-season matchup with the Tar Heels, and the winner could have the inside track at finishing first in the league. A road trip to Duke could also have an impact on the top of the standings.

Despite posting back-to-back 30-win campaigns, Virginia lost in the Sweet 16 two seasons ago and the Round of 32 last season. With Brogdon back, along with a solid group of seniors, experience should be on the Cavaliers’ side in this year’s tournament. Barring injuries, UVa is going to make the NCAA Tournament. The question is how far it will go. Matchups will be an important factor, and the team can’t afford to go cold offensively like it did against Michigan State last March.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Not only is this an experienced group, but it has a clear leader in Brogdon. The Atlanta native is the ACC’s top defensive player, and he’s also UVa’s best scorer. Bennett’s team knows its identity, and that’s a major reason why it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wahoos get off to a hot start again. Another intangible working in UVa’s favor is the fact that it only has to play Duke and UNC once each. Once March arrives, this group will be motivated to make a run in the Big Dance after falling short the past two years.

One of the greatest challenges the Wahoos will face is replacing two impact starters. Anderson, who left school a year early for the NBA, was an outstanding three-point shooter, hitting 45.2 percent of his attempts from long range. His 12.2 points per game were second-best on the team. Darion Atkins is also gone after graduating, meaning UVa will be without its best defensive big man from a season ago. In addition to Anderson and Atkins, UVa lost guard B.J. Stith. who transferred to Old Dominion.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

If Marial Shayok can make a sophomore leap and Mike Tobey can fill the void left in the frontcourt by Atkins, then Virginia could be in position to three-peat as ACC regularseason champions. The conference schedule could be a lot more difficult, and 16 or 17 league wins could be attainable if the Cavaliers beat Duke and/or North Carolina. NCAA Tournament success will be most important, though, and with a few favorable matchups, this is a team that could compete for a national title.

Because Anderson and Atkins were capable players, Bennett’s squad wasn’t crippled by the losses of Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell two years ago. If no one steps up this season, the Cavaliers could take a step back. North Carolina, Duke, Notre Dame, Miami and NC State will all have talented rosters this season, as will Florida State and Louisville. If UVa falls out of the top third of the league, it likely won’t make it past the first weekend of the Big Dance.

www.accsports.com

27


POSITION-BY-POSITION SHOOTING GUARD

Evan Nolte q

SMALL FORWARD

The Cavaliers bring back arguably the best player in the conference in shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon. As a junior, Brogdon was a first-team All-ACC selection and a member of the All-ACC Defensive Team. He’s led UVa in scoring each of the last two years and should be the team’s top offensive player again this season. Sophomore Marial Shayok will see a lot of minutes, and it’s possible that he will also see time at small forward.

POWER FORWARD Anthony Gill returns as a thirdyear starter in the frontcourt. Gill was a third-team All-ACC honoree last season and has been the program’s top offensive big man for the last two years. Coming off the bench, senior Evan Nolte and sophomore Isaiah Wilkins are candidates to see time at forward. True freshman Jarred Reuter will see limited action, and Austin Nichols will sit out the season after transferring in from Memphis.

There’s no shortage of talent on the UVa roster, but Brogdon easily has the most well-rounded game on the team. The senior can shoot, put the ball on the floor and defend multiple positions. Brogdon isn’t the type of player who needs to blow up the box score to have a great game. That said, he’s often a key part of the offense and has the ability to knock down a three-pointer or take it to the rim. He’s also an excellent free-throw shooter.

28

With junior London Perrantes returning at the point, Virginia is in solid shape. A pass-first point guard, Perrantes has been a starter since his freshman season. The team also has depth at the position, with Devon Hall contributing quality minutes off the bench and former Tennessee point guard Darius Thompson entering the mix after sitting out as a transfer during the 2014-15 campaign. Point guard is not a major concern for the Cavaliers.

CENTER

p Malcolm Brogdon

The departure of Justin Anderson leaves some questions along the wing, but Tony Bennett and his staff can address that issue in a couple ways. Nolte, who filled in at small forward while Anderson was injured last season, will most likely step in as a starter. Another option is to play Shayok, who showed promise at times as a freshman. Neither player will perform at the same level as Anderson, but both guys can be legitimate ACC starters.

MR. VERSATILITY

POINT GUARD

Center Mike Tobey was a part of the UVa rotation in each of his first three seasons. But with Darion Atkins now gone, Tobey could see the most minutes of his career. Tobey logged 11 starts last year for UVa, but was still third on the team in rebounding and second in blocks. At the very least, he’ll provide experience for a Virginia frontcourt that makes life difficult for its opponents. Behind him, redshirt freshman Jack Salt will provide depth.

BENCH

NEW FACES

Virginia’s rotation could end up being anywhere from 7-9 players deep. The most probable starting lineup will be Perrantes, Brogdon, Nolte, Gill and Tobey. In that case, Shayok would likely be the first player off the bench, while Wilkins could also see an increase in minutes. Hall and Thompson will compete for time at backup point guard. The rotation will be solid, but depth could become an issue if Brogdon or Shayok goes down with injury.

Newcomers for UVa include a freshman and a transfer. Brewster Academy product Jarred Reuter was the lone signee in UVa’s 2015 recruiting class. While he can defend and rebound, it’ll likely be a year or two before he sees significant minutes. This summer, the Cavaliers also brought in Memphis transfer Austin Nichols. A former 5-star recruit, Nichols will have to sit out this year as a transfer.

www.accsports.com

p Mike Tobey


10-Year ACC History Over the last two seasons, Virginia has established itself as one of the heavyweights in the ACC basketball world. While the Cavaliers are now one of the most dangerous teams in the league, coming off of two straight ACC regular-season titles, they haven’t always been among the most

2006

PREVIOUS SPREAD: RYAN M. KELLY/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: RYAN M. KELLY/AP (NOLTE), NICK LISI/AP (BROGDON), DON PETERSEN/AP (TOBEY)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

feared teams in the conference. In fact, over the last 10 years, UVa has a winning record over only eight of the league’s other 14 current members in ACC play. Even if Tony Bennett’s team took down Duke and North Carolina three times each next season, the Wahoos still wouldn’t have a

10-year winning record against either the Blue Devils or the Tar Heels. That said, the UVa program is in much better shape now than it has been at any time in the last two decades. Going into this season, the Cavaliers are in position to finish with 11 or more ACC wins for the fifth straight year.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

W W L W W W W

L L L L L L W -

L W -

W W W W W W

L W L L L W L

L -

W L L L L W L -

W L L W L L L

L -

L W L L L W L

L L L W L L L -

L -

L L W W W L L

L L L W W L L

W L -

L W L W L W W -

L L L W L W L

L -

W W L W L L W

L L L W L W W -

L -

W W W W W W W W -

L L L L L L W L

L -

W W W W W W W W

W L W W W W W W -

W W W -

W L W W W W W W W

W L W W W W W W W

W L -

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

8-7

8-6

3-11

7-10

10-4

1-1

6-7

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

5-11

9-6

3-0

3-0

2-0

15-6

6-7

HOME GAMES

56.6% 69.9% FG 51-22

UVa has won nearly 70 percent of its ACC home games in the last decade. The Cavaliers lost just once last season in John Paul Jones Arena, to eventual national champion Duke.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 39.2% FG 29-45

Over half of UVa’s road wins over current league members in ACC play have come in the last two seasons. They were nearly winless away from home in the 201213 season.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 40.0% FG 6-9

The Cavaliers have won the ACC Tournament once in the last 10 years. Six different teams have won the tournament in that time, but only two have won it more than once in that period.

29


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Malcolm

Brogdon #15 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 215 lbs HOMETOWN: Atlanta, GA Brogdon is the only player in the conference to receive firstor second-team All-ACC honors in each of the last two seasons. He was the fourth-highest votegetter last year.

Entering his fifth year as a member of Virginia’s basketball team, Brogdon has been around for a while. He was a valuable contributor for the Cavaliers as a freshman during the 2011-12 season. But at the end of his rookie year he broke his foot, and the injury kept him sidelined during UVa’s 2012-13 campaign. After taking a redshirt, Brogdon established himself as the team’s best player the following year and

also kept his word after the season and returned to Charlottesville. Brogdon was a crucial component of UVa’s back-to-back ACC regular season championships, as well as the 2014 ACC Tournament title. One thing missing from his résumé, however, is a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Brogdon will have one more shot at accomplishing that feat, and he enters his final season at Virginia with a solid supporting cast and plenty of motivation.

14.0 Points Per Game

APG

2.4 Assists Per Game

The Atlanta product’s 81 assists were the second-most on the team behind point guard London Perrantes. Justin Anderson had the third-highest total with 45.

RPG

3.9 Rebounds Per Game

Free Throw Percentage

With 134 boards last season, Brogdon’s rebounding numbers were respectable for a Virginia shooting guard. He had the fourthhighest total of all Cavalier players.

t The 6-5 guard has the highest free throw percentage of any returning ACC player. As a junior, he knocked down 116 of his 132 attempts from the charity stripe. Brogdon attempted 130 more shots than any other player on his team last year. The ball is often in his hands when Virginia is in need of a big shot. u

www.accsports.com

374 ATTEMPTS

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): RYAN M. KELLY/AP, STEVE HELBER/AP, RYAN M. KELLY/AP; BOTTOM: RYAN M. KELLY/AP

PPG

Brogdon’s 14.0 points per game as a junior was an improvement from his team-high 12.7 points per game in 2013-2014. He should once again be UVa’s top scorer as a senior.

87.9% FT

30

helped lead the Wahoos to ACC regular-season and tournament titles. Before last season even tipped off, Brogdon stated he would not be leaving school early. Along with wing Justin Anderson, he lit up opposing teams on the way to a 19-0 start, and he was leaned on even more by the Cavaliers when Anderson missed time with a broken finger. As a junior, he landed on the All-ACC first team, and he


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Anthony

GILL #13 FORWARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-8 WEIGHT: 230 lbs HOMETOWN: High Point, NC

Gill, who played his first year at South Carolina, is one of three players on Virginia’s roster who began their college careers at other schools. He has started 36 games in a Cavalier uniform.

Beginning his career at South Carolina, Gill made an impact right away at the college level. As a freshman with the Gamecocks, he started 26 games and was in position to be a four-year starter in Columbia. After Frank Martin replaced Darrin Horn as South Carolina’s head coach, however, Gill decided to make a change and transferred to Virginia. After sitting out the 2012-13 season as a transfer, Gill became a

key contributor for the Cavaliers. Playing behind Akil Mitchell, he only started six games as a sophomore, but he made his mark as the top scorer in the team’s frontcourt. Once Mitchell graduated, Gill stepped into a greater role, starting 30 of UVa’s 34 games last season. His 19 points and six rebounds against Wake Forest in Charlottesville helped the Cavaliers escape with a one-point victory, and he set career highs in

points (25) and rebounds (13) in a non-conference win over Davidson. Joined by senior center Mike Tobey, Gill will be a part of an experienced frontcourt in his final year at Virginia. A third-team AllACC selection from last season, he is one of the league’s four players who are back after receiving all-conference honors last year. If the power forward plays to his potential, he could haul in firstteam honors as a senior.

11.6 Points Per Game

RPG

6.5

Gill pulled down a team-high 6.5 boards per game for the Cavaliers last season. That’s the ninth-highest average of all returning ACC players.

Rebounds Per Game

STEALS

29

Playing on a defense-first team, Gill tallied 29 steals last year — a high total for a power forward. No other UVa player had as many steals.

Gill was second for UVa in shot attempts last year, and shot u the highest percentage. Mike Tobey had the second-best field goal percentage, hitting 51.4 percent of his shots.

102

t OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS. The forward was a monster on the offensive boards, pulling down 3.0 offensive rebounds per game. Only three returning ACC players were better in that category.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): RYAN M. KELLY/AP, CHUCK BURTON/AP, DON PETERSEN/AP ; BOTTOM: MARY SCHWALM/AP

PPG

Gill’s 11.6 points per game led all Virginia big men last season. As a junior, he was one of only three Cavalier players to average double figures in scoring.

58.2% FG Field Goal Percentage

31


PLAYERS TO WATCH

London

Perrantes Perrantes is typically a passfirst point guard, but he can score when he needs to. All seven of his double-figure scoring games last season were against ACC opponents.

year, he finished fourth in the ACC with 4.7 assists per game. Perrantes enters his junior year as an All-ACC candidate. As a player who can get the job on offense and also make an impact as a defender, he’ll be running the point for a Virginia team searching for its third straight ACC regular-season title. With Justin Anderson now in the NBA, Perrantes may take on a larger role as a scorer, but he’ll still do most of his work as a passer.

6.4 Points Per Game

APG

4.6 Assists Per Game

The Los Angeles native was first on Virginia’s team and fourth in the ACC in assists per game with 4.6. He’s established himself as one of the league’s best passers.

Free Throw Percentage

STEALS

t Perrantes only attempted 54 free throws as a sophomore, but he had the third-highest free throw percentage of all Cavalier players at 77.8 percent. Pitt’s James Robinson and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant were the only players in the ACC to post a better assist-to-turnover ratio last season. u

49

148

AST/TO

3.02

Assist To Turnover Ratio

25

www.accsports.com

The junior is one of the better defensive point guards in the ACC. His 25 steals last year made for the third-highest total on the team.

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): RYAN M. KELLY/AP, MARY SHWALM/AP, ANDREW SHURTLEFF/AP; BOTTOM: RYAN M. KELLY/AP

PPG

Perrantes was sixth on the team last season with 6.4 points per game. He could improve his field goal percentage after hitting only 35.4 percent of his shots.

77.8% FT

32

history for a freshman. As a result of an off-court incident, Perrantes was suspended for the first contest of his sophomore year, but he picked up right where he left off in the second game against James Madison, totaling seven points and four assists to no turnovers. By no means was he Virginia’s best shooter, but Perrantes showed at Miami and UNC that he could contribute scoring when needed. In his second

ASSISTS

HEIGHT: 6-2 WEIGHT: 191 lbs HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA

Perrantes’ time in Charlottesville has corresponded with Virginia’s most successful basketball run since the early 1980s. The Los Angeles product had a tremendous freshman season, earning All-ACC Freshman Team honors, and he didn’t do so by scoring in double figures every game. Perrantes was an efficient player, posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.47. His 140 assists in the 2013-14 season ranked second-best in Virginia

TURNOVERS

#32 GUARD JUNIOR


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

DATE

vs. Morgan State @ George Washington

Friday, November 13

vs. Bradley (in Charleston)

Thursday, November 19

vs. TBA (in Charleston)

Friday, November 20

vs. TBA (in Charleston)

Sunday, November 22

vs. Lehigh

Wednesday, November 25

@

Ohio State

Tuesday, December 1

vs. William & Mary

Saturday, December 5

vs. West Virginia (in New York)

Monday, November 16

TIME

TV

7:30 PM

ESPN2

LAST MEETING 2012

W

75-57

2004

W

79-66

2008

L

96-85

1973

W

87-60

7:30 PM

ESPN

1981

W

89-73

2010

W

76-52

Tuesday, December 8

7:00 PM

ESPN

1985

W

56-55

vs. Villanova

Saturday, December 19

12:00 PM

ESPN2

2004

L

73-63

vs. California

Tuesday, December 22

9:00 PM

ESPN2

FIRST MEETING

vs. Oakland

Wednesday, December 30

6:00 PM

ESPNU

FIRST MEETING

vs. Notre Dame

Saturday, January 2

5:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

62-56

@

Virginia Tech

Monday, January 4

9:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

69-57

@

Georgia Tech

Saturday, January 9

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

57-28

vs. Miami

Tuesday, January 12

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

89-80 (2 OT)

@

Sunday, January 17

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

58-44

Florida State

vs. Clemson

Tuesday, January 19

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

65-42

vs. Syracuse

Saturday, January 23

12:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

59-47

@

Wake Forest

Monday, January 25

9:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

70-34

@

Louisville

Saturday, January 30

1:00 PM

CBS

2015

L

59-57

vs. Boston College

Wednesday, February 3

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

66-51

@

61-49

Pittsburgh

Saturday, February 6

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

vs. Virginia Tech

Tuesday, February 9

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

69-57

@

Saturday, February 13

4:00/9:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

69-63

vs. NC State

Monday, February 15

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

51-47

@

Monday, February 22

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

89-80 (2 OT)

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

71-67

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

65-42

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

59-57

Miami

vs. North Carolina

Saturday, February 27

@

Tuesday, March 1

Clemson

vs. Louisville

V

Non-Conference Test

irginia faces one of the more difficult non-conference slates in the ACC this season, but no challenge will be greater than the Cavaliers’ home matchup against Villanova on Dec. 19. The Wildcats like to keep the score high, while Tony Bennett’s team is a more defense-oriented group. Both teams finished in the nation’s top 10 last year, and they’ll both enter the 2015-16 season as Final Four contenders. This contest won’t make or break UVa’s season by any means, but it’s certainly an opportunity to pick up a big win before conference play.

Saturday, March 5

MEASURING STICK GAME

W

ith a talented veteran roster, North Carolina is the team most likely to step in the way of Virginia finishing first in the ACC standings for the third straight year. The two programs will meet just once this season, in Charlottesville on Feb. 27. The Tar Heels return one of the league’s top players in guard Marcus Paige, as well as wing Justin Jackson, who scored 22 points against the Cavaliers in UNC’s win over UVa in the ACC Tournament. Whoever wins this game could have the inside track for an ACC regularseason championship.

D RYAN M. KELLY/AP

Duke

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

uring a season in which UVa finished 16-2 and claimed its second consecutive ACC regular-season title, there was only one ACC team that the Cavaliers didn’t defeat. Duke won its only game against UVa last year — a 6963 triumph in Charlottesville — and will host the Wahoos in Durham Feb. 13. The Devils graduated Quinn Cook and sent Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones to the NBA, but they’ll still be challenging this season, as they return Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson and bring in one of the nation’s top freshman classes.

33


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Virginia has reached the NCAA tournament only four times in the last 10 years, but three of those trips were in the last four seasons. The Cavaliers were a No. 1 seed in 2014 and a No. 2 seed in 2015. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

15-15

7-9

T-7th

11-3

2-11

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 2-1

1-1

0-1

NIT

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish First Round

2007

21-11

11-5

T-1st

16-1

3-6

2-4

0-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2008

17-16

5-11

10th

13-7

4-7

0-2

0-1

---

---

---

2009

10-18

4-12

11th

9-8

1-9

0-1

0-1

---

---

---

2010

15-16

5-11

T-9th

11-6

2-8

2-2

1-1

---

---

---

2011

16-15

7-9

T-7th

11-6

4-6

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2012

22-10

9-7

T-4th

13-3

7-4

2-3

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2013

23-12

11-7

T-4th

20-2

3-8

0-2

0-1

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2014

30-7

16-2

1st

15-2

7-4

8-1

3-0

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2015

30-4

16-2

1st

15-1

11-1

4-2

1-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Only one scholarship player on UVa’s basketball roster is from the state of Virginia. Three scholarship players on the team hail from Georgia, while two more are from foreign countries — guard Marial Shayok of Canada, and center Jack Salt of New Zealand.

ROSTER 0 Devon Hall 1 Austin Nichols 2 Justice Bartley 4 Marial Shayok 10 Mike Tobey 11 Evan Nolte 13 Anthony Gill 15 Malcolm Brogdon 21 Isaiah Wilkins 24 Caid Kirven 31 Jarred Reuter 32 London Perrantes 33 Jack Salt 34 Jeff Jones 51 Darius Thompson

Head Coach

34

Ht

Wt YR

G F G G F/C F F G F F F G C F G

6-5 6-9 6-6 6-5 7-0 6-8 6-8 6-5 6-7 6-9 6-8 6-2 6-11 6-6 6-4

203 228 215 207 253 224 230 215 224 226 250 191 235 195 192

Hometown

So. Virginia Beach, VA Jr. Collierville, TN Fr. Lilburn, GA So. Ottawa, Ontario Sr. Monroe, NY Sr. Milton, GA Sr. High Point, NC Sr. Atlanta, GA So. Lilburn, GA Sr. Raleigh, NC Fr. Marion, MA Jr. Los Angeles, CA Fr. Auckland, New Zealand Jr. Charlottesville, VA So. Murfreesboro, TN

Ron Sanchez

Assistant Head Coach

Jason Williford

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Brad Soderberg

Assistant Coach

Ronnie Wideman - Asst. AD for Basketball Admin. Orlando Vandross - Dir. of Recruiting/Player Dev. Mike Curtis - Strength and Conditioning Coach Vic Sfera - Director of Scouting/Recruiting Ethan Saliba - Associate AD/Head Trainer Johnny Carpenter - Technology Assistant

COURTESY VIRGINIA ATHLETICS

Tony Bennett

Pos


VIRGINIA 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

In the eight seasons before TONY BENNETT arrived, Virginia made the NCAA tournament just once. Entering his seventh season as UVa’s head coach, Bennett has already led the Cavaliers to the Big Dance three times. As back-to-back ACC regular season champs, UVa has been a top-two NCAA seed each of the last two years. Bennett’s contract runs through 2021. This offseason, the school reworked the deal to increase his salary. With four talented players committed to its 2016 recruiting class, Virginia should be in excellent shape for years to come.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

72%

80%

50%

67%

40%

69%

50%

56%

42%

121-48

51-13

3-3

70-35

8-12

59-27

4-4

5-4

11-15

NEIL REDMOND/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

16-15 22-10 23-12 30-7 30-4 121-48

8-5 12-1 10-3 9-4 12-0 51-13

1-1 1-0 0-0 0-2 1-0 3-3

8-10 10-9 13-9 21-3 18-4 70-35

0-2 0-5 2-1 3-1 3-3 8-12

7-9 9-7 11-7 16-2 16-2 59-27

0-1 0-1 0-1 3-0 1-1 4-4

--0-1 2-1 2-1 1-1 5-4

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 1-3 1-5 2-1 3-3 4-3 11-15

35


NORTH CAROLINA

TAR HEELS

“If we can take care of those little lapses, then we’ve got a chance to be one of those teams that has a chance to talk about winning the whole thing. And man, oh, man, are they the kind of kids I like to be around.”

Head Coach Roy Williams 36

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

As a top-10 team in preseason polls, North Carolina entered the 2014-15 season with national championship hopes. The Tar Heels were clearly one of the five best teams in the ACC, but they rarely looked like a legitimate threat to reach the Final Four. It wasn’t that the team grossly underachieved — nine of the 10 teams to beat UNC made the NCAA tournament as 8 seeds or better. But the team lost 12 games (second-most in the Roy Williams era) and were ousted in the Sweet 16 by Wisconsin.

The majority of the roster returns for a team that will inevitably be a popular pick to cut down the nets in April. Marcus Paige, who enters his senior season at No. 32 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,416 career points, is back as one of the top players in the conference, and three other starters return in Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson. The Tar Heels have national championship potential, but if they’re going to reach that goal, they’ll have to be more consistent on both ends of the floor.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

A pair of matchups against rival Duke and a trip to Charlottesville make up the most important games on North Carolina’s schedule. Since going 6-2 against the Blue Devils during the Tyler Hansbrough era, the Heels have lost three of their last 13 contests against Mike Krzyzewski’s squad, and they’ll be hoping that this is the year the pendulum starts to swing back their way. UNC’s game at UVa will also be important, as the Cavaliers will be near the top of the league again this year.

UNC’s combination of talent and experience could be key in making a run in the NCAA Tournament. The 201516 Tar Heels won’t be as strong as the 2008-09 edition (Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington), or even the 2011-12 team (Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall), but it’s not easy to find another roster in college basketball that’s as stacked as North Carolina’s. If Paige stays healthy and the team as a whole improves its 3-point shooting, this group will contend for a national title.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

North Carolina may not be facing a postseason ban this season, but the Tar Heels will still have to deal with the distraction of negative headlines regarding the NCAA scandal. The UNC basketball program is in the middle of a seven-year Final Four drought for just the second time since the 1960s. There’s no doubt that is a motivating factor for a senior class that still hasn’t advanced past the Sweet 16. Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams will also be trying to capitalize on the best roster he’s had in four years.

The Heels graduated two reserve players in forwards Jackson Simmons and Desmond Hubert, but they took a hit when small forward J.P. Tokoto opted to forgo his final year of eligibility and declared for the NBA Draft. Tokoto started 34 of 38 games as a junior, averaging 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He was also one of UNC’s best defenders. Tokoto’s departure doesn’t drastically change the 2015-16 forecast for Roy Williams’ squad, but it doesn’t help.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

This isn’t a team that’s in line for an undefeated campaign, but it should definitely be one of the more talented groups in the country. A case of plantar fasciitis and some ankle injuries kept Paige under 100 percent for most of last season, but if the star point guard can stay healthy in his final year, it would go a long way for a team coming off a 26-12 finish. It also wouldn’t hurt if Justin Jackson breaks out as a sophomore after showing promise toward the end of his freshman season.

A year ago, North Carolina often had trouble finding consistent scoring outside of Paige. And with no highlytouted signees in the 2015 recruiting class, a lot of the same problems could carry over to this season. Williams’ squad isn’t in danger of missing the Big Dance, but a fourth consecutive finish with double-digit losses isn’t out of the question. If the Tar Heels lose 10 or more games and are knocked out early in the NCAA tournament, it would be a missed opportunity for a solid roster.

www.accsports.com

37


POSITION-BY-POSITION POINT GUARD No matter what lineup Roy Williams goes with, Marcus Paige will be on the court. Behind Paige, the situation is a little less clear. The loss of J.P. Tokoto could force Paige to play some shooting guard. If that happens, Joel Berry and Nate Britt will compete to start at the point. Britt showed improvement as an outside shooter, but it was Berry who was seeing the most minutes at backup point guard toward the end of the season.

POWER FORWARD In his first year as a full-time starter, Brice Johnson collected third-team All-ACC honors as a junior. Johnson has always been a valuable contributor on offense, and although he has improved as a defender throughout his career, he’s still inconsistent on that end of the floor. Isaiah Hicks took a step forward in his second year in Chapel Hill, but he still hasn’t lived up to his billing as a top-20 player in the 2013 recruiting class.

CENTER

Kennedy Meeks u

SMALL FORWARD For years, depth on the wing has been an issue for UNC. Even last season, when the Tar Heels entered the year two-deep at shooting guard and small forward, Theo Pinson ended up missing 14 games with a broken foot. With Tokoto out, Pinson is now the closest thing the Heels have to a true small forward. It’s possible that he’ll be plugged into the hole that Tokoto left, but there’s also a chance that Justin Jackson could fill that spot.

q Marcus Paige

MR. VERSATILITY Not only does Paige have the skill set to play different positions effectively, but he’s also proved it. As a freshman, Paige established himself as a pass-first point guard, but he was forced to move over to shooting guard for much of his sophomore year when two of UNC’s wings were suspended. While Paige’s ball-handling, passing, and IQ make him a quality point guard, there’s no doubt he can be a great shooting guard as well.

38

BENCH

p Theo Pinson

Assuming UNC’s starting lineup consists of Paige, Jackson, Pinson, Johnson and Meeks, the first players off the bench will most likely be Hicks, Berry and Britt. As a sophomore, Hicks showed flashes of a gamechanging player. Despite missing seven straight games with a groin injury, Berry had an easier time running the offense as the season progressed, and Britt has the ability to contribute at either point guard or shooting guard.

www.accsports.com

Kennedy Meeks was arguably the Tar Heels’ best player through non-conference play last season. The big man has shed over 50 pounds since arriving at UNC, but illness and injury hampered him in the second half of his sophomore campaign. If Meeks can stay healthy, he could prove to be the top center in the ACC. Joel James, who started games in each of his first three seasons, will see the floor in a reserve role as a senior.

SHOOTING GUARD The extent of North Carolina’s success could be determined by perimeter shooting. Justin Jackson struggled from beyond the perimeter for much of his freshman year, but he finished strong by making 13 of 26 3-point attempts. If he can carry that success over to the 2015-16 season, and if freshman Kenny Williams makes the most of his minutes off the bench, the team as a whole could take a step forward.

NEW FACES The Tar Heels welcome a twoman signing class this year, and both players may provide valuable depth. Kenny Williams, a shooting guard from Midlothian, Virginia, is known mostly for his 3-point shooting, but is also an unselfish player who can make an impact on defense. Luke Maye, who hails from Huntersville, North Carolina, offers an inside-out game and will see reserve minutes at power forward behind Johnson and Hicks.


10-Year ACC History While North Carolina hasn’t won an ACC regular-season or tournament title since the 2011-12 season, the Tar Heels have easily been one of the league’s top teams over the last 10 years. The Tar Heels have winning records against 10 of the other 14 programs in the conference, and the only teams they

2006

MARK J. TERRILL)/AP (PREVIOUS SPREAD), GERRY BROOME/AP (MEEKS), MARK J. TERRILL)/AP (PAIGE), ETHAN HYMAN/AP (PINSON)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

have a losing record against are Pittsburgh, who joined the league in 2013-14, and Duke, who has won two NCAA titles in the last six seasons. Of the 11 other schools that have been in the ACC throughout the last decade, only one — Duke — has beaten UNC more than five times since the 2005-06 season.

The Blue Devils have won 10 of the last 13 over the Heels, while Miami has also challenged Roy Williams’ teams, taking four out of the last five. Virginia is another team that has enjoyed recent success against UNC, claiming victories in three of the last four matchups.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

L W L W

W W -

L -

W W W

W W W L

W W -

W W L W -

W W W W W

W W -

L W W W

W W -

L -

L L L

L L L L

L

W W W W -

W W L W L

W L -

W W L W

W L -

L -

L W W

W W L W W

W -

W W W -

L W W

-

L W W -

W W L W W

W -

W W W L W

L L W

W -

W W W

W W W -

W -

W W W -

W W W W L

W -

W W L W L

W L W

-

W W W

W W W -

W -

W W W -

W W W W W

W -

L W W W W

L L L -

L -

W W W W

L W W L L W L

L -

L W W W L L W L W -

W W L W L W W L W

W W L W -

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

11-4

13-1

9-12

14-4

10-5

2-1

11-5

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

19-3

2-2

1-2

1-1

11-5

11-3

10-3

HOME GAMES

56.6% 76.0% FG 57-18

North Carolina has won over 75 percent of its games at home in the last 10 seasons. Nine of those seasons yielded winning ACC records in the Dean E. Smith Center.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 67.9% FG 53-25

The Tar Heels have posted only one losing record on the road in ACC play in the last decade. They won six conference games away from home during the 2014-15 campaign.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 65.2% FG 15-8

UNC has won 15 ACC Tournament games against current league members since the 2005-06 season. That doesn’t include two additional wins against Maryland.

39


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Marcus

PAIGE #5 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-1 WEIGHT: 175 lbs HOMETOWN: Marion, IA If North Carolina makes a push for the Final Four, Paige will have to be a key part of the run.

Expectations were sky-high for Marcus Paige going into the 201415 season. The Marion, Iowa, product was voted preseason ACC Player of the Year by the media, and North Carolina was picked to finish second in the ACC, largely because of the productive junior season Paige was expected to have. While Paige was productive, nagging injuries were clearly a factor, and his junior numbers

took a dip. It wasn’t until the end of the season that the point guard was 100 percent, but once he was healthy, it definitely showed. Paige was fantastic down the stretch, as UNC won three ACC Tournament contests on their way to an appearance in the conference title game. In addition, the Tar Heels reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years. As one of only four returning All-ACC players, Paige will once

14.1 Points Per Game

APG

4.47 Assists Per Game

Paige’s team-high 170 assists were the most he’s had in a season with the Tar Heels, and his per-game average was the fifth-best in the ACC.

86.5% FT Free Throw Percentage

One of the most underrated defenders in the conference, Paige tallied 65 steals during the 2014-15 season. That’s No. 1 in the league for returning players.

t When opposing teams try to foul the Tar Heels, the ball often ends up in Paige’s hands. He was the second-best free-throw shooter on the team as a junior. The point guard’s 94 three-pointers were more than the rest of the team combined. Shooting 39.5 percent beyond the arc, he’s also UNC’s most accurate shooter from deep. u

www.accsports.com

94

THREE POINTERS

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ELLEN OZIER/AP, MARK J. TERRILL/AP, JAMES CRISP/AP; BOTTOM: ASSOCIATED PRESS

PPG

As a junior, Paige saw his scoring average drop from the 17.5 points per game he averaged in his sophomore year. He still led the team in scoring.

STEALS 65

40

again enter the season with high expectations in his final year. He is the best scorer, passer and defender on a team with Final Four aspirations, so the senior’s ability to stay healthy will have a significant impact on how far the Tar Heels can go in the 2015-16 season. Don’t be surprised if Paige bounces back for a strong senior campaign and has his team in the national conversation until season’s end.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brice

JOHNSON #11 FORWARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 228 lbs HOMETOWN: ORANGEBURg, SC Several mock drafts included Johnson’s name after last season, but the power forward decided to return to school for his senior year.

Johnson has been a key contributor his entire career in Chapel Hill, but it wasn’t until last season that he became a regular in the starting lineup. When at his best, Johnson looked like an All-ACC candidate, and he was unquestionably one of the better offensive big men in the conference. However, Johnson’s defensive shortcomings and inconsistency — a two-point showing on 1-of-9 shooting at

Georgia Tech was sandwiched between a 22-point, 11-rebound performance at Miami and a 17-point, seven-rebound stat line against Duke — were also evident. Despite his weaknesses, the power forward was a third-team All-ACC selection and had an opportunity to leave early for the NBA Draft before, but he decided to return to school. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Johnson should be one of the

12.9 Points Per Game

RPG

7.8 Rebounds Per Game

BLOCKS 42

5

FOULED OUT

In his first year as a full-time starter, Johnson had the second-highest scoring average on the UNC roster. Offense has never been a weakness for the Tar Heel forward.

Johnson’s 7.8 rebounds per game last year made for the fourth-highest of all returning players in the ACC. His 295 boards are the most he’s pulled down in a season. The power forward hasn’t been a consistent defender during his time in Chapel Hill. That said, his 42 blocks as a junior were secondmost on the team.

t Johnson fouled out more than any other Tar Heel player last season. He’ll need to do a better job of staying on the floor and out of foul trouble. Only three ACC players shot a higher percentage from the field last season. Johnson is one of the team’s biggest threats on the offensive end of the floor. u

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP, MARK J. TERRILL/AP, GERRY BROOME/AP; BOTTOM: ASSOCIATED PRESS

PPG

five best players in the ACC this year, but he’ll have to continue to improve as a defender. Even more importantly, the South Carolina native will need to stay out of foul trouble because he is by far the best offensive power forward on North Carolina’s roster. Johnson has shown progress in each of his three seasons at UNC, and if he continues to take steps in the right direction, he could be in for a huge senior year.

56.6% FG

Field Goal Percentage

41


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Justin

JACKSON #44 GUARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-8 WEIGHT: 193 lbs HOMETOWN: Tomball, TX In his first year at the college level, Jackson saved his best basketball for the end of the season. Will he make a leap as a sophomore?

Jackson arrived at North Carolina at a time when the team desperately needed some 3-point shooting. Coming out of high school as a top-10 prospect in the 2014 recruiting class, Jackson was expected to make an immediate impact, and it became apparent the Tar Heels had landed a special player when the Texas native collected co-MVP honors in the McDonald’s All-America game. Late in his freshman year, Jackson

provided a boost to UNC’s threepoint shooting. And despite only hitting just over 30 percent from long range on the season, he was second on the team in made 3-pointers. The 6-8 wing was the only top-10 player in his recruiting class who didn’t declare for the 2015 NBA Draft, and he’ll be hoping to have a breakout sophomore campaign with the Tar Heels. When on defense, Jackson can bother opposing guards with his

10.7 Points Per Game

APG

2.3 Rebounds Per Game

71.0% 56.6% FG FT

42

Although Jackson only averaged 10.7 points per game on the season, he averaged 15.0 during the NCAA tournament and 12.8 during the ACC Tournament.

Jackson’s 88 assists made for the thirdhighest total on the team. The ball could be in his hands more this season following the loss of J.P. Tokoto.

56.6% 30.4% 3FG FG

56.6% 47.7% FG

Free Throw Percentage

Three Point Percentage

Field Goal Percentage

The wing from Texas had the second-highest free-throw percentage of any UNC starter last year. He was one of four players in the rotation shooting better than 70 percent.

Jackson made only 11 of his first 54 three-point attempts as a freshman, but he finished strong by hitting 17 of his last 38. He’ll look to become more consistent as a sophomore.

Despite shooting poorly from long range for most of the season, Jackson still found other ways to score. He often utilized the floater when he wasn’t shooting the three ball.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): GERRY BROOME/AP, JAMES CRISP/AP, GERRY BROOME/AP; BOTTOM: ASSOCIATED PRESS

PPG

length. And as he showed against Virginia in the ACC Tournament, he can take over a game when he gets hot from the field. There’s a lot to like about the sophomore’s game, but there’s also room for improvement after an up-and-down freshman season. Consistency will be a major focus for Jackson in year two, and if he can play at a high level game in and game out, he could be a first-team All-ACC player.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

I

Temple (in Annapolis) Fairfield Wofford Northern Iowa Northwestern (in Kansas City) TBA (in Kansas City) Maryland Davidson Texas Tulane UCLA (in Brooklyn) Appalachian State UNC-Greensboro Clemson Georgia Tech Florida State Syracuse NC State Wake Forest Virginia Tech Boston College Louisville Notre Dame Boston College Pittsburgh Duke Miami NC State Virginia Syracuse Duke

Non-Conference Test

n what will be one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups of the 2015-16 college basketball season, North Carolina squares off with former ACC foe Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Tar Heels have won eight straight over the Terrapins, but on Dec. 1, Mark Turgeon will bring one of the nation’s top teams, if not the nation’s top team, to Chapel Hill. Maryland’s roster will feature star sophomore Melo Trimble and elite freshman big man Diamond Stone, as well as veteran forward Jake Layman and transfers Robert Carter (Georgia Tech) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke).

TIME

TV

Friday, November 13 Sunday, November 15

7:00 PM 4:00 PM

CBSSN ESPNU

1991 1997

W W

75-72 82-74

RSN

1926

W

41-23

1978

W

97-67

Wednesday, November 18

LAST MEETING

Saturday, November 21

2:00 PM

Monday, November 23

9:20 PM

ESPN2

Tuesday, November 24

7:30 or 10:00 PM

ESPN2/ESPN3

Tuesday, December 1

9:30 PM

ESPN

2014

W

75-63

Sunday, December 6

6:00 PM

ESPNU

2014

W

90-72

Saturday, December 12

5:15 PM

ESPN

2013

L

86-83

Wednesday, December 16

7:00 PM

ESPN2

1995

W

89-71

Saturday, December 19

1:00 PM

CBS

2014

W

78-56

Monday, December 21

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2011

W

97-82

Monday, December 28

6:00 PM

ESPNU

2014

W

79-56

Wednesday, December 30

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

74-50

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

81-49

Saturday, January 2

FIRST MEETING

Monday, January 4

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

78-74

Saturday, January 9

2:00 or 8:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

93-83

Saturday, January 16

12:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

58-46

Wednesday, January 20

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

87-71

Sunday, January 24

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

68-53

Saturday, January 30

4:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

81-63

Monday, February 1

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

70-60

Saturday, February 6

2:00 or 7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

90-82

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

81-63

Tuesday, February 9

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

89-76

Wednesday, February 17

9:00 PM

ESPN/ACC Network

2015

L

84-77

Saturday, February 20

1:00 PM

CBS

2015

W

73-64

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

58-46

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

71-67

ESPN

2015

W

93-83

ESPN

2015

L

84-77

Sunday, February 14

Wednesday, February 24 Saturday, February 27 Monday, February 29

7:00 PM

Saturday, March 5

MEASURING STICK GAME

Payback Opportunity

W

ithin the ACC slate, no contest should be tougher for the Tar Heels than the trip to Charlottesville on Feb. 27. UNC has dropped two of its last three against Virginia, and will face another loaded Cavalier squad this year. Star guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 42 points in UVa’s two games against the Heels last year, and the Wahoos also return thirdteam All-ACC selection Anthony Gill down low and point guard London Perrantes in the backcourt. A victory in Charlottesville could ultimately turn out to be a tiebreaker at the top of the ACC standings.

W RICK WILSON/AP

vs. vs. vs. @ vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. vs. @ vs. @ @ @ vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @

DATE

www.accsports.com

hen Duke travels to Chapel Hill in February, Roy Williams’ team will be looking for revenge against a Blue Devil team that made two second-half comebacks to sweep the Tar Heels a season ago. Mike Krzyzewski’s program has won 10 of the last 13 in this series, but with a veteran roster, North Carolina has a realistic shot at winning the next two. A win in the Smith Center would not only give UNC its first victory in four tries against the Blue Devils, but it would also give the Tar Heels momentum going into their final stretch of regular-season contests.

43


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS North Carolina has made it to 10 of the last 11 NCAA tournaments, and brought home two national titles during that span. The Tar Heels have won at least 25 games on seven separate occasions during the Roy Williams era. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

23-8

12-4

2nd

13-4

8-2

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 2-2

1-1

1-1

NCAA

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Final 32

2007

31-7

11-5

T-1st

16-1

6-4

9-2

3-0

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2008

36-3

14-2

1st

14-2

13-0

9-1

3-0

4-1

NCAA

Final 4

2009

34-4

13-3

1st

14-1

8-2

12-1

1-1

6-0

NCAA

Champion

2010

20-17

5-11

T-9th

14-5

4-8

2-4

0-1

4-1

NIT

Runner-Up

2011

29-8

14-2

1st

15-0

7-3

7-5

2-1

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2012

32-6

14-2

1st

17-1

8-2

7-3

2-1

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2013

25-11

12-6

3rd

14-2

6-6

5-3

2-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2014

24-10

13-5

T-3rd

15-3

6-5

3-2

0-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2015

26-12

11-7

5th

10-5

6-4

10-3

3-1

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS The Tar Heels certainly don’t limit their recruiting to in-state prospects, but all but two players on the current roster are from states on the East Coast. Marcus Paige, however, did continue Roy Williams’ stellar track record recruiting in the Midwest.

ROSTER 0 Nate Britt 1 Theo Pinson 2 Joel Berry II 3 Kennedy Meeks 4 Isaiah Hicks 5 Marcus Paige 11 Brice Johnson 13 Kanler Coker 24 Kenny Williams 25 Justin Coleman 30 Stilman White 32 Luke Maye 42 Joel James 43 Spenser Dalton 44 Justin Jackson

Pos

Ht

Wt YR

G F/G G F F G F G G G G F F G F/G

6-1 6-6 6-0 6-9 6-8 6-1 6-9 6-4 6-3 6-2 6-0 6-7 6-10 6-3 6-8

170 195 195 265 230 175 228 220 166 180 170 227 280 205 193

Hometown

Jr. Upper Marlboro, MD So. Greensboro, NC So. Apopka, FL Jr. Charlotte, NC Jr. Oxford, NC Sr. Marion, IA Sr. Orangeburg, SC Sr. Flowery Branch, GA Fr. Midlothian, VA Sr. Raleigh, NC Jr. Wilmington, NC Fr. Huntersville, NC Sr. West Palm Beach, FL Sr. Asheville, NC So. Tomball, TX

COACHES Roy Williams

Head Coach

44

Hubert Davis

Assistant Coach

C.B. McGrath

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Steve Robinson

Assistant Coach

Jonas Sahratian - Strength & Conditioning Coordinator Brad Frederick - Director of Basketball Operations Eric Hoots - Assistant to the Athletic Director & Director of Player Development


NORTH CAROLINA 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

A stretch from 2013-15 marks the only time in ROY WILLIAMS’ 27-year career as a head coach that the Hall of Famer has had three straight teams lose 10 or more games. While UNC also averaged 25 wins per season in that span, none of those teams advanced past the Sweet 16, and two were knocked out in the Round of 32. Williams hasn’t signed a prospect ranked in the nation’s top five since inking Harrison Barnes in the fall of 2009, and uncertainty over potential NCAA sanctions hasn’t made recruiting any easier. This is an important year for the head coach.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

74%

77%

64%

73%

36%

74%

64%

67%

45%

136-47

51-15

9-5

85-32

10-18

64-22

9-5

10-5

19-23

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Totals

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

29-8 32-6 25-11 24-10 26-12 136-47

9-4 12-2 10-3 10-3 10-3 51-15

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1 1-2 1-1 1-1 3-0 3-1 9-5

AFTER JAN 1 20-4 20-4 15-8 14-7 16-9 85-32

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1 1-2 3-2 0-5 2-2 4-7 10-18

www.accsports.com

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

14-2 14-2 12-6 13-5 11-7 64-22

2-1 2-1 2-1 0-1 3-1 9-5

3-1 3-1 1-1 1-1 2-1 10-5

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 2-4 4-3 1-6 5-2 7-8 19-23

45


DUKE BLUE DEVILS “We only have four guys back from our team. It’s crazy. Our sport’s nuts. But we have a good team. We’ll be as good as our leadership will take us.”

Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski 46

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

The Blue Devils won the 2015 NCAA Championship, beating Wisconsin in the title game. Duke was led by ACC Player of the Year Jahlil Okafor, senior Quinn Cook and freshman standouts Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones. Duke survived the midseason departure of Rasheed Sulaimon. Cook emerged as a leader and was able to blend with fellow point guard Jones. Duke finished with a 35-4 record (15-3 ACC) and earned Coach Mike Krzyzewski his 1,000th career win, as well as his fifth national title.

The Blue Devils will have a different look this season, with their four top scorers gone from the title squad. Coach K has reloaded, bringing in a half-dozen recruits, including McDonald’s All-Americans Brandon Ingram, Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard, as well as finding the replacement for Jones and Cook in point guard Derryck Thornton. Returning contributors Amile Jefferson, Grayson Allen, Marshall Plumlee and Matt Jones will be asked to step up into a leadership role in the locker room and on the court.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

As usual, Duke plays a number of marquee games in nonconference play as well as on the ACC schedule. The Blue Devils will play Kentucky at the United Center in Chicago and a Sweet 16 rematch with Utah at Madison Square Garden. Duke could also get a rematch with Wisconsin in the finals of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden. Within the ACC, Duke has two games with both North Carolina and NC State, as well as visits from Notre Dame and Virginia.

Considering how much Duke lost from last year, it seems unfair to expect a similar run in the NCAA Tournament. But considering what the Blue Devils are bringing in, it’s hard to imagine them falling too far. Look for Duke to again challenge for an ACC title and make waves in the Big Dance. In other words, it’s a typical Duke season. Duke has plenty of motivation, as the Blue Devils haven’t won an ACC Tournament since 2011 after the event was the Coach K invitational for several years.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Coach K has made a career out of intangibles. No one is better at connecting with players and building a team. Despite a legendary career and decades of accomplishments, Krzyzewski is still inventing new ways to motivate. Any danger of the players resting on the national championship laurels is minimized by the fact that so much of the team’s roster is brand new and hasn’t cut down a net. Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee also provide the on-court fire that seems to fuel Duke teams.

One-and-done became won-and-done in Durham last year, as three members of the freshmen class departed for the NBA. Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones were all among Duke’s top four scorers, along with Quinn Cook, whose is also gone from the Blue Devils after finishing his four-year career. Duke loses 77 percent of last year’s points, 78 percent of its 3-pointers, and 83 percent of its assists. Only four scholarship players and one walkon return from last year’s national championship team.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Brandon Ingram lives up to the standard set by previous one-and-done candidates in Durham. Jefferson, Jones and Allen are able to handle being top options instead of dirty-work players. Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard are ready to contribute, and Derryck Thornton, who was a high school junior last season, is ready to handle the pressure of being the point man for the defending national champs. Just as important is the team’s ability to gel quickly, a key to last year’s success.

A talented crop of freshmen have trouble meshing with a group of upperclassmen who have title rings. Thornton has natural growing pains, as most freshman point guards do. Ingram, Jeter and Kennard, who all looked slender in the postseason All-Star games, aren’t ready for the wear and tear of a long college season. Jefferson, Jones and Allen, who could step up and seize a game but also turn in a trillion on occasion, aren’t able to consistently carry the team.

www.accsports.com

47


POSITION-BY-POSITION POINT GUARD After entering last season wondering if Duke could manage to keep two point guards happy, the Blue Devils are turning the team over to a player who just finished his junior year of high school. Derryck Thornton reclassified after the season and signed with Duke to replace Tyus Jones. Coach K is impressed with Thornton’s ability. “Not everyone that handles it has to be a point guard, but Derryck is a true point guard,” Coach K said.

POWER FORWARD Co-captain Amile Jefferson will man the 4-spot. He was second on the team in offensive boards and third in overall rebounding last year. He’ll need to increase his 6.1 ppg scoring average. Krzyzewski has praised Jefferson as one of the team’s best communicators, a key to team defense. Sean Obi, who sat out last season after transferring from Rice, will back him up. Obi averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds with the Owls.

CENTER

t Amile Jefferson

SMALL FORWARD

Co-captain Marshall Plumlee and incoming freshman Chase Jeter will split time at the position. Both can also move to forward, and Duke could choose to use Jefferson and Obi at the same time, eliminating a true center spot. Plumlee has developed to the point where he can be effective for short stints off the bench. He’ll need to improve his reliability and avoid being overcome by emotion. Jeter was a top-20 national recruit.

Incoming freshman Brandon Ingram was the third-best prospect in the nation and No. 2 small forward. He’ll be one of the team’s top options on offense, but he may not become the focal point like Okafor, Jabari Parker, Kyrie Irving and the other freshman one-and-dones that came before him. Ingram can also move to guard, if necessary, although he seems to be the one true 3-spot player on the Duke roster.

SHOOTING GUARD Grayson Allen led Duke in the national title game, and Matt Jones was a contributor and occasional starter. Allen is on his way to developing into a star. Both players are versatile, which will help, as they may be expected to move to small forward on occasion. They’re the best bets to run the offense when Thornton is out. Incoming freshman Luke Kennard, the fifth-best 2-guard in the class, makes this the deepest position on the team.

Grayson Allen q

MR. VERSATILITY Allen is going to do a lot of things for the Blue Devils. He came out of nowhere to spur a comeback in the national title game. In addition to playing any of three spots on the court, he’ll also be expected to provide outside shooting, be a threat to drive to the hoop and score, and he may be the team’s best dunker. With youth and lack of depth at the positions above and below him, Allen will be on the court a lot, in a variety of roles.

48

BENCH

p Brandon Ingram

Either Jeter or Plumlee will likely come off the bench, as will one of the Allen/Jones tandem, Luke Kennard and Sean Obi. That group could be as good as many starting lineups in the nation. If freshmen Antonio Vrankovic and Justin Robinson—both sons of former NBA centers—are ready, they could get minutes, too. But considering the depth at forward, one or both may redshirt. The team is shallow at point guard, which is a concern.

www.accsports.com

NEW FACES Pick a face, any face. Brandon Ingram is the jewel of the recruiting class, and Derryck Thornton will be a key contributor. However, before Duke added those two standouts after the season, the Blue Devils were perfectly content with their recruiting class of Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard. In addition to the six-man recruiting class, Duke will also get to unveil Sean Obi, who sat out last season as a transfer.


10-Year ACC History Duke has a winning record against every ACC opponent, except one. Notre Dame, led by former Mike Krzyzewski assistant Mike Brey, has been the Blue Devils’ nemesis since joining the ACC two years ago. The Irish upset Duke in their first league game, then beat Duke two out of three last season.

2006

CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP (JEFFERSON), RYAN M. KELLY/AP (ALLEN), ZACH FRAILEY/AP (INGRAM), DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP (PREVIOUS SPREAD)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

Miami has won two of its last three games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, including last year’s contest. Only Florida State (two) and North Carolina (five) have as many wins on Duke’s home floor since 2006. Only one other current ACC team has knocked off the Blue Devils at home since then — Virginia

Tech in 2007. In addition to the Hurricanes and Irish, only two ACC teams have beaten Duke twice in the last three years — Virginia and NC State. Duke has pulled ahead of rival UNC lately, winning five of the last six games between the schools. The rivalry had been nearly even before then.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

W W L W W W W

W W L W W W W

W W W

W W L W -

W W L W L W L -

L -

W W W W L W W -

W L W W W W L

L W -

W W L W W W W

L L W W L W L

W W -

W W W W W W W

W W L W W L W -

W W W -

W W W W W W W -

L W L W W L W

W W -

L L L W W W W

W W W W W W W

L W -

W W W W W W W W

W W L W L L W W

-

W W W W W W W W

W L W W L L W L L

W W L -

W W W L W W W W W

W W W L L W W W W

-

L L W

W L -

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

NORTH CAROLINA

14-1

11-3

10-5

13-2

1-0

11-4

12-9

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

12-4

1-3

2-0

3-1

11-3

14-2

14-3

HOME GAMES

56.6% 86.5% FG 64-10

Duke enjoys one of the country’s best home-court advantages. Duke has lost one home game to ACC foes in three years, the second time they’ve had a streak like that since 2006.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 66.7% FG 50-25

Duke also wins two out of every three on the road. Only three ACC foes have a home winning streak against the visiting Blue Devils — Notre Dame, NC State and Clemson.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 71.4% FG 15-6

Duke has at least one win in eight of the last 10 ACC Tournaments. After winning three straight tourneys, the Blue Devils have fallen short four years in a row, a rarity in Durham.

49


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brandon

INGRAM #14 FORWARD FRESHMAN HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 190 lbs HOMETOWN: KINSTON, NC

Coach Mike Krzyzewski put a cherry on top of the nation’s top recruiting class by adding Ingram in late April. The top prospect in the state of North Carolina, Ingram has already dealt the rival Tar Heels a tough loss before even stepping foot on Duke’s campus. Ingram came from the hometown of former UNC star Jerry Stackhouse, and the Tar Heels were long considered favorites to land him. A combination of UNC’s potential

NCAA woes and a strong recruiting push from the Blue Devils put him in dark blue. Coach K is excited about the versatility that Ingram brings to the team. “In Brandon’s case, his ability to handle the ball as a 6-9 player and not just handle it, he could really be like a point guard,” said Krzyzewski. “Because he’s 6-9 with a 7-3 wingspan, he can play big, too. The versatility that he has, his intelligence and his ability to

score from all those positions, or help others score, make him a very multi-dimensional player.” Duke also beat out Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA to land Ingram, who was the third-best high school senior in the country according to the 247Sports Composite index. He was also the second-best small forward. Ingram is one of the stars of Duke’s six-man freshman class and should be one of the top options for the Blue Devils.

24.3 Points Per Game

RPG

10.4 Rebounds Per Game

Ingram averaged a double-double in high school. His ability to hit the boards will likely improve as he adds bulk and strength in the Duke weight room.

17

t FIRST HALF POINTS. In what was thought to be his first of many games at UNC’s Dean Smith Center, Ingram scored 17 in the first half of Kinston’s game against the JV Tar Heels. Things went downhill from there. Ingram hit well over half of his shots as a high school senior. The versatile Ingram added 3.6 assists, 3.0 blocks and 1.6 steals, as he did more than a little bit of everything. u

15 50

57.0% FG

Field Goal Percentage

t Ingram shot 6-of-11 in the McDonald’s All-American Game for 15 points, the second-highest total for the West team and third-highest overall. He added five rebounds, an assist and two steals.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ASSOCIATED PRESS, ROBERT WILLETT/NEWS & OBSERVER, KELLY KLINE/ADIDAS ; BOTTOM: ANDREW A. NELLES/AP

PPG

Ingram scored two-dozen points per game as a senior at Kinston High School and was named a Parade and McDonalds AllAmerican. He can score from inside and out.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Derryck

THORNTON #12 GUARD FRESHMAN HEIGHT: 6-2 WEIGHT: 175 lbs HOMETOWN: Chatsworth, Ca

The 6-2, 170-pound floor general won’t be Quinn Cook or Tyus Jones, but he should keep the point guard position exciting for the Blue Devils this year. Cook was a smooth passing point guard who improved his shooting enough to play off the ball for a national championship team as a senior. Thornton appears to be a pure point guard, at least at this point in his career. And unlike Jones, who showed

maturity and decision-making far beyond his age, Thornton will be more aggressive. That likely means more turnovers, but Thornton promises to make up for those on the other side of the floor. “His ability to pressure the ball is impressive,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Really, I think he does that as well as anybody I’ve seen in high school basketball in the next two classes. And then he’s a pass-first guard. He can pressure the ball on

defense, but he can put pressure on you offensively by bringing it up quickly and then getting by people to get some easy baskets for us.” He’ll likely take some time to develop. After all, the reclassified Thornton was a high school junior last season. Poor shot selection could lead to him spending some time learning from Coach K on the bench during games, but a lack of depth at point guard will prevent him from spending too long there.

17.0 Points Per Game

APG

6.3 Assists Per Game

Thornton plays at a high speed and has the ability to penetrate to the basket, but he knows that his game is finding the open man on the floor.

2.3

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ASSOCIATED PRESS, GREGORY PAYAN/AP, GREGORY PAYAN/AP ; BOTTOM: GREGORY PAYAN/AP

PPG

Thornton was one of the top scorers at Findlay Prep in Nevada, despite his reputation as a pass-first guard. He won’t have to call his own number as often at Duke.

t STEALS. Perhaps the biggest difference between Thornton and his recent predecessors is his defense. Cook struggled with on-ball D, and Jones also had lapses.

Thornton hit nearly half of his twopoint shots in high school, a rarity for someone who drives in traffic and scores over much taller players. u

34%

t Thornton also hit more than a third of his 3-pointers in high school. His shooting ability should help to ease his transition to the college game.

3FG

48% 2FG

Two Point Percentage

Three Point Percentage

www.accsports.com

51


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Amile

JEFFERSON #21 FORWARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 225 lbs HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, Pa

The senior power forward will be serving his second year as captain, along with new captains Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee. With Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor on the squad last year, Jefferson saw his scoring drop slightly, from 6.5 ppg to 6.1, and his rebounding fell from 6.9 to 5.8. He’ll have ample opportunity to boost both numbers this year. Up until this point, Jefferson’s intangible contributions have been

as valuable to the team as his stat line. In addition to being a fiery, demonstrative leader, Jefferson also helped Duke shore up its defensive shortcomings. “I think Amile has a huge role on this team,” Coach K said last year. “Amile is our best on-the-court communicator. He talks well. He understands the game well. It’s a huge plus. We actually didn’t have it with our U.S. (Olympic) team, and we haven’t had it here for a while.

6.1 Points Per Game

RPG

5.8 Rebounds Per Game

Jefferson’s rebounding was good for 20th in the ACC last season. That’s impressive, considering he had Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow competing for them.

t OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS. Jefferson erased more than two missed shots per game on the offensive boards, second only to Jahlil Okafor on the Blue Devils. He averaged an offensive rebound every nine minutes.

Jefferson’s shooting percentage from the field would have been good for second in the ACC if he’d taken enough shots to qualify for the conference leaders’ list last season. u

17

t Jefferson’s scoring total for the six NCAA Tournament games last year, and 10 of those came in an opening game blowout win over Robert Morris. He went scoreless in two games and went without a rebound in one.

www.accsports.com

63.1% FG

Field Goal Percentage

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): KARL B. DEBLAKER /AP, CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP, JULIO CORTEZ/AP ; BOTTOM: SETH WENIG/AP

PPG

Jefferson was fifth on the Blue Devils in scoring, just slightly ahead of Matt Jones. He’ll likely creep closer to a doubledouble average this year.

91

52

I’m not saying he’s (Shane) Battier, but that’s what Shane did - he communicated the game while it was going on. You didn’t have to wait for a timeout.” Jefferson hits nearly two-thirds of his shots and does a lot of the dirty work on the offensive boards. The biggest area of improvement for him is his consistency. Jefferson will be counted on to score and rebound in every game. He may not lead the team, but he can’t vanish.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS

vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @ vs. vs. @ @ @ vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @ vs. vs.

T

Sienna Bryant Kentucky (in Chicago) VCU (in New York) TBD (in New York) Yale Utah State Indiana Buffalo Georgia Southern Utah (in New York) Elon Long Beach State Boston College Wake Forest Virginia Tech Clemson Notre Dame Syracuse NC State Miami Georgia Tech NC State Louisville Virginia North Carolina Louisville Florida State Pittsburgh Wake Forest North Carolina

Non-Conference Test

here may be a lot of young players on the floor when Duke and Kentucky face off on Nov. 17 in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean the two powerhouses won’t be competing at a high level. The Blue Devils and Wildcats are welcoming the two best recruiting classes in the nation this season, and both teams will be expected to make deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. The loser of this contest will take a slight step back in the polls, but don’t be surprised if both are in the top 10 by season’s end.

DATE

TIME

TV

LAST MEETING

Friday, November 13 Saturday, November 14

7:00 PM

ESPNU ESPN3

FIRST MEETING

Tuesday, November 17

7:30 PM 7:00 PM

Friday, November 20 Sunday, November 22

ESPN ESPN2

FIRST MEETING 2012

W

75-68

2012

W

67-58

W

105-80

ESPN

Wednesday, November 25

7:00 PM

ESPNU

Sunday, November 29

12:30 PM

ESPNU

Wednesday, December 2

9:15 PM

ESPN

Saturday, December 5

5:15 PM

ESPN2

Tuesday, December 15

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2009

W

97-54

Saturday, December 19

12:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

63-57

Monday, December 28

8:00 PM 4:00 PM

ESPNU Raycom

2014

W

75-62

2009

W

84-63

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

85-62

Wednesday, December 30 Saturday, January 2

1973

FIRST MEETING 2006

W

54-51

FIRST MEETING

7:00 PM 12:00 PM

ESPNU ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

94-51

Saturday, January 9

2015

W

91-86

Wednesday, January 13

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

78-56

Saturday, January 16

2:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

L

74-64

Monday, January 18

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

73-54

Saturday, January 23

2:00 PM

CBS

2015

W

77-53

Monday, January 25

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

L

90-74

Tuesday, February 2

9:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

72-66

ESPN

2015

W

77-53

ESPN ESPN

2015

W

63-52

2015

W

69-63

Wednesday, January 6

Saturday, February 6 Monday, February 8

7:00 PM

Saturday, February 13 Wednesday, February 17

9:00 PM

ESPN/ACC Network

2015

W

84-77

Saturday, February 20

12:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

63-52

Thursday, February 25

ESPN CBS

2015

W

73-70

Sunday, February 28

7:00 PM 2:00 PM

2015

W

79-65

Tuesday, March 1

8:00 PM

2015

W

94-51

2015

W

84-77

Saturday, March 5

T

ESPN

MEASURING STICK GAME

he greatest test for Duke will come Feb. 17, when the Blue Devils travel down 15-501 to face rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The good news for Mike Krzyzewski’s team is that winning in Chapel Hill with a young roster isn’t impossible. Last year, freshman Tyus Jones played the biggest role in Duke’s 84-77 victory in the Smith Center. The bad news, though, is that UNC is returning most of its roster, and defeating Marcus Paige and company on their home floor for the second season in a row will be no easy task.

A

CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP

OPPONENT

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

fter losing a road matchup at Notre Dame last year, Duke got its revenge in the regular season with a 30-point victory in Cameron Indoor Stadium. When the Fighting Irish and the Blue Devils met a third time in the ACC Tournament, however, Mike Brey’s squad walked away with a 10-point win in the semifinal matchup. This season, Duke will get Notre Dame on its home floor Jan. 16. Not only do the Devils have a shot at payback in this one, but a win could create separation between the two within the ACC standings.

53


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Duke went 5-4 in the NCAA tournament in the four years before winning the 2010 title, then went 5-4 again in the four years before last year’s championship. ACC Tourn. Postseason NCAA/NIT Tournament FInish OVERALL WINS

Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

Neutral

2006

32-4

14-2

1st

14-1

10-2

8-1

3-0

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2007

22-11

8-8

T-6th

15-4

5-4

2-3

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2008

28-6

13-3

2nd

15-1

8-2

5-3

1-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2009

30-7

11-5

T-2nd

16-1

6-5

8-1

3-0

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2010

35-5

13-3

T-1st

17-0

5-5

13-0

3-0

6-0

NCAA

Champs

2011

32-5

13-3

2nd

17-0

5-4

10-1

3-0

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2012

27-7

13-3

2nd

13-3

8-2

6-2

1-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2013

30-6

14-4

2nd

16-0

6-4

8-2

0-1

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2014

26-9

13-5

T-3rd

17-0

4-5

5-4

2-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2015

35-4

15-3

2nd

15-1

9-2

11-1

1-1

6-0

NCAA

Champs 0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Chase Jeter and Derryck Thornton give Duke a pair of Far West players on the roster. Duke has always been willing to cross the country for recruits, but the Blue Devils didn’t go farther than Texas last year.

ROSTER

Pos

2 Chase Jeter

F/C G 5 Luke Kennard G 12 Derryck Thornton G 13 Matt Jones G 14 Brandon Ingram G/F 21 Amile Jefferson F 30 Antonio Vrankovic C 34 Sean Obi F 40 Marshall Plumlee C 45 Nick Pagliuca G 50 Justin Robinson F 53 Brennan Besser G 3 Grayson Allen

Ht 6-10 6-5 6-5 6-2 6-5 6-9 6-9 7-0 6-9 7-0 6-3 6-8 6-5

Wt YR 240 205 180 175 200 190 225 270 265 250 195 190 180

Fr. So. Fr. Fr. Jr. Fr. Sr. Fr. So. Gr. Jr. Fr. Fr.

Hometown Las Vegas, NV Jacksonville, FL Franklin, OH Chatsworth, CA DeSoto, TX Kinston, NC Philadelphia, PA Delray Beach, FL Kaduna, Nigeria Warsaw, IN Weston, MA San Antonio, TX Chicago, IL

Mike Krzyzewski

Head Coach

54

Jeff Capel

Associate Head Coach

Nate James

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Jon Scheyer

Assistant Coach

David Bradley

Coordinator of Basketball Operations

COURTESY DUKE PHOTOGRAPHY

COACHES


DUKE 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

The numbers border on ridiculous. Over 1,000 victories, five national championships, 12 Final Fours. MIKE KRZYZEWSKI is a Hall of Famer and living legend. He’s also on perhaps the most impressive run of his career on the recruiting trail. He’s building a foundation of talented rosters, which could help his eventual successor to step in and continue winning. And that man might be the assistant who has helped spark the recruiting run— former Blue Devil Jeff Capel. Of course, Coach K still shows no signs of slowing down after 35 seasons in Durham.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

83%

95%

77%

77%

68%

79%

64%

73%

71%

150-31

58-3

10-3

92-28

19-9

68-18

7-4

11-4

29-12

DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

32-5 27-7 30-6 26-9 35-4 150-31

12-0 11-1 12-0 11-2 12-0 58-3

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1 2-0 2-1 3-0 1-2 2-0 10-3

AFTER JAN 1 20-5 16-6 18-6 15-7 23-4 92-28

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1 3-1 3-2 1-2 3-2 9-2 19-9

www.accsports.com

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

13-3 13-3 14-4 13-5 15-3 68-18

3-0 1-1 0-1 2-1 1-1 7-4

2-1 0-1 3-1 0-1 6-0 11-4

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 5-1 5-3 4-2 4-4 11-2 29-12

55


MIAMI

HURRICANES

“we were inconsistent. We’d have games where we did’t play hard enough, didn’t shoot the ball well enough and especially didn’t defend the ball well enough. Whereas, to win a championship, you’ve got to play great defense. That’ll be a real focus for us during our preparation for next year.”

Head Coach Jim Larrañaga 56

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

The Hurricanes had an uneven year — at times spectacular and at times head-scratchingly bad. The Canes won at Florida in the second game of the season and pulled off a win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the second time in their last three trips to Durham. The Canes also lost at home to Eastern Kentucky by 28 points. Miami finished on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble, then advanced to the finals of the postseason NIT, losing to Stanford by two in overtime.

Miami returns its top four scorers, top six rebounders, top two assists leaders from last season’s NIT finalists. Sheldon McClellan returns. He was the 12th leading scorer in the ACC last season and is the number three returning scorer. Point guard Angel Rodriguez is also back for his senior year after battling injury at the end of last season. The Canes have a veteran core, which should help improve their consistency. Barring injuries or eligibility issues Miami should be able to return to the Big Dance this year.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

The Canes will participate in the Puerto Rico Tip Off to give Rodriguez a homecoming game. The field is loaded, including an opening game with Mississippi State, a potential second-round game against Utah, and a final game against Temple, Butler or Minnesota. Miami also has games with Nebraska and Florida. In the ACC, the Canes play two against UVa and Notre Dame. They’re the only team with four games against the defending regular season and tournament champs.

With an experienced roster that includes top-level talent like McClellan, Rodriguez and center Tonye Jekiri, and a schedule that features impressive non-conference opponents without being grueling, the Hurricanes have a good shot at getting back to the NCAA Tournament instead of making another run at NIT glory. A reasonable goal for the Hurricanes would be to spend the stretch run of the season worrying about their seeding, instead of scoreboard watching and sweating out the NCAA bubble.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Angel Rodriguez was plagued by injuries at Kansas State, during his transfer year on the sidelines, and with Miami last season. His health is arguably the biggest intangible facing the Hurricanes this year. Miami also lost Davon Reed to injury at the start of last season and Ivan Cruz Uceda to eligibility issues to start last year. If Miami can keep their contributors on the court, that will be a big step in the right direction. Coach Jim Larranaga also seems to be able to get his teams to gel at the right time.

The Canes lost point guard Manu Lecomte, who lost his job to Angel Rodriguez last season after running the show as a freshman. He transferred to Baylor. Combo card Deandre Burnett also left after his redshirt freshman season. He transferred to Ole Miss. The pair combined for 14.9 points per game. Their departures hurt Miami’s depth, but neither was expected to be a top-four option on the team. Big man reserve Joe Thomas is also gone after playing his final season and averaging 1.3 points.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

McClellan and Rodriguez are as good as any guard tandem in the ACC. Jekiri and Uceda give the Hurricanes a post presence that allows them to attack from the inside and outside. Kamari Murphy, who sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State, gives the Canes a rebounding presence and joins McClellan and Rodriguez on an All-Big 12 transfer squad. Last year’s freshmen, Ja’Quan Newton and James Palmer develop into contributors. The Hurricanes are deep and could surprise.

Angel Rodriguez continues to battle nagging injuries that keep him off the court or limit him when he’s on it. Larranaga struggles to find enough playing time to keep all the talent on the roster happy. Miami’s inconsistency kept them out of the NCAA tournament last year. The same roster, minus two guards, is back. If the team isn’t able to develop chemistry early on, an always tough ACC slate could cause the Canes to suffer through another Jekyll and Hyde season.

www.accsports.com

57


POSITION-BY-POSITION POINT GUARD Angel Rodriguez finished third in the ACC in steals and was Miami’s second-leading scorer. Rodriguez dished the ball and also made things happen with the ball in his hand, cracking the Miami record books by shooting 114 free throws to lead the team. His assists and 3-point shooting were down from two years earlier at Kansas State. A wrist injury plagued the end of his season. Sophomore Ja’Quan Newton will back him up.

POWER FORWARD Ivan Cruz Uceda started six games last season as a junior transfer, missing the start of the season due to eligibility issues. Now in his second year with the Canes he’ll battle for the full-time starting gig with Kamari Murphy this season. The two players bring very different games to the table and could play together. While Murphy is a low-post rebounder, Uceda is a stretchfour who can also go outside to shoot from long range.

CENTER

Tonye Jekiri u

MR. VERSATILITY Like many big men who learned their craft in Europe, Madrid’s 6-10 Ivan Cruz Uceda is a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor. He has the size to play inside. He was fourth on the team in rebounding, despite playing limited minutes and missing the start of the season. He also hit more than a third of his 3-pointers last year. Uceda can guard centers, play his natural stretch-four spot, or even shift to small forward in a pinch.

58

q Sheldon McClellan

SHOOTING GUARD

Tonye Jekiri returns for his senior year as the old man on the team. He led the ACC in rebounding last season and was in the top five in blocked shots. Jekiri finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and made the All Defense team. He also finished second in Most-Improved balloting. Jekiri had four straight double-doubles in February. Freshman Ebuka Izundu, a Nigerian-born big man, will provide some depth in the post.

t Ivan Cruz Uceda

Sheldon McClellan is one of the ACC’s top returning scorers and also one of the best shooters, after hitting nearly 50 percent of his shots last season. He was also among the leaders in free throw shooting. McClellan can also rebound and dish the ball—he was second on Miami in both categories last season. The transfer from Texas should become one of the ACC’s stars this season and could get Player of the Year consideration.

BENCH With starting spots locked up by McClellan, Rodriguez, Reed, Jekiri and likely Murphy, the Canes have plenty of young swing players on the bench. Uceda can provide size. James Palmer, Ja’Quan Newton and freshman Anthony Lawrence can provide slashing ability and speed. Center Ebuka Izundu gives the Canes another 6-10 big man they can use in a pinch to spell the sevenfoot Jekiri. The Canes could legitimately go ten deep.

www.accsports.com

SMALL FORWARD Uceda could move down to the three-spot, if Miami wants to play a big lineup, or Davon Reed could move up from shooting guard if the Canes want to play smaller. Reed and McClellan played on the floor together a lot last year, and they’ll probably see a lot of minutes again this season. Incoming freshman Anthony Lawrence Jr. could also see some time at the small forward position. The 3-star is the son of a former Cane player.

NEW FACES Kamari Murphy is ready to become the latest Jim Larranaga impact transfer and keep the tradition going in Coral Gables. Murphy led Oklahoma State in rebounding as a sophomore before transferring to Miami and sitting out last season. As a freshman, he had his first-ever double-figure rebounding game against NC State. The freshman class of Anthony Lawrence Jr. and Ebuka Izundu gives Larranaga a pair of talented prospects.


10-Year ACC History Miami has played several ACC rivals evenly over the last decade. Three wins over Virginia Tech last season flipped the Hurricanes from a losing record to a winning one against the Hokies. The three straight wins are the second-longest current winning streak by Miami against an ACC foe. The

2006

PREVIOUS SPREAD: DAVID SANTIAGO/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: JOE RAYMOND/AP (MCCLELLAN), ZACH GIBSON/AP (JEKIRI), GERRY BROOME/AP (UCEDA)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

Canes have won ten straight against Boston College, who, like the Hokies, are a former Big East opponent. Despite losing to Wake Forest last year, the Canes moved from an even record to a winning one against the Demon Deacons, thanks to an 0-2 record in 2005 dropping out of the calculation. On

the flip side, Miami beat Clemson last year, but lost a 2-0 record against the Tigers from 2005, moving them into a dead even tie with Clemson over the last decade. The Canes have lost two straight to Louisville and North Carolina, but took three from Virginia Tech last year.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

L W L L L W W

L L W W W L L -

W L -

L L L W W W L L

L L L L L L L

L -

W W W L W L W -

L L L L W L W L

W L -

W L W L W L W

W L L L L L W -

L -

L L L W L W W W

L L L L L L L

L W W

W L L L W L W -

W L L L L L L W

L W -

W W W L L W W

W W L W L L L -

L W -

W W W W L W W W -

W W L W W W W W L

W W W -

W L L L W L L L W

L W W W W L L L -

L W -

W W W L L L W L W -

W W L L L W W W L

L W -

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

NORTH CAROLINA

13-8

7-7

4-11

7-14

10-4

0-2

5-11

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

7-10

1-2

1-1

1-2

7-6

11-9

7-6

HOME GAMES

56.6% 54.5% FG 42-35

Miami doesn’t have a strong home-court advantage, winning just over half of its games in its friendly confines. Miami has lost 10 home games in the last two seasons.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 36.4% FG 28-49

The Canes are turning their weak road record around. Miami has two winning seasons on the road and a .500 record in the last three years, good for a 16-10 away mark.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 55.0% FG 11-9

Miami has won at least one ACC Tournament game in each of the last six years. That, combined with the 2013 title, gives Miami a better percentage in the ACC tourney than at home.

59


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tonye

JEKIRI #23 CENTER SENIOR HEIGHT: 7-0 WEIGHT: 244 lbs HOMETOWN: Hialeah, FL Jekiri is just the second recruit Jim Larranaga signed from Florida, following Shane Larkin

The seven-footer missed the NIT final with a concussion and suffered a setback early in the offseason, when he needed his tonsils removed. He’s made up for lost time, however. Coaches say he’s stayed on campus all summer, getting work in. If it is possible for the ACC’s rebounding leader to be underrated, Jekiri might have managed that feat. Despite missing averaging a double-double by 1.4

points and 0.1 boards, Jekiri was rarely included in discussions of the best the ACC had to offer. He was named to the AllDefensive team, leading the ACC in defensive rebounding and finishing fifth in blocked shots. However his offensive contributions have, to this point, been largely overlooked. Jekiri more than doubled his scoring average from his sophomore year, and had a substantial increase in rebounding

8.6 Points Per Game

RPG

9.9 Rebounds Per Game

Jekiri just missed averaging double-digit rebounds. If you threw out his 118 offensive rebounds, he’d had still finished twelfth in the league.

Field Goal Percentage

MPG

t Jekiri hit exactly half of his shots last year—123 of 246. He’d have finished sixth in shooting if he had enough shots to qualify. For a seven footer, Jekiri is surprisingly not terrible from the line. He wasn’t able to take full advantage, since he only went to the line a total of 96 times. u

30.3 Minutes Per Game

www.accsports.com

72.9% FT Free Throw Percentage

Jekiri was one of two Canes to average more than 30 minutes a game last year. He was also second on the team in games started, missing only the last game.

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): TIMOTHY D. EASLEY /AP, MATT WEST/AP, ALAN DIAZ/AP; BOTTOM: NICK LISI/AP

PPG

Jekiri went from near non-factor on offense to a solid third option, increasing his scoring average from 4.2 points as a sophomore to 8.6 last year.

50.0% FG

60

average. The improvement was enough to earn him consideration for Most-Improved player in the league. Despite the big jump in production, there’s still plenty of room for Jekiri to improve. “I think he could be the best center in the league,” coach Larranaga told the Palm Beach Post. “I think he could lead centers in rebounding and scoring. If he would trust himself a little bit more, he’d average a double-double.”


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sheldon

McClellan #10 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 205 lbs HOMETOWN: Houston, TX The senior transfer and AllACC candidate is on schedule to graduate in December with a degree in liberal arts

The transfer from Texas made a splash in his first ACC season. McClellan finished among the league’s leaders in scoring, minutes, shooting and free throw shooting. He was the only Miami player to start every game and the only one to turn in a 30-point game last year. McClellan led the team in scoring in 18 of the 38 games and was the team’s leading scorer for the season, in conference games and

in both postseason tournaments— ACC and NIT. This season promises to be even better, as McClellan could contend for Player of the Year honors. Coach Jim Larranaga told the Palm Beach Post that McClellan has set the team record in a competitive shooting drill twice this summer and is posting numbers within reach of the best NBA shooters. McClellan isn’t just a scorer, however. He was second on the

14.5 Points Per Game

RPG

4.7 Rebounds Per Game

31

t

McClellan finished 12th in the ACC in scoring last season, increasing his average by a point per game from his sophomore year at Texas.

McClellan was second on the team in rebounding. He increased his rebounding average to 5.0 per game during Miami’s NIT run.

McClellan scored in double figures in 31 of the team’s 38 games, including 15 straight from November 21 to January 22.

McClellan posted the top shooting percentage by an ACC guard, and the second-best shooting percentage by a guard in any Power Five conference.

MINUTES

1278

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ZACH GIBSON/AP, WILFREDO LEE/AP, JOE RAYMOND/AP ; BOTTOM: WILFREDO LEE/AP

PPG

Canes in rebounding, assists and steals and shot nearly 50 percent from the field. McClellan was slowed by a groin injury late last year, but he’s had the chance to rest and will be at full strength at the start of the season. “He’s on an escalator, and he keeps going up and up and up,” Larranaga told the Palm Beach Post. “It’s steady. We have no idea what floor he can get to. His ceiling is so high.”

48.4% FG

u

Field Goal Percentage

McClellan averaged 33.6 minutes per game, 21st overall nationally. His playing time increased by a minute a game in ACC play. He played 50 minutes in a 2OT loss to Virginia.

61


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Angel

RODRIGUEZ #13 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 5-11 WEIGHT: 180 lbs HOMETOWN: Cupey, PR Will get to play a homecoming game when the Hurricanes play in a tournament in Puerto Rico.

After sitting out a season following his transfer from Kansas State, and playing much closer to his home in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez was ready to have a great first season in Miami last year. Instead, he battled a slump for much of the season and finished the year with a wrist injury that kept him from making a key contribution in Miami’s NIT run. “Angel is an outstanding shooter,” coach Jim Larranaga told the Palm Beach Post. “What he needs is for

Rodriguez last year. He finished third in the ACC with 59 steals and ranked sixth in assists during conference games. Rodriguez saw most of his statistics dip from his Kansas State numbers, and he eventually spoke to a sports psychologist at the urging of Larranaga. He responded with a career-high 25 points immediately after the session, but he injured his wrist a short time later.

11.9 Points Per Game

APG

3.9 Assists Per Game

Rodriguez saw the biggest drop from his sophomore year at Kansas State in his assists total. After finishing third in the Big 12 in assists, he saw his average drop by 1.6.

t Rodriguez made just over a third of his shots from the field, 110 of 326. That was down 2.4 percentage points from his sophomore year at K-State

Field Goal Percentage

AST/TO

Rodriguez hit just 48 of 158 3-pointers last season. That was down significantly from his 34.4 percent shooting as a K-State sophomore. u

1.70 Assist To Turnover Ratio

www.accsports.com

30.4% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

Rodriguez saw his assist-to-turnover ratio drop precipitously from his Kansas State days. As a sophomore at Kansas State, he posted the fifth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in school history, at 2.22.

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/AP, DAVID SANTIAGO/AP, NICK LISI/AP ; BOTTOM: JOE RAYMOND/AP

PPG

Rodriguez was the second-best scorer on the Hurricanes. He averaged 11.3 points in ACC games, 10.0 points in the ACC Tourney and four in his one NIT game.

33.7% FG

62

his teammates to play well, and for him to show great confidence in them. There’s a balance that has to be there. … He needs to have confidence in teammates, and patience to know that even if they miss a few, we’ll get it next time.” Larranaga is confident that next year will be better for the point guard. “Yeah. I think that (transfer) year really helped him,” he told the Post. There were bright spots for


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

DATE

TIME

vs. UT Rio Grande Valley vs. Louisiana

Friday, November 13

7:00 PM

Monday, November 16

7:00 PM

1999

L

66-60

vs. Mississippi (in Puerto Rico)

Thursday, November 19

5:00 PM

2011

L

64-61

vs. TBA (in Puerto Rico)

Friday, November 20 2000

W

92-86

2013

L

60-49

2014

W

77-74

2014

W

69-67

2014

W

67-40

2013

W

71-58

1948

L

62-55

2015

W

66-62

vs. TBA (in Puerto Rico)

Sunday, November 22

vs. Northeastern

Friday, November 27

4:00 PM

@

Nebraska

Tuesday, December 1

9:00 PM

vs. Charlotte

Saturday, December 5

4:00 PM

vs. Florida

Tuesday, December 8

7:00 PM

vs. Charleston

Saturday, December 19

4:00 PM

@

Tuesday, December 22

La Salle

TV

LAST MEETING FIRST MEETING

ESPNU ESPN2

vs. Princeton

Tuesday, December 29

vs. Syracuse

Saturday, January 2

vs. Florida State

Saturday, January 9

5:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

81-77

@

Virginia

Tuesday, January 12

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

89-80 (2 OT)

@

Clemson

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

56-45

@

Boston College

Wednesday, January 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

89-86 (2 OT)

vs. Wake Forest

Saturday, January 23

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

72-70

vs. Duke

Monday, January 25

@

Saturday, January 30

NC State

7:00 PM

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

W

90-74

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

65-60

vs. Notre Dame

Wednesday, February 3

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

L

70-63

@

Sunday, February 7

1:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

70-50

vs. Pittsburgh

Tuesday, February 9

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

67-63

@

Sunday, February 14

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

81-77 82-61

Georgia Tech Florida State

vs. Virginia Tech

Wednesday, February 17

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

@

Saturday, February 20

1:00 PM

CBS

2015

L

73-64

vs. Virginia

Monday, February 22

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

L

89-80 (2 OT)

vs. Louisville

Saturday, February 27

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

55-53

@

Notre Dame

Wednesday, March 2

ESPN2

2015

L

70-63

@

Virginia Tech

Saturday, March 5

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

82-61

Non-Conference Test

W

ith a relatively light nonconference schedule, Miami has an opportunity to get off to a solid start before entering conference play. In their pursuit of posting an undefeated record outside the ACC, the Hurricanes could have the most trouble against Florida on Dec. 8 at home. Coming off a 16-17 season, the Gators lost a few key players, but return leading scorer Dorian Finney-Smith. Miami won last year’s matchup in Gainesville and should be favored this season, but a victory is far from guaranteed.

T

7:00 PM

MEASURING STICK GAME

he highlight of Miami’s 2014-15 campaign came in a 90-74 win on the road over Duke. The Hurricanes have won three of their last five against the Blue Devils, and their only matchup against Mike Krzyzewski’s team this year will take place in Coral Gables on Jan. 25. While Miami may not be a likely contender for the ACC regular-season championship, it is definitely a contender for a spot in the top third of the conference. A win over a young Duke team could help solidify Miami’s position, and would look good on the résumé.

Payback Opportunity

W BOB LEVERONE/AP

North Carolina

www.accsports.com

hen the Canes square off with Wake Forest in Coral Gables on Jan. 23, it won’t be among the ACC’s most hyped games. But it will serve as an opportunity for Miami to get even with a team that handed it a loss last February. While Wake Forest has become a regular near the bottom of the league in recent years, the Demon Deacons will be improved. Devin Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre will be joined by key contributors Dinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin, as well as touted freshman Doral Moore.

63


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS The Hurricanes have had two 25-win seasons in the last three years, the only times in the last decade they’ve had as many. The Canes also brought home some hardware those two years--the ACC Championship in 2013 and a trip to the NIT Finals last year. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

18-16

7-9

T-7th

11-5

4-8

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 3-3

1-1

2-1

NIT

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Third Round

2007

12-20

4-12

12th

8-7

3-9

1-4

1-1

---

---

---

2008

23-11

8-8

T-5th

14-2

4-6

5-3

1-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2009

19-13

7-9

T-7th

12-4

5-7

2-2

0-1

1-1

NIT

Second Round

2010

20-13

4-12

12th

12-4

2-8

6-1

2-1

---

---

---

2011

21-15

6-10

9th

13-4

4-9

4-2

1-1

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2012

20-13

9-7

T-4th

14-4

4-8

2-1

1-1

1-1

NIT

Second Round

2013

29-7

15-3

1st

14-1

10-3

5-3

3-0

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2014

17-16

7-11

10th

8-8

6-6

3-2

1-1

---

---

---

2015

25-13

10-8

T-6th

12-6

8-4

5-3

1-1

4-1

NIT

Finalists

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Unlike the Miami football team, which is able to stock its roster with prospects that live within a short drive from campus, the basketball team is made up primarily of players from the Northeast — a tribute to Jim Larranaga’s New York roots.

ROSTER 0 Ja’Quan Newton 1 Rashad Muhammad 3 Anthony Lawrence Jr. 5 Davon Reed 10 Sheldon McClellan 12 James Palmer 13 Angel Rodriguez 15 Ebuka Izundu 20 Mike Robinson 21 Kamari Murphy 23 Tonye Jekiri 33 Ivan Cruz Uceda 35 Chris Stowell

Pos

Ht

G G F G G G G C G F C F F

6-2 6-6 6-7 6-6 6-5 6-5 5-11 6-10 5-10 6-8 7-0 6-10 6-6

Wt YR 185 170 185 208 205 200 180 205 170 216 244 237 190

Hometown

So. Philadelphia, PA Jr. Las Vegas, NV Fr. St. Petersburg, FL Jr. Ewing, NJ Sr. Houston, TX So. Washington, DC Sr. Cupey, Puerto Rico Fr. Charlotte, NC Fr. New Britain, CT Jr. Brooklyn, NY Sr. Hialeah, FL Sr. Madrid, Spain So. Exeter, NH

Jim Larrañaga

Head Coach

64

Chris Caputo

Assistant Coach

Jamal Brunt

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Adam Fisher

Assistant Coach

James Johnson - Director of Operations Steve Felde - Strength & Conditioning Coach Jaime Vathielil - Associate Director of Operations Jason Robey - Athletic Trainer

COURTESY HURRICANESSPORTS.COM

COACHES


MIAMI 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

JIM LARRANAGA has three 20-win seasons in four years at Miami, including a 29-win ACC Championship team in 2013 and a 25-win NIT finalist last year. This team should be much better than last year’s squad, with a roster that returns almost completely intact and experienced. In a conference that has four Hall of Fame coaches, Larranaga may be the league’s Dumbledore, coming up with magical seasons with players that have been overlooked by everyone else. He makes a good team a dangerous dark horse in the nation’s best conference.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

64%

71%

50%

59%

20%

55%

64%

69%

26%

112-64

45-18

3-3

67-46

5-20

47-39

7-4

9-4

8-23

ZACH GIBSON/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

21-15 20-13 29-7 17-16 25-13 112-64

11-3 8-4 8-3 8-5 10-3 45-18

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1 0-1 0-1 1-1 0-0 2-0 3-3

AFTER JAN 1 10-12 12-9 21-4 9-11 15-10 67-46

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1 0-3 2-5 2-1 0-5 1-6 5-20

www.accsports.com

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

6-10 9-7 15-3 7-11 10-8 47-39

1-1 1-1 3-0 1-1 1-1 7-4

2-1 1-1 2-1 --4-1 9-4

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 0-4 2-6 3-2 0-5 3-6 8-23

65


LOUISVILLE CARDINALS

“It’s a great group. It’s a very special group. I’ve got a great feeling about these guys and what they’re all about. They’ve got to realize what defense is all about. It’s a changing culture, from just caring about jump shots to playing great defense. And they’re getting it.”

Head Coach Rick Pitino 66

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

Fueled by a veteran nucleus, the Cards got off to a 14-1 start and finished the regular season 24-7 and 12-6 in ACC play. After getting bounced in the ACC Tournament by North Carolina, the Cardinals regrouped and defeated UC-Irvine in a nail biter in its NCAA Tournament opener, and then Northern Iowa and ACC rival NC State to advance to the East Regional final. Rick Pitino’s squad came close to another Final Four berth, but fell in overtime to the Spartans to finish with an overall mark of 27-9.

The Cardinals successfully brought in a pair of mid-major transfers who appear set to make a significant impact this coming winter. Damion Lee averaged 21 points a game last season at Drexel and was the Cards’ leading scorer in its mid-August Puerto Rico tour, while Trey Lewis, who arrives at Louisville from Cleveland State, averaged 16 points a game last season. Lee and Lewis should emerge as leaders on this young and largely untested squad. UofL will be largely inexperienced, but the talent is there to compete.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

Two early road showdowns against a pair of national powerhouses — 2015 Final Four participants Michigan State and Kentucky – will test Pitino’s squad right out of the gate. The Cardinals travel to East Lansing as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Dec. 2, and then head to Lexington for a Dec. 26 rivalry showdown. In conference play, the Cards have ESPN Big Monday matchups back-to-back on Feb. 1, when they’ll host North Carolina, and Feb. 8, when they’ll travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Duke.

After getting bounced in its ACC Tournament opener this past season, the Cardinals came together and rallied for three NCAA Tournament triumphs over quality teams, and then came within an overtime session against Michigan State of the program’s third Final Four in four seasons. Realistically, it will be a challenge for the Cards to go as deep next March, but it’s not entirely out of the question with Pitino at the helm, as well as plenty of talent.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Louisville’s freshman class will not be asked to carry the load this coming winter, but guards Donovan Mitchell and Ryan McMahon, as well as small forward Deng Adel and 6-10 big man Raymond Spalding, could make a significant difference in whether this is a good or a great Louisville squad. Mitchell will be asked to play a key backup role along the perimeter, as will Spalding in the post. If these freshmen overachieve, then Louisville will more than likely overachieve.

The Cardinals lost quite a bit of dynamic talent, including its veteran trio of Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier, and Wayne Blackshear, who drove last season’s run to the Elite Eight. Harrell was the team’s most explosive post player, while Rozier and Blackshear provided scoring and leadership in the backcourt. Louisville also lost a couple transfers — shooting guard Anton Gill (Nebraska) and small forward Shaqquan Aaron (Southern Cal). Senior point guard Chris Jones was dismissed in late February.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Trey Lewis and Damion Lee prove they’ve got the goods in the ACC — giving Louisville one of the league’s top backcourts. Rick Pitino gets the most out of his sophomore quartet of 7-0 big men Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud, 6-10 power forward Chinanu Onuaku, and point guard Quentin Snider. And the rookies make shots and play solid defense. Plus, Mangok Mathiang steps up. If all those things happen, Louisville can once again compete among the top teams in the ACC, and return to the NCAAs again.

The Cardinals already had things go wrong in a 34-point loss to a Puerto Rican squad in mid-August. Louisville didn’t rebound or shoot well in that game, and turned the ball over excessively. If UofL struggles to get the offensive production it needs — with Lewis and Lee struggling to make shots while Stockman and Mahmoud don’t progress to give Mathiang and Onuaku help in the paint — the Cardinals could be in jeopardy of finishing in the ACC’s top six, as well as returning to the NCAA Tournament.

www.accsports.com

67


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD With the departure of Montrezl Harrell, Mangok Mathiang finds himself in position to break out as Louisville’s next top-notch power forward. The Australia native had a 23 point/10 rebound game this past July at the World University Games, and Rick Pitino can only wish that he has a few games like that this coming winter. Sophomore Jaylen Johnson and freshman Raymond Spalding could provide critical backup minutes.

Chinanu Onuaku u

SMALL FORWARD

t Mangok Mathiang

CENTER

POINT GUARD

Chinanu Onuaku is arguably Louisville’s most experienced returning player, having made 26 starts a season ago. He’s likely to see his role increased this season as UofL seeks production. Onuaku got valuable experience this summer, winning a Gold Medal with Team USA’s U-19 team at the FIBA World Championships. Seven-footers Anas Mahmoud and Matz Stockman will be in position to serve backup roles in the middle.

BENCH Along the perimeter, junior David Levitch and sophomore Dillon Avare could see more minutes this season. Anas Mahmoud and Matz Stockman will be asked to provide essential depth for the Cardinals in the low post. Freshmen Donovan Mitchell and Raymond Spalding will also serve in backup roles — Mitchell at shooting guard, Spalding at power forward. Jaylen Johnson will also see action at power forward.

68

It appears that Damion Lee is going to get the lion’s share of the playing time at small forward this season for the Cardinals. One of the more potent scorers in America last season, Lee is going to be in position to be Louisville’s top scoring option, as well as one of its primary court leaders, in his one season playing for the Cardinals. Freshman Deng Adel might see some action here and there, but Lee is clearly going to play a lot.

Quentin Snider took the reins after Chris Jones’ dismissal and was a key part of Louisville’s late-season success. Snider got his teammates involved and made smart decisions, while protecting the ball. This season Snider will have a chance to become UofL’s long-term option at point guard, though combo guard Trey Lewis is capable of giving him rest. With Snider and Lewis, Louisville should have capable ball handling.

COACHING

NEW FACES Along with the two graduate transfers, the Cardinals are bringing in four scholarship freshmen — guards Donovan Mitchell and Ryan McMahon, small forward Deng Adel, and big man Raymond Spalding. Mitchell and Spalding appear to be most ready to provide immediate contributions. Mitchell is a capable outside shooter who will provide quality depth at shooting guard, while Spalding is an multi-talented big man.

There’s plenty of talent, but little experience at the highest levels of college basketball. It’s going to be important for Pitino to get as much as possible out of his senior transfers, Lee and Lewis, and not just in terms of production. Pitino has already been working this summer to motivate sophomores Mahmoud, Stockman, and Snider, having sat down with them for personal conversations during the team’s August tour in Puerto Rico.

www.accsports.com

SHOOTING GUARD Graduate transfer Trey Lewis should slide into the starting lineup. While Lewis is capable of playing point guard, Louisville’s lack of depth at shooting guard following the loss of Terry Rozier and the transfer of Anton Gill makes him a more natural fit for the Cardinals at the two guard spot. Donovan Mitchell was a highly-touted prep phenom from New England prep powerhouse Brewster Academy who should be a serviceable backup.

p Trey Lewis


Rick Pitino ACC Matchups squad posted a solid 12-6 record in ACC play in its first winter. The Cardinals were a solid 15-4 at the KFC Yum! Center, which included a thrilling triumph in the regular season finale against league champion Virginia. UofL was humbled when it arrived in Greensboro for its first ACC Tournament,

Louisville entered the ACC on a high as a basketball program, coming off a national championship in 2013 and back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2012 and 2013. The Cardinals didn’t disappoint those who expected them to immediately challenge for supremacy in its new league, as Rick Pitino’s

as North Carolina sent them packing in the quarterfinals. But then the Cardinals put together a solid NCAA Tournament rally, coming within minutes of the program’s third Final Four in four seasons. Needless to say, Louisville is a welcome addition to the winning hoops tradition that is the ACC.

Louisville posted solid 6-3 records on the road and at home in its first ACC season.

2015 BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

H

A

T

W L W W L L W W W -

W W W W L W L L W

L -

TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/AP

PREVIOUS SPREAD: NICK LISI/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

MIAMI

NORTH CAROLINA

1-0

1-0

0-1

1-0

1-0

2-0

1-2

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

0-1

0-1

2-0

0-1

1-1

1-0

1-0

HOME GAMES

56.6% 66.6% FG 6-3

Louisville defended its home court well, going 6-3 in ACC play this past season. UofL’s three home losses were to Duke, NC State, and Notre Dame, who all reached the Sweet 16.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 66.6% FG 6-3

The Cardinals played nearly as well on the road in its first winter in the ACC as at home. UofL’s only road losses in ACC play were at North Carolina, Syracuse, and Virginia.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 0% FG 0-1

Rick Pitino’s squad was given a rude awakening by UNC in its first-ever ACC Tournament game, as the Tar Heels eliminated the Cardinals in the 2015 ACC Tournament quarterfinals.

69


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Damion

LEE #0 GUARD SENIOR

HEIGHT: 6-6 WEIGHT: 210 lbs HOMETOWN: Baltimore, MD One of the top mid-major players in America last year, Damion Lee arrives at Louisville eager to make his mark on the ACC

A dangerous outside shooter with proven ability drawing fouls and converting free throws, Lee transferred to Louisville after a decorated run at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Rookie of the Year in 2011-2012, and followed that up as a sophomore by averaging 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, earning second-team All-CAA honors. Lee headed into his junior

season with the Dragons as a CAA Player of the Year candidate, but he suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 27, 2013 in the preseason NIT against Arizona in Madison Square Garden. While the knee injury cost Lee a year on the court, he received a medical hardship, granting him an extra year of collegiate eligibility, and he made a spectacular recovery. Lee, a first-team All-CAA selection in 2014-2015, had five 30-point performances during what

Lee tied for fourth in the country in scoring average last season at Drexel. He shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range, and 88.7 percent from the free throw line.

THREE-POINTERS. Lee’s single-game high for 3-pointers, which he accomplished last November against Southern Cal. He also went 7-for-8 from long range in a 2013 game against Old Dominion. scoring a career-high 34 points.

6

DOUBLE-DIGIT FREE THROWS. Over a monthlong period last winter from Jan. 10 to Feb. 10, Lee had a stretch of six games out of ten in which he made ten or more three throws.

NUMBER OF GAMES MISSED THE LAST TWO SEASONS DUE TO INJURIES. Lee missed 25 games in 2013-2014 following his knee injury, and he missed the final three games last season with a fractured hand.

14 70

8 28

NUMBER OF GAMES LAST SEASON IN WHICH LEE HAD ONE OR ZERO TURNOVERS. He had four games with no turnovers, including a November game against Miami in which Lee played 37 minutes.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ASSOCIATED PRESS, CAL SPORTS MEDIA/AP, ASSOCIATED PRESS ; BOTTOM: ASSOCIATED PRESS

21.4 Points Per Game

PPG

amounted to his second junior season, as well as seven additional outings with at least 23 points. In Louisville’s August Puerto Rico tour, Lee had scoring games of 36 points, 29 points, and 28 points — proving that he’s going to have a chance to emerge as the Cardinals’ primary scorer this coming season. With his shooting ability and experience, Lee is going to be looked upon for scoring, as well as valuable leadership.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mangok

Mathiang #3 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-10 WEIGHT: 220 lbs HOMETOWN: Melbourne, AUS After showing solid potential as a sophomore, team captain Mathiang looks to enter the starting lineup for Louisville this season and become a leader for the Cardinals.

With Montrezl Harrell getting most of the minutes and the headlines in the post for Louisville the last couple of seasons, Mangok Mathiang hasn’t been thrust into the spotlight for the Cardinals a whole lot so far. But there have been moments. One was last year’s memorable regular season finale in Louisville, when Mathiang hit the game-winning jumper to lead the Cardinals past ACC regular season champion Virginia.

After redshirting the 2012-2013 season, Mathiang became a key reserve the following year, playing double figure minutes in all but four of Louisville’s games in 20132014, and averaging 14.7 minutes per contest over the course of the season. He began to show his promise as a rebounder, with eight games of six or more boards as a redshirt freshman. Mathiang’s minutes and production went up as a

7

GAMES WITH 3 OR MORE BLOCKS. Mathiang was a solid defensive weapon off the bench for most of last season. He had seven games with three or more blocked shots, including a seasonhigh five blocks against NC State.

4.7 Rebounds Per Game

82

PERSONAL FOULS. Mathiang’s 82 personal fouls ranked third for Louisville last season. He fouled out three times, and finished seven games with four fouls, including two in the NCAA Tournament.

t

38.8% FG Field Goal Percentage

As a sophomore, Mathiang finished with 159 total rebounds. He showed remarkable balance, recording 80 offensive rebounds and 79 defensive boards.

TOP: NICK LISI/AP, JOHN BAZEMORE/AP, KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP ; BOTTOM: TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/AP

RPG

sophomore, as he made nine starts and averaged better than 18 minutes per outing. Though he had just two games in double figures in scoring — 11 points each against Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh in January — Mathiang finished fourth on the Cardinals in rebounding, and second in offensive rebounds. Chinanu Onuaku is the only returning Louisville player who had as many rebounds as Mathiang last season.

Mathiang’s will look to improve his shooting as a junior after regressing last year. After shooting a healthy 52.8 percent from the floor in 2013-2014, he slipped to 38.8 percent last season.

Along with a slip in his field goal percentage, Mathiang went from converting 61.9 percent of his free throw attempts as a freshman, to just 48.1 percent as a sophomore.

www.accsports.com

48.1% FT

u Free Throw Percentage

71


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Quentin

SNIDER #2 GUARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-1 WEIGHT: 175 lbs HOMETOWN: Louisville, KY Thrown to the wolves last year, Snider showed poise beyond his years. Rick Pitino will look to him as a long-term point guard.

A local product of Louisville’s Ballard High School — also the alma mater of former Cardinal greats Jerry Eaves and DeJuan Wheat — Snider was Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky his senior year of high school. Pitino worked Snider into the rotation slowly last year, as the newcomer averaged less than ten minutes per game through Louisville’s first 25 contests. But when Chris Jones was suspended and ultimately

6

dismissed, Snider found himself starting point guard. Snider played 38 minutes on Feb. 18 at Syracuse, recording his first double-digit scoring performance at the college level with 13 points. Starting Feb. 23, when Snider played 36 minutes in a one-point Louisville triumph at Georgia Tech, he wouldn’t play fewer than 29 minutes in any game the rest of the way. Snider proved his mettle during Louisville’s run to the Elite Eight,

making the game-winning free throws to help Louisville get past UC-Irvine. He added 10 points in Louisville’s triumph over Northern Iowa, and then scored 14 points to help lead the Cardinals past ACC rival NC State. Though he had a game to forget in the Elite Eight against Michigan State, Snider is now a battle-proven veteran who the Cardinals will look to for production and leadership in 2015-2016.

DOUBLE-FIGURE SCORING GAMES. Upon becoming Louisville’s starting point guard in February, Snider made a total of ten starts. He scored in double figures in six of those starts, including a career-high 16 points against UC-Irvine in UofL’s NCAA Tournament opener.

MPG

35.2

Minutes Per Game t

28.4% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

72

Upon entering Louisville’s starting lineup, Snider played 35 minutes or more in seven of Louisville’s final 11 games, including 42 against Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

Snider could stand to improve his 3-point shooting, which woud help him make a bigger impact this season. His ability to stretch the floor will make things easier for the other playmakers in UofL’s rotation.

Snider went scoreless in 13 of Louisville’s first 27 games before entering the starting lineup for good. This included a four-game scoreless stretch in ACC play in January where he played sparingly.

www.accsports.com

3

u

0 POINTS

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/AP, NICK LISI/AP, NICK LISI/AP; BOTTOM: ELAINE THOMPSON/AP

TURNOVERS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. While scoring in double-figures in three straight NCAA Tournament games was vital in propelling Louisville to the Elite Eight, so was the fact that Snider only committed three turnovers in four games.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

G

Samford Hartford North Florida St. Francis (Brooklyn) Saint Louis Michigan State Grand Canyon Eastern Michigan Kennesaw State Western Kentucky Missouri-Kansas City Utah Valley Kentucky Wake Forest NC State Clemson Pittsburgh Florida State Georgia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia North Carolina Boston College Duke Notre Dame Syracuse Duke Pittsburgh Miami Georgia Tech Virginia

RIVALRY WATCH

ames don’t get much bigger in college basketball than Kentucky and Louisville, and their showdown the day after Christmas in Lexington will be highly-anticipated in the Bluegrass State as always. The game, set for a noon tipoff from Rupp Arena, will be televised on CBS. Kentucky has gotten the best of its in-state rival in recent meetings, and will likely be favored once again. The Cardinals can head to Lexington with minimal pressure this time around in hopes of springing the upset over its in-state nemesis.

TIME

TV

Friday, November 13 Tuesday, November 17

LAST MEETING 2012

W

80-54

2013

W

87-48

Saturday, November 21

FIRST MEETING

Tuesday, November 24

1954

L

Saturday, November 28

2014

W

66-51

2015

L

76-70 (OT)

Wednesday, December 2

7:15 PM

ESPN

Saturday, December 5 Saturday, December 12

FIRST MEETING

Wednesday, December 16

7:00 PM

ESPNU

Saturday, December 19

12:00 PM

ESPNU

Saturday, December 26

7:00 PM 12:00 PM

ESPNU CBS

2014

L

58-50

Sunday, January 3

8:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

85-76

Thursday, January 7

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2 ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

74-65

2015

W

58-52

Tuesday, December 22

FIRST MEETING 2014 2013

Wednesday, December 23

Sunday, January 10

W

76-67

W

90-62

FIRST MEETING

Thursday, January 14

9:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

69-56

Wednesday, January 20

9:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

81-59

Saturday, January 23

4:00 PM

Wednesday, January 27

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

52-51

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

78-63

Saturday, January 30

1:00 PM

CBS

2015

W

59-57

Monday, February 1 Saturday, February 6 Monday, February 8

7:00 PM

2015 2015 2015

L L L

70-60 81-72 63-52

Saturday, February 13

7:00 PM 4:00 OR 9:00 PM

ESPN ACC Network/Raycom ESPN ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

71-59

Wednesday, February 17

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

69-59

Saturday, February 20

12:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

63-52

Wednesday, February 24

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

69-56

Saturday, February 27

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

55-53

2015

W

52-51

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

59-57

Tuesday, March 1 Saturday, March 5

T

60-55

FIRST MEETING

TOUGHEST STRETCH

hings could get hairy for the Cardinals in February, with a series of games against Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Miami over a three-week period. Louisville will face the Blue Devils twice — in Durham on Feb. 8 and in Louisville Feb. 20. In-between, they’ll travel to South Bend Feb. 13 and host Syracuse Feb. 17. After Duke, they travel to Pittsburgh and Miami Feb. 24 and Feb. 27. This stretch will likely prove if Louisville is an NCAA Tournament squad.

E TED S. WARREN/AP

vs. vs.  vs.  vs.  vs.  @ vs.  vs.  vs.  vs.  vs.  vs.  @ vs.  @ @ vs.  vs.  @ @ vs.  vs.  vs.  @ @ vs.  vs.  @ @ vs.  @

DATE

www.accsports.com

UPSET ALERT

veryone makes a big deal out of LouisvilleKentucky, and rightfully so. But the Cardinals better not sleep on Western Kentucky when the Hilltoppers come to KFC Yum! Center December 19. Ray Harper’s squad has won 20 or more games in each of the last three seasons, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013. Louisville’s young, largely inexperienced team can’t afford to come out flat against the Hilltoppers.

73


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Louisville’s 27-9 finish in 2014-2015 marked the fifth straight season in which the Cardinals won 25 or more games. It was also UofL’s ninth straight season of 10 or more victories in either Big East or ACC competition. The Cards finished fourth in its first ACC regular season. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

21-13

6-10*

T-11th

16-3

2-9

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 3-1

—-

3-1

NIT

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Semifinals

2007

24-10

12-4*

T-2nd

17-6

6-3

1-1

—-

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2008

27-9

14-4*

T-2nd

13-2

8-3

6-4

—-

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2009

31-6

16-2*

1st

17-2

8-1

6-3

—-

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2010

20-13

11-7*

T-5th

15-4

4-7

1-2

—-

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2011

25-10

12-6*

T-3rd

19-2

4-6

2-2

—-

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2012

30-10

10-8*

7th

16-4

6-5

8-1

—-

4-1

NCAA

Final Four

2013

35-5

14-4*

T-1st

15-1

8-3

12-1

—-

6-0

NCAA

Champion

2014

31-6

15-3*

2nd

16-2

9-2

6-2

—-

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2015

27-9

12-6

4th

15-4

7-3

5-2

0-1

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

*Big East Conference

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Louisville is well-represented in its home state of Kentucky, with four natives of the Bluegrass State on its current roster. The Cardinals are also represented well in Florida, with two players, as well as in the Northeast, with a Connecticut resident and two from Maryland.

ROSTER

Pos

0 Damion Lee

G 2 Quentin Snider G 3 Trey Lewis G 4 Dillon Avare G 5 Matz Stockman F/C 10 Jaylen Johnson F 11 Jay Henderson G 12 Mangok Mathiang F/C 13 Raymond Spalding F 14 Anas Mahmoud F 22 Deng Adel F 23 David Levitch G 30 Ryan McMahon G 32 Chinanu Onuaku F/C 45 Donovan Mitchell G

Ht 6-6 6-1 6-2 6-0 7-0 6-9 6-4 6-10 6-10 7-0 6-7 6-3 6-0 6-10 6-3

Wt

YR

Hometown

210 SR Baltimore, MD 175 SO Louisville, KY 185 SR Garfield Heights, OH 150 RS SO Lexington, KY 250 SO Oslo, Norway 225 SO Ypsilanti, MI 180 FR Orlando, FL 220 RS JR Melbourne, Australia 210 FR Louisville, KY 210 SO Cairo, Egypt 200 FR Melbourne, Australia 180 JR Goshen, KY 165 FR Sarasota, FL 245 SO Lanham, MD 210 FR Greenwich, CT

COACHES Head Coach

74

Kenny Johnson

Assistant Coach

Ralph Willard

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Mike Balado

Assistant Coach

Michael Bowden - Director of Video Operations David Padgett - Director of Basketball Operations Stephanie Diebold-Davis - Basketball Receptionist Ray Ganong - Strength & Conditioning Coach Fred Hina - Head Men’s Basketball Trainer Jordan Sucher - Executive Assistant to Rick Pitino Vincent Tatum - Equipment Manager Wayne Turner - Assistant Strength Coach Anthony Wright - Director of Academic Services

COURTESY LOUISVILLE ATHLETICS

Rick Pitino


LOUISVILLE 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

Big East Wins

5

ACC Wins

RICK PITINO has little to prove at the college level, with two national championships and a slew of Final Four appearances. But with Louisville losing so much talent from a season ago, Pitino could prove himself even more as a superior leader if he can merge this group of graduate transfers, largely unproven returning players, and freshmen into a contender for the ACC title. Pitino and his staff’s week of evaluation on its August trip to Puerto Rico should help in preseason preparations.

10

15

20

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Loss

Tournament Win

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

79%

88%

42%

74%

51%

70%

0%

79%

49%

148-40

59-8

5-7

89-32

18-17

63-27

0-1

15-4

23-24

MARK WALLHEISER/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

25-10 30-10 35-5 31-6 27-9 148-40

11-2 12-2 12-1 12-2 12-1 59-8

2-1 1-2 1-1 0-2 1-1 5-7

14-8 18-8 23-4 19-4 15-8 89-32

5-4 2-3 5-2 4-3 2-5 18-17

12-6 10-8 14-4 15-3 12-6 63-27

------—0-1 0-1

0-1 4-1 6-0 2-1 3-1 15-4

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 7-5 3-5 6-3 4-5 3-6 23-24

75


NOTRE DAME

FIGHTING IRISH

“It’s a team that captured the nation. Certainly it captured our fan base and fans… it captured the country. What a fun and energizing group of guys to be around.”

Head Coach Mike Brey 76

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

Notre Dame took down Miami, Duke and UNC to win its first ACC Tournament championship in just its second season in the league. Notre Dame then advanced to the Elite Eight and put a scare into No. 1 Kentucky, losing to the Wildcats 68-66 in one of the best games of the season. The efficient Irish offense shot 50.9 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range, both leading the ACC. Notre Dame also had the second-best scoring offense in the ACC, and was near the top in assist/turnover ratio.

The Irish are missing their two best players, which means the offense will look very different this year. Instead of running through Jerian Grant, with Pat Connaughton playing the versatile workhorse, they will lean on point guard Demetrius Jackson (12.4 points, 3.1 assists last year) and power forward Zach Auguste (12.9 points, 6.5 rebounds). Both were solid as third and fourth options, but now they’ll have to adjust to the spotlight. Another 30-win season is a stretch, but the Irish shouldn’t fall far.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

Notre Dame doesn’t host Duke this year, which provided the Irish with an early-season ACC upset each of the last two seasons. Instead, Mike Brey travels to Cameron for its only matchup with the Blue Devils. The Irish could meet up with Wichita State in a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16 game if both teams reach the finals of Orlando’s Advocare Invitational in November. Notre Dame travels to Illinois to face the Illini in an intriguing ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup.

The Irish will take a step back, talentwise, but the schedule also appears to be softer than in recent years. Notre Dame gets two games against BC, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Miami, while it has just single games against the teams expected to challenge for the ACC title. The team should finish in or near the top tier and could throw a scare to people in the ACC Tournament. Notre Dame under Mike Brey is always tough in the NCAA tournament, as Kentucky can attest.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Last season, the Irish avoided perhaps the biggest intangible associated with Notre Dame athletics— academics. The Irish lost star guard Jerian Grant for the remainder of the season in December 2013, and the football program has been ravaged by academic issues each of the last three seasons. If all of Mike Brey’s players stay eligible, that will be a big boost. Notre Dame’s postseason magic last year in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments also gave the program a boost heading into 2015-16.

Notre Dame has to replace two of the biggest cogs in the offensive machine that led the Fighting Irish to glory last year. Jerian Grant was an All American, and Pat Connaughton was a do-everything player who stepped in as the team’s star when Grant was out in 2013-14. The two combined for 29 points, 10.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists. One of the two led the team in all three categories, as well as steals, blocks, 3-pointers, free throws and field goals made. The only other loss was reserve Eric Katenda.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Demetrius Jackson takes a step forward to join the ACC’s upper tier of elite point guards, while serving as one of the team’s top scorers. Zach Auguste also steps up as a scorer and rebounder. Mike Brey finds contributors from a pool of reserves including Austin Torres, Steve Vasturia and Bonzie Colson. Freshman Rex Pflueger is ready for college and provides long-range shooting. Matt Farrell, who played little last season, is ready to back up Jackson at the point. The Irish won’t slip too far in those circumstances.

Injuries and/or academics take down an expected contributor. Demetrius Jackson struggles in a solo role, and Farrell isn’t ready to help out when Jackson has foul trouble or fatigue. The Irish have seven forwards on the roster, but the depth at those positions leaves Notre Dame without a solid backup for Jackson or Zach Auguste. The 2013-14 Irish that finished 15-17 showed what damage the loss of one player can cause after Jerian Grant went out.

www.accsports.com

77


POSITION-BY-POSITION POINT GUARD

V.J. Beachem q

SMALL FORWARD

POWER FORWARD

Demetrius Jackson spent part of the summer at a camp run by NBA MVP Stephen Curry, which NBA analyst Fran Fraschilla said was “A leadership laboratory for four days (for Jackson). It’s like when executives go to the Wharton School of Business for a long weekend to polish up their skills. This was a way for Demetrius to polish up his game at the point-guard position.” Backup Matt Farrell played just 62 minutes last season.

The Irish have four players on the roster 6-9 or taller. Zach Auguste will likely split time between center in bigger lineups, and power forward in smaller rotations. Austin Burgett played 139 minutes in 20 games last year. Martinas Geben showed promise early, playing 194 minutes in 22 contests. Freshman Elijah Burns was a 3-star recruit. He’ll have the opportunity to earn minutes if he’s up to the challenge.

The two incoming freshman forwards, Elijah Burns and Matt Ryan, should fit right in with the interchangeable parts of the Notre Dame offense. They join a crowded stable of 6-6 to 6-9 guys who play a variety of roles. “For a player with his size, Elijah is a great passer,” Brey said. Ryan’s perimeter shooting also makes him a versatile threat. “Matt is going to add another dimension to our perimeter game.” Brey said.

78

Notre Dame doesn’t have anyone labelled center on its roster, and the Irish haven’t had one since Garrick Sherman left two years ago. Auguste will be the one guarding other teams’ centers in the post, even though his size and skills are better suited for power forward. Auguste was Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer and rebounder. If Auguste gets into foul trouble, the 255-pound Geben is best suited to fill the low post spot.

SHOOTING GUARD

p Demetrius Jackson

The Irish are loaded along the wing. V.J. Beachem averaged 5.9 points and knocked down 42 3-pointers last season. Bonzie Colson was the surprise star of the freshman class last year, averaging 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds and improved to 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds during ACC play. Junior Austin Torres saw time at small forward. 4-star small forward Matt Ryan also joins the program as an incoming freshman.

MR. VERSATILITY

CENTER

Steve Vasturia started all 38 games last season, averaging 10.1 points. He knocked down 60 shots from 3-point range, second most on the team. Vasturia will likely have an incoming freshman backing him up, as 4-star shooting guard Rex Pflueger joins the Fighting Irish.”He’s a solid shooter who will only get better. He’s an excellent defender, can really move his feet and defend,” coach Mike Brey said after signing Pflueger.

BENCH

NEW FACES

Last year’s regular starting five filled 188 of a possible 190 starting positions last season. The Irish likely won’t have quite as regular a rotation this year. Jackson, Auguste and Vasturia return. The other two spots will likely be filled by small forward Bonzie Colson or V.J. Beachem, with the other being the sixth man. Power forward Elijah Burns may earn the final starting job, with Geben, Burgett and Beachem coming off the bench.

The three-man freshman class may not be able to replace Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton’s production immediately, but they’ll be major contributors going forward. Elijah Burns is most likely to start as a freshman. He’s physically ready for the power forward spot. Rex Pflueger and Matt Ryan are both outstanding shooters and solid defenders who will likely be able to contribute before the end of their freshman year.

www.accsports.com

p Steve Vasturia


ACC Matchups that Notre Dame has losing records against over its first two seasons in the league are Virginia (0-3) and Wake Forest (1-2). Notre Dame won on the home floor of seven ACC schools last season, including at Louisville, North Carolina, and NC State. The schools more familiar with Notre Dame from the

The Irish couldn’t have asked for a much better start to life in the ACC. Notre Dame has a winning record against seven current ACC schools over two seasons, including a 3-1 mark against Duke. They’re .500 so far against Florida State, North Carolina and NC State. The only longtime ACC members

2014

PREVIOUS SPREAD: GENE J. PUSKAR/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: MICHAEL DWYER/AP (BEACHEM), GENE J. PUSKAR/AP (JACKSON), JOE RAYMOND/AP (VASTURIA)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

Big East days have done better against the Fighting Irish in early ACC play. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are both 2-0 against Notre Dame in their new league. Jim Boeheim is the only ACC Hall of Fame coach with a winning record against the Fighting Irish so far in league competition.

Demetrius Jackson, Bonzie Colson and Jerian Grant celebrate after defeating North Carolina in the 2015 ACC tournament championship game.

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

W W W W L L L L W -

W L L L L L L L

L

W W W W W W L L W

W W L W W W W L W -

W W W -

BERNARD THOMAS/THE HERALD-SUN/AP

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

4-0

3-0

3-1

1-1

3-1

1-0

2-1

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. STATE

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

2-2

1-1

0-2

0-2

0-3

2-0

1-2

HOME GAMES

56.6% 66.7% FG 12-6

Even in 2013-13, when Notre Dame suffered through a rough year, the Irish had a winning record in the ACC at home at 5-4. Last year, they improved to 7-2 on their home court.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 47.1% FG 8-9

The Irish are just one game below .500 on the road, including a 7-2 record last year. Notre Dame posted ACC road wins at the Dean Dome, PNC Arena and the YUM! Center.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 75% FG 3-1

The Irish won the ACC Tournament in just their second year in the league, becoming the first member to win it that early into their ACC tenure since NC State won the first one in 1954.

79


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Demetrius

JACKSON #11 GUARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-1 WEIGHT: 198 lbs HOMETOWN: Mishawaka, IN Jackson tried bacon for the first time in his life last Christmas Eve, according to a Sports Illustrated profile.

Jackson’s summer working with Stephen Curry at the SC30 camp taught the rising junior about the challenges of leading a team. And the new floor general of the defending ACC Tournament champions seemed to learn his lessons well. “Stud, winner, the best leader out here,” Brey said of the reports he got on Jackson from the camp. “Great with the young kids in the camp and he won the leadership

award. They gave a leadership award in the camp. Demetrius won it. He’s very proud of it. I’m very proud of him and that should be a real good spring board into the leadership we need from him this season.” The turnaround for Jackson was stunning. After struggling through a freshman year filled with losses, suspensions and frustration, the point guard was considering leaving Notre Dame to get a fresh

start elsewhere. Jackson had to announce that he was returning to Notre Dame again following his sophomore season. But this time, the uncertainty was due to the possibility that Jackson could have been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. This year, Jackson will be the the man in the spotlight for the Irish. The team captain, Jackson will lead the Irish on the floor and in the locker room as they replace multiple veterans.

12.4 Points Per Game

RPG

3.6 Rebounds Per Game

Jackson pulled down more boards than ACC point guard rivals Quinn Cook, Tyus Jones, Cat Barber, Marcus Paige, London Perrantes or Angel Rodriguez.

APG

3.1 Assists Per Game

Having ACC assists leader Jerian Grant at the other guard spot kept Jackson’s assists total low last season. He averaged fewer than half as many as Grant dished out.

2 POINTS

t Jackson had his toughest outing of the year on the biggest stage. He shot 1 for 7 in the Irish’s ELITE EIGHT GAME against Kentucky as Notre Dame lost by two. He’ll enter the season with a score to settle. Jackson hit more than half of his shots from the field last season, a rarity for someone who plays outside the post. Of the five ACC players who shot better than him, the shortest was 6-8 Montrezl Harrell. u

80

www.accsports.com

50.8% FG

Field Goal Percentage

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): DON PETERSEN/AP, TONY DEJAK/AP, JOE RAYMOND/AP; BOTTOM: DAVID RICHARD/AP

PPG

Jackson was the fourth-leading scorer on the Irish, and tied for third-leading scorer in conference games. He finished just outside of the ACC’s top 25 scoring list.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Zach

AUGUSTE #30 FORWARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-10 WEIGHT: 240 lbs HOMETOWN: Marlborough, MA In addition to English, Auguste speaks Greek and French Creole. His father was a semipro soccer player from Haiti.

Any questions about whether Auguste would be tough enough to handle the physical beating that comes from playing the post in the ACC were alleviated when Auguste adopted a new offseason training program. The Massachusetts native has taken to working out at Peter Welch’s gym. Welch is a former undefeated pro fighter whose converted warehouse in South Boston has helped train UFC champions Brock Lesnar and Conor

McGregor, and has been the subject of the Discovery Channel reality show The Fighters. “Agility, footwork, there’s a lot of mental focus in it,” Auguste told the Boston Globe when asked about the benefits of training in the squared circle. “It helped me with my conditioning, as well. We’d work out in the gym, then hit the pads. It was conditioning and boxing.” Auguste was a starter for the Fighting Irish last season, and

he will again be one of the key contributors this season as they look for more success and to defend its ACC Tournament crown. “I felt there was no way we would get to this point without him being a key guy,” coach Mike Brey told the Globe during Notre Dame’s magical run last March. “He’s even exceeded where I thought he would be, so I’m really pleased with him. And really pleased that he’ll come back next year as a main guy.”

12.9 Points Per Game

RPG

6.5 Rebounds Per Game

Auguste was also second in rebounding, finishing behind Pat Connaughton. He tied for 13th in the ACC in rebounding and increased from 4.3 boards per game as a sophomore.

82

TOP(LEFT TO RIGHT): KARL B. DEBLAKER /AP, JOE RAYMOND/AP, DAVID RICHARD/AP; BOTTOM: KARL B. DEBLAKER/AP

PPG

The second-highest scorer on one of the ACC’s best offenses, Auguste outscored Pat Connaughton and Demetrius Jackson, nearly doubling his 6.7 point average from 2013-14

OFFENSIVE BOARDS. Auguste had nearly twice as many offensive rebounds as anyone else on the Irish and finished just outside the ACC’s top 10 in the category. He had 37 offensive boards in conference games.

61.9% FG Field Goal Percentage

t Auguste finished second in the ACC in field goal percentage, trailing only NBA Lottery pick Jahlil Okafor. He’s shot over 50 percent every year in college, and increased his shooting by over 10 percentage points from his sophomore year. Auguste stepped up as the season wound down. The big man scored 102 points in the seven games of the Irish’s ACC & NCAA TOURNAMENT runs. He also pulled down 61 rebounds. u

www.accsports.com

14.5 PPG 8.7 RPG 81


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Steve

Vasturia #32 GUARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 211 lbs HOMETOWN: Medford, NJ Vasturia claims that he’s only dunked the ball in a game a total of four times in his playing career.

Referred to as “the baby-faced assassin” by Mike Brey, Vasturia was also the defensive stopper for the Irish last year. “Steve Vasturia is the most underrated, not-talked-about guy,” Brey said during the NCAA Tournament. “He guards the best perimeter guy. He makes every big shot, and now he’s driving the ball, getting to the basket and getting fouled.” “Here’s a 6-5 shooter. He’s

10.1 Points Per Game

PPG

and with these guys,” he said during the tourney. Vasturia won’t be able to fly under the radar this year. He’ll be the third option on the team, behind Auguste and Demetrius Jackson. He’s no stranger at taking important shots. He knocked down backbreakers to clinch a home win over Duke and the win over Butler that sent the Irish to the Sweet 16. “I’m so thrilled he has two years of eligibility left,” Brey said.

Vasturia gave the Irish double-figure scoring from all five starters. The Irish had to settle for four starters in double figures in ACC play as Vasturia’s average slid to 9.6 ppg.

3 Point Percentage

t Vasturia has made the same number of 2-pointers and 3-pointers in his career. He’s 87 FOR 160 from inside the arc and 87 FOR 228 from outside. He’s taken more treys than twos each of his first two seasons.

Vasturia scored 20, 15 and 16 points in Notre Dame’s last three NCAA games, averaging 17 points per game in the FINAL THREE GAMES OF THE YEAR. After scoring in double figures in 16 of the 31 regular season games, he did it in five of seven postseason games. u

82

86.4%

Vasturia’s accuracy from the free FT throw line would have been fifth in the ACC if he had enough attempts. He improved by 18 percentage points from his freshman year. u Free Throw Percentage

www.accsports.com

51 POINTS

TOP(LEFT TO RIGHT): JOE RAYMOND/AP, TONY DEJAK/AP, DON PETERSEN/AP; BOTTOM: JOE RAYMOND/AP

t Vasturia knocked down 60 of 146 3-pointers. He’d have finished third in the ACC in 3-point shooting if he had enough attempts to qualify for the league leaders.

41.1% 3FG

87

probably not going to play any defense,” teammate Zack Auguste said of opponents’ reaction to Vasturia. “But then he goes and locks down the best player on your team.” Vasturia gave the Fighting Irish a lift throughout March Madness — improving his scoring average during the postseason run. “Over the course of the year, I’ve gotten more confident and more comfortable playing in this offense


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

N

St. Francis (Pennsylvania) Wisconsin-Milwaukee UMass-Lowell Monmouth (in Orlando) TBA TBA Illinois Stony Brook Loyola Chicago Indiana (in Indianapolis) Youngstown State Liberty Virginia Boston College Pittsburgh Georgia Tech Duke Virginia Tech Boston College Syracuse Wake Forest Miami North Carolina Clemson Louisville Georgia Tech Wake Forest Florida State Miami NC State

Non-Conference Test

otre Dame will have its hands full when it faces Indiana on Dec. 19 in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers bring back a talented backcourt that includes Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon, while they also return talented forward Troy Williams. Both teams are evenly matched, and a win over Indiana could be an early sign that the Fighting Irish will still be among the nation’s top teams even without Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton. This would be a significant victory for Notre Dame before the New Year.

TIME

Friday, November 13 Tuesday, November 17

7:00 PM

Saturday, November 21

TV

LAST MEETING 1999

W

73-60

2003

W

70-69

FIRST MEETING

Thursday, November 26

2:00 PM 6:30 PM

ESPNU

Friday, November 27

7:00/9:00 PM

ESPN2/ESPN3

Wednesday, December 2

9:15 PM

Tuesday, December 8

9:00 PM

Sunday, December 13

2:00 PM

Saturday, December 19

2:00 PM

Monday, December 21

7:00 PM

Tuesday, December 29

3:00 PM 5:00 PM

2012

W

84-57

ESPN2

2003

W

68-60

ESPNU

2010

W

88-62

2000

W

107-68

2013

W

79-72

Sunday, November 29

2007

W

87-75

ESPNU ESPN2

2010

W

72-51

2015

L

62-56

Thursday, January 7

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

87-70

Saturday, January 9

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

76-72

2015

W

62-59

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

74-64

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

85-60

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

87-70

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

65-60

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

88-75

Saturday, January 2

Wednesday, January 13 Saturday, January 16

2:00 PM

Wednesday, January 20 Saturday, January 23 Thursday, January 28

7:00 PM

Sunday, January 31 Wednesday, February 3

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

70-63

Saturday, February 6

2:00/7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

90-82

ESPNU ESPN/ESPN2

W

81-67

Saturday, February 13

9:00 PM 4:00/9:00 PM

2015 2015

W

71-59

Saturday, February 20

8:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

W

62-59

Wednesday, February 24

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

88-75

Saturday, February 27

2014

W

83-63

2015

W

70-63

2015

W

81-78

Monday, February 8

I

ESPN2

Wednesday, March 2

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2 ESPN2

Saturday, March 5

12:00 PM

CBS

MEASURING STICK GAME

t was clear in the early part of last season that Notre Dame wasn’t going to be finishing with another losing record. But the first major statement the Fighting Irish made in ACC play came in a onepoint victory at North Carolina. The Irish took down the Tar Heels again in the ACC title game, and this season, they’ll play Roy Williams’ squad at home on Feb. 6. UNC will be one of the favorites to win the ACC, but Notre Dame could prove it’s still talented enough to hang with the league’s heavyweights by defeating the Tar Heels.

B JOE RAYMOND/AP

vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. vs. @ vs. vs. @ vs. @ vs. @ vs. @ @ @ vs. vs.

DATE

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

efore losing to Kentucky in the Elite Eight, Notre Dame had been one of the hottest teams in college basketball for over a month, and a 65-60 defeat at the hands of former Big East foe Syracuse is the only reason why the Irish weren’t on a 12-game winning streak going into their NCAA tournament matchup against the Wildcats. The Orange could be taking a step back this year, and Notre Dame will have a shot at revenge against Jim Boeheim’s team on Jan. 28 when they meet in the Carrier Dome.

83


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS After having their string of seven straight 20-win seasons snapped in 2014, the Irish came back with a vengeance, topping 30 wins for the first time since way back in 1908-1909, when Notre Dame went 33-7 under Bertram Maris. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

16-14

6-10*

T-11th*

12-5

4-7

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 0-2

---

1-1

NIT

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Second Round

2007

24-8

11-5*

4th*

18-0

3-5

3-3

---

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2008

25-8

14-4*

T-2nd*

17-0

5-4

3-4

---

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2009

21-15

8-10*

T-9th*

15-3

3-8

3-4

---

3-1

NIT

Semifinals

2010

23-12

10-8*

T-7th*

17-3

3-6

3-3

---

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2011

27-7

14-4*

2nd*

17-0

5-4

5-3

---

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2012

22-12

13-5*

3rd*

16-1

5-5

1-6

---

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2013

25-10

11-7*

T-5th*

17-2

4-5

4-3

---

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2014

15-17

6-12

T-11th

13-6

1-9

1-2

0-1

---

---

---

2015

32-6

14-4

3rd

17-2

7-2

8-2

3-0

3-1

NCAA

Elite Eight

*Big East Conference

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS The Fighting Irish were in the Big East in basketball for a long time, and the map of the hometowns on the team’s roster reflects that. Mike Brey’s team has a cluster of players from in-state Indiana, a cluster in the Northeast, and one — Rex Pflueger — from California.

ROSTER 0 Rex Pflueger 1 Austin Torres 3 VJ Beachem 4 Matt Ryan 5 Matt Farrell 11 Demetrius Jackson 12 Elijah Burns 20 Austin Burgett 21 Matt Gregory 23 Martinas Geben 30 Zach Auguste 32 Steve Vasturia 35 Bonzie Colson

Pos

Ht

G F F F G G F F F F F G F

6-6 6-7 6-8 6-8 6-1 6-1 6-9 6-9 6-6 6-9 6-10 6-5 6-5

Wt YR 193 228 200 217 173 198 232 228 190 255 240 211 226

Hometown

Fr. Dana Point, CA Jr. Granger, IN Jr. Fort Wayne, IN Fr. Cortland Manor, NY So. Bridgewater, NJ Jr. Mishawaka, IN Fr. Troy, NY Sr. Avon, IN So. Avon, IN So. Vilnius, Lithuania Sr. Malbrough, MA Jr. Medford, NJ So. New Bedford, MA

Mike Brey

Head Coach

84

Anthony Solomon

Assistant Coach

Rod Balanis

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Martin Ingelsby

Assistant Coach

Harold Swanagan

Coordinator of Basketball Operations

COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

COACHES


NOTRE DAME 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

Big East Wins

5

ACC Wins

In two short years in the ACC, MIKE BREY has established himself as a giant killer. The Irish are 3-1 against Duke since joining the ACC, making Brey the only former Coach K player or assistant to every have a winning record against his mentor. Brey added an ACC Tournament title and very nearly beat Wisconsin to the punch, coming just two points shy of knocking off Kentucky to reach the Final Four. Brey is clearly taking advantage of the move to the ACC to upgrade his recruiting. His incoming class should have an immediate impact.

10

15

20

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE*

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

70%

82%

40%

62%

62%

64%

75%

50%

57%

121-52

55-12

4-6

66-40

23-14

58-32

3-1

4-4

27-20

TONY DEJAK/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

27-7 22-12 25-10 15-17 32-6 121-52

12-1 9-5 12-1 9-4 13-1 55-12

1-1 1-3 1-0 0-2 1-0 4-6

15-6 13-7 13-9 6-13 19-5 66-40

7-2 4-2 4-4 1-3 7-3 23-14

14-4 13-5 11-7 6-12 14-4 58-32

------0-1 3-0 3-1

1-1 0-1 0-1 --3-1 4-4

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 8-3 5-5 5-4 1-5 8-3 27-20

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NC STATE

WOLFPACK

“We’ve got a number of players returning off a team that won a substantial amount of games and went to the Sweet 16, and we could end up being picked middle of the pack, only because the league is so good. That makes it fun.”

Head Coach Mark Gottfried 86

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

The Wolfpack upset Duke at home and beat North Carolina at the Dean Dome. State was blown out badly in the rematch with Duke in the ACC Tournament and made the NCAA Tournament as an eight seed. The Pack upset topseed Villanova in their second game, advancing to the Sweet 16 and blowing up President Obama’s bracket. The Pack finished the season 22-14 overall and 10-8 in the ACC. BeeJay Anya set a school record with 10 blocked shots in a game, and Trevor Lacey was the team’s offensive leader.

Lacey caught the team off guard by leaving early for the NBA Draft and, despite not being drafted, won’t return. Terry Henderson, who sat out last year after transferring from West Virginia, is the top candidate to step in to fill the void Lacey leaves. Forward Kyle Washington also chose to transfer, leaving NCSU two players down. After a slow start to recruiting, the team added a pair of freshmen late, but there’s no question that Cat Barber and BeeJay Anya will be the heart and soul of this year’s squad.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

Depending on how preseason brackets play out, State could play up to seven NCAA tournament teams from last season in its 13 non-conference games. The Pack will play Arizona State at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, followed by either a game against Marquette or a rematch with LSU, who State beat in last year’s tourney. State hosts Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and will take a road trip to Missouri. Mark Gottfried has shown that he has a gift for picking a selection-committee-friendly schedule.

The Wolfpack could be a dark horse in the top-heavy ACC. While they’re unlikely to challenge for the top spot, the team has a quality big man and a talented, experienced point guard. That will be enough to keep them in the upper echelon of the league. Under Gottfried, State has always seemed to play its best at the end of the season. If the Pack can win consistently enough to get off the bubble and improve its seeding, it could put together a run in the tournament.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

State relishes being the underdog. And last season, the team had plenty of opportunities to excel in that role. The Pack will get shots at Duke and Carolina again this year. It’s the games where the players and fans aren’t worked up into a frenzy that seem to land NC State on the bubble each year. If Gottfried can keep the team focused, even in those December games against unheralded foes, the team can avoid the bad losses that have them sweating a bid on Selection Sunday some years.

State expected to lose senior shooting guard Ralston Turner. The other two losses were bigger surprises. Trevor Lacey, who was State’s MVP last year, left early, despite less than optimistic draft projections. Lacey went undrafted and signed with an Italian team in July. State also lost forward Kyle Washington, who transferred to Cincinnati in the offseason. The Wolfpack have to replace three of their top four scorers, their No. 2 and No. 3 assist men and the two most prolific 3-point shooters.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Cat Barber has always been one of the fastest point guards in the ACC. Now he’s also one of the most experienced. If he can provide reliable defense and beat his man off the ball on the other end of the court, it will open things up inside for Anya and Lennard Freeman. Terry Henderson proves to be a solid No. 1 or No. 2 scoring option, and forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and the Martin twins provide scoring help. State could pull some upsets in the ACC and make a deep run in the postseason once again.

Barber and Anya find that it’s easier to be supporting pieces than the top option. Both struggle with consistency, and the team has a roller-coaster season, frustrating fans by losing winnable games while thrilling them with strong efforts in other outings. Still light on depth, the team wears down as the year goes on. If any of the key contributors miss time with injury, State could look back fondly on the days when it was on the NCAA bubble, facing the prospect of needing an ACC Tournament win to extend its season.

www.accsports.com

87


POSITION-BY-POSITION POINT GUARD Anthony “Cat” Barber didn’t finish on the ACC leader lists in any category. When he’s on, no one in the conference finds the open man as well, or as spectacularly, as Barber, and no one is as tough on defending the ball. Barber needs to find consistency, however. Over a six-game stretch during the ACC season, he averaged 4.7 points. Over the next six games, he averaged 18.0. There’s not much depth behind him.

POWER FORWARD Lennard Freeman was 21st in the ACC in rebounding last year, averaging 5.6 per game. His scoring (3.6 points) will have to come up. Abdul-Malik Abu was spectacular at times, and he should improve significantly with a year under his belt. He led all the big men in scoring with 6.4 points and added 4.8 rebounds. Those two will likely split time at the 4-spot while also playing together, with one sliding to center, when BeeJay Anya is out.

CENTER

Abdul-Malik Abu q

Mr. VERSATILITY Abdul-Malik Abu is a candidate to become the breakout player at NC State, and perhaps the entire ACC. The 6-8 Abu showed flashes last season of the star player he could become. “We challenged him right after the season and wanted to make him a more effective legite scorer from the block and to knock down that 15-16 foot jumper. Can you be a high-percentage scorer? If you can, we’re going to feed you,” Gottfried said.

88

t Lennard Freeman

SMALL FORWARD

No one on State’s roster is listed as a center, but BeeJay Anya seems to fit the bill. Despite being just 6-9, Anya is the team’s best hope in the post. He led the ACC in blocked shots last year and set a team record with 10 blocks in a game early in the season. Anya was voted the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year last season. He’ll need to start and contribute more than 19.4 minutes this year, so conditioning will be a factor.

Caleb Martin was the best of the freshman twins last year, averaging 4.8 points and 2.9 rebounds. Brother Cody averaged 3.4 and 2.0. Freshmen Shaun Kirk and Maverick Rowan may also get looks at small forward, although both of them are also candidates to see time at shooting guard. Rowan, a 4-star and the seventh-best small forward in the country, is probably ahead of the 3-star Kirk entering college.

BENCH

SHOOTING GUARD It’s not fair to expect Terry Henderson to replace Trevor Lacey, but comparisons will likely plague him until he produces on the court. Like Lacey, he arrived as a transfer and had to sit out a year. He may end up being closer to Ralston Turner than Lacey, however; he seems like more of a shooter than a playmaker. Either way, he’s the Pack’s likely starter. Kirk and Rowan may ask see time at 2-guard, as may the Martin twins.

NEW FACES

State’s starting five of Abu, Anya, Freeman, Barber and Henderson is promising. However, Barber was the only one of them to average more than 20 minutes per game last year. That means that the bench will be important as the other starters get used to increased playing time. Bad news, since the bench will consist of the Martin twins, the two freshmen and three walk-ons. Foul trouble and injury problems could be fatal to the Pack’s hopes.

Maverick Rowan u

www.accsports.com

For much of the recruiting cycle, it looked like NC State would be shut out in the class of 2015. State added 3-star small forward Shaun Kirk in the spring, however, and in the summer, it doubled the size of the class with Maverick Rowan, who reclassified so he could enter college after his junior year in high school. State also added Torin Dorn, a transfer from Charlotte, but the sophomore guard will have to sit out this season.


10-Year ACC History NC State has a .500 or better record against 10 of its 14 ACC opponents over the last 10 seasons. The 3-19 record against North Carolina and the 4-12 mark against Duke — State’s two closest neighbors in the conference — are particularly galling to Wolfpack Nation, however. Virginia’s three

2006

PREVIOUS SPREAD: ETHAN HYMAN/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: NICK LISI/AP (FREEMAN), GERRY BROOME/AP (ABU), KELLY KLINE/ADIDAS (ROWAN)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

straight wins over the Wolfpack over the last two years helped make the Cavaliers the third ACC opponent with a winning record against NCSU in the last decade. The fourth ACC foe with more wins than losses over State is a bit of a surprise — the Clemson Tigers. NC State has lost two of three to

Clemson over the last two years — a record that helped place them on the NCAA bubble at times. NC State had a .500 record against both UNC and Duke last year for the second time in three years. It’s just the second time in the last 10 years the Wolfpack managed to split with both Triangle rivals, however.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

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BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

9-6

6-9

4-12

7-7

9-6

1-0

10-7

NORTH CAROLINA

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

3-19

1-1

3-1

2-1

6-9

9-4

13-8

HOME GAMES

56.6% 56.4% FG 44-34

NC State has a home winning streak of at least two games against six ACC foes, including Duke. The Pack also have a two-game home losing streak vs. UNC, UVa and Miami.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 36.3% FG 28-49

The Wolfpack finished with a winning record away from Raleigh last year and is .500 in road ACC games over the last four years. They were 11-31 in the six years prior, however.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 57.9% FG 11-8

The Wolfpack has a better winning percentage in the ACC Tournament than at home. Duke and North Carolina have combined for half of State’s tourney losses over the last decade.

89


PLAYERS TO WATCH

BeeJay

Anya #21 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 295 lbs HOMETOWN: Washington, DC Full name is Chukwunonso Beejay Nduka-Anya. His family is of Nigerian descent, and he first visited there at age two.

The power forward/center continued to tempt the Wolfpack with flashes of potential last season. Anya set the school record with 10 blocked shots against Jacksonville. But his frustrating lack of consistency is best illustrated by the fact that he had as many games with doublefigure blocks last season as he did double-figure points and doublefigure rebounds. Part of the reason for Anya’s

side of 300 (pounds) and must get it down if he wants to play consistently. He is important to us and is the one who could take our team to another level.” If Anya can stay focused and dedicated, he can be a legitimate double-double threat in almost every game. If not, he’ll be destined to play a reduced role for the Wolfpack, and fans and coaches will be left to wonder what might have been.

2.5 Blocks Per Game

FPG

2.7 Fouls Per Game

Anya was in foul trouble (4 or 5 fouls) in 14 games last season and had three fouls in another seven. There were only a dozen games where fouls weren’t an issue.

MPG

19.4

Field Goal Percentage

Minutes Per Game

Anya’s average playing time last season was at 19.4 minutes per game, up from 11.8 as a freshman. Anya’s playing time is directly tied to his fitness level.

t Anya’s shooting percentage last season, up from 58.7 percent as a freshman. Anya’s accuracy would have ranked second in the ACC last season had he had enough shot attempts to qualify. Anya was shut out in six games last season, averaging just under 14 minutes in the games he was shut out. Anya seemed to wear down as the season went on. u

www.accsports.com

6 SCORELESS GAMES

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): KEVIN RIVOLI/AP, ETHAN HYMAN/AP, MARK CRAMMER/AP; BOTTOM: GERRY BROOME/AP

BPG

Anya blocked 91 shots last season, leading the ACC in the category. He’s the first Wolfpack player to lead the ACC in blocked shots in more than 20 years.

61% Fg 90

inconsistency is his conditioning. He lost a great deal of weight last offseason but still struggled with fatigue at times. According to Mark Gottfried’s summer press conference, the weight loss was temporary. “His weight is still a topic of concern and is not something that we are pleased with and continue to challenge him each day to be in better shape,” Gottfried said. “Currently he is on the wrong


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cat

BARBER #12 GUARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-2 WEIGHT: 185 lbs HOMETOWN: Newport News, Va His mother gave him his nickname at age 4, when he climbed onto the stove to reach an oatmeal cream pie.

After splitting time with Tyler Lewis as a freshman, Barber was supposed to be the leader of the team last season. As it turned out, he had to take a back seat to Trevor Lacey, who had almost as many assists from the 2-guard spot as Barber did from the point (121 to 130). Still, Barber was able to develop his game while splitting ballhandling chores with Lacey. He improved his shooting percentage

from .401 to .439, his 3-point accuracy from .261 to .380, and increased his scoring, rebounding and steals. “Just look at his first year,” Mark Gottfried said. “He was erratic and wasn’t confident in running the offense. The second year he looked more settled and shot the ball better.” This year promises to be even better. “Cat Daddy has been outstanding this summer,” Gottfried said. “The

thing that I love about Cat is that he doesn’t have any issues with getting better. He doesn’t mind having his game critiqued.” Barber’s ball-handling skills were never in question. He’ll add long-range shooting to his game this year, making himself more of an offensive threat. “Thus far, and we will see what happens when the lights come on, but he has shot the 3-ball as good as anyone in practice,” Gottfried said.

12.1 Points Per Game

APG

3.7 Assists Per Game

Barber only increased his assists average by 0.2 per game last year, and he had six or more assists four times in ACC play. He had eight in three NCAA tournament games.

73.3% FT Free Throw Percentage

5

t Barber improved his free-throw shooting by 3.7 percentage points over his freshman year. It was still only fourth-best on the team. Barber increased his 3-point shooting accuracy by 12 percentage points from his freshman season. Gottfried praised his shooting improvement . u

TWENTY-POINT GAMES www.accsports.com

TOP: KARL B DEBLAKER/AP, JASON DECROW/AP, KEVIN RIVOLI/AP; BOTTOM: ETHAN HYMAN/AP

PPG

Barber was State’s third-leading scorer last year and is the top returning scorer, with an average nearly double the next best Wolfpack returnee — Abdul-Malik Abu at 6.4.

38.0% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

Barber topped 20 points in five games last year, including a high of 34 points against Pitt. State was 4-1 when Barber scored 20 or more. Barber had just one 20-point game in the first 21 games of the season, but four in the final 14 contests.

91


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Terry

HENDERSON #3 GUARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-4 WEIGHT: 190 lbs HOMETOWN: Raleligh, NC Played AAU ball on the same team as former Wolfpack star and current NBA player T.J. Warren.

Henderson was a 3-star recruit out of Raleigh’s Neuse Christian Academy when he committed to West Virginia three years ago. In 2014, he became the 10th Mountaineers player in three years to transfer out of Bob Huggins’ program. Henderson chose State over Wake Forest, Maryland, UCLA, Rutgers, Richmond and Cincinnati, and he sat out last season. Henderson will be asked to help fill in for the loss of Trevor Lacey.

Comparing the two in their pretransfer seasons, the comparison seems reasonable. Henderson outscored Lacey as a sophomore, 11.7 points to 11.3. He also came to State as a more accurate shooter. He averaged .439 on field goals, .376 on 3-pointers and .848 from the line. Lacey’s percentages were .392, .373 and .718. Lacey outrebounded Henderson, 3.8 per game to 2.9, and had nearly three times as many assists.

27 Minutes Per Game

PPS

1.128 Points Per Shot 607 Days

Henderson’s average playing time with West Virginia in 2013-14, his last year there. That would have put him second among returning Pack players, behind Barber’s 31.7.

Henderson’s average on 3-pointers attempted, after scoring 141 points on 125 treys. He scored 130 points on 130 2-point shots for a 1.000 points-per-shot average. NC State’s season opener will be Nov. 13. Sitting out last season after transferring, Henderson last played in a game that counted on March 18, 2014, 607 days earlier.

t In the last two seasons, three of NC State’s top two scorers have been transfers. Ralston Turner finished second in scoring each of the last two seasons, and Trevor Lacey finished first last year. Henderson’s scoring total in two games against ACC foes, while at West Virginia. The Mountaineers played Virginia Tech twice. Henderson played a total of 20 minutes and went 3-of-9 from the field. u

92

www.accsports.com

6 POINTS

AGAINST

TOP: ANDREW FERGUSON/AP, ASSOCIATED PRESS, SUE OGROCKI/AP ; BOTTOM: ANDREW FERGUSON/AP

MPG

Like Lacey, Henderson seems ready to do it all for the Pack. “He fills it up on the stat sheet,” AbdulMalik Abu told the Associated Press. “He fills up on the rebounds, steals, blocks. He does a little bit of everything.” “I’m not Ralston Turner or Trevor Lacey,” Henderson told the AP. “I’m Terry Henderson. I’m a player. I’m here to win. I wouldn’t have come to this school if I didn’t think we had a good chance of winning.”


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS

vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. @ vs. vs. @ vs. @ vs. @ @ vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @ vs. vs. @ vs. @

T

William & Mary South Alabama IUPUI Arizona State (in Brooklyn) TBA (in Brooklyn) Winthrop Michigan Bucknell South Florida High Point Missouri UNC-Greensboro Northeastern Virginia Tech Louisville Wake Forest Florida State North Carolina Pittsburgh Duke Georgia Tech Miami Florida State Duke Wake Forest Virginia Clemson North Carolina Syracuse Boston College Notre Dame

Non-Conference Test

he Wolfpack haven’t played light non-conference schedules under Mark Gottfried. And on Dec. 1 against Michigan in Raleigh, the Wolfpack have an opportunity to snag a victory that could impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee come March. NC State will host the Wolverines as part of the ACC/ Big Ten Challenge — providing an early test for both teams. Michigan missed the Big Dance a year ago, but with guard Caris LeVert back from a foot injury, John Beilein’s team might be a Top 25 squad.

A

DATE

TIME TV

Friday, November 13 Sunday, November 15

6:00 PM

LAST MEETING 2007

Wednesday, November 18

66-47

FIRST MEETING

Monday, November 23

9:30 PM

Tuesday, November 24

5:30/8:00 PM

Friday, November 27 Tuesday, December 1

W FIRST MEETING

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2000

W

79-68

2009

W

68-52

2012

L

79-72

Saturday, December 5

FIRST MEETING 2014

W

68-65

Wednesday, December 16

2008

W

69-56

Saturday, December 19

2013

L

68-64

Tuesday, December 22

2013

W

68-64

Tuesday, December 29

2011

W

88-59

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

69-53

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

L

75-65

Sunday, January 10

7:00 PM 8:00 PM

2015 2015

L

88-84

Wednesday, January 13

9:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

72-63

Saturday, January 16

12:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

58-46

Sunday, December 13

4:00 PM

Saturday, January 2 Thursday, January 7

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

81-70

Saturday, January 23

2:00 PM

CBS

2015

L

77-53

Wednesday, January 27

8:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

81-80

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

65-60

Tuesday, January 19

Saturday, January 30 Monday, February 1

9:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

72-63

Saturday, February 6

2:00/7:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

77-53

2015

L

88-84

ESPN

2015

L

51-47

Saturday, February 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

66-61

Wednesday, February 24

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

58-46

2015

W

71-57

ACC Network/Raycom CBS

2015

L

79-63

2015

L

81-78

Saturday, February 13 Monday, February 15

7:00 PM

Saturday, February 27 Wednesday, March 2 Saturday, March 5

12:00 PM

MEASURING STICK GAME

year ago, NC State made a habit of playing some of its best basketball in big games, with wins over Duke, Louisville, UNC and Villanova. The Wolfpack can do it this season by defeating Virginia in Charlottesville on Feb. 15. Gottfried’s squad was competitive both times it faced the Cavaliers last season, but it wasn’t able to hit enough big shots at the end. UVa is easily one of the ACC’s three best teams, so a win in John Paul Jones Arena would show that NCSU is able to hang with anyone in the league once again.

T GENE J. PUSKAR/AP

OPPONENT

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

he Wolfpack haven’t reached the Elite Eight since 1986, and Louisville was the reason that streak wasn’t snapped last March. The two ACC foes faced each other in the Sweet 16 just over a month after NC State took down the Cardinals in the KFC Yum! Center, and it was Rick Pitino’s team that moved on to the regional final. NCSU plays Louisville at home Jan. 7 in the lone matchup between the two this season, and while a win over the Cardinals wouldn’t be as nice as an Elite Eight appearance, getting revenge would be sweet.

93


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS NCSU has topped the 20-win mark four straight years — the program’s longest streak since 2004-07 — and reached the NCAA Tournament each of the last four years — the longest since a stretch of five straight Big Dance appearances under Herb Sendek from 2002-06. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

22-10

10-6

4th

15-3

5-5

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 2-2

0-1

1-1

NCAA

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Final 32

2007

20-16

5-11

T-10th

14-6

3-9

3-1

3-1

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2008

15-16

4-12

T-11th

10-6

2-9

3-1

0-1

---

---

---

2009

16-14

6-10

10th

14-4

2-8

0-2

0-1

---

---

---

2010

20-16

5-11

T-9th

10-7

5-8

5-1

2-1

1-1

NIT

Second Round

2011

15-16

5-11

T-10th

11-5

1-9

3-2

0-1

---

---

---

2012

24-13

9-7

T-4th

13-6

6-4

5-3

2-1

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2013

24-11

11-7

T-4th

16-1

3-7

5-3

2-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2014

22-14

9-9

T-7th

13-6

6-6

3-2

2-1

1-1

NCAA

Second Round

2015

22-14

10-8

T-6th

14-6

5-5

3-3

1-1

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Eight players on the current Wolfpack roster are from North Carolina, but the players that Mark Gottfried lured from out of state were worth the effort — Cat Barber, BeeJay Anya, Abdul-Malik Abu, Lennard Freeman and Maverick Rowan.

ROSTER

Pos

Ht

Wt YR

F F 2 Torin Dorn G 3 Terry Henderson G 4 Chris Brickhouse F 12 Anthony “Cat” Barber G 13 Chris Corchiani Jr. G 14 Caleb Martin G/F 15 Cody Martin G/F 21 BeeJay Anya F 22 Shaun Kirk G/F 24 Maverick Rowan G/F 25 Chase Cannon G

6-8 6-8 6-4 6-4 6-5 6-2 6-0 6-6 6-6 6-9 6-7 6-6 6-5

240 245 180 200 205 185 180 200 205 280 185 190 200

0 Abdul-Malik Abu

1 Lennard Freeman

Hometown

So. Boston, MA Jr. Washington, DC So. Charlotte, NC Jr. Raleigh, NC Jr. Raleigh, NC Jr. Newport News, VA So. Raleigh, NC So. Mocksville, NC So. Mocksville, NC Jr. Washington, DC Fr. Whiteville, NC Fr. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sr. Morehead City, NC

Mark Gottfried

Head Coach

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Bobby Lutz

Associate Head Coach

Orlando Early

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Rob Moxley

Assistant Coach

Jeff Dunlap - Director of Operations Dereck Whittenburg - Dir. of Player Development Bob Alejo - Assistant AD/Strength and Conditioning Taylor Johnson - Graduate Assistant Dawn Winters - Executive Assistant to the Head Coach Maggie Burge - Dir. of Men's Basketball Administration

COURTESY NC STATE ATHLETICS

COACHES


NC STATE 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

MARK GOTTFRIED does not have the Hall of Fame pedigree of other veteran coaches in the ACC, but he’s solved the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament riddle, getting NC State in consistently. He usually has the Wolfpack playing at or near their peak at the end of the season. The roster he’s built this season is an intriguing one. While there isn’t the one superstar player, the pieces seem to fit together well. With the talent assembled on this team, this year’s NC State squad could be a surprise, and a credit to the man who assembled the roster.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

ACC Losses

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

61%

74%

0%

53%

21%

51%

58%

56%

17%

107-68

49-17

0-7

58-51

6-22

44-42

7-5

5-4

6-29

ETHAN HYMNA/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

15-16 24-13 24-11 22-14 22-14 107-68

8-4 10-4 11-2 10-3 10-4 49-17

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1 0-2 0-2 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-7

AFTER JAN 1 7-12 14-9 13-9 12-11 12-10 58-51

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1 0-3 0-6 1-3 1-4 4-6 6-22

www.accsports.com

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

5-11 9-7 11-7 9-9 10-8 44-42

0-1 2-1 2-1 2-1 1-1 7-5

--2-1 0-1 1-1 2-1 5-4

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 0-5 0-8 1-4 1-5 4-7 6-29

95


FLORIDA STATE

SEMINOLES

“We’re in the number one basketball conference in the history of college basketball, and we want to be among the elite programs in our league. We need to turn it up a notch and move to another category as a basketball program. We’ve got some of the greatest traditional, successful, rich programs in our league for us to try to catch up to.”

Head Coach Leonard Hamilton 96

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

FSU shockingly got off to a 1-3 start in November — losing three straight at home to Northeastern, Providence, and UMass — and never fully recovered. The Seminoles managed four straight non-conference wins in late December, but got off to a 1-4 start in ACC regular season play. They won six out of nine to get to .500 in ACC play as of Feb. 18, but then lost three straight to Virginia, Miami, and Louisville. A 14-point loss to Virginia in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament ended FSU’s season at 17-16 overall.

The Seminoles return three players who averaged in double figures in scoring last season — sophomore guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes and senior guards Montay Brandon and Devon Bookert — as well as contributors such as Phil Cofer, Marquez Smith, Boris Bojanovsky, Robbie Berwick, and Michael Ojo. In addition, the Seminoles welcome a multi-talented group of newcomers, highlighted by blue chip wings Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, as well as JUCO guard transfer Benji Bell.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

FSU has a difficult test on Dec. 2, as they’ll travel to face Iowa as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. They’ll renew their rivalry with Florida on Dec. 29 with a road clash in Gainesville. The Seminoles then kick off the new year in style, as they’ll host North Carolina in Donald L. Tucker Civic Center on ESPN’s Big Monday telecast on Jan. 4. FSU will play archrival Miami twice this winter in important league clashes, and will host Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame in an important trio of ACC showdowns.

Since winning the 2012 ACC Tournament in Atlanta and advancing to the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament that March, Florida State has gone 3-3 in ACC Tournament play, and participated in the postseason NIT in 2013 and 2014. The 2014 Seminoles made a run to the semifinals of the NIT in Madison Square Garden, falling in overtime to eventual champion Minnesota. Expectations are high in Tallahassee that the 2015-2016 squad is the one that will get Florida State back into the Big Dance.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Florida State was dead-last in the ACC in turnover margin last season, as the Seminoles averaged a league-worst 14.5 turnovers per contest, while picking up an average of 11.9 opposing turnovers, for a margin of -2.58. The Seminoles will have to improve these numbers, both offensively and defensively, to make a drastic improvement. FSU will also look to improve on the league’s worst assists-to-turnover ratio. Simply put, the Seminoles need to cut down on their own mistakes, while forcing more from opponents.

After being ruled ineligible last December, FSU’s leading scorer Aaron Thomas signed with an agent and is looking to make his way in the pros. Seven-footer Kiel Turpin graduated out, leaving behind averages of 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. In addition, point guard Dayshawn Watkins elected to transfer out of the FSU program during the offseason. Watkins played in 22 games last season, averaging nine minutes an outing and averaging 1.3 points and 1.0 rebounds per contest.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

FSU’s talented freshman class merges well with the veteran nucleus of Brandon, Bookert, Bojanovsky, and Rathan-Mayes — providing the Seminoles one of the deepest squads in the entire league. Rathan-Mayes emerges as one of the ACC’s most productive players, earning consideration for Player of the Year honors. If those things happen, Florida State will have an excellent chance of returning to the NCAA Tournament, and could even challenge atop the league standings.

A clash of veteran and youthful factions affect team chemistry in Tallahassee, as the FSU freshman class and upperclassmen fail to gel properly. Despite plenty of talent, Hamilton fails to maximize this team’s potential. The Seminoles can’t break out of the middle of the pack in the ACC, and once again the Seminoles underachieve and fail to make any noise in the postseason — further frustrating FSU fans about the long-term direction of the men’s basketball program.

www.accsports.com

97


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD 6-9 junior Jarquez Smith and 6-8 sophomore Phil Cofer provide FSU with a solid tandem of veterans who combined to average 13.1 points and 7.4 rebounds a season ago. Smith and Cofer have a chance to improve with the possibility of more playing time. Smith started nine games for FSU last season, averaging 17.8 minutes, while Cofer came on strong, making 24 starts and averaging 22.3 minutes per game.

SMALL FORWARD Montay Brandon gives the Seminoles a long and versatile small forward who plays as much like a guard as a big man. The 6-8 Brandon, like Xavier RathanMayes and Devon Bookert, rarely left the court last season, averaging over 34 minutes per contest. Leonard Hamilton will also likely give plenty of playing time to freshmen Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon along the perimeter as the season winds on if they prove worthy of it.

CENTER

Michael Ojo u

COACHING When FSU wins its first game in 2015-2016, Hamilton will have the distinction of being the all-time winningest coach at both Florida State and Miami. Hamilton is the second-longest tenured coach in the ACC, behind only Mike Krzyzewski. Since 2005-2006, the Seminoles have won the third-most ACC games (213), behind only Duke and UNC. This year, Hamilton will have his best chance of winning FSU’s first ACC title since 2012.

98

q Xavier Rathan-Mayes

POINT GUARD

FSU returns 7-1 Michael Ojo, who made 21 starts last season, though he averaged just 8.8 minutes. The Seminoles need Ojo to improve on averages of 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds an outing. 7-3 tower Boris Bojanovsky averaged 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds, though he made no starts. Bojanovsky saw his minutes go down last season. Also, Bojanovsky’s field goal and free throw shooting regressed from year two to year three.

BENCH

Xavier Rathan-Mayes made the transition from shooting guard to point guard in his first collegiate season, and became one of the ACC’s breakout performers. The Seminoles employ a versatile multi-guard rotation, but RathanMayes will likely handle a lot of FSU’s ball handling duties as a sophomore. Devon Bookert made 27 starts at point guard for FSU in 2013-2014, so he’s more than capable of manning the responsibilities if needed as well.

NEW FACES

Robbie Berwick gives FSU a capable outside shooter.. As a freshman, Berwick finished third on the Seminoles in 3-point shooting, making 19 shots from long range. Junior forward Brandon Allen played in 24 games last season, picking up 14 rebounds while making three 3-point attempts. Marquez Smith and Boris Bojanovsky gives FSU depth in the post, while a trio of newcomers along the perimeter will provide key minutes.

Transfer Benji Bell, as well as freshmen Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, should be in position to provide FSU an immediate spark. The trio of wings should provide additional offensive punch, and Leonard Hamilton more lineup versatility. Terance Mann could be another asset off the bench for the Seminoles. Jean Marc Christ Koumadje is a raw 7-4 big man who the Seminoles may have the luxury of brigning along slowly.

www.accsports.com

SHOOTING GUARD Devon Bookert started last season at point guard. But with Xavier Rathan-Mayes proving his worth as a ball handler, the Seminoles were able to move Bookert over to shooting guard. Averaging over 35 minutes per game, Bookert shot just under 40 percent from 3-point range. Benji Bell helped lead Northwest Florida State to a JUCO national championship. The transfer could give FSU a scoring lift, as well as valuable perimeter depth.

p Devon Bookert


10-Year ACC History Florida State has been consistently difficult to beat throughout its ACC history on its home floor. The Seminoles went a combined 13-2 at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center against current ACC programs in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, and have posted just one losing season in Tallahassee in

2006 BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

regular season ACC play over the past ten seasons, when they went 3-5 in 2013-2014. The Seminoles have been an up-and-down squad on the road in ACC competition over the last decade, failing to win more than five games on the road in any single season, yet winning at least two ACC road games every

year. FSU had three straight losing seasons on the road in ACC regular season play from 2006 to 2008, but then had four straight seasons (2009-2012) with .500 or better records against current league members in opposing arenas. FSU has posted a 2-3 ACC Tournament record since winning it in 2012.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

W W W L L W W -

L L L W L W L W

L

L L L W W W W

L L W L W L L -

W L -

W W L W L L W L

L W W L W L L

L W

W L W W L W W -

L W L L W W W L

L W W -

W L W W L W W

W L L W W W W -

L -

W W W W L W W W

L W W L W L W

L -

W L W W W W W -

L L W L W W W W

W W W -

W W L L L W W W

W W L L L L L L

W L -

L W L L W L L W -

W W L W L W L W

L -

W L L L W L W W W

W W L L L L L L W -

W L -

PREVIOUS SPREAD: MARK WALLHEISER/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

NORTH CAROLINA

7-5

13-10

5-10

11-2

0-1

14-7

4-14

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

7-7

1-1

2-1

0-2

10-7

10-5

10-5

HOME GAMES

56.6% 64.4% FG 49-27

FSU has won at least three home games against current ACC schools in each of the last ten seasons, including a high of seven ACC home wins in 2011. They went 5-4 in 2014-2015.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 46.7% FG 36-41

While FSU has been respectable away from Tallahassee over the past decade, the Seminoles have just three seasons with winning records on the road in ACC play in 10 years.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 50.0% FG 9-9

FSU reached the mountaintop in winning the 2012 ACC Tournament, while reaching the finals in 2009. Aside of those two years, the Noles are 4-8 in the ACC Tournament in the last decade.

99


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Xavier

Rathan-Mayes #22 GUARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-4 WEIGHT: 190 lbs HOMETOWN: Scarborough, ON Following a breakthrough freshman season, Xavier Rathan-Mayes is looking to emerge as one of the top players in the entire ACC.

Florida State’s coaches knew they were getting a good player when Rathan-Mayes signed with the Seminoles back in 2013. A former 4-star recruit and top 50 national prospect from Huntington Prep in West Virginia, the Toronto, Canada native was declared academically ineligible for FSU in 2013-2014, but arrived in a big way when he finally did take the court with the Seminoles a season ago. Starting 30 of FSU’s 32 games,

mostly at point guard, RathanMayes led Florida State in scoring (14.9 ppg) and assists (137). He had his breakout performance in late January, scoring 35 points on 14-of-26 shooting in leading the Seminoles to a near-upset of UNC in Chapel Hill. A month later, Rathan-Mayes again scored 35 points, making a season-high six 3-pointers in a narrow loss at Miami. He again scored 30 points in FSU’s victory over Clemson in

14.9 Points Per Game

PPG

Rathan-Mayes led the Seminoles and finished ninth in the ACC in scoring average as a freshman. Duke’s Jahlil Okafor was the ACC’s lone freshman with a higher scoring average.

t TURNOVERS. Rathan-Mayes proved to be a capable ball handler and distributor, but had nine games with five or more turnovers a season ago.

Though Rathan-Mayes caught fire from long range in a handful of games, he finished fifth on the FSU roster in 3-point shooting percentage. He had 17 games last season in which he shot 20 percent or worse from behind the arc. u

28.1% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

ACC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK HONORS. Rathan-Mayes received the ACC’s top rookie honors twice last season — coming after his 35-point scoring performances at North Carolina and Miami. He was also the first-ever Seminole to score 30 points in an ACC Tournament game.

AST/ERR 24 100

2

DOUBLE-DIGIT SCORING GAMES. It didn’t take long for RathanMayes to find his stroke, scoring 22 points in his third collegiate game, and 26 points in his fourth. The rookie scored in double figures in 19 of Florida State’s final 22 games.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ELLEN OZIER/AP, MARK WALLHEISER/AP, ASSOCIATED PRESS ; BOTTOM: NICK LISI/AP

108

the ACC Tournament, becoming the first freshman in league history to record three 30-point scoring games in a single season. Rathan-Mayes is one of just two members of the ACC’s 2014-2015 All-Freshman team to return to college this season. He’s going to have a chance to emerge as one of the ACC’s top players, while also giving FSU a chance of making a significant rise back to national prominence on the hardwood.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Montay

Brandon #32 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-8 WEIGHT: 225 lbs HOMETOWN: Greensboro, NC One of the mainstays on the FSU roster, Montay Brandon returns for his senior year looking to do big things.

Brandon is one of the more versatile players in the entire ACC — a player capable of playing almost any position on the floor. He’s started all 69 of Florida State’s games the last two seasons, as well as 22 games his freshman season of 2012-2013. He more than doubled his scoring output from his first to his second seasons at FSU, while nearly tripling his rebounding totals. Last season, Brandon finished

second on the FSU roster in scoring, and led the team in rebounding by a sizable margin. His 5.5 rebounds per game was a full rebound on average more than anyone else on the Florida State roster. The Seminoles have brought in a surplus of perimeter talent, which may allow Florida State’s coaches to spend more time playing Brandon closer to the basket, particularly on offense. But with his explosiveness and athleticism,

11.8 Points Per Game

MPG

34.6 Minutes Per Game

63 13

BLOCKS

Brandon finished behind only Xavier RathanMayes in scoring for FSU last season, and was third on the team in shooting, behind only centers Kiel Turpin and Boris Bojanovsky. TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): ELLEN OZIER/AP, ASSOCIATED PRESS, ASSOCIATED PRESS; BOTTOM: JOE RAYMOND/AP

PPG

Brandon should be in position to help the Seminoles out once again in a variety of ways. Leonard Hamilton will look for Brandon to continue shooting the ball at a high percentage, and he should get even more opportunities to score this season. FSU needs Brandon to improve on the defensive end of the floor to maximize his potential impact as a senior. But there’s no question he provides talent and leadership for this Seminole squad.

Nobody on the roster played more minutes last season than Brandon — 1,142 minutes in total. Brandon played 31 or more minutes in each of FSU’s final 18 games in 2014-2015.

ASSISTS. Brandon showed his ability to get his teammates involved with eight assists last season in a win over North Florida. Finishing third on the team, Brandon had two or more assists in nine of FSU’s last 13 games.

t For a player of Brandon’s length and athleticism, it would seem he might have a chance to improve in blocking shots. Last season, he had 22 games without a blocked shot. Brandon struggled mightily from 3-point range a year ago — making just five of 21 3-pointers — so he might be well served to try and score closer to the basket this season. u

www.accsports.com

23.8% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

101


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Devon

Bookert #1 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-3 WEIGHT: 193 lbs HOMETOWN: Anchorage, AK After a successful transition to shooting guard, Devon Bookert looks to lead Florida State on and off the court as a senior.

Bookert, the first-ever Alaska native to play at Florida State, made his way into the Seminole rotation right out of the gate in 2012-2013, playing in all 34 games and starting the final 11 contests. He showed early shooting promise, as the only key contributor in the ACC to shoot better than 50 percent from 3-point range. Booker stepped into Florida State’s starting point guard role as a sophomore in 2013-2014, starting 27 games at the

Free Throw Percentage

MPG 102

Along with leading FSU in 3-pointers, Bookert was consistent. Only Phil Cofer had a higher 3-point percentage, but he took over a hundred fewer shots than Bookert. u

10.1 Points Per Game

39.3% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

Bookert was one of four FSU players to average in double figures in 2014-2015. Everyone but Aaron Thomas returns. For the third straight season, he finished fourth for FSU in scoring.

ASSISTS. Though he played mostly two guard last season, Bookert showed he could still dish the ball around. He had backto-back six assist games in February against Duke and Georgia Tech, and 13 games with three or more assists.

35.1 Minutes Per Game

www.accsports.com

Though he missed five contests, Bookert led the Seminoles in average minutes per game. With more depth along the perimeter, Bookert may not have to be spread so thin this season.

TOP: MARK WALLHEISER/AP ; BOTTOM: ANDREW SHURTLEFF/AP

74

Xavier Rathan-Maye’s emergence at point guard during Bookert’s time off the court allowed the FSU staff to move the veteran over to the two guard, where he led the Seminoles in 3-point shooting and free throw percentage. With his ability to shoot from outside as well as defend the perimeter, Bookert is expected to be a vital cog in what Florida State hopes will be a run back to near the top of the ACC standings.

t Although three teammates made more free throws last season, none shot at a higher clip than Bookert. Bookert’s free throw percentage ranked seventh in the ACC.

80.8% FT

PPG

position and finishing fourth on the Seminoles in scoring for the second straight year. Bookert broke a bone in his right foot in the spring prior to his junior season, requiring multiple surgeries, including the insertion of a corrective screw. He manned the point guard spot for FSU in its first couple of games last fall, but then missed five games in late November and early December after a setback with his foot.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

DATE

TIME TV

LAST MEETING

vs. vs. 

Nicholls State Jacksonville

Sunday, November 15

2007

W

81-58

Tuesday, November 17

2013

W

91-67

vs.

Hofstra (Virgin Islands)

Friday, November 20

1975

W

107-71

vs.

TBA (Virgin Islands)

Saturday, November 21

vs.

TBA (Virgin Islands)

Monday, November 23

@

Iowa

Wednesday, December 2

2002

W

80-67

vs.

VCU

Sunday, December 6

2013

W

85-67

vs.

Southeastern Louisiana

Sunday, December 13

2006

W

88-62

vs.

Mississippi State

Wednesday, December 16

2015

L

62-55

vs.

Florida Atlantic

Saturday, December 19

1997

W

90-52

vs.

Charleston Southern

Monday, December 21

2014

W

58-47

@

Florida

Tuesday, December 29

2014

W

65-63

@

Clemson

Saturday, January 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

76-73

vs.

North Carolina

Monday, January 4

ESPN

2015

L

78-74

@

Miami

Saturday, January 9

5:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

L

81-77

@

NC State

Wednesday, January 13

9:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

72-63

vs.

Virginia

Sunday, January 17

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

58-44

@

Louisville

Wednesday, January 20

9:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

81-59

vs.

Pittsburgh

Saturday, January 23

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

61-52

@

Boston College

Tuesday, January 26

ESPNU

2015

W

69-60

vs.

Clemson

Saturday, January 30

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

76-73

vs.

NC State

Monday, February 1

ESPNU

2015

L

72-63

@

Wake Forest

Saturday, February 6

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

82-76 (2 OT)

@

Syracuse

Thursday, February 11

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

70-57

vs.

Miami

Sunday, February 14

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

81-77

vs.

Georgia Tech

Wednesday, February 17

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

57-53

@

Virginia Tech

Saturday, February 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

73-65

@

Duke

Thursday, February 25

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

73-70

vs.

Notre Dame

Saturday, February 27

ESPN/ESPN2

2014

L

83-63

vs.

Syracuse

Saturday, March 5

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

70-57

fter beating Florida last year 65-63 in Tallahassee in what turned out to be Billy Donovan’s last season as head coach of the Gators, the Seminoles are looking to make an annual tradition of beating its longtime rival from Gainesville. On Dec. 29, Florida State will travel to UF’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center to take on the Gators on their home floor. Aside of the Iowa game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, this could be Florida State’s most difficult contest before entering ACC play.

T

7:00 PM 7:00 PM

7:00 PM 9:00 PM

7:00 PM

LENIENT SCHEDULE

hings get pretty brutal for FSU down the stretch, as the Seminoles face three tough games to close out the regular season. Leonard Hamilton’s squad will head to Durham for a Feb. 25 encounter with Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. From there, FSU comes home to play Notre Dame Feb. 27 and Syracuse March 5 in the last two ACC regular season contests. The Seminoles need to pick up some victories earlier in the schedule so they won’t have to count on these for an NCAA berth.

A

BOB LEVERONE/AP

A

BRAGGING RIGHTS

3:30 PM

www.accsports.com

Upset Alert

lthough Virginia Commonwealth lost head coach Shaka Smart, the Rams will probably not be a pushover for the Seminoles when they face off Dec. 6 in Atlanta’s Philips Arena. Coming off the trip to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam in late November, and then the Iowa game in Iowa City, Florida State could be poised for a letdown against VCU unless they head to Atlanta focused and ready to play a tough game against a quality nonconference opponent.

103


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Florida State has posted .500 or better records in the ACC’s regular season in seven of the last ten years, but broke a six-year streak of .500 or better records in ACC play with an 8-10 mark in 2014-2015. FSU also missed the postseason for the first time since 2004-2005. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

20-10

9-7

5th

14-3

4-6

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 2-1

0-1

1-1

NIT

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Second Round

2007

22-13

7-9

T-8th

16-3

4-9

2-1

1-1

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2008

19-15

7-9

T-7th

13-5

4-6

2-4

1-1

0-1

NIT

First Round

2009

25-10

10-6

4th

13-3

7-5

5-2

2-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2010

22-10

10-6

T-3rd

13-3

6-5

3-2

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2011

23-11

11-5

3rd

12-3

8-5

3-3

0-1

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2012

25-10

12-4

3rd

15-2

5-5

5-3

3-0

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2013

18-16

9-9

6th

10-8

3-7

5-1

1-1

0-1

NIT

First Round

2014

22-14

9-9

T-7th

12-5

6-6

4-3

1-1

3-1

NIT

Semifinals

2015

17-16

8-10

T-9th

12-6

3-7

2-3

1-1

---

---

---

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS A significant chunk of Florida State’s roster hails from Florida and Georgia, as a total of seven FSU players call either the Peach State or the Sunshine State home. Robbie Berwick continues FSU’s recent West Coast connection that began with Michael Snaer.

ROSTER 0 Phil Cofer 1 Devon Bookert 3 Benji Bell 4 Dwayne Bacon 5 Malik Beasley 14 Terance Mann 15 Boris Bojanovsky 21 JM Christ Koumadje 22 Xavier Rathan-Mayes 23 Jarquez Smith 24 Robbie Berwick 31 Michael Saxton 32 Montay Brandon 40 Brandon Allen 50 Michael Ojo

Pos

Ht

Wt YR

F G G G G G C C G F G G G F C

6-8 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-5 6-6 7-3 7-4 6-4 6-9 6-4 6-5 6-8 6-6 7-1

205 193 190 210 190 200 240 230 190 225 188 210 225 200 292

Hometown

SO Atlanta, GA SR Anchorage, AK JR Gainesville, FL FR Lakeland, FL FR Alpharetta, GA FR Lowell, MA SR Bratislava, Slovakia FR N'Djamena, Chad SO Scarborough, Canada JR Haddock, GA SO Atascadero, CA SR Orlando, FL SR Greensboro, NC JR Milton, FL SR Lagos, Nigeria

Leonard Hamilton

Head Coach

104

Stan Jones

Associate Head Coach

Dennis Gates

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Charlton Young

Assistant Coach

Michael Bradley - Strength and Conditioning Coach Erick Casto - Basketball Equipment Manager Dickey Nutt - Video Coordinator Jacob Ridenhour - Director of Operations

COURTESY FLORIDA STATE ATHLETICS

COACHES


FLORIDA STATE 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

This is an important swing year for longtime Seminole skipper LEONARD HAMILTON, who has brought the FSU program to some of its highest highs in decades, but has also struggled to consistently remain among the ACC’s power programs. This year, with a strong incoming freshman class and a solid nucleus of returning veterans, there’s no excuse for Hamilton not to get the Seminoles back into the NCAA Tournament. The test for Hamilton will be team chemistry — getting the rookies to mesh well with the returning veterans.

10

15

20

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

61%

69%

25%

56%

36%

57%

60%

60%

32%

105-67

44-20

3-9

61-47

8-14

49-37

6-4

6-4

11-23

MARK WALLHEISER/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

23-11 25-10 18-16 22-14 17-16 105-67

11-3 8-5 8-4 9-3 8-5 44-20

1-2 0-2 0-2 2-2 0-1 3-9

12-8 17-5 10-12 13-11 9-11 61-47

1-2 6-1 0-3 0-3 1-5 8-14

11-5 12-4 9-9 9-9 8-10 49-37

0-1 3-0 1-1 1-1 1-1 6-4

2-1 1-1 0-1 3-1 --6-4

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 2-4 6-3 0-5 2-5 1-6 11-23

105


SYRACUSE

ORANGE

“Guys are going to leave. You have to try to prepare for that… You’d obviously always like for those guys to stay a little bit longer, but that’s the nature of college basketball. You have to be prepared for it.”

Head Coach Jim Boeheim

106

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

The Orange got off to a rough start in non-conference play in 2014-2015, dropping three out of four to Michigan, St. John’s, and Villanova to limp into late December with a 6-4 record. Seven straight wins followed, but things crashed to a halt for the Orange after Jan. 11, following freshman Chris McCullough’s season-ending injury against Florida State. Syracuse went 6-9 after McCullough’s injury to finish 18-13, and a self-imposed postseason ban kept the Orange out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.

An impressive freshman class, combined with the return of multiple experienced veterans, provides optimism that the Orange can return to the Big Dance next March. Even without the departed Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse has the potential for perimeter output from seniors Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije, and sophomore Kaleb Joseph. Jim Boeheim will be looking to get more out of Tyler Roberson and Chinonso Obokoh in the post to offset the losses of McCullough and Christmas.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

SU gets a solid early-season test in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 2, as Wisconsin makes their way to the Carrier Dome. The Orange head south for an ESPN Big Monday matchup on Jan. 18 with Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. A little over a month later, they’ll travel to Chapel Hill for a battle with North Carolina on Feb. 29, also on ESPN’s Big Monday telecast. The Orange have multiple road challenges in ACC play, including games at Virginia, Louisville, and Miami in addition to Duke and UNC.

Last season was a rare occurrence in college basketball, as Syracuse didn’t compete in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years, and for just the eighth time since Jim Boeheim became head coach at SU in 19761977. Boeheim has led Syracuse to the Sweet 16 a total of 17 times over the years, including five Final Fours and a national championship in 2003. This year’s Syracuse squad should have a chance to return to the NCAA Tournament, but it’s not a guarantee with the lack of frontcourt depth.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

One of the biggest questions swirling around Syracuse these days is how the impending NCAA-imposed scholarship reductions — along with the announced departure of Boeheim after the 2017-2018 season —  will affect team morale and recruiting. Recruiting has been fine so far. Now the question is whether there will be any lingering effects from last year’s postseason ban, as well as Boeheim’s limited future, affecting the psyche of this year’s Syracuse squad. Or will it all serve as motivation?

The Orange lost two of its top four scorers from the 20142015 season to the NBA, including leading scorer Rakeem Christmas, a senior, and Chris McCullough, who became a one-and-done after suffering a season-ending knee injury in January. Christmas and McCullough provided much of the team’s post production. In addition, a couple of Orange players decided to transfer, as forward B.J. Johnson moved on to LaSalle, and guard Ron Patterson to IUPUI (Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis).

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Gbinije and Cooney will prove not only to be good leaders, but once again quality scorers. The tandem, who combined to average 26.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, emerge as All-ACC caliber performers. The freshmen prove as good as advertised, as Malachi Richardson, Franklin Howard, and Tyler Lidon step up and make contributions. The Orange get productive minutes out of DaJuan Coleman. A top five ACC finish and return to the NCAA’s is not out of the question under those circumstances.

Syracuse has trouble getting offensive production in the post without Christmas and McCullough, while Cooney, Gbinije, and others struggle to score from the perimeter. Like last season, the Orange have major problems finding the necessary production to get over the hump in the ultracompetitive ACC, and the freshman don’t fill the necessary gaps. Under this scenario, Syracuse will have all kinds of problems returning to the NCAA Tournament, and a sub.500 ACC finish isn’t entirely unrealistic, either.

www.accsports.com

107


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD Now is the time for Tyler Roberson to emerge in the paint for Syracuse, and to emerge as one of the top power forwards in the ACC. Roberson cracked the Orange starting lineup last season, but didn’t get nearly as many touches and scoring opportunities as he’ll get this season. Freshman Tyler Lydon will also get opportunities to show what he can do, and could prove to be a nice compliment to Roberson.

SMALL FORWARD Michael Gbinije returns as one of Syracuse’s more experienced players. He’s shown flashes of excellence with the Orange, who relied on him to handle the ball a lot last season. While Gbinije may still assist Kaleb Joseph with Syracuse’s ball handling duties, he’s ideally suited to play along the perimeter as a small forward. Freshman Malachi Richardson is also well-equipped to play a perimeter-based small forward role this season for Syracuse.

CENTER

Chinonso Obokoh u

POINT GUARD

p Tyler Roberson

Kaleb Joseph started 30 out of 31 games for the Orange as a freshman and led the team in assists, but saw his role diminish as the season went on. Joseph played just three minutes against Virginia in March. Joseph and Michael Gbinije are the most realistic options to handle the ball for the Orange. Franklin Howard may also get some chances. If Joseph plays well, it would free up Gbinije and Howard to play more at other positions.

COACHING Jim Boeheim heads into the twilight of his legendary career with a talented SU team, but one that has holes. One of Boeheim’s biggest challenges will be to bring along the post depth — finding a way to get more out of veterans such as Tyler Roberson, Chinonso Obokah, and DaJuan Coleman. Boeheim will also need the freshmen to play like veterans. Unlike some seasons, the rookies won’t have the luxury of being brought along slowly.

108

BENCH

p Kaleb Joseph

Freshmen Franklin Howard and Tyler Lydon are going to play key backup roles for the Orange — Howard along the perimeter, and Lydon at power forward. Chinonso Obokah and DaJuan Coleman will look to find serviceable roles at the center position, though Syracuse’s guard-heavy rotation may not have them on the floor a lot. Guard Mike Sutton and forward Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye could also see more action this season.

www.accsports.com

Jim Boeheim is hopeful to get more out of Chinonso Obokoh, who played in just 13 games last season, as well as DaJuan Coleman, who redshirted after injuries kept him out of much of the early part of last season. The Orange picked up a transfer from Paschal Chukwu, who previously played at Providence. Chukwu won’t be eligible as he sits out a transfer year, but the 7-2 big man is a key part of the program’s future plans at center.

SHOOTING GUARD Trevor Cooney returns for Syracuse as one of the ACC’s more reliable scoring options along the perimeter. While Cooney wants to improve his 3-point percentage to maximize his potential, he’s unquestionably one of the Orange’s top weapons. Freshman Franklin Howard could provide Cooney some rest at the two guard, though Cooney won’t leave the floor much. Malachi Richardson is another option for the Orange away from the basket.

NEW FACES The Orange have three incoming scholarship freshmen — all of whom could receive considerable minutes. Franklin Howard is a capable combo guard, while Malachi Richardson is a versatile wing who can play along the perimeter or near the basket. Richardson has the best shot of cracking the starting lineup immediately for the Orange. Tyler Lydon is a 6-8 power forward who should find his way into the post rotation.


ACC Matchups Syracuse made its presence felt right out of the gate in the ACC, going 14-4 in regular season play in 2013-2014 and challenging all winter for the league’s regular season crown. The Orange defeated Duke, UNC, NC State, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh in the Carrier Dome. And while the ‘13-14 squad

2014 BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

crashed and burned down the stretch, they let the rest of the ACC know that Syracuse basketball had arrived. The Orange were chugging along last season until Chris McCullough’s injury, which assisted in making them a middle-of-the-road squad in league play in 2014-2015. Syracuse

managed a 5-4 mark in ACC competition in the Carrier Dome last season, but they went a dismal 4-5 on the road, including an upset loss at Clemson. The Orange program is still seeking its first-ever ACC Tournament victory after an opening-game knockout in 2014, and not participating in 2015.

Syracuse has played well for the most part in the Carrier Dome in its first two ACC seasons, though Jim Boeheim’s program is still looking for its first ACC tournament win.

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

L W W L W W W W W -

W L W W L W W

L -

W L W W L L L W W

W L L W L L W L W -

-

NICK LISI/AP

PREVIOUS SPREAD: ASSOCIATED PRESS; OPPOSITE PAGE: NICK LISI/AP

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

3-1

1-1

1-3

2-0

1-1

1-0

2-1

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

1-1

1-2

2-0

2-2

0-2

3-0

2-0

HOME GAMES

56.6% 66.6% FG 12-6

As expected, the Orange have proven difficult to beat early on in the Carrier Dome, winning an average of two out of every three home games in ACC play its first two seasons.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 58.8% FG 10-7

Syracuse has been slightly aboveaverage so far on the road in ACC play. After going 6-2 against current league members on the road in 2013-2014, the Orange were 4-5 a season ago.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 0% FG 0-1

In Syracuse’s only ACC Tournament contest so far, the Orange were defeated 66-63 by NC State in the 2014 quarterfinals. Last season’s postseason ban leaves SU still winless.

109


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michael

Gbinije #0 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-7 WEIGHT: 200 lbs HOMETOWN: Richmond, VA The former Duke guard looks to lead Syracuse back to the NCAA Tournament in his last college season.

Gbinije transferred to Syracuse after playing in 19 games for Duke in the 2011-2012 season, scoring 33 points in 111 minutes of playing time. After sitting out the 2012-2013 season, Gbinije emerged as one of the top players off the bench for the Orange in his sophomore season of 2013-2014. Breaking into the starting lineup last season as a junior, Gbinije became one of Syracuse’s most productive all-around

players. Only Trevor Cooney played more and scored more than Gbinije last season as far as returning Syracuse players. Gbinije tied Cooney for the team lead in steals a year ago, and had 21 double-digit scoring games. Heading into his senior season, Gbinije has a chance to step up and be one of the best players on the Orange roster, and potentially an All-ACC candidate. The combo guard/small forward will look to

ASSISTS 107

GAMES PLAYED LAST TWO SEASONS. Few players on the Syracuse roster have seen as much action as Gbinije the last couple seasons. After being just one of five players to play in all 34 games his sophomore season, he made 24 starts last season as a junior.

SHOOTING IN CAMERON INDOOR. When Syracuse traveled to Durham to play Duke Feb. 28 — just two weeks after his 27-point game — Gbinije made just five of 20 field goals and two-of-nine from 3-point range, finishing with 12 points.

27 110

8 25%

POINTS IN DOME AGAINST DUKE. Gbinije saved his best performance last season for Syracuse’s game against Duke in the Carrier Dome. The junior made five 3-pointers, a career-high, and shot 10-of-14 for a career-high 27 points.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): KEVIN RIVOLI/AP, MARK CRAMMER/AP, GERRY BROOME/AP; BOTTOM: KATHY WILLENS/AP

Gbinije finished second on the Orange in assists last season. This season he’ll need to help create opportunities for Tyler Roberson and DaJuan Coleman like he did Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough last year.

GAMES WITH THREE OR MORE STEALS. One of the more active perimeter defenders in the ACC, Gbinije finished with 56 steals, as well as 10 blocked shots.

64

improve on averages of 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 20142015. And he’ll have a good chance to do so, with much of last year’s Syracuse’s scoring and rebounding production gone. The 6-7 Virginia native will look to serve, along with Cooney, as one of Syracuse’s primary floor leaders, helping bring along the Orange newcomers so this team can potentially get back into the ACC race come winter.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Trevor

COONEY #10 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-4 WEIGHT: 195 lbs HOMETOWN: Wilmington, DE One of the more potent perimeter scoring threats in the ACC, Trevor Cooney looks to lead the Orange.

After taking a redshirt season in 2011-2012, Cooney gave Syracuse a lift at times off the bench in 20122013, scoring 10 points in SU’s final Big East game against Georgetown, and then adding seven points in a win over Montana in the NCAA Tournament. Entering the starting lineup his sophomore year, Cooney has now started every game for the Orange for two straight seasons. Cooney began his sophomore season with a brilliant performance

against Harvard, scoring 27 points while making seven out of eight 3-pointers. It was one of six 20-plus point performances Cooney had his sophomore year. His best game was a 33-point breakout against Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome, in which he buried nine 3-pointers. Cooney had five more 20-point scoring games his junior season, including 28-point games at home against Florida State, and in Chapel Hill against North Carolina.

t Nobody on the Orange roster shot better from the free throw line than Cooney last season. As a senior, Cooney needs to find a way to draw more fouls and get to the line more.

76.8% FT

37.3 Minutes Per Game

MPG

3 Point Percentage

Few players in the country played as much as Cooney last season, as he started all 31 games and rarely left the floor. He’ll probably be asked to play just as much this season.

3-POINTERS AGAINST FSU. While Cooney’s very best outside shooting performances at Syracuse came his sophomore season, last year’s game against the Seminoles in the Carrier Dome was one to remember, as he buried seven 3-pointers in 11 attempts.

16

30.9% 3FG TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): NICK LISI/AP, JOE RAYMOND/AP, KEVIN RIVOLI/AP; BOTTOM: NICK LISI/AP

Free Throw Percentage

Syracuse needs Cooney to shoot closer to 35-40 percent from beyond the arc if they’re to realistically challenge in the ACC standings this season. u

The return of Cooney ensures that the Orange will have scoring and a veteran presence on the floor this season, even without Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough. The 6-4 Cooney is Syracuse’s returning leader in minutes (1,156), scoring (13.4 ppg), made 3-pointers (71), and tied for the team lead in steals (56). Jim Boeheim will likely be giving the green light to Cooney to hoist them up from long range all season long.

7

GAMES WITH ONE OR NO TURNOVERS. Cooney had six turnovers in one game last year against Long Beach State, as well as a stretch of three ACC games in late January with 10 combined giveaways. But he only had seven games all season with three or more turnovers.

www.accsports.com

111


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tyler

ROBERSON #21 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-8 WEIGHT: 212 lbs HOMETOWN: Union, NJ With limited post depth, Syracuse may be relying heavily on Roberson throughout his junior season.

Roberson, a 6-8 forward, saw a nice progression between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Last year he played largely in the shadows of Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough, but had some moments to shine. Now, with Christmas and McCullough gone to the NBA, Roberson has a chance this season to break through at Syracuse’s top post player. After averaging just 8.1 minutes per game and shooting just

including a pair of 19 and 16-point games against Duke in February. Roberson is one of those make-or-break players on the Syracuse roster. This team could be much better if Roberson has an overachieving season, but may struggle if he struggles. With minimal experienced post depth behind him, Boeheim and the Orange coaches need Roberson to stay healthy and avoid foul trouble this season as much as possible.

12

DOUBLE-DIGIT SCORING GAMES. Roberson kicked off his sophomore year with 10 points in the opener against Kennesaw State, and added 11 in Syracuse’s overtime loss against Villanova. He had 13 or more points in four of the Orange’s last seven contests.

RPG

7.3 Rebounds Per Game

18

17

Roberson finished last season with 203 rebounds, ranking behind only Rakeem Christmas. Roberson was second in both offensive rebounds and defensive boards.

t Roberson is Syracuse’s top returning shot blocker, though he averaged less than one per game. With over a hundred blocked shots lost from last season, Roberson needs to improve his defensive activity. As Roberson played more down the stretch, his fouls increased. Though he only fouled out of one game all season, he finished with three fouls or more in eight of Syracuse’s last 11 games. u

57

FOULS

REBOUNDS IN A SINGLE GAME. Roberson showed last season just how dominant he can be on the boards, picking up 17 rebounds in games against Louisiana Tech and Virginia Tech. In all, he had seven double-digit rebounding games last season in ACC play.

www.accsports.com

TOP: NICK LISI/AP ; BOTTOM: HEATHER AINSWORTH/AP

BLOCKS

112

29.8 percent from the floor as a freshman in 2013-2014, Roberson saw his minutes and his production go up heavily his sophomore season. Playing in 28 games and making 19 starts for the Orange a season ago, Roberson was fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.3 points an outing. After McCullough’s injury last season, Roberson’s production went up. He scored in double figures in eight out of Syracuse’s final 13 games,


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

DATE

TIME TV

LAST MEETING

vs. Lehigh vs. St. Bonaventure

Friday, November 13

1931

W

34-17

Tuesday, November 17

2009

W

85-72

vs. Elon

Saturday, November 21

vs. Charlotte (Battle 4 Atlantis, Bahamas)

Wednesday, November 25

vs. TBA (Battle 4 Atlantis, Bahamas)

Thursday, November 26

vs. TBA (Battle 4 Atlantis, Bahamas)

Friday, November 27

vs. Wisconsin

Wednesday, December 2

vs. Colgate @

FIRST MEETING 2:30 PM

ESPN2

2006

W

79-67

7:15 PM

ESPN2

2012

W

64-63

Tuesday, December 8

2014

W

78-43

Sunday, December 13

2014

L

69-57

vs. Cornell

Saturday, December 19

2014

W

61-44

vs. Montana State

Tuesday, December 22

1996

W

88-55

vs. Texas Southern

Sunday, December 27

1997

W

85-73

@

Pittsburgh

Wednesday, December 30

ESPN2

2015

L

65-61

@

Miami

Saturday, January 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

66-62

vs. Clemson

Tuesday, January 5

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

66-53

vs. North Carolina

Saturday, January 9

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

93-83

vs. Boston College

Wednesday, January 13

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

70-56

@

Wake Forest

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

86-83 (OT)

@

Duke

Monday, January 18

7:00 PM

ESPN

2015

L

73-54

@

St. John’s

9:00 PM

Virginia

Saturday, January 23

12:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

59-47

vs. Notre Dame

Thursday, January 28

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

65-60

vs. Georgia Tech

Saturday, January 30

12:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

46-45

vs. Virginia Tech

Tuesday, February 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

72-70

vs. Florida State

Thursday, February 11

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

70-57

@

Boston College

Sunday, February 14

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

70-56

@

Louisville

Wednesday, February 17

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

69-59

vs. Pittsburgh

Saturday, February 20

2:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

65-61

vs. NC State

Saturday, February 27

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

71-57

@

North Carolina

Monday, February 29

ESPN

2015

L

93-83

@

Florida State

Saturday, March 5

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

70-57

othing can fire up Jim Boeheim’s squad more in the early part of the season than by playing well and beating Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Dec. 2. The Badgers, of course, upset undefeated Kentucky and played for the national championship last year. Bo Ryan’s squad lost a lot of firepower, but it’s foolish to think Wisconsin won’t still be a solid team. Syracuse can send a message on the national stage that last year’s struggles might have been a fluke if they can beat the Badgers.

S

7:00 PM

TOUGHEST STRETCH

yracuse kicks off ACC play with a tough run of league contests in January. The Orange will face off against one of the league’s preseason favorites, North Carolina on Jan. 9. After winnable games against Wake Forest and Boston College, Syracuse takes on Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium Jan. 18, and then takes on Virginia in Charlottesville five days later. SU ends this brutal run against Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 28. Syracuse needs a couple of these games to be in the hunt in the ACC standings.

M KEVIN RIVOLI/AP

N

STATEMENT GAME

7:00 PM

www.accsports.com

UPSET ALERT

aybe it shouldn’t be classified as an upset if Syracuse loses to St. John’s . After all, these teams were longtime Big East rivals, and it isn’t like St. John’s is a mid-major. But after years of struggles on the hardwood, New York hardwood legend Chris Mullin has returned to restore glory to his alma mater. St. John’s beat the Orange last year, and could do it again if Syracuse isn’t ready to play on Dec. 13, when the longtime foes meet in Madison Square Garden.

113


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Last season’s postseason ban put a damper on Syracuse’s recent hardwood success, as the Orange were held without 20 victories for the first time in the last decade. Syracuse also failed to post a winning record in conference play for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

23-12

7-9*

T-9th*

14-5

3-5

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 6-2

---

0-1

NCAA

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish First Round

2007

24-11

10-6*

T-5th*

18-4

5-5

1-2

---

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2008

21-14

9-9*

T-8th*

16-6

4-6

1-2

---

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2009

28-9

11-7*

6th*

16-3

5-5

7-1

---

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2010

30-5

15-3*

1st*

17-2

8-1

5-2

---

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2011

27-8

12-6*

T-3rd*

16-3

6-3

5-2

---

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2012

34-3

17-1*

1st*

19-0

9-1

6-2

---

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2013

30-10

11-7*

T-5th*

17-2

6-5

7-3

---

4-1

NCAA

Final 4

2014

28-6

14-4

2nd

16-2

8-2

4-2

0-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2015

18-13

9-9

8th

13-5

4-7

1-1

---

---

---

---

*Big East Conference

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Not a single player on the Syracuse roster comes from a state any farther south than Virginia, and any farther west than New York. In all, there are five players from New York, three from New England, and five more from the states of Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey.

ROSTER

Pos Ht

0 Michael Gbinije

F G Trevor Cooney G Christian White G Kaleb Joseph G Tyler Lydon F Tyler Roberson F Malachi Richardson G Dajuan Coleman F Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye F Chinonso Obokoh C Mike Sutton G Paschal Chukwu C

1 Franklin Howard 10 13 14 20 21 23 32 34 35

6-7 6-5 6-4 5-10 6-3 6-8 6-8 6-5 6-9 6-6 6-9 6-2 7-2

Wt YR 200 185 195 180 165 181 215 200 255 235 215 195 225

Hometown

SR Richmond, VA FR Fairfax, VA SR Wilmington, DE SR Rochester, NY SO Nashua, NH FR New Hampton, NH JR Union, NJ FR Hamilton, NJ JR Jamesville, NY JR Uniondale, NY JR Rochester, NY SO Norwich, NY SO Fairfield, CT

Jim Boeheim

Head Coach

114

Mike Hopkins

Assistant Coach

Adrian Autry

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Gerry McNamara

Assistant Coach

Kip Wellman

Director of Basketball Operations

COURTESY SYRACUSE ATHLETICS

COACHES


SYRACUSE 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

Big East Wins

5

ACC Wins

JIM BOEHEIM’S nearly 40-year run as head coach at Syracuse is winding down, as he’ll coach this season and two more before calling it quits. In that time, he’ll have a chance not only for more postseason glory, but to notch more victories to reach the 900-victory plateau again. He’s 42 wins away from the mark after having 108 wins vacated by the NCAA. The 2015-2016 season will be a test of Boeheim’s coaching genius, for he’ll have a talented team, but one that lacks experienced post depth. How Boeheim juggles the roster will help determine SU’s success.

10

15

20

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Loss

Tournament Win

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE*

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

77%

93%

71%

68%

56%

70%

0%

69%

58%

137-40

62-5

5-2

75-35

20-16

63-27

0-1

9-4

25-18

KEVIN RIVOLI/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Totals

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

27-8 34-3 30-10 28-6 18-13 137-40

14-0 14-0 12-1 13-0 9-4 62-5

1-0 1-0 1-0 2-0 0-2 5-2

13-8 20-3 18-9 15-6 9-9 75-35

6-5 4-0 5-5 3-2 2-4 20-16

12-6 17-1 11-7 14-4 9-9 63-27

------0-1 --0-1

1-1 3-1 4-1 1-1 --9-4

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 7-5 5-0 6-5 5-2 2-6 25-18

115


PITTSBURGH

PANTHERS

“We’re used to being in the NCAA tournament. We play for that.” Head Coach Jamie Dixon 116

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

Pittsburgh was bitten by the injury bug before the 2014-15 season even began. Cam Wright missed the first part of the season with a broken foot, while Derrick Randall and Ryan Luther were also slowed by injuries. In addition, Durand Johnson was suspended the entire season for a violation of school policy. Despite the setbacks, the Panthers were still on the NCAA bubble until the end of February. Ultimately, they lost their last five games, including their first-round NIT matchup against George Washington.

With no clear answer at center last season, Pitt had a major hole in the frontcourt, and that hole grew even more after Derrick Randall graduated and Joseph Uchebo and Tyrone Haughton decided to transfer. Jamie Dixon has addressed that issue by reeling in a pair of graduate transfers and landing a JUCO signee. Dixon’s team should be better this season, but how much better they’ll be is going to be determined by how much better they play defensively, as well as the collective performance of their big men.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

The Panthers’ two most impressive wins last season — Notre Dame and North Carolina — both took place in the Petersen Events Center, and they’ll get at least two shots at collecting more signature victories at home with Duke and Virginia coming to Pittsburgh. In its two years in the ACC, Pitt still hasn’t beaten the Blue Devils or Cavaliers, and it was also swept by former Big East foe Louisville last season. Dixon’s squad will have a shot to end each of those losing streaks at home this year.

Going into March last season, Pitt was 19-10 (8-7 ACC) with two wins over ranked programs. The team’s final three regular-season opponents were Wake Forest, Miami and Florida State, and an NCAA bid certainly didn’t appear out of reach. The Panthers lost their last five games, however, missing the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in the Dixon era. They could be on the bubble again going into March this season. And while they should at least be an NIT team, they won’t be a high seed in the Big Dance.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Following Pittsburgh’s 81-70 loss to NC State in the ACC Tournament, disappointment could be seen on the faces of the Panther players. In recent history, at least, it’s been rare for this program to miss the NCAA Tournament, and reaching the Big Dance has become as much of an expectation as a goal. That should serve as extra motivation for this year’s team, and experience should be a plus as the Panthers will likely be starting three seniors and two juniors.

Cam Wright and Derrick Randall graduated, while combo guard Josh Newkirk, small forward Durand Johnson and big men Joseph Uchebo and Tyrone Haughton transferred. The loss of three centers made frontcourt depth a concern this offseason, but Wright and Newkirk were the biggest contributors of the departed players. During his college career, Wright played in 130 games for the Panthers, starting 72. Newkirk started four games last season as a sophomore and was the primary backup at point guard.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Pitt avoids having to play Duke, North Carolina or Virginia twice, but it does get two shots against both Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Sweeping the Yellow Jackets and Hokies would be a step in the right direction, and splitting with both Louisville and Syracuse wouldn’t be impossible. Add home wins over Wake Forest and Boston College, plus road victories over Clemson and Florida State, and the Panthers would need just one win between Duke, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame, UNC and UVa to go above .500 in ACC play.

There are few, if any, easy wins in ACC play, and as Pitt learned at the end of last season, the losses can mount quickly. A year ago, defeats at the hands of Virginia Tech and Wake Forest made the difference in the Panthers going 8-10 instead of 10-8. Dixon’s team lost seven ACC road games last season, and those types of struggles can’t carry over into the 2015-16 campaign if this group is going to reach the NCAA Tournament. If the road woes continue, it’s not out of the question that Pitt could miss the NIT.

www.accsports.com

117


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD In some ways, it’s difficult to define Michael Young and Jamel Artis as “power forwards.” Out of necessity, Young spent a lot of time at center last season, while Artis is more of a combo forward than a true power forward. Still, both are inside-out players, and the combination of the two leaves the Panthers stronger at power forward than any other position. Artis could be an AllACC candidate this season after a breakout year as a sophomore.

POINT GUARD

SHOOTING GUARD

Pitt will have a capable starter at point guard this year, but depth is a concern. James Robinson led all ACC players a season ago with a 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio and dished out a team-high 174 assists. Following the transfer of Josh Newkirk, the Panthers added former JUCO combo guard Jonathan Milligan. Freshman Damon Wilson — another combo guard — could also come off the bench to run the point in his first season.

Sterling Smith u

SMALL FORWARD Artis will be the starter, but other small forwards will compete for minutes behind him in the Pitt lineup. Sheldon Jeter registered nine starts as a sophomore and will once again be a part of the rotation. Also coming off the bench, redshirt freshman Cameron Johnson will try to bounce back from a shoulder injury that kept him out most of last season. Johnson can get hot as a three-point shooter when he’s healthy.

q Michael Young

MR. VERSATILITY With more depth in the Pitt frontcourt, Michael Young will have the opportunity to spend more time at power forward this season. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of playing elsewhere. Injuries, combined with a lack of talent, forced Pitt to play without a true center for much of last season, and Young often ended up at center. Young isn’t a 3-point ace, but he is versatile enough to knock down shots from long range as well.

118

BENCH

NEW FACES

Only seven Pitt players who played most of the season averaged more than eight minutes per game in 20142015. If the Panthers’ starting lineup consists of Robinson, Smith, Artis, Young and Maia, the first two players off the bench would likely be Jones and Jeter. Jones hit a team-high 41 threepointers last season, while Jeter is more of a true small forward. Johnson could work his way into the rotation if he’s healthy.

Jamie Dixon has added six new players to the Pitt roster. Combo guard Damon Wilson is the lone freshman joining the Panthers, while JUCO big man Rozelle Nix and guard Jonathan Milligan completed the program’s 2015 signing class. In addition, the Panthers brought in three graduate transfers in shooting guard Sterling Smith and centers Rafael Maia and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa. Smith may end up making the greatest impact.

www.accsports.com

The loss of Cam Wright left a hole at shooting guard, but that hole was filled by incoming transfer Sterling Smith. As a graduate transfer, Smith can play immediately and will add scoring to the rotation after averaging 13.9 points per game as a junior at Coppin State. Chris Jones, who could compete for starting time at the 2 or the 3, will be back after starting 21 games last season, averaging 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds on the year.

CENTER Three newcomers will contend for playing time at center. After graduating from Brown, Rafael Maia will spend his final year of eligibilty at Pittsburgh. Despite missing much of last year at Richmond with an eye injury, graduate transfer Alonzo NelsonOdoda will be in the mix to start at center. Pitt also welcomes former junior college standout Rozelle Nix, who has drastically improved his conditioning since signing with the Panthers.

p Rafael Maia


ACC Matchups After two seasons in the ACC, Pitt has a combined 19-19 record against current league members in ACC regular season and tournament games. Since joining the conference before the 2013-14 season, the Panthers are undefeated against three programs (Boston College, Georgia Tech

2014

PREVIOUS SPREAD: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP (YOUNG), ASSOCIATED PRESS (SMITH)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

and Notre Dame) but remain winless against Duke, Louisville and Virginia. In the 2015-16 season, Pitt will have two opportunities to get a win over the Cardinals, but they’ll have to beat the Yellow Jackets twice in order to maintain their perfect record over Brian Gregory’s program. The Panthers

escaped with a winning record in ACC road games in their first year in the league, but it wasn’t until 2014-15 that they won more league games than they lost in the Petersen Events Center. Two years ago, they were the only one of the ACC’s three new teams to win a game in the ACC Tournament.

Pittsburgh guard Chris Jones (12) hangs his head after committing a foul during a loss to Virginia. The Panthers lost their only matchup against the Cavaliers last season.

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

W L L L L L W W

W W W W L W W L -

W L W

W L W W L L W W W -

W L L L L W L L L

L -

RYAN M. KELLY/AP

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

3-0

2-1

0-2

1-2

2-0

0-2

1-1

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

2-1

1-3

2-0

2-2

0-3

1-1

2-1

HOME GAMES

56.6% 52.9% FG 9-8

Pittsburgh may have been better in its first season as an ACC member, but the Panthers played better at home last year. They won six of nine ACC games in the Steel City.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 47.1% FG 8-9

Given the strength of the ACC, the Panthers have a respectable record in road games against current league members. They’ve beaten seven other ACC teams on the road since 2013-14.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 50.0% FG 2-2

Pitt reached the semifinals of the ACC Tournament two seasons ago before losing to top seed Virginia, but Jamie Dixon’s team was eliminated on Wednesday last year by NC State.

119


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jamel

ARTIS #1 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-7 WEIGHT: 220 lbs HOMETOWN: Baltimore, MD Artis broke out as a sophomore with the Panthers last season and received All-ACC Honorable Mention. This season, he’s back as one of the league’s most productive returning players.

After arriving as part of Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class, Artis spent much of his first collegiate season in a backup role, coming off the bench to contribute minutes at power forward. Despite seeing limited time on the floor, the Baltimore product made an impact in several key games, including double-digit scoring outings against Virginia and North Carolina. Once small forward Lamar Patterson graduated and a starting slot opened up, Artis filled

the void. Artis became a key part of the rotation as a sophomore with the Panthers last season. He played more minutes than any other forward on the team and finished first on the roster in scoring with 13.6 points per game, first in shot attempts with 341, second in rebounds with six boards per contest, and third in assists with 77. His 32 points against Bryant helped Pitt escape what would

13.6 Points Per Game

RPG

6.0 Rebounds Per Game

In his second year with Pittsburgh, Artis was second on the team in rebounding with 205 boards. His 138 defensive rebounds tied Michael Young for most on the Panthers.

39.4% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

Although he’s a forward, the junior can make an impact as a passer. His 77 assists as a sophomore were third-best for Pitt behind guards James Robinson and Josh Newkirk.

t Of all players who attempted more than five three-point shots last season, Artis led all Panther players by hitting 39.4 percent of his shots from long range. Only four returning players in the ACC had a better free throw percentage than Artis last season. He took the second-most free throws for the Panthers last year. u

www.accsports.com

79.5% FT Free Throw Percentage

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/AP, KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP, KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP; BOTTOM: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP

PPG

Artis led all Pittsburgh scorers with 13.6 points per game last season, and he attempted a team-high 341 shots. He is the sixth-leading scorer of returning ACC players.

ASSISTS 77

120

have been an embarrassing upset, and he scored 20 or more points on six different occasions during ACC regular season play. As one of the top returning players in the league, Artis could be in for another big year as a junior. His versatility allows Jamie Dixon to use him in a variety of ways, and his inside-out game makes him difficult to defend. Pitt as a team should be better this year, and Artis will remain an important piece.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

James

ROBINSON Robinson enters his senior season with the Panthers as a fourth-year starter. A true point guard, he currently owns the Pitt career record in assist-toturnover ratio.

PPG

174

3.11

Assist To Turnover Ratio

APG MPG

The Maryland native does most of his work setting up his teammates for baskets, but he has improved as a scorer throughout his career at Pittsburgh.

t Robinson’s 3.1 assist-to-turnover ratio was down from his 4.1 assist-to-turnover ratio from the year prior, but it still led all ACC players. Of all returning league players who attempted enough free throws to qualify, Robinson had the third-best percentage from the charity stripe last season. u

5.1

Assists Per Game

33.9 Minutes Per Game www.accsports.com

but is expected to be back at 100 percent by the start of the season. The new graduate transfers Dixon added in the offseason should provide Robinson immediate help offensively. A pass-first point guard, Robinson isn’t the type of player who’s going to take over a game, but he can get the ball into the hands of teammates who can. He’ll be the No. 1 point guard again as a senior for Pitt, and could help the Panthers return to the NCAAs.

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): CHUCK BURTON/AP, KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP, ASSOCIATED PRESS ; BOTTOM: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP

56

ASS/TO

Following the graduation of two key offensive players after the 201314 season, Robinson was leaned on more as a junior in terms of scoring. His shooting averages dipped as a result, but he still maintained the highest assist-to-turnover ratio in the ACC. Robinson certainly didn’t regress as a passer, but he wasn’t surrounded by the same weapons he’d had in the year prior. Robinson underwent surgery on his right foot this summer,

8.9 Points Per Game ASSISTS

HEIGHT: 6-3 WEIGHT: 198 lbs HOMETOWN: Mitchellville, MD

Robinson has been a significant part of Jamie Dixon’s program dating back to when Pittsburgh was still in the Big East. He started immediately as a freshman in the 2012-13 season, and in his rookie year, he led the Big East in assist-toturnover ratio. Robinson’s minutes increased as a sophomore, and he posted an ACC-best 4.1 assist-toturnover ratio in the Panthers’ first year in their new conference.

TURNOVERS

#0 GUARD SENIOR

83.3% FT

Free Throw Percentage

Robinson was responsible for more assists last season than all but two ACC players — Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant and Duke’s Tyus Jones.

Robinson led all Pitt players last season with 33.9 minutes per game. With little point guard depth on the bench, the Panthers can’t afford to lose him to injury.

121


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michael

YOUNG #2 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 235 lbs HOMETOWN: Duquesne, PA Young has started all 70 games of his Pittsburgh career. With more depth in the frontcourt this season, he’ll be able to stick more to his true position at power forward.

As a consensus 4-star recruit coming out of high school, Young was talented enough to step in and help the Panthers right away when he arrived two years ago. The big man from Duquesne, Pennsylvania, started all 36 contests as a freshman and saw more playing time than any other player in Pitt’s 2013 recruiting class. He wasn’t counted on as a go-to player during his first year on campus, but as a rookie, Young averaged

a respectable 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. In his second season, Young was cast into a more prominent role. The ball was in the 6-9, 235-pound power forward’s hands more often, but the lack of healthy, capable centers on Pitt’s roster forced Young to play inside, out of position, for much of the season. He made his presence felt in the frontcourt, including a stretch when he had back-to-back-to-back

PPG

13.4 Points Per Game

Young’s 13.4 points per game last year were second-best on the team, and he shot a higher percentage from the field than all other players in Pitt’s rotation.

RPG

7.3

The junior is one of the top rebounders in the league. He pulled down the sixth-most boards per game last year of any returning ACC player.

Rebounds Per Game

166 Free Throw Attempts FTA

t Young’s 166 free throw attempts were 34 more than anyone else on the team a year ago. He could become more dangerous if he can improve his percentage (69.3) from the free throw line.

www.accsports.com

Young’s 28 blocks were the most on a Pitt team that was thin inside last season. As a freshman the year before, Young only had 16 blocks, despite starting the whole season.

111

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS. In the ACC, only Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Georgia Tech’s Charles Mitchell had more offensive rebounds per game than Young in the 2014-15 season.

TOP: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP; BOTTOM: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP

BLOCKS 28

122

22-point performances against Boston College, Wake Forest and Miami. But while Young had improved considerably from the year before, he still seemed like he was playing the wrong position. With the offseason additions of three new centers, Young should be able to move back to power forward as a junior. If he can stay at power forward throughout the year, he has a shot to become one of the top players in the entire ACC.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS

vs. vs. vs.  vs.  vs.  vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs.  vs.  vs. @ @ vs. vs.  @ @ vs. vs.  @ @ vs. @ vs.  vs. @ @

T

Gonzaga (in Japan) St. Joseph’s (Indiana) Detroit Cornell Kent State Purdue Duquesne Central Arkansas Eastern Washington Morehead State Davidson (in New York) Western Carolina Syracuse Maryland Eastern Shore Georgia Tech Notre Dame Louisville Boston College NC State Florida State Clemson Virginia Tech Virginia Miami North Carolina Wake Forest Syracuse Louisville Duke Virginia Tech Georgia Tech

Non-Conference Test

his season, Pittsburgh will face a challenge right off the bat when it plays Gonzaga in Japan to open its season Nov. 13. The Bulldogs enter the year as a Top 25 team, and they might even be a top-10 group. Former Kentucky forward Kyle Wiltjer leads Mark Few’s team after averaging 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds as a junior, and he’ll be joined by a quality supporting cast. After losing its final five games last year, the Panthers ended the 2014-15 season with a bad taste in their mouths. A win over Gonzaga would help them get off on the right foot this season.

DATE

TIME

TV

Friday, November 13 Tuesday, November 17

7:00 PM

ESPN

LAST MEETING FIRST MEETING 1974

W

72-60

Friday, November 20

2012

W

74-61

Wednesday, November 25

1992

W

80-72

Saturday, November 28

2009

W

71-59

1977

L

91-80

2014

W

76-62

Tuesday, December 1

9:00 PM

Friday, December 4

7:00 PM

ESPN2

Sunday, December 6

FIRST MEETING

Friday, December 11

FIRST MEETING

Sunday, December 13

1957

Sunday, December 20

12:00 PM

ESPNU

1974

Wednesday, December 23

W

86-85

W

90-63

FIRST MEETING 2015

W

71-65

2010

W

97-64

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

70-65

2015

W

76-72

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

69-56

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

71-65

Tuesday, January 19

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

81-70

Saturday, January 23

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

61-52

Wednesday, January 27

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

71-62

ESPNU

2015

L

70-67

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

61-49

ESPNU ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

67-63

2015

W

89-76

Wednesday, December 30

9:00 PM

ESPN2

Saturday, January 2 Wednesday, January 6 Saturday, January 9 Thursday, January 14

9:00 PM

Sunday, January 31

6:30 PM

Saturday, February 6 Tuesday, February 9

7:00 PM

Sunday, February 14 Tuesday, February 16

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

69-66

Saturday, February 20

2:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

W

71-65

2015

L

69-56

2:00 PM

ACC Network/Raycom CBS

2015

L

79-65

2015

L

70-67

2015

W

70-65

Wednesday, February 24 Sunday, February 28 Wednesday, March 2

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

Saturday, March 5

T

MEASURING STICK GAME

he Petersen Events Center offered an excellent homecourt advantage for Pitt last season, as the Panthers were able to take down North Carolina, Notre Dame and Syracuse at home. They’ll face a major test this year when defending ACC regularseason champion Virginia comes to town Feb. 6. Pitt lost by 12 points in Charlottesville last year in the lone meeting between the two, but it could improve its place in the ACC standings and boost its chances of earning an NCAA Tournament bid by claiming a win over the Cavaliers at home this season.

J KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP

OPPONENT

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

amie Dixon’s squad suffered several disappointing losses down the stretch last season, but the 69-66 defeat at the hands of Wake Forest was inexcusable. The Panthers will host the Demon Deacons on Feb. 16, and last season’s result should be fresh on the minds of Pitt’s returning players. Danny Manning’s team will still pose a challenge, however, as Wake Forest brings back forward Devin Thomas and guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. Both the Panthers and the Deacons will be improved this season, so this could make for an intriguing matchup.

123


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Last season, Pitt missed the NCAA tournament for just the second time in the Jamie Dixon era. The Panthers haven’t missed the Big Dance in back-to-back years since 2000-2001. Pitt also snapped a streak of 11 consecutive seasons with 20 or more victories under Dixon. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

25-8

10-6*

T-4th*

16-1

5-5

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 4-2

---

1-1

NCAA

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish Final 32

2007

29-8

12-4*

T-2nd*

16-2

8-3

5-3

---

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2008

27-10

10-8*

7th*

16-2

5-7

6-1

---

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2009

31-5

15-3*

T-2nd*

19-0

7-3

5-2

---

3-1

NCAA

Final 8

2010

25-9

13-5*

T-2nd*

17-1

6-4

2-4

---

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2011

28-6

15-3*

1st*

17-1

7-2

4-3

---

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2012

22-17

5-13*

T-13th*

15-7

4-9

3-1

---

5-1

CBI

Champions

2013

24-9

12-6*

4th*

16-3

6-3

2-3

---

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2014

26-10

11-7

5th

13-5

7-2

6-3

2-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2015

19-15

8-10

10th

14-4

2-9

3-2

0-1

0-1

NIT

First Round

*Big East Conference

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS While four of Pitt’s scholarship players are from Western Pennsylvania, the Panthers also have players from California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Ohio. The Panthers even have a Brazilian on the squad with the transfer addition of Rafael Maia.

ROSTER

Pos

Ht

Wt YR

Hometown

0 James Robinson 1 2 3 4 5 12 15 21 23 24 25 33 55

G 6-3 198 Sr. Mitchellville, MD Jamel Artis F 6-7 220 Jr. Baltimore, MD Michael Young F 6-9 235 Jr. Duquesne, PA Damon Wilson G 6-5 200 Fr. Powder Springs, GA Ryan Luther F 6-9 215 So. Gibsonia, PA Rafael Maia F 6-9 245 Sr. Sao Paolo, Brazil Chris Jones G/F 6-6 213 Jr. Teaneck, NJ Sterling Smith G 6-4 185 Sr. Chico, CA Sheldon Jeter F 6-8 225 Jr. Beaver Falls, PA Cameron Johnson G 6-7 185 So. Moon Township, PA Mike Lecak G 6-2 175 Sr. Pittsburgh, PA Rozelle Nix C 6-11 300 Jr. Cincinnati, OH Alonzo Nelson-Ododa F 6-9 235 Sr. Atlanta, GA Jonathan Milligan G 6-2 170 Jr. Orlando, FL

COACHES Jamie Dixon

Head Coach

124

Brandin Knight

Assistant Coach

Bill Barton

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Marlon Williamson

Assistant Coach

Brian Regan - Assistant Athletic Director, Basketball Operations Jason Richards - Coordinator of Video Branden McDonald - Graduate Student Manager Beth Schoedel - Administrative Assistant


Pittsburgh 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

Big East Wins

5

ACC Wins

In its 109-year history, Pittsburgh has reached the NCAA Tournament 24 times. Ten of those appearances have come under JAMIE DIXON, who enters his 13th season as the program’s head coach this year. Under Dixon, the Panthers have reached the Sweet 16 three times, and in 2009, they advanced to the Elite Eight. Despite missing the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Dixon’s team won the CBI that year. He is the second-winningest coach in program history, and his .734 win percentage is by far the best in Pitt basketball history.

10

15

20

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Loss

Tournament Win

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE*

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

68%

85%

20%

56%

38%

57%

50%

58%

35%

119-57

58-10

1-4

61-47

12-20

51-39

2-2

7-5

13-24

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

28-6 22-17 24-9 26-10 19-15 119-57

13-1 11-3 12-2 12-1 10-3 58-10

1-1 0-0 0-2 0-0 0-1 1-4

15-5 11-14 12-7 14-9 9-12 61-47

5-3 1-5 3-4 1-4 2-4 12-20

15-3 5-13 12-6 11-7 8-10 51-39

------2-1 0-1 2-2

1-1 5-1 0-1 1-1 0-1 7-5

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 6-4 1-5 3-6 1-4 2-5 13-24

125


WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS

“I think these guys have gone through a lot of change and they’ve handled it very well, and we just have to continue to work. We’re getting there, and I think our foundation is almost down and intact, and we’ll continue to work on that and build on it.”

Head Coach Danny Manning 126

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

The Demon Deacons never really found a rhythm in Danny Manning’s first seaason, failing to win more than three straight games at any point on its way to a 13-19 finish. Wake lost at home to Iona and Delaware State in November, and got off to a 1-7 start in ACC play before winning three out of four at home. From there the Deacs lost six out of seven to finish the season, including a 70-34 drubbing at the hands of Virginia after coming within a point of beating the Cavaliers 11 days earlier in Charlottesville.

Wake Forest returns its five top scorers from 2014-2015 — a group that includes seniors Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas, as well as a trio of sophomores in Dinos Mitoglou, Mitchell Wilbekin, and Cornelius Hudson. That quintet combined for 123 starts a season ago, averaging approximately 40 points a game. Combined with a threeman freshman class and returning bench players such as Greg McClinton and Andre Washington, the Demon Deacons will have a chance to return to respectability.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

Wake has a chance to make a statement against Indiana in its opener at the Maui Invitational Nov. 23. The Demon Deacons could also potentially play St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Kansas, UCLA, and UNLV while in Maui. On Dec. 4, Wake will host Arkansas — who reached the round of 32 in last year’s NCAA Tournament — in Winston-Salem. In ACC play, the Demon Deacons have two games each with Duke and NC State, along with home games against Virginia, Syracuse, and Florida State that provide chances for upsets.

The Demon Deacons haven’t sniffed the NCAA Tournament since 2010, when Dino Gaudio’s squad beat Texas in the opening round before getting buried by Kentucky. Wake Forest fans are getting anxious to return to the postseason, and this year’s team could realistically be the squad to get the program back to playing important games in March. Wake has just one victory in the ACC Tournament going back to 2008, and hasn’t advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals since 2006.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Wake Forest went winless in ACC play last season on the road for the third time in five seasons— putting a stain on the respectable 5-4 record the Demon Deacons posted at home. Going back to the 2010-2011 season, Wake Forest has produced an abysmal 2-41 record away from home in ACC play, including just one road victory in league play over the last three seasons. Until Wake finds a way to pick up victories in other ACC arenas, returning to prominence is going to be virtually impossible.

Darius Leonard averaged 5.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in his lone season with the Demon Deacons. Leonard was Wake’s only departing senior with exhausted eligibility. Three players elected to transfer out, as Miles Overton left at the end of the fall semester and will play for Drexel this year, while Daniel Green left for Arkansas-Little Rock, and Aaron Rountree moved on to Iona. Manning also announced the dismissal of Madison Jones in late August for a violation of athletic department policy.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Wake Forest’s senior tandem of Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas emerges as a more cohesive and productive pair of leaders. Konstantinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin improve on their 38 percent shooting from 3-point range, providing the Deacons more scoring clout. And Wake finally figures out a way to win away from Joel Coliseum again. A handful of ACC road triumphs, combined with more success in Joel Coliseum, puts the Demon Deacons on the brink of returning to the postseason.

Miller-McIntyre and Thomas struggle to provide the necessary senior leadership to motivate their teammates. Wake Forest doesn’t get a great deal or production off the bench, despite what appears to be arguably the best depth the program has had in years. The Demon Deacons continue to play poorly away from home. Wake Forest once again posts a losing record and again fails to reach the postseason, which could lead to some grumbling over whether Manning is the right answer or not.

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127


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD Devin Thomas has been one of Wake Forest’s mainstays the last three seasons, consistently scoring in double figures and serving as one of the team’s most reliable performers. Being one of the focuses of opposing defenses has made it more difficult at times, but Thomas has proven himself worthy of being considered one of the ACC’s better players. Now can he take it to another level and help Wake make a rise in this tough league?

Andre Washington u

SMALL FORWARD At 6-10, it might be a little strange to some readers that we’re classifying Dinos Mitoglou as a small forward. But with the way he can shoot from the perimeter, he’s not your average big man. 6-7 Greg McClinton made 15 starts during the 2014-2015 season, and gives the Deacons another experienced veteran. Another would be 6-6 Cornelius Hudson, who made 10 starts and averaged just under 22 minutes per game a year ago.

CENTER

POINT GUARD

Senior Andre Washington and freshman Doral Moore could see sporadic minutes working into the rotation. Both are seven-footers who can provide occasional assistance on the boards and blocking shots. With the emphasis that the Demon Deacons placed last season on a perimeter-oriented rotation, the Demon Deacons may not rely too heavily this coming season on a true center aside of specific in-game stragetic situations.

BENCH Greg McClinton will have a chance to emerge as a capable sixth or seventh man for the Deacs at forward. Bryant Crawford has a chance to provide some scoring punch to Wake’s backcourt. Freshman John Collins could give Devin Thomas some valuable spells of rest as a backup power forward. Rondale Watson will be given opportunity to show he can provide help off the bench after playing sparingly last season.

128

Mitchell Wilbekin q

NEW FACES

Codi Miller-McIntyre led the Demon Deacons in numerous categories last season, including minutes played, field goals, points, and assists. He and Mitchell Wilbekin may be asked to handle the reins as Wake’s primary ball handlers. Incoming freshman Bryant Crawford should see work as well. And if Crawford performs, it might even create scenarios where he could play with Miller-McIntyre together in the Wake backcourt.

p Codi Miller-McIntyre

The Demon Deacons signed a guard, Bryant Crawford, a forward, John Collins, and a center, Doral Moore. Bryant gives Wake Forest a backup point guard who can shoot from the perimeter, while Collins and Moore upgrade the depth in the paint. The 6-11 Moore is somewhat raw, and may not be quite as ready to play at the ACC level as Crawford and Collins. But he gives the team a potential long-term boost in the middle.

www.accsports.com

SHOOTING GUARD Mitchell Wilbekin started 26 games last season for the Demon Deacons. Like Cody Miller-McIntyre, Wilbekin is interchangeable as far as being able to play point guard or shooting guard. Wilbekin led the Demon Deacons last season in 3-point shooting percentage at 38.6 percent, and they’re going to need him to make a lot more shots from long range this season if the program is going to return to relevance in the ACC.

COACHING Danny Manning heads into his second season with a significantly better chance of being competitive than when he arrived. The Demon Deacons have an experienced core, as well as newcomers who could provide meaningful contributions. Can Manning help his team get over the hump by making the right moves in critical moments of close games? And can he help Wake Forest play better on the road? Those are the questions.


10-Year ACC History The last decade has been a tale of tragedy and mostly struggles for Wake Forest on the hardwood, following the departure of Chris Paul to the NBA after the 2004-2005 season, and the death of beloved head coach Skip Prosser in the summer of 2007. Through Prosser’s last two seasons, the regimes of

2006 BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH

2007

Dino Gaudio and Jeff Bzdelik, and Danny Manning’s first season, the Demon Deacons were by far the ACC’s worst team on the road, posting a dreadful record of 9-67 against current league members over the last ten seasons. Wake’s inabilities to win away from Winston-Salem has negated a

respectable winning percentage of nearly 60 percent in Joel Coliseum. Wake Forest hasn’t appeared in an NCAA Tournament game since 2010, and hasn’t won more than one game in the ACC Tournament since 2006, with seven opening-game exits in that event in the last eight seasons.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

L W L L W L W L

L L L L L L L -

L W W -

L W W W L L W -

L L L W L L L L

W L

W W L W W W W

L L W L L L L

L -

W W W W W W W L

W W L L L L W -

-

W W W W L W W -

L L L L W L W L

L -

L L L L L W L

L L L L L L L

L -

W L L L W L L W

W L L L L L L -

-

W L W L W W W W

L L L L L L L L

-

L W W L L W W W L -

L L L L L L L W

W L -

L W L W L W W L W

L L L L L L L L L -

L

PREVIOUS SPREAD: JOE RAYMOND/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: CHUCK BURTON/AP

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

6-9

6-8

3-14

5-10

7-13

0-1

6-7

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

3-10

8-13

2-1

1-2

0-2

7-6

5-10

HOME GAMES

56.6% 58.9% FG 46-32

It hasn’t been enough to keep Wake among the upper echelon in the ACC, but they’ve been respectable in Winston-Salem, posting winning ACC records in six of eight seasons.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 11.8% FG 9-67

Few programs in the country have been as bad on the road over the past ten seasons as Wake Forest. The Deacs have won one or zero road games in ACC play eight times in that span.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 36.3% FG 4-7

Wake hasn’t reached the ACC Tournament semis since 2006, and have been eliminated in its first game seven of eight years, including three times by former rival Maryland.

129


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cody

Miller-McIntyre #0 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-3 WEIGHT: 205 lbs HOMETOWN: Concord, NC After three years of struggles to help his team win consistently, Codi Miller-McIntyre heads into his senior season on a mission.

Despite playing on some weak teams over his three seasons, Miller-McIntyre has been one of the more productive guards at Wake Forest in the last two decades. He became the first Wake Forest player since Randolph Childress to lead the team in scoring and assists two straight years, and also became the first Demon Deacon since Childress to score 20 points with 10 assists in an ACC Tournament game, which he did last March against Virginia

14.5 Points Per Game

PPG

32

STEALS t

FG

FIeld Goal Percentage

MINUTES

Miller-McIntyre finished 11th in the ACC in scoring. He was in double figures 24 times, had four games in midseason with 20 or more, and 67 points in Wake’s final three games. Only Madison Jones had more steals on Wake Forest’s squad a season ago. Miller-McIntyre had a whopping five steals against Bucknell, and a total of seven multi-steal games.

While Miller-McIntyre’s field goal percentage has increased each year at Wake Forest — from 41.4 percent to 43.3 percent to 45 percent last season — he shot better from 3-point range as a freshman than as a sophomore or junior.

1007

www.accsports.com

particular feat. Miller-McIntyre was one of just two players to start all 32 games last season. He again led Wake Forest in scoring and assists, and was second in rebounding and steals. He peaked in March, with 20 points at Duke, 24 points against Boston College in the regular season finale, and 23 points in the ACC Tournament against Virginia Tech. He was named All-ACC Honorable Mention for his efforts.

11

ASSISTS IN A GAME. Miller-McIntyre twice reached 11 assists last season — against Princeton on New Year’s Eve, and against Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. He had 10 assists against the Hokies as a sophomore.

Nobody played as much for Wake Forest last season as Miller-McIntyre, as he averaged 31.5 minutes per game, playing no fewer than 19 minutes in any contest.

TOP: CHUCK BURTON/AP; BOTTOM: CHUCK BURTON/AP

45.0%

130

Tech. One of the more heralded members of Wake’s 2012 signing class, Miller-McIntyre started 29 out of 30 games as a freshman in 2012-2013, finishing fourth on the team in scoring and rebounding. He followed that up as a sophomore by making 31 of 32 starts and becoming the team’s leader in scoring and assists — becoming the first Demon Deacon since Jeff Teague to accomplish that


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Devin

THOMAS #2 FORWARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-9 WEIGHT: 255 lbs HOMETOWN: Harrisburg, PA One of the ACC’s top returning rebounders comes back to Wake Forest looking to reach the postseason his senior year.

Thomas has been a steady and consistent contributor for Wake Forest through his first three seasons in old gold and black. Now he’s looking to elevate his game to another level, while also trying to help the Demon Deacons make a rise in the ACC standings. Thomas came in as one of the prizes of the so-called “Super Seven” freshman class of 2012-2013, and made a

significant impact as a newcomer, averaging 9.1 points and 7.5 rebounds to earn a spot on the ACC’s All-Freshman team. Thomas’s scoring totals have gone up each season in Winston-Salem, as he averaged 11.1 points per contest as a sophomore, and then an even 12 points per game last season as a junior. After shooting slightly under 54 percent from the floor as a sophomore, Thomas’s field goal percentage took a dip

8.8 Rebounds Per Game

MPG

27.2 Points Per Game

59.2% FT Free Throw Percentage

2

Thomas ranked fourth in the ACC in rebounding average last season. He could challenge Miami’s Tonye Jekiri as the league’s top rebounder this season.

Though Thomas was one of only two Demon Deacons to start every game last season, he played 30 minutes or more in just two of Wake Forest’s nine final games.

t Thomas brought up his free throw shooting average more than six percentage points from his sophomore to junior years — from 52.9 percent to 59.2 percent — but the Deacs would like for him to keep it up over 60 percent this season.

TOP: CHUCK BURTON/AP, JOE RAYMOND/AP, CHUCK BURTON/AP; BOTTOM: CHUCK BURTON/AP

RPG

last season, down to under 50 percent. But his rebounding totals jumped, going from 7.5 rebounds per game in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, to 8.8 rebounds per game in 2014-2015. This season Thomas will have a chance to be one of the ACC’s leaders on the boards, as well as a leader on a Demon Deacon squad looking to make a move in Danny Manning’s second season in Winston-Salem.

96

TURNOVERS. Thomas has to cut down on his turnovers to be more effective. He had 13 games last season with four or more turnovers, including a 10-turnover game against Florida, and a 7-turnover contest against Georgia Tech.

BLOCKS DOWN THE STRETCH. Thomas will hope to be more disruptive defensively down the stretch this coming season, for in Wake Forest’s last nine games a season ago, he had just two blocked shots, including seven straight games with no blocks.

www.accsports.com

131


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Konstantinos

Mitoglou #44 FORWARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-10 WEIGHT: 225 lbs HOMETOWN: Thessaloniki, GREECE Once he found his rhythm, Dinos Mitoglou was one of Wake’s better players a year ago. Now he’s looking for more.

Mitoglou arrived at Wake Forest last summer with little fanfare, despite the fact that he had appeared on Greece’s U-18 national team in the 2013 and 2014 European Championships. The young man known as “Dinos” began to show off his outside shooing prowess in late December, with back-to-back games with three 3-pointers in each contest. He then broke out in Wake’s near-upset of Syracuse in the

13

the team in steals, while finishing one-thousandth of a point behind Mitchell Wilbekin for the team lead in 3-point shooting percentage (.385 to Wilbekin’s .386). After the season, he was named Wake Forest’s Most Improved Player. Heading into his second season in Winston-Salem, Mitoglou has a chance to emerge as a regular starter for the Demon Deacons, and one of the more dangerous perimeter threats in the entire ACC.

DOUBLE FIGURE SCORING GAMES. Mitoglou proved to be a dependable offensive asset for Wake Forest last season, particularly in ACC play. Starting with his 26-point game against Syracuse, Mitoglou scored in double figures in seven out of 11 contests.

OFF

52 Offensive Rebounds

TPG

1.09

Dinos did a solid job protecting the ball with 11 turnover-free games last season, as well as 14 games with just one turnover. Mitoglou had just seven multi-turnover games all year.

AST

13 Assists

The Demon Deacons could use more from Mitoglou as far as setting up his teammates. He had just 13 assists last season, including nine straight ACC contests with no assists.

3FGM

52 3 Pointers Made

After converting a team-high in 3-pointers — and the third-most by a freshman in Wake Forest history — Mitoglou will likely be firing up many more behind the arc this season.

Turnovers Per Game

www.accsports.com

Mitoglou may be a perimeter threat on offense, but he’s also a capable rebounder. He finished second on the Demon Deacons last year with 52 offensive rebounds.

TOP: CHUCK BURTON/AP, JOE RAYMOND/AP, CHUCK BURTON/AP; BOTTOM: CHUCK BURTON/AP

132

Carrier Dome Jan. 13, nailing four 3-pointers and scoring a careerhigh 26 points. For his efforts, Mitoglou became the first Greekborn player in ACC history to earn a weekly honor, as he was named Rookie of the Week. Mitoglou wound up starting 13 games over the course of his first season for the Demon Deacons, finishing third on the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. He also finished sixth on


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

T

Maryland-Baltimore County Bucknell Richmond Indiana (Maui Invitational) TBA (Maui Invitational) TBA (Maui Invitational) Rutgers Arkansas UNC-Greensboro Coastal Carolina Xavier LSU Louisville Duke NC State Virginia Tech Syracuse North Carolina Miami Virginia Notre Dame Clemson Florida State Georgia Tech NC State Pittsburgh Boston College Notre Dame Virginia Tech Duke

UPSET ALERT

he Demon Deacons had better be focused when Richmond comes to Joel Coliseum on Nov. 18, because the Spiders are more than capable of taking down Danny Manning’s squad. Wake traveled to Richmond last season, barely coming away with a 65-63 triumph. The year before, the Demon Deacons needed overtime to beat the Spiders. These close calls came after Wake lost three straight seasons to Richmond from 2010 to 2012 under Jeff Bzdelk. This one won’t be easy by any means.

TIME TV

LAST MEETING FIRST MEETING

Friday, November 13 Sunday, November 15

2:00 PM

Patriot League TV

2014

W

60-53

2014

W

65-63

5:00 PM

ESPN2

2008

W

83-58

7:00 PM

ESPNU

Wednesday, November 18 Monday, November 23 Tuesday, November 24 Wednesday, November 25 Monday, November 30

FIRST MEETING

Friday, December 4

2014

L

83-53

Tuesday, December 15

2013

W

59-51

Friday, December 18

1998

W

73-46

2013

L

68-53

Tuesday, December 29

6:00 PM

ESPNU

1981

L

70-64

Sunday, January 3

8:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

85-76

Wednesday, January 6

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

94-51

Sunday, January 10

8:00 PM

ESPNU ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

88-84

2015

L

81-80

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

86-83 (OT)

ESPN2

2015

L

87-71

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

72-70

2015

L

70-34

Sunday, January 31

ESPNU ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

88-75

Tuesday, February 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

59-57

Saturday, February 6

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

82-76 (2 OT)

Wednesday, February 10

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

73-59

Tuesday, December 22

Wednesday, January 13 Saturday, January 16 Wednesday, January 20

7:00 PM

Saturday, January 23 Monday, January 25

9:00 PM

2015

W

88-84

Tuesday, February 16

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

69-66

Sunday, February 21

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

79-61

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

88-75

ESPNU

2015

L

81-80

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

94-51

Saturday, February 13

Wednesday, February 24 Sunday, February 28

6:30 PM

Tuesday, March 1

TOUGHEST STRETCH

W

ake has a challenging stretch of five games in mid-to-late January that will test everything about them. The Demon Deacons host Syracuse Jan. 16 in Winston-Salem before embarking on a two-game road trip to North Carolina, and then Miami Jan. 20 and Jan. 23. From there, Wake returns home to face Virginia Jan. 25, and then heads right back out to face Notre Dame in South Bend on Jan. 31. The Demon Deacons will be favored more than likely to lose all five of those ACC contests.

W CHUCK BURTON/AP

vs. @ vs.  vs.  vs.  vs.  @ vs.  vs.  vs.  vs.  @ @ vs.  vs.  @ vs.  @ @ vs.  @ vs.  vs.  @ @ @ vs.  vs.  vs. @

DATE

www.accsports.com

STATEMENT GAME

ake Forest could really send a message that they’re making improvements under Danny Manning if they can play well Nov. 23 against Indiana in the Maui Invitational. The Hoosiers aren’t as strong as they were a couple of years ago, but they’re still a respected Big Ten program. If the Demon Deacons could beat IU, they will not only give the ACC a little national prestige, but a victory over the Hoosiers could also set the tone for the rest of their trip to Hawaii, and perhaps the rest of the season.

133


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Wake’s 13-19 finish in 2014-2015 marked the fifth straight season the Demon Deacons lost 16 or more, and failed to reach the postseason. After being one of the ACC’s more fearsome teams in the early Skip Prosser years, Wake has made two NCAA appearances in eight years. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

Neutral

2006

17-17

3-13

12th

12-6

2-9

3-2

ACC Tourn. Postseason NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish 2-1

0-1

NIT

First Round

2007

15-16

5-11

T-10th

12-5

2-10

1-1

1-1

---

---

---

2008

17-13

7-9

T-7th

15-2

2-10

0-1

0-1

---

---

---

2009

24-7

11-5

T-2nd

14-1

7-4

3-2

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2010

20-11

9-7

T-5th

13-2

6-7

1-2

0-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2011

8-24

1-15

12th

7-12

1-11

0-1

0-1

---

---

---

2012

13-18

4-12

T-12th

9-7

3-8

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2013

13-18

6-12

T-9th

11-5

1-10

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2014

17-16

6-12

T-11th

14-4

1-9

2-3

1-1

---

---

---

2015

13-19

5-13

12th

11-7

2-10

0-2

0-1

---

---

---

OVERALL WINS

0

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

The Demon Deacon roster includes a handful of prospects from North Carolina, as well as two Florida natives, a pair of Virginians, and a Texan. Devin Thomas and Rondale Watson gives Wake Forest a solid presence in the states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

ROSTER 0 Codi Miller-McIntyre 1 Madison Jones 2 Devin Thomas 4 Doral Moore 10 Mitchell Wilbekin 11 Greg McClinton 13 Bryant Crawford 20 John Collins 23 Rondale Watson 25 Cornelius Hudson 30 Keyshawn Woods 31 Andre Washington 35 Stephen Prendergast 40 Anthony Bilas 42 Gilbert McGregor 43 Trent VanHorn 44 Konstantinos Mitoglou 45 Troy Rike 51 Grant O'Brien 52 Britton Anderson

Pos

Ht

G G F C G F G F G F G C G G F G F F F G

6-3 6-1 6-9 7-1 6-2 6-7 6-3 6-10 6-3 6-6 6-3 7-0 6-1 6-2 6-4 6-3 6-10 6-7 6-7 6-4

Wt

YR

Hometown

205 SR Concord, NC 165 SR Raleigh, NC 255 SR Harrisburg, PA 250 FR Locust Grove, GA 165 SO Gainesville, FL 200 RS SO Winston-Salem, NC 190 FR Silver Spring, MD 218 FR West Palm Beach, FL 190 SO Lewisburg, WV 180 SO Dallas, TX 182 SO Gastonia, NC 240 SR Rocky Mount, VA 175 SR Mahwah, NJ 160 FR Charlotte, NC 195 RS JR New Orleans, LA 210 JR Fort Wayne, IN 225 SO Thessaloniki, Greece 195 SO San Francisco, CA 200 SR North Andover, MA 190 FR Great Falls, VA

Danny Manning

Head Coach

134

Steve Woodberry

Assistant Coach

Randolph Childress

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Brett Ballard

Assistant Coach

Justin Bauman - Director of Basketball Operations Ryan Horn - Director of Athletic Performance Josh Mills - Director of Player Development Will Murphy - Dir. of Technology/Scouting Asst. Joe Balestrieri - Video Coordinator Jane Caldwell - Student-Athlete Services Greg Collins - Assistant AD, Sports Medicine

COURTESY WAKE FOREST ATHLETICS

COACHES


WAKE FOREST 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

Despite his reputation as a winning player — and for developing big men as a college coach — the biggest challenge for DANNY MANNING heading into his second season at Wake Forest is finding a way to help the Demon Deacons start winning again on the road. Wake has struggled to win away from WinstonSalem for much of the last decade. Manning largely succeeded his first year in making Wake Forest more competitive. Now he’s got to do what he can to find the right matchups and personnel groupings to pick up some wins on the road.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

40%

61%

0%

26%

18%

26%

17%

0%

17%

64-95

39-25

0-2

25-70

4-18

22-64

1-5

0-0

4-20

CHUCK BURTON/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2014 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

8-24 13-18 13-18 17-16 13-19 64-95

6-7 9-4 6-5 10-3 8-6 39-25

0-0 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-2

2-17 4-14 7-13 7-13 5-13 25-70

0-2 0-5 2-2 2-2 0-7 4-18

1-15 4-12 6-12 6-12 5-13 22-64

0-1 0-1 0-1 1-1 0-1 1-5

----------0-0

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 0-2 0-5 2-3 2-3 0-7 4-20

135


CLEMSON

TIGERS

“I’m excited about our schedule. We tried to find games that we thought would help prepare us for the ACC...By playing in Greenville, it will be easier for some of our fans to watch us play.”

Head Coach Brad Brownell 136

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

Clemson entered the 2014-15 season picked by the media to finish No. 11 in the league. Despite a tough start to the ACC schedule with North Carolina, Louisville and Virginia making up three of the first four opponents in conference play, the Tigers won eight league games and finished the season with a 16-15 mark. Brad Brownell’s team was in contention for an NCAA tournament bid as late as February, but after losing seven of nine to end the year, the Tigers missed out on the postseason.

For the first time in the Brownell era, Clemson returns its top scorer. Junior forward Jaron Blossomgame is back after leading the team with 13.1 points per game, and he’ll be joined by a quality supporting cast. As Littlejohn Coliseum undergoes renovaton, the Tigers will be playing their home games 40 minutes down the road in Greenville, but they do have the benefit of facing some of their toughest opponents — Duke, Louisville and Miami — only at home.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

A light non-conference slate provides Clemson a shot at winning 10 games before the New Year and an opportunity to build confidence before stepping into ACC play. With two games each against Boston College and Georgia Tech, this is a team that could surpass its win total from a year ago if it avoids losses to lesser opponents. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if this squad pulled off a few upsets and ended the season with the two or three signature victories its lacked in recent years.

There’s definitely talent on the Tigers’ roster, but it can’t be ignored that there are very few easy games in the ACC. The fact that Clemson is no better than a middle-of-the-pack team within the conference says more about the strength at the top of the league than it does about weaknesses of the programs at the bottom. It’s been five years since this team reached the NCAA tournament, and doing so this year will be extremely challenging. The most realistic ceiling is a bid to the NIT.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

The way Brownell’s squad reacts to playing its home games in a mostly empty 16,000-seat arena will have a major impact on how the rest of the season goes. The good news is that three starters are back from last year’s team, which means the Tigers will at least have experienced players on the floor as they adjust to playing homes games in Greenville. Playing every game over half an hour from campus, it’ll be an even bigger challenge than usual for the basketball program to garner interest at a football school.

In addition to graduating two key seniors, Clemson saw one player transfer. Rod Hall was the biggest loss of the three after starting 106 career games. Hall was the program’s No. 1 point guard over the last three seasons. Shooting guard Damarcus Harrison is another key departure, as the Greenwood, South Carolina, native led the team in threepoint percentage the last two years. The Tigers also lost reserve guard Patrick Rooks, who transferred to Chipola College.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

It wouldn’t be impossible for the Tigers to win 10 nonconference games, split with Florida State and sweep Georgia Tech and Boston College. If they could also defeat Pittsburgh at home and claim road victories over Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, they’d be a couple upset wins away from competing for an NCAA tournament bid. Clemson isn’t going to sniff an ACC title, but it could potentially sneak into the Big Dance if it steals two or three wins against the league’s top teams.

Brownell lost two of his top four scorers in Hall and Harrison, and if the Tigers can’t find answers in the backcourt, winning games in the ACC will be more than challenging. Clemson can’t afford to play poorly outside of league play, and even with 10 or more non-conference wins, the Tigers will still have a lot of work to do against conference foes. This team was 3-6 in ACC road games last year, and if it can’t win more this season, even an NIT bid is unlikely.

www.accsports.com

137


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD For the first time in his college career, Jaron Blossomgame made it through an entire season (mostly) healthy. As a result the 6-7, 220-pound forward took a significant step in the right direction. Blossomgame was the team’s top scorer and rebounder with 13.1 points and 8.2 boards per game. Senior Josh Smith adds depth at the position and will see time off the bench after getting on the floor in every game last year.

SMALL FORWARD Donte Grantham will be looking to take a major sophomore leap with a year of experience under his belt. The Martinsburg, West Virginia, product started every game for Clemson as a freshman, averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. Grantham is once again the only true small forward on the Tigers’ roster, so it would be no surprise to see his minutes increase in his second year. Blossomgame could also spend some time at the 3.

CENTER

Landry Nnoko u

POINT GUARD For the first time since the 2011-12 season, the Tigers will have a full-time starter at point guard not named Rod Hall. Avry Holmes will compete with true freshman Ty Hudson for the starting job, and both bring different strengths to the table. As a sophomore at San Francisco, Holmes averaged 12.5 points per game and was a legitimate three-point threat. Hudson, who is a speedy ball-handler, is a similar player to Hall.

q Jaron Blossomgame

MR. VERSATILITY As a solid two-way player, Blossomgame fits best at power forward but can also get the job done at small forward. He isn’t the best long-range shooter, hitting just 28.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, but as he showed against Oakland last season, he’s not incapable of knocking down the three-ball. Blossomgame also averaged more rebounds per game than all but two returning big men in the ACC.

138

BENCH

p Avry Holmes

Assuming Holmes and Roper are the starters in the backcourt, Ajukwa and DeVoe could end up competing with one another for sixth-man minutes. Ty Hudson is another player who could work his way into the rotation, and Legend Robertin will try to replace Sidy Djitte as the first center off the bench. Clemson could use more depth at the 3, but with Blossomgame capable of sliding over, there’s no area where the Tigers are paper-thin.

www.accsports.com

Clemson will be deeper at the 5 than at any other position. Landry Nnoko will start as the secondbest shot-blocker in the league behind NC State’s Beejay Anya. Coming off the bench will be Sidy Djitte, who saw 11 minutes per game in the 2014-15 season as another 6-10 big man. In addition, the Tigers welcome junior college transfer Legend Robertin, whose 7-0, 250-pound frame adds a big body to the frountcourt.

SHOOTING GUARD With the loss of Damarcus Harrison, shooting guards Jordan Roper, Austin Ajukwa and Gabe DeVoe will see bigger roles this season. Roper is the front-runner to claim the starting spot with 36 career starts, and he’ll aim to be more consistent as a shooter after seeing his average from three-point range drop each of the last three years. DeVoe was a big-time scorer in high school but didn’t make a shot at home last season before March.

NEW FACES Hudson was a highly rated player coming out of high school and isn’t the type of player who’s going to spend all his time on the bench. With three years of eligibility remaining, Robertin arrives with great size, but as a guy who didn’t start playing basketball until he was 16, he’s still a raw player. Transfers Shelton Mitchell (point guard) and Marcquise Reed (shooting guard) will be impact players after sitting out this season.


10-Year ACC History Clemson has been a middle-of-the-pack team within the ACC the last couple years, and it really has been a middle-of-the-pack program within the league over the past decade, as well. In the last 10 years, the Tigers have a winning record against five current league members, a losing record

2006

MARK CRAMMER/AP (PREVIOUS SPREAD); RICHARD SHIRO/AP (NNOKO), MARK CRAMMER/AP (BLOSSOMGAME), ISAAC BREKKEN/AP (HOLMES)

BOSTON COLLEGE DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

against seven conference foes and a .500 mark against two. To be fair, the records against Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are small sample sizes, so it’s worth pointing out that Clemson has a losing record against only four programs that have actually been in the ACC the last

10 seasons. Since the 2005-06 season, the Tigers have dominated Georgia Tech, with a 10-game winning streak against the Jackets up until this past year. Clemson has had the toughest time against North Carolina, winning only one game against the Tar Heels in the last 10 years.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

L W W L W L W

L L W L L L W L

L -

W L W W W L L -

L L W L W W L

L -

W W W W L W W W

L L L L L W W -

W W L -

W L W W W L L

W L W W L L W L

L -

W L W W W W W -

L L W L W L L

L -

W W W W L W W W

L L W W L L L -

W L -

L W W W W W W

L L W L L L L W

L -

L L W L L L W W W

L L L W L L L L -

L -

W L W W W L L W

W W W L L L L W L

L W -

W L W L L L W W W

L W L L L W L W L -

L -

BOSTON COLLEGE

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

NORTH CAROLINA

9-6

3-11

10-13

17-5

0-1

7-7

1-13

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

9-6

0-3

1-2

1-1

6-8

9-6

8-6

HOME GAMES

56.6% 67.5% FG 52-25

From the 2009-10 season through the 2011-12 campaign, Clemson’s only ACC losses in Littlejohn Coliseum came at the hands of Duke, Maryland and North Carolina.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 32.1% FG 25-53

Against current ACC teams, the Tigers have one more loss on the road in the last 10 years than they do wins at home. Not once did they have a winning record on the road in that time.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 28.6% FG 4-10

An overtime win over Georgia Tech in the 2014 ACC Tournament marks Clemson’s only conference tournament victory since the Tigers made it to the semifinals in 2011.

139


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jaron

Blossomgame #5 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-7 WEIGHT: 220 lbs HOMETOWN: Alpharetta, GA Blossomgame broke out as a sophomore and was unquestionably Clemson’s best player last season. This year, he’ll be one of the top returning rebounders in the ACC.

Had it not been for injuries, Blossomgame’s career at Clemson could have gotten off to a quicker start. In the spring of his senior year in high school, he suffered a broken leg that ultimately forced him to redshirt in his first season with the Tigers. As a redshirt freshman in 2013-2014, Blossomgame saw significant action, starting 30 games and playing in a total of 33. He showed promise in his first year on the court, particularly in a

PPG

13.1 Points Per Game

RPG

8.2 Rebounds Per Game

STEALS

FTA

24

the type of All-ACC season that McDaniels had in the year prior, he stepped up as the team’s best two-way player and became the team’s most important piece. The 6-7, 220-pound forward will be a key to Clemson’s success again this season, and if he can improve as a shooter, he has the potential to become one of the better players in the ACC. Blossomgame is already one of the top rebounders in the league.

The Alpharetta, Georgia, product was Clemson’s only player to average double figures scoring last year. This season, he’ll be counted on again for offensive production.

Only two returning ACC players — Miami’s Tonye Jekiri and Wake Forest’s Devin Thomas — averaged more rebounds per game than Blossomgame last year. The power forward’s 24 steals were a lot for a player at his position. His versatility on both ends of the floor allows him to step in at small forward when needed.

t As a sophomore, Blossomgame got to the free throw line more than any other Clemson player. Shooting 70.8 percent from the line, he was the second-best free throw shooter in the Tigers’ starting lineup. With a team-high 296 field goal attempts u last year, Blossomgame was leaned on a lot for offense. Small forward Donte Grantham was the only other Tigers player who put up more than 227 shots.

www.accsports.com

296 Field Goal Attempts FGA

TOP: ASSOCIATED PRESS ; BOTTOM: RICHARD SHIRO/AP

144 Free Throw Attempts

140

72-59 upset win over Duke when he scored 14 points and pulled down 14 boards. He was haunted by injury again, however, and saw his season cut short due to a hairline fracture in the same leg he injured in high school. Going into the 2014-15 season, one of Clemson’s greatest challenges was finding a player who could replace the production of star forward K.J. McDaniels. While Blossomgame didn’t have


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Donte

GRANTHAM #15 FORWARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-8 WEIGHT: 210 lbs HOMETOWN: Martinsburg, WV Grantham enters his sophomore season as one of the best second-year players in the conference. He’ll continue to make an impact in a variety of ways.

Donte Grantham’s arrival at Clemson last year was important for a few reasons. Not only was he a seasoned top-100 recruit after spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy, but he played a position where the Tigers desperately needed depth. K.J. McDaniels’ departure left Clemson in somewhat of a bind at small forward, so it helped that Brad Brownell had a talented freshman he could play at small forward

rather than plugging in someone else out of necessity. Grantham got off to a hot start as a freshman, shooting over 40 percent in each of his first eight games and scoring in double figures in six of those contests. His offensive production eventually took a dip, however, and while had a couple good stretches as a shooter in ACC play, he was mostly inconsistent on that end of the floor. The rookie started all 31 of

Clemson’s games, and despite his shooting woes, Grantham attempted the second-most shots on the team behind leading scorer Jaron Blossomgame. He looked a lot like a freshman at times last year, but he also showed some promise. It won’t hurt that he now has a year of college experience under his belt, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Grantham have a breakout season as a sophomore with the Tigers.

8.8 Points Per Game

RPG

4.6 Rebounds Per Game

The West Virginia native pulled down a total of 142 boards last season, good for third on the team. He’ll be the third-best rebounder in the starting lineup again this year.

BLOCKS 54.7% FT Free Throw Percentage

31

Grantham blocks a lot of shots for a small forward. His 31 blocks as a freshman were the second-most on the team behind Landry Nnoko.

t The forward struggled from the free throw line, making just 54.7 percent of his 53 attempts from the charity stripe. That will need to be corrected sooner rather than later. Grantham hit a team-high 41 threepointers last season, but he missed a team-high 106. Clemson needs offense, but it doesn’t help if the ball isn’t going in the bucket. u

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): MARK CRAMMER/AP, RICHARD SHIRO/AP, ASSOCIATED PRESS ; BOTTOM: MARK CRAMMER/AP

PPG

In his first year with the Tigers, Grantham averaged a respectable 8.8 points per game. He could score a lot more as a sophomore if the shots fall consistently.

27.9% 3FG 3 Point Percentage

141


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Landry

NNOKO #35 CENTER SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-10 WEIGHT: 255 lbs HOMETOWN: Yaounde, Cameroon Nnoko makes it difficult for opposing teams to score in the paint. The Cameroon native enters his final year with Clemson as one of the top shot-blockers in the ACC.

As a 6-10, 255-pound big man who spends most of his time down low, Nnoko fits the mold of a true center. While he saw some action as a freshman, he became a regular starter as a sophomore in the 2013-14 season, averaging over 28 minutes per game. Nnoko recorded his first career double-double in ACC play that year in an upset win over Duke, logging 10 points and 13 rebounds. However, in his first three years with Clemson, his

BLOCKS

greatest contributions have come as a shot-blocker. As a junior, Nnoko blocked at least four shots in a game on six different occasions and finished third in the conference in blocks behind NC State’s Beejay Anya and Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas. As a defensefirst player on a defense-first team, Nnoko can have a solid game without filling up the box score. His size and ability to protect the rim make him a key player for the

A year ago, Nnoko blocked more shots than all but one returning player in the ACC. He might be the best rim protector in the conference not named Beejay Anya.

PPG

7.6 Points Per Game

The Cameroon native had the third-highest scoring average on the team last season. He reached doubles figures scoring only twice in conference play.

RPG

5.4 Rebounds Per Game

As a junior, Nnoko was Clemson’s second-leading rebounder behind Jaron Blossomgame. He was one of only three players on the team to pull down 100 boards.

5

FOULED OUT

t The downside of playing physical defense down low is that foul trouble becomes an issue. Nnoko committed a team-high 100 fouls last year and fouled out five times. While Nnoko doesn’t shoot often, he makes over half of his attempts. He’s not a go-to scorer, but he also knows that isn’t his role. u

142

www.accsports.com

50.8% FG Field Goal Percentage

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): MARK CRAMMER/AP , ASSOCIATED PRESS, ETHAN HYMAN/AP ; BOTTOM: MARK CRAMMER/AP

63

Tigers, but he needs to be able to stay on the floor. Nnoko is by far the most capable center on Clemson’s roster, but he fouled out five times last year. Early foul trouble in those and other games kept Nnoko from playing as physically as he wanted at times on the defensive end. Nnoko will be the Tigers’ starting center again during the 2015-16 season, and if he can stay in games, it’ll be a huge plus for Clemson defensively.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

A

DATE

North Carolina Central Texas-San Antonio Texas Southern UMass (in Las Vegas) Creighton or Rutgers (in Las Vegas) Minnesota USC Upstate Wofford Alabama Presbyterian College South Carolina Georgia North Carolina Florida State Syracuse Louisville Duke Miami Virginia Pittsburgh Florida State Wake Forest Virginia Tech Notre Dame Georgia Tech Boston College NC State Georgia Tech Virginia Boston College

Non-Conference Test

compelling argument could be made for a few out-of-state opponents being Clemson’s toughest nonconference foe this season, but it’s difficult to argue against the team that beat the Tigers by 23 points last year. South Carolina returns its top two scorers from its 2014-15 roster, and the Gamecocks also add a talented freshman guard in Columbia native P.J. Dozier. If Brad Brownell’s team wants to make a statement before going into the heart of conference play, it has an opportunity to do so against its in-state rival when the Gamecocks and Tigers play in December.

T

TIME TV

LAST MEETING

Friday, November 13 Sunday, November 15

7:00 PM 2:00 PM

FIRST MEETING FIRST MEETING

Thursday, November 19

7:00 PM

FIRST MEETING

Monday, November 23

9:30 PM

2013

L

62-56

Monday, November 30

9:00 PM

2006

W

90-68

Wednesday, December 2

7:00 PM

FIRST MEETING

Sunday, December 6 Sunday, December 13

6:00 PM

Tuesday, December 15

7:00 PM

ESPNU

Friday, December 18

2010

W

78-70

2009

W

66-59

2012

W

77-44

2014

L

68-45

2006

W

75-60

ESPN2

2015

L

74-50

Saturday, January 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

62-56

Tuesday, January 5

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

66-53

Sunday, January 10

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

58-52

Tuesday, December 22 Wednesday, December 30

7:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

L

78-56

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

56-45

Tuesday, January 19

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

65-42

Wednesday, January 27

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

71-62

Saturday, January 30

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

62-56

Tuesday, February 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

59-57

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

75-54

ESPNU

2015

L

81-67

Saturday, February 13

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

63-52

Wednesday, February 17

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

64-49

Saturday, February 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

66-61

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

63-52

ESPNU

2015

L

65-42

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

64-49

Wednesday, January 13

7:00 PM

Saturday, February 6 Monday, February 8

9:00 PM

Tuesday, February 23 Tuesday, March 1

7:00 PM

Saturday, March 5

MEASURING STICK GAME

he last time Clemson hosted Duke, the Tigers scored their signature win of the season. That was two years ago, however, and the Duke squad they’re hosting this year has several new faces. Derryck Thornton will be running the point for Mike Krzyzewski’s team, and is joined by impact newcomers Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard and Chase Jeter. The Blue Devils also have key contributors returning in wings Grayson Allen and Matt Jones, while veteran big men Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee get the job done down low. A win on Jan. 13 in Greenville would be huge for the Tigers.

G DAWSON POWERS /CLEMSON ATHLETICS

vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @ vs. vs. vs. @ vs. @ @ @ vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

oing into last February, Clemson still had a reasonable shot at making the NCAA tournament. However, the Tigers stumbled badly in a 56-45 loss at Miami, and the team never really bounced back. Following the defeat in Coral Gables, Clemson dropped seven of its last nine games and even failed to reach the NIT. This year, the Tigers will have an opportunity to pick up a quality victory when they host the Hurricanes Jan. 16. Miami is expected to compete for a spot in the top third of the ACC, but that won’t stop Brownell’s team from seeking revenge.

143


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Clemson’s win over UAB in the 2011 NCAA Tournament is the program’s only victory in the Big Dance since the turn of the century. The Tigers have reached a postseason tournament just once since that win. NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish OVERALL WINS

Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

19-13

7-9

T-7th

12-4

3-1

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 4-8

0-1

1-1

NIT

Runner Up

2007

25-11

7-9

T-8th

16-4

3-2

6-5

0-1

4-1

NIT

First Round

2008

24-10

10-6

3rd

14-2

4-3

6-5

2-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2009

23-9

9-7

T-5th

13-3

7-4

3-2

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2010

21-11

9-7

T-5th

14-2

2-3

5-6

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2011

22-12

9-7

T-4th

15-2

4-3

3-7

1-1

1-1

NCAA

Second Round

2012

16-15

8-8

7th

11-5

1-3

4-7

0-1

---

---

---

2013

13-18

5-13

11th

8-7

3-9

2-2

0-1

---

---

---

2014

23-13

10-8

6th

16-3

3-3

4-7

1-1

3-1

NIT

Semifinals

2015

16-15

8-10

9th

11-6

3-7

2-2

0-1

---

---

--0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS All three of Clemson’s centers hail from countries outside of North America. Of the players from the United States, more than half are from the Carolinas.

ROSTER

Pos

00 Legend Robertin

C 1 Austin Ajukwa G 2 Marcquise Reed G 3 Lyles Davis G 4 Shelton Mitchell G 5 Jaron Blossomgame F 10 Gabe DeVoe G 11 Ty Hudson G 12 Avry Holmes G 15 Donte Grantham F 20 Jordan Roper G 33 Josh Smith F 35 Landry Nnoko C 44 Riley McGillan G 50 Sidy Djitte C

Ht

Wt YR

7-0 6-6 6-4 5-11 6-2 6-7 6-3 6-1 6-2 6-8 6-0 6-8 6-10 6-0 6-10

250 205 180 160 190 220 205 205 195 210 165 245 255 175 240

Hometown

So. London, England Jr. Columbia, SC So. Landover, MD Fr. Charleston, SC So. Waxhaw, NC Jr. Alpharetta, GA So. Shelby, NC Fr. Mableton, GA Jr. Salem, OR So. Martinsburg, WV Sr. Columbia, SC Sr. Charlotte, NC Sr. Yaounde, Cameroon Sr. Fort Mill, SC Jr. Dakar, Senegal

Brad Brownell

Head Coach

144

Mike Winiecki

Associate Head Coach

Richie Riley

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Steve Smith

Assistant Coach

Lucas McKay - Director of Operations Darric Honnold - Strength & Conditioning Coach Austin Claunch - Graduate Manager Vernon Hamilton - Graduate Manager

COURTESY: CLEMSON ATHLETICS

COACHES


CLEMSON 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

In BRAD BROWNELL’S five seasons at Clemson, the Tigers have averaged 18 wins per season. Their highest win total of that period came in the 2013-14 season when they won 23 games on their way to an NIT semifinals apperance, but their most impressive finish came in Brownell’s first year when they made the NCAA tournament. Attracting interest to the basketball program is a challenging job at a football school, but Brownell has done a solid job of keeping his teams competitive over the last half decade.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

55%

66%

32%

49%

13%

47%

29%

67%

15%

90-73

41-21

1-2

49-52

3-21

40-46

2-5

4-2

4-23

KARL B DEBLAKER/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Totals

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

22-12 16-15 13-18 23-13 16-15 90-73

10-4 7-6 7-4 9-3 8-4 41-21

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1 0-0 0-0 0-2 0-0 1-0 1-2

AFTER JAN 1 12-8 9-9 6-14 14-10 8-11 49-52

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1 1-3 1-4 0-4 1-4 0-6 3-21

www.accsports.com

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

9-7 8-8 5-13 10-8 8-10 40-46

1-1 0-1 0-1 1-1 0-1 2-5

1-1 ----3-1 --4-2

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 1-3 1-4 0-6 1-4 1-6 4-23

145


GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

“This may be one of the toughest non-conference schedules Georgia Tech has ever played. We have a senior group, five seniors on the team, and one of the things we promise in recruiting is that we’re going to play a national schedule. We’ve done that.”

Head Coach Brian Gregory 146

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OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

In the record books, the 2014-15 edition of Georgia Tech will be remembered for its 14th-place finish in the ACC. However, the full story can’t be told without mentioning all the heartbreaking losses. The Yellow Jackets dropped a total of 13 games either by five or fewer points or in overtime. Head coach Brian Gregory became the focus of hot-seat talk, but with Georgia Tech still paying the buyout for former coach Paul Hewitt, Gregory was brought back for another year.

Despite winning only three conference games a year ago, the Jackets have some solid pieces going into this season. While Brian Gregory hasn’t had a lot of success on the recruiting trail since signing a top-10 class in 2012, he’s compensated for that by reeling in several quality transfers. As many as four of Tech’s starters this season could be players who used to play for other schools. In addition, leading scorer Marcus Georges-Hunt is back after rehabbing a broken foot throughout the offseason.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

Gregory’s team avoids having to play North Carolina, Virginia or Duke twice and will instead get two cracks at Clemson, Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. The Jackets should, at the very least, split with the Tigers and the Panthers, and it would also help if they can win home games over Virginia Tech and Wake Forest while defeating Boston College on the road. The key to this season will be winning as many games as possible against teams in the middle of the pack and bottom third of the ACC.

Tech is in the middle of its longest NCAA tournament drought since the early ‘80s, and while this year’s team will be improved, it’s more likely than not that the streak will continue. A realistic goal would be earning an NIT bid, which the program hasn’t done under Gregory. One reason why the Jackets lost so many close games last season was the lack of offensive weapons. They’ll be better on that end of the floor this year, but they’re still pretty far off from truly having a shot at making the Big Dance.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

There was a lot of shuffling in the rotation a year ago, with 10 different players starting at least three games. The team also welcomed a pair of graduate transfers this offseason, and how that affects chemistry will be important. On the bright side, the team played three games in the Bahamas in August, and that trip gave everyone extra time to get on the same page. Off the court, Gregory’s job security will be a popular topic again this season, and that can serve as either motivation or a distraction.

Two key members of the frontcourt have graduated, and a shooting guard left the program in the offseason. Center Demarco Cox, who signed a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts just days after his final game at Tech, started all but one game as a senior, averaging 8.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Robert Sampson was another player who saw significant action, starting 14 games. Guard Chris Bolden, who had one year of eligibility left, decided to leave the team.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

With a manageable non-conference schedule, Georgia Tech could make it to the New Year with at least 10 wins. The slate becomes much more challenging in league play, but with a few upset wins, the Jackets could build a postseason résumé and inch their way toward 20 victories. If Gregory’s squad sweeps Clemson and Pitt, wins one of four against Notre Dame and Louisville, and takes down Boston College, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, it could be sitting on at least 18 wins entering the ACC Tournament.

For the worst-case scenario, just look at last year. Georgia Tech’s 2014-15 finish was more a reflection of how little separation there is in the bottom half of the ACC and less an indication of how bad the Yellow Jackets were. The group had its flaws, particularly at point guard, but it wasn’t like Tech was getting blown out every night. However, many of those flaws still exist, and the Jackets are still going to finish near the bottom of the league if they continue to find themselves on the wrong side of close games.

www.accsports.com

147


POSITION-BY-POSITION SHOOTING GUARD The Yellow Jackets received a major upgrade this offseason when former Virginia Tech shooting guard Adam Smith transferred to Georgia Tech. Smith led the ACC in three-point percentage last season, knocking down 42.4 percent of his shots from long range. Competing with Smith for minutes will be sophomore Tadric Jackson. The Yellow Jackets may be stronger at shooting guard than at any other position.

Marcus Georges-Hunt u

POWER FORWARD Charles Mitchell is back as a senior after leading the team in rebounding and finishing second in scoring last season. In addition to Mitchell, the Yellow Jackets have a capable option in former Alabama forward Nick Jacobs, who is eligible after sitting out last year as a transfer. Jacobs could possibly spend some time at the five, while graduate transfer James White and sophomore Abdoulaye Gueye will likely come off the bench.

SMALL FORWARD While Brian Gregory’s team has both depth and talent at shooting guard and power forward, Georgia Tech’s best player returns at small forward. Marcus Georges-Hunt was the team’s top scorer in the 2014-15 season with 13.6 points per game. He was the only Yellow Jacket player to start in every game he played, and he made a team-high 113 shots. Junior Quinton Stephens is another candidate to see minutes at the three.

BENCH If the Yellow Jackets open the season with a starting lineup of Jorgenson, Smith, Georges-Hunt, Mitchell and Jacobs, the first players off the bench could be Jackson, Stephens, Lammers and Heath. Jackson became a starter toward the end of last season, and the team leans on Stephens for three-point shooting, even though he struggled as a sophomore. Lammers and Heath will see the floor a lot even if they’re not starting.

148

NEW FACES

q Travis Jorgenson

POINT GUARD Between Travis Jorgenson, Josh Heath and Corey Heyward, Georgia Tech has depth at point guard, but the position was also a weakness for the Yellow Jackets last season. Jorgenson saw the most action after recovering from a knee injury that kept him out for most of the 2013-14 campaign. With no dynamic scorer, the best-case scenario for Gregory would be finding a guy who can get the most out of the talent around him.

p Ben Lammers

The newcomers on this year’s squad include two graduate transfers and a true freshman. Adam Smith could make the greatest impact after leading Virginia Tech in scoring last season. Former Arkansas-Little Rock forward James White is another player who could contribute. Freshman center Sylvester Ogbonda will provide depth down low, and forward Nick Jacobs will be eligible after sitting out the 2014-15 season.

www.accsports.com

CENTER The Jackets’ situation at center could shake out a few ways. With the departure of Demarco Cox, sophomore Ben Lammers is an option when Gregory isn’t starting two power forwards in the frontcourt. Lammers played a reserve role as a freshman, but he’s a true center at 6-10 and 241 pounds. Sylvester Ogbonda joins the team as the lone true freshman on the roster and can contribute off the bench as a shot-blocker and rebounder.

Mr. Versatility Georges-Hunt is a player who can get the job done in a variety of ways. Not only is he Tech’s top scorer, but he was the team’s fourth-leading rebounder as a junior. While Gregory experimented with several different lineups last season — sometimes injuries and suspensions made it a necessity — Georges-Hunt was the guy who always needed to be on the court. He’ll still do most of his work at small forward.


10-Year ACC History The last decade has been rough for Georgia Tech basketball, particularly over the last five seasons. In the last 10 years, the Yellow Jackets have a winning record over just one current league member (Wake Forest), but the greatest of struggles date back to Paul Hewitt’s final year in Atlanta. Tech is winless

2006

PREVIOUS SPREAD: DAVID TULIS/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: DAVID TULIS/AP (JORGENSON, LAMMERS), JOHN AMIS/AP (GEORGES-HUNT)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

against Duke and Florida State since the 2010-11 season and only has one victory each over Clemson, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia in that span. Even against newer league members, Brian Gregory’s team has had trouble filling the win column, going 2-7 over the last two years

against Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. On the bright side, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest will all be traveling to McCamish Pavilion this season, so there will be a few opportunities to win some ACC games in Gregory’s fifth year.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

W L L -

L L L

-

W W W W

L L W

-

W L

W L L -

L -

L L L -

L L L

W L

W W W L

L L L

L -

L L

L L L -

-

W L L -

L L L

-

L L L

L L -

L -

W L L -

W L L L

W L -

L W W W

L L L L

-

W W L W

L L L L

L

L L L W W

L W W L W

W -

W L L W

L L L L

-

W W L W

L W L L

W W -

W W L W W

L L L L W

L -

L L L W

L W L L

L -

L L L W L W

W L L L W W

-

L L W L L W -

L L W W

-

L W L L L L L L W

L L W L L L L L L

L -

BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

NORTH CAROLINA

8-9

5-17

2-13

2-11

0-1

4-10

5-10

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

6-9

1-3

0-2

1-1

4-10

4-10

13-7

HOME GAMES

56.6% 44.9% FG 35-43

In the last decade, Georgia Tech has had its highest winning percentage at home. However, the program still holds an overall losing record in league games played in Atlanta.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 19.7% FG 15-61

The Yellow Jackets have not once had a winning record on the road in league play over the last 10 years. That streak is likely to continue this season, with several tough away games.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 33.3% FG 5-10

In 2010, Duke handed Georgia Tech a 65-61 loss in the Jackets’ lone ACC title game appearance since 2006. A one-point loss to Boston College knocked Tech out last year.

149


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Marcus

Georges-Hunt #3 GUARD/FORWARD

SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 214 lbs HOMETOWN: College Park, GA When Marcus Georges-Hunt arrived at Georgia Tech, he was part of a five-man signing class ranked in the nation’s top 10. He is one of two players from that class still with the team.

Entering his fourth year as a starter for the Yellow Jackets, Georges-Hunt will once again be the leader for a Georgia Tech squad that’s hoping to make a postseason tournament for the first time since the 2009-10 season. When the College Park, Georgia, native arrived on campus, he was part of a talented 2012 recruiting class that was considered one of the ACC’s best. However, after a dismissal and two transfers, Georges-Hunt

PPG

13.6 Points Per Game

RPG

5.5 Rebounds Per Game

MPG

30.9

Minutes Per Game

76.3% FT

Free Throw Percentage

150

Georges-Hunt was Georgia Tech’s only returning starter from the 2013-14 season. He led the team in scoring scoring last year and was the clear leader of the group.

After pulling down 5.5 boards per game as a junior, Georges-Hunt is the No. 2 returning rebounder on Georgia Tech’s roster behind power forward Charles Mitchell.

The 6-5, 214-pound wing was the only Yellow Jacket player to play at least 30 minutes per game last season. He started the first 30 games of the year before breaking his foot.

313

The versatile small forward showed improvement from the charity stripe last year, improving his 67.4 percent average as a sophomore to 76.3 percent as a junior.

Georges-Hunt put up a team-high 313 shot attempts last season. He was leaned on more than any other player when Georgia Tech needed offense.

www.accsports.com

ATTEMPTS

u

TOP: ASSOCIATED PRESS; BOTTOM: CURTIS COMPTON/AP

t

The senior should be back at 100 percent by the start of the season, and his team will once again rely on him for offense this year. Fortunately for GeorgesHunt, the coaching staff was able to land transfer Adam Smith from Virginia Tech in the offseason, adding another capable scorer to the rotation. With less of a burden on his shoulders to carry the team offensively, Georges-Hunt could see some more open shots this season.

and guard Corey Heyward are left as the only players from what was originally a five-man group. After the graduation of several key players following the 2013-14 season, Georges-Hunt became the go-to player on the offensive end of the floor. He attempted 75 more shots than any other player on the team and led the Yellow Jackets in scoring with 13.6 points per game, but his season was cut short after he broke his foot in March.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Adam

SMITH #2 GUARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-1 WEIGHT: 170 lbs HOMETOWN: Jonesboro, GA

In today’s world of college basketball, it’s not at all uncommon to see a player spend his career at two different programs. However, it’s a little more unusual when a player makes an impact at two schools and moves to a third for his final year. Smith began his career at UNCWilmington and saw the floor immediately. He played in 31 games as a freshman, starting 29, and earned All-Rookie honors in the

Colonial Athletic Association. After one year with the Seahawks, Smith decided to transfer to Virginia Tech. The Jonesboro, Georgia, native only played in 14 games during the 2013-14 season before a leg injury ended his season. The following year, he led Virginia Tech in scoring with 13.4 points per game and made a name for himself as one of the top three-point shooters in the ACC. Ultimately, Smith opted to transfer once again.

13.4 Points Per Game

PPG

3 Point Percentage

The graduate transfer led Virginia Tech in scoring as a junior with 13.4 points per game. He is the No. 8 returning scorer in the conference.

t Smith finished his junior season with the highest three-point percentage in the ACC. He was much better from long range than any returning Yellow Jacket. Over half of Smith’s shot attempts in 2014-15 were from beyond the arc, and his overall field goal percentage wasn’t much higher than his three-point percentage. u

43.8% FG Field Goal Percentage

RPG

2.6 Rebounds Per Game

The Jonesboro, Georgia, product isn’t known for crashing the boards, but his 2.6 rebounds per game isn’t a horrible average for a shooting guard.

3FG

81 Three-Pointers

With 81 made three-pointers, Smith had just 50 fewer long-range buckets last year than Georgia Tech’s team. He’ll be an instant upgrade to the Jackets’ perimeter shooting.

www.accsports.com

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): DON PETERSEN/AP, MATT GENTRY/AP, MATT GENTRY/AP; BOTTOM: GERRY BROOME/AP

42.4% 3FG

The 6-1, 170-pound guard will play his final season in Atlanta, and of all the transfers Brian Gregory has brought to Georgia Tech, Smith may prove to be the most important. Tech was one of the worst offensive teams in the league last season, so Smith’s offensive ability should make him a key player for Tech this year. It would be no surprise to see him become an immediate starter and one of the Yellow Jackets’ top players.

151


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Charles

MITCHELL #0 FORWARD SENIOR HEIGHT: 6-8 WEIGHT: 269 lbs HOMETOWN: ATlanta, GA Mitchell started 18 games as a junior at Georgia Tech. As one of the team’s top offensive players in the frontcourt, he’ll once again be a candidate to start.

Although Mitchell is from Atlanta, he didn’t take a direct path from high school to Georgia Tech. As a 4-star recruit coming out of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia, he signed with Maryland and joined the Terrapins in 2012. As a freshman in College Park, he made an immediate impact as a rebounder, and his 13.7 rebounds per 40 minutes led all ACC players in the 2012-13 season. His role expanded the following year, and

he started his final 10 games as a sophomore. Last offseason, Mitchell decided to leave Maryland’s program to be closer to his grandmother, who was dealing with health issues. Because of location, and the fact that the Yellow Jackets had a power forward transferring (ironically) to Maryland, Georgia Tech was a natural fit. Mitchell was granted a waiver to play immediately, and as a junior, he started 18 games for

The power forward was second on the team in scoring last season. His 9.8 points per game average was respectable given that he only played 22.1 minutes per contest.

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS. Mitchell’s 109 offensive boards were the most of any returning player in the league. It probably helped that Tech missed a lot of shots.

7.0 Rebounds Per Game

RPG 52.1% FG

Field Goal Percentage

152

Despite only starting 18 games, Mitchell was the Yellow Jackets’ top rebounder last season. As a junior, he pulled down a total of 218 boards on the year.

t The Atlanta native shot a team-high 52.1 percent from the field in the 2014-15 season. That’s impressive, considering the Yellow Jackets weren’t exactly stretching defenses. Free throw percentage is one area where there’s a lot of room for Mitchell to improve. He attempted the second-most foul shots on the team last season. u

www.accsports.com

109

66.3% FT Free Throw Percentage

TOP (LEFT TO RIGHT): NAM Y. HUH /AP, CURTIS COMPTON/AP, GERRY BROOME/AP ; BOTTOM: CURTIS COMPTON/AP

9.8 Points Per Game

PPG

Brian Gregory’s team. Mitchell continues to do most of his work as a rebounder, pulling down more offensive boards per game last season than any returning player in the ACC. This year, he will be one of five scholarship seniors on Georgia Tech’s roster. As part of a deep frontcourt, Mitchell won’t be guaranteed a starting spot, but there’s no doubt he’ll be an important part of the rotation.


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

DATE

TIME TV

vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. @ vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. @ vs. vs. @ @ vs. vs. vs. @ @ vs. vs. @ @ vs.

Friday, November 13 Monday, November 16

7:00 PM

Non-Conference Test

he interesting part about Georgia Tech’s nonconference slate is that the Yellow Jackets know when they’ll face their toughest opponent, but they don’t yet know whom it will be. Depending on the outcomes of games played on Nov. 26, Tech will face either Villanova or Stanford. Villanova is arguably a top-10 team after winning 33 games last season and bringing in one of the top players in the 2015 recruiting class in Jalen Brunson. Stanford is coming off a year that ended with an NIT title, and the Cardinal could be in the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth this season.

ESPNU

2003

W

90-69

2004

W

77-62

Thursday, November 19

FIRST MEETING

Sunday, November 22 Thursday, November 26

2:00 PM

Friday, November 27

12:30/3:00 PM ESPNU/ESPN2

ESPNU

Tuesday, December 1 Saturday, December 5 Tuesday, December 15

9:00 PM

ESPN2

Saturday, December 19

2013

W

87-57

1984

W

72-52

2001

W

79-70

2012

W

79-61

2011

W

73-60

2014

W

80-73

Monday, December 21

FIRST MEETING

Wednesday, December 23

FIRST MEETING W

78-68

Saturday, January 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

81-49

Wednesday, January 6

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

70-65

Saturday, January 9

2015

L

57-28

Wednesday, January 13

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

62-59

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

65-63

Tuesday, December 29

Saturday, January 23

4:00 PM

Wednesday, January 27

ESPN/ESPN2

2015

L

52-51

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

81-80

L

46-45 72-66

12:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

Tuesday, February 2

9:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

Sunday, February 7

1:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

70-50

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

73-59

2015

L

70-63

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

57-53

ESPN2

2015

L

62-59

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

70-63

2015

L

66-65

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

52-51

2015

L

70-65

Wednesday, February 10 Saturday, February 13 Wednesday, February 17 Saturday, February 20

8:00 PM

Tuesday, February 23 Saturday, February 27 Tuesday, March 1 Saturday, March 5

G

1970

Saturday, January 30

MEASURING STICK GAME

eorgia Tech put up a strong fight against Notre Dame twice last season, which showed that Brian Gregory’s team was capable of at least hanging tough with a top-tier ACC squad. The Fighting Irish project as a Top 25 group again this year, and whether or not the Yellow Jackets can steal a win in South Bend on Jan. 13 or in Atlanta on Feb. 20 will say a lot about their potential. Notre Dame returns All-ACC candidates Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste, so beating the Irish won’t be easy. But a sweep or a split would show that Georgia Tech has taken a step forward.

G DAVID TULIS/AP

T

Cornell Tennessee Green Bay East Tennessee State Arkansas (in Brooklyn) Stanford or Villanova Wofford Tulane VCU Georgia Southeastern Louisiana Colgate Duquesne North Carolina Pittsburgh Virginia Notre Dame Virginia Tech Louisville NC State Syracuse Duke Miami Wake Forest Clemson Florida State Notre Dame Clemson Boston College Louisville Pittsburgh

LAST MEETING

www.accsports.com

Payback Opportunity

iven all of the close losses, the 2014-15 season as a whole was heartbreaking for Georgia Tech. However, the Jackets must absolutely be aching for a victory over Boston College after losing to the Eagles twice last year. Those two losses came by a combined three points and included a 66-65 defeat on Tuesday of the ACC Tournament, which ended Tech’s season. The Eagles enter this season with even more questions than they had last year, and there’s no reason why the Yellow Jackets won’t be able to get the job done when they travel to Chestnut Hill Feb. 27.

153


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Georgia Tech has finished with a losing record in four of the last five seasons. Only twice have the Jackets made it to the Big Dance in the last decade. Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

2006

11-17

4-12

T-10th

10-5

1-11

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 0-1

0-1

---

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish ---

---

2007

20-12

8-8

T-6th

16-1

1-8

3-3

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2008

15-17

7-9

T-7th

6-7

6-8

3-2

1-1

---

---

---

2009

12-19

2-14

12th

9-8

2-10

1-1

1-1

---

---

---

2010

23-13

7-9

7th

14-2

3-8

6-3

3-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2011

13-18

5-11

T-10th

10-6

1-10

2-2

0-1

---

---

---

2012

11-20

4-12

T-9th

7-8

3-9

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2013

16-15

6-12

T-9th

11-6

3-7

2-2

0-1

---

---

---

2014

16-17

6-12

T-10th

10-7

5-7

1-3

1-1

---

---

---

2015

12-19

3-15

14th

2-7

1-8

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

OVERALL WINS

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS Nine of the 14 players on Georgia Tech’s roster hail from within state borders. All but three of the Yellow Jackets’ players are from the East Coast.

ROSTER

Pos

0 Charles Mitchell

F G 2 Adam Smith G 3 Marcus Georges-Hunt G/F 5 Corey Heyward G 10 Travis Jorgenson G 11 Josh Heath G 12 Quinton Stephens F 24 Sylvester Ogbonda F/C 32 Nick Jacobs F 33 James White F 34 Abdoulaye Gueye F 42 Rand Rowland F 44 Ben Lammers C 1 Tadric Jackson

Ht

Wt YR

6-8 6-2 6-1 6-5 6-1 6-0 6-2 6-9 6-10 6-8 6-8 6-9 6-7 6-10

269 215 170 214 214 177 172 187 233 260 220 208 206 241

Hometown

Sr. Atlanta, GA So. Tifton, GA Sr. Jonesboro, GA Sr. College Park, GA Jr. Duluth, GA So. Columbia, MO Jr. Tampa, FL Jr. Atlanta, GA Fr. Fort Washington, MD Sr. Atlanta, GA Sr. Jonesboro, GA So. Dakar, Senegal Jr. Cleveland, GA So. San Antonio, TX

Brian Gregory

Head Coach

154

Chad Dollar

Associate Head Coach

Tom Herrion

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Mamadou N’Diaye

Assistant Coach

Chris Jacobs - Director of Operations Bruce Evans - Director of Player Development Mike Bewley - Strength and Conditioning Coach Erica Sheppard - Administrative Coordinator Billy Hubly - Video Coordinator

COURTESY GEORGIA TECH ATHLETICS

COACHES


Georgia Tech 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

In the last three years, BRIAN GREGORY has found several key contributors by tapping into the transfer circuit. Two years ago, he added former Tennessee guard Trae Golden and former ECU forward Robert Sampson to his roster. Last offseason, he brought in four transfer players in Charles Mitchell (Maryland), Demarco Cox (Ole Miss), Josh Heath (South Florida) and Nick Jacobs (Alabama). This year, he welcomes shooting guard Adam Smith (Virginia Tech) and forward James White (Arkansas-Little Rock). Both Smith and White will see playing time.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

43%

67%

0%

28%

14%

28%

17%

N/A

13%

68-89

41-20

0-2

27-69

3-18

24-62

1-5

0-0

3-20

CURTIS COMPTON/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

13-18 11-20 16-15 16-17 12-19 68-89

7-5 7-6 9-2 9-4 9-3 41-20

0-1 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-2

6-13 4-14 7-13 7-13 3-16 27-69

0-1 0-4 1-2 1-4 1-7 3-18

5-11 4-12 6-12 6-12 3-15 24-62

0-1 0-1 0-1 1-1 0-1 1-5

-------------

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 0-2 0-4 1-3 1-4 1-7 3-20

155


VIRGINIA TECH

HOKIES

“You have to work with a passion level and an energy level that the turning point is this minute. The turning point is this possession. It’s this practice. It’s this film session. It’s this road trip.”

Head Coach Buzz Williams 156

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

The Hokies brought in new coach Buzz Williams, who aggressively rebuilt the program, making wholesale changes to the roster and attitude. In his first year, however, Virginia Tech didn’t show significant changes in the won-loss column. The Hokies won two more games than the previous season, finishing 11-22. For the second straight year, they were last in the ACC, at 2-16. The Hokies managed to win their first ACC Tournament game since 2012 with a comeback triumph against Wake Forest.

Another year, more turnover. The Hokies lost three transfers — one during the season and two after. In their place, Wililams brings in a trio of 4-stars in SF Chris Clarke, PF Kerry Blackshear Jr. and PG Justin Robinson. There are also two JUCO transfers—C Johnny Hamilton and F Tyrone Outlaw. They join the five recruits Williams brought in last season and two transfers who become eligible this season. Point guard Devin Wilson and walk-on Greg Donlon are the only players remaining from the pre-Buzz era.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

The Hokies travel to Northwestern for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They also have non-conference neutral site match-ups against Iowa State and St. Joseph’s and host West Virginia. In the ACC, the Hokies have home and road games against two of the teams they managed to beat last season — Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. Virginia Tech also has two games each against Miami and Georgia Tech, as well as trips to Duke and Notre Dame while hosting North Carolina, NC State and Louisville.

Buzz Williams has the Hokies headed in the right direction, and barring injury or disaster, this year’s team should show significant progress in year two. However thoughts of postseason play are extremely premature. Perhaps the Hokies can pull themselves to .500, which would give them a shot to play in a low-level postseason tourney like the CBI or CIT. Most likely, however, Virginia Tech’s postseason run this year will last as long as they keep winning in the ACC Tournament.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

Williams has instilled toughness in his team, and he was more than happy to let the ones that didn’t make the grade move on. At this point, he’s got a roster filled with his guys, and the players should all be moving in the same direction. The biggest negative intangible is inexperience. Virginia Tech’s roster is loaded with freshmen, sophomores and transfers. With five newcomers, Williams will have to work to develop team chemistry early on—one of his strong suits.

The Hokies lost two seniors who didn’t factor heavily in the rotation. Will Johnston saw his playing time dwindle under Williams. He and fellow senior Christian Beyer appeared in just 25 games and neither logged 350 minutes. The Hokies also had Joey van Zegeren transfer during the season and lost guards Adam Smith and Malik Muller to transfer after the season. Smith, a fifth-year graduate transfer, moved within the conference, joining Georgia Tech for the upcoming season.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

Two Hokies that spent last season from the sidelines make an impact. Seth Allen, a Maryland transfer, challenges for All-ACC, and Zach LeDay, formerly of South Florida, becomes a key contributor. Justin Bibbs, Ahmed Hill and Jalen Hudson go from promising freshmen to headaches for ACC opponents. A deeper, more talented roster finally begins paying dividends on court. Virginia Tech springs a couple upsets in the league and finishes above .500, giving the young team valuable postseason experience.

Ahmed Hill, already sidelined due to an offseason injury, isn’t ready for the season and struggles to get his conditioning up to par once he’s able to play. The revolving door continues, as Williams struggles to find players that buy in to his system. Chemistry and frustration plague the Hokies and the team spirals under the grind of the ACC schedule. While there’s plenty of talented players, an injury or two — or a midseason transfer — puts the Hokies in the position of starting players with no college experience.

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157


POSITION-BY-POSITION POINT GUARD After finishing third in the ACC in turnovers as a freshman, Devin Wilson cleaned up his ball security last year. He was ninth in assists, and his assist-toturnover ratio was over 2.0, sixth-best. The Hokies also welcome in 4-star freshman point guard Justin Robinson. “Justin Robinson is something that there aren’t a lot of these days, a true left-handed point guard,” Buzz Williams said. “He plays the game well.”

POWER FORWARD

CENTER

The Hokies are a small team, with only one player taller than 6-8. Shane Henry, who averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds as a reserve last season, is the only height-appropriate candidate for the four-spot who has any playing experience with the Hokies. 6-7 Zack LeDay is eligible after transferring from South Florida, where he averaged 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds. 4-star Kerry Blackshear is a 6-9 power forward candidate.

Satchel Pierce u

SMALL FORWARD

p Devin Wilson

Zach LeDay could move to the three, but the Hokies will likely rely on two newcomers to play the bulk of its small forward minutes. Chris Clarke was one of the top recruits in Virginia, and should make an immediate impact with his production and hustle. “He has a motor that just doesn’t stop,” Williams said of Clarke. “He’s very hard to guard.” Tyrone Outlaw averaged 21.8 points at Lee Junior College in Texas, and could add depth.

MR. VERSATILITY Versatility is one of the hallmarks of this year’s team. Williams brought in six players between 6-5 and 6-7. including last year’s entire freshman class of Ahmed Hill, Jalen Hudson and Justin Bibbs, as well as transfer Zack LeDay, freshman Chris Clarke, and JUCO transfer Tyrone Outlaw. All of them can move from shooting guard to either forward spot, allowing the Hokies to run out a seemingly endless array of matchup problems for opponents.

158

BENCH

NEW FACES

Devin Wilson, Seth Allen, Ahmed Hill, Justin Bibbs and Jalen Hudson would make a very small lineup, but they seem to be the best choices to start. The bench would be LeDay, the entire freshman and JUCO class, and last year’s reserves—Pierce and Henry. The team has plenty of depth, which should help, particularly early in the season, while Hill is still recovering from a partial tear of his patellar tendon.

Fully half of the Hokies’ 14-man roster is made up of players who haven’t yet played a minute for Virginia Tech. Seth Allen isn’t exactly a new face after playing two years for Maryland in the Terps’ final years in the ACC. Zack LeDay arrives from South Florida. Meanwhile, the Hokies added three 4-star freshmen, including Chris Clarke and Justin Robinson, the top two prospects in Virginia, as well as Kerry Blackshear and a pair of JUCO transfers.

www.accsports.com

7-0 Satchel Pierce will likely have to guard opposing bigs when he’s in the game. Pierce averaged 13.8 minutes, 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds as a freshman. Adding depth is junior college transfer Johnny Hamilton, a 6-11 sophomore who arrives from Jacksonville College. He averaged nine points and eight rebounds in JUCO last year. He also averaged nearly four blocks per game. Hamilton could see his minutes improve as the season winds on.

SHOOTING GUARD Outlaw and Clarke can shift from small forward to two-guard, but the Hokies have a glut of players at that spot. Maryland transfer Seth Allen is the likely starter, but Justin Bibbs, Ahmed Hill and Jalen Hudson will split time with Allen, and in the three-guard lineup that Williams is likely to use much of the time to get his best players on the floor. Gibbs averaged 11.4 points, Hill 8.7 and Hudson 6.9 during their freshman year.

t Seth Allen


10-Year ACC History With a total of five ACC wins in the last two years, the Hokies have a hard time maintaining a winning record against any ACC foes. Miami was the latest to flip its record against Virginia Tech, winning three games against the Hokies last year to take a two-game edge. Still, Virginia

2006

PREVIOUS SPREAD: MATT GENTRY/AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: MATT GENTRY/AP (PIERCE), DON PETERSEN/AP (WILSON), ASSOCIATED PRESS (ALLEN)

BOSTON COLLEGE CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA WAKE FOREST

2007

Tech has a winning record against two teams--Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. The Hokies have more than 10 losses in the last 10 years against six different ACC teams: Duke, Carolina, Boston College, Florida State, Miami and Virginia. The Cavaliers and Hurricanes have each won six games

against Virginia Tech in the last three years. Expansion hasn’t done the Hokies any favors. Virginia Tech has gone 1-7 against the ACC’s four newest members over the last two seasons. Pitt is the only ACC newcomer with a loss against the Hokies, while Syracuse has won all three games.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

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H

A

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A

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H

A

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A

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L L L W W L L L -

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BOSTON COLLEGE

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

6-12

6-9

2-14

5-10

10-4

0-1

9-11

NORTH CAROLINA

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

WAKE FOREST

3-11

4-9

0-2

1-1

0-3

6-15

10-5

HOME GAMES

56.6% 46.7% FG 36-41

The Hokies have lost 14 games at home over the last two seasons, dropping below .500 in Blacksburg. Georgia Tech, Pitt and Miami are the only home wins they’ve managed.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 25.0% FG 19-57

Winning away from Cassell Coliseum has been difficult lately. The Hokies were winless last year on the road in ACC play, 1-16 over two years, 2-23 over three, and 3-29 over four.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 43.7% FG 7-9

The Hokies snapped a three-game ACC Tournament losing streak with a win over Wake Forest in March. The Hokies have two tourney wins each over Miami and Wake.

159


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Justin

BIBBS #10 GUARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 220 lbs HOMETOWN: DAYTON, OH

His field goal percentage was .503 before the concussion, .331 after. 3-point percentage fell from .475 to .333. Bibbs got experience over the summer playing for Team USA. He was on the U-19 team that won the world championships in Crete. Bibbs was one of four college players on the squad, joining Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku, Georgetown’s L.J. Peak and UCLA’s

11.4 Points Per Game

MPG

29.8 Minutes Per Game

Bibbs was one of two Hokies players to average double digits, finishing second on behind Adam Smith’s 13.4 ppg. Bibbs increased his scoring to 11.6 in ACC play.

Bibbs had the third highest workload for the Hokies, behind Devin Wilson’s 30.0 and Adam Smith’s 29.9. Bibbs nudged out Ahmed Hill for the most playing time among freshmen.

t Bibbs was second on the team with 52 assists, but he was also second with 56 turnovers. He had seven fewer than Devin Wilson, who had 140 assists.

52 56

AST/TO

0.92

Assist To Turnover Ratio

Bibbs hit 45 out of 109 3-pointers last season, both second highest on the team. His 3-point shooting percentage was second on the team to Adam Smith’s .424. u

TOTAL POINTS. After scoring 62 points in his first three ACC games last year, Bibbs suffered a concussion, missed several games and managed just 101 points in his last 11 ACC contests.

160

www.accsports.com

Thomas Welsh. The team also featured top recruits Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Caleb Swanigan. “I think he brings a quickness and a veteran type of mindset that will really benefit us moving forward,” Team USA coach Sean Miller said of Bibbs. “And in our style of play where we are pressing and really pushing the ball he is a tremendous athlete, and I think he’ll really add a quality that we need.”

41.3% 3FG

3 Point Percentage

163

TOP: CHHUCK BURTON/AP, DON PETERSEN/AP, DON PETERSEN/AP; BOTTOM: RYAN M. KELLY/AP

PPG

ASSISTS TURNOVERS

Bibbs was a late addition to Team USA, replacing injured Kentucky recruit Isaiah Briscoe. Playing a reserve role, he averaged 10.1 minutes and 2.2 points.

It was a tale of two seasons for Justin Bibbs last year. Gibbs was averaging 13.6 points in midJanuary and opened the ACC schedule with 62 points in three games. Bibbs then suffered a concussion, forcing him to miss four games over 18 days. After he returned, Bibbs struggled to regain his early-season form. His scoring average dropped to 8.8 points after the head injury.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ahmed

HILL

#3 GUARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 195 lbs HOMETOWN: AUGUSTA, GA Hill scored 3.024 points in four years in high school, the third highest total in Georgia high school history.

workouts. The Hokies will miss Hill’s contributions if he’s not ready to answer the bell at the start of the season. Hill was third on the Hokies in field goals and second in free throws a season ago. He also led the team in rebounding — a rarity for a guard. The 4-star from Georgia initially committed to Buzz Williams at Marquette, then followed the coach

As a freshman, Hill led the Hokies in starts, taking the floor for the tip in 30 of the team’s 33 games. He may be hard-pressed to start as many this year. Hill suffered a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left leg while taking part in individual workouts at the start of August. He had surgery at LewisGale Montgomery Hospital on August 11 and is expected to miss all preseason conditioning

8.7 Points Per Game

RPG

3.7 Rebounds Per Game t

38.6% FG Field Goal Percentage

1.00

Hill was the fourth-leading scorer on the Hokies last season, third-best during the ACC portion of the schedule. His scoring average was exactly the same in ACC games (8.7 ppg).

TOP(LEFT TO RIGHT): DON PETERSEN/AP, RAYMOND THOMPSON/AP, BOB LEVERONE/AP; BOTTOM: RAYMOND THOMPSON/AP

PPG

to Blacksburg. With the Hokies boasting a deep stable of guards, Hill will need to get back to 100 percent quickly or risk being buried on the team’s depth chart. The injury comes at a poorly timed moment in Hill’s career. He entered the offseason with momentum, finishing the year with three straight double-figure scoring outings, and five in his final six games.

Hill pulled down 122 rebounds to lead the team from the guard spot. His 35 offensive rebounds tied for best on the team, and his 87 defensive boards were also tops.

Hill hit just 11 of 31 shots in nonconference games (35.5 percent), but he found his stroke at the start of ACC season, improving to 40.4 percent in conference games. Hill will need to clean up his defense. He was second on the team in personal fouls, behind Satchel Pierce’s 84. He also fouled out twice, both in ACC play. u

74

FOULS

ASSIST/TURNOVER RATIO. Hill had 51 assists—third-best on the team—and 51 turnovers. Despite the less-than-impressive ratio, he was the only member of the Hokies freshman class to have as many assists as turnovers in his rookie season.

www.accsports.com

161


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jalen

HUDSON #23 GUARD SOPHOMORE HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 195 lbs HOMETOWN: RICHMOND, VA

Jalen Hudson almost singlehandedly kept Virginia Tech’s season alive, putting up a career high 32 points against Wake Forest in the Hokies’ first ACC Tournament game. Hudson made 10 of 18 shots in torching the Demon Deacons. The outburst was almost five times higher than Hudson’s season scoring average of just under seven points per game. The performance didn’t surprise his head coach,

PPG

FG

Field Goal Percentage

he led the team in shooting and was one of four Hokies in doubledigits in blocked shots. He was also third on the team in steals. With Ahmed Hill expected to be limited by a leg injury, Hudson will have the opportunity to state his case for a starting job and a larger role in the Virginia Tech offense this season, though he needs to work on his outside shooting, as well as his ball security.

Hudson finished the season strong, putting up 32 points in an ACC Tournament game, but he was the fifth-leading scorer on the team last year. In ACC play, his average fell to 6.3 points.

t Hudson had the highest shooting percentage among Hokies with at least 100 shots, hitting 80 of 167. Next best was Devin Wilson at .450. Hudson hit 15 of 53 3-pointers last season, although he found his range as the year went on. He improved to 31.3 percent from deep during ACC play. u

28.3% 3FG

3 Point Percentage

TO

51 Turnovers

Hudson tied for third on the team in turnovers — a stat that’s even more troubling considering Ahmed Hill also had 51 turnovers despite playing 443 more minutes (12.9 more per game).

STL

17 Steals

The freshman was third on the team in steals — behind only Devin Wilson and Malik Muller — and was the only Hokies’ player to have double digit totals in blocked shots (10) and steals.

www.accsports.com

TOP(LEFT TO RIGHT): DON PETERSEN/AP, BOB LEVERONE/AP, GERRY BROOME/AP; BOTTOM: ASSOCIATED PRESS

6.9 Points Per Game

47.9%

162

Buzz Williams, who in December proclaimed that Hudson was the team’s most talented player. While he needed time to acclimate to the college game, Hudson showed bursts of the potential Williams saw as a freshman. He was able to score and draw fouls and handle the ball, contributing to the Hokies in a variety of ways. Hudson was third among the three VT freshmen in scoring, but


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS

vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. @ vs. @ @ vs. vs. @ @ vs. @ @ vs. @ @ vs. vs.

V

Alabama State Jacksonville State VMI North Carolina A&T Iowa State (in Niceville, Florida) TBA (in Niceville, Florida) Northwestern Arkansas-Pine Bluff Radford Lamar Grambling State Saint Joseph’s (in Brooklyn) West Virginia NC State Virginia Duke Wake Forest Georgia Tech Notre Dame North Carolina Louisville Pittsburgh Syracuse Clemson Virginia Miami Florida State Boston College Wake Forest Pittsburgh Miami

Non-Conference Test

irginia Tech hasn’t been a legitimate threat on the national level since the Seth Greenberg era, but that’s expected to change under second-year Hokie coach Buzz Williams. After enjoying significant success at Marquette — including an Elite Eight appearance during the 2012-13 season — Williams arrived in Blacksburg with a proven track record. By no means are the Hokies expected to win the ACC this season, but they can show that the program is on the rise by playing competitively against Iowa State on Nov. 27.

T

DATE

TIME TV

Saturday, November 14 Wednesday, November 18

7:00 PM 7:00 PM

ESPN3 ESPN3

W

87-74

7:00 PM

ESPN3 ESPN3

2014

Tuesday, November 24

2005

W

94-66

Friday, November 27

6:00 PM

CBSSN

1984

W

80-53

Saturday, November 21

Saturday, November 28

LAST MEETING FIRST MEETING FIRST MEETING

CBSSN

Tuesday, December 1

7:00 PM

ESPNU

FIRST MEETING

Saturday, December 5

3:00 PM

ESPN3

FIRST MEETING

Sunday, December 13

3:00 PM

ESPN3

FIRST MEETING

Saturday, December 19

6:00 PM

ESPN3

FIRST MEETING 2000

W

68-62

12:00 PM

ESPNU

2014

L

82-51

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

69-53

ESPN2 ACC Network/Raycom

2015

Saturday, January 9

2015

L

91-86

Wednesday, January 13

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

81-80

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

65-63

Wednesday, January 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

85-60

ESPNU

2015

L

68-53

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

78-63

ESPNU

2015

W

70-67

Tuesday, February 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

72-70

Saturday, February 6

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

75-54

Tuesday, February 9

2015

L

69-57

Wednesday, February 17

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

59-49

Saturday, February 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

73-65

ESPNU ESPNU

2015

L

66-59

2015

W

81-80

ACC Network/Raycom ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

70-67

2015

L

59-49

Wednesday, December 9

2014

Tuesday, December 22 Wednesday, December 30 Saturday, January 2 Monday, January 4

9:00 PM

Sunday, January 24

6:30 PM

Wednesday, January 27 Sunday, January 31

6:30 PM

Tuesday, February 23 Sunday, February 28

9:00 PM 6:30 PM

Wednesday, March 2 Saturday, March 5

MEASURING STICK GAME

he Hokies haven’t won an ACC road game since beating Miami in Coral Gables in December 2013, but there’s no reason why that streak should continue through the 2015-16 season. The good news for Virginia Tech is that it will travel to Chestnut Hill this year for a game Feb. 23 at Boston College, which may very well be the league’s worst team. If Virginia Tech is unable to claim a road victory over the lowly Eagles, it would be an alarming sign for Williams’ squad, and could mean another year in the ACC cellar.

A

BOB LEVERONE/AP

OPPONENT

www.accsports.com

L

68-66

Payback Opportunity

year ago, Virginia Tech dropped two close ones against Syracuse, losing both games by two points each. Although the Hokies only play the Orange on the road this season, a win over Jim Boeheim’s team Feb. 2 shouldn’t be out of reach. Syracuse lost two key members of its frontcourt in Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough, but it brings back Trevor Cooney and welcomes a talented freshman class. Still, the Hokies should be improved and have a realistic shot at beating the Orange in the Carrier Dome.

163


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS Seven ACC teams won more than 20 games last season, topping Virginia Tech’s cumulative total for the last two years. After reaching five straight postseason tournaments under Seth Greenberg from 2007 to 2011, the Hokies haven’t returned to the NCAAs or NIT since.

2006

Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

14-16

4-12

T-10th

10-7

3-8

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 1-1

0-1

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish

---

---

OVERALL WINS

---

2007

22-12

10-6

T-3rd

13-2

4-5

5-5

1-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2008

21-14

9-7

4th

14-3

4-8

3-3

1-1

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2009

19-15

7-9

T-7th

10-6

5-6

4-3

1-1

1-1

NIT

Second Round

2010

25-9

10-6

T-3rd

17-2

6-5

2-2

0-1

2-1

NIT

Third Round

2011

22-12

9-7

T-4th

12-4

4-7

6-1

2-1

1-1

NIT

Second Round

2012

16-17

4-12

T-9th

11-7

3-8

2-2

1-1

---

---

---

2013

13-19

4-14

12th

10-7

2-9

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2014

9-22

2-16

15th

8-10

1-8

0-4

0-1

---

---

---

2015

11-22

2-16

15th

9-9

0-11

2-2

1-1

---

---

--0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS The map of where Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball roster comes from basically tracks Buzz Williams’ path from Marquette to Virginia Tech. The Hokies are drawing from the Midwest and Southeast, and have four Virginia natives on the 2015-2016 roster.

ROSTER 0 Shane Henry 4 Seth Allen 10 Justin Bibbs 11 Devin Wilson 13 Ahmed Hill 14 Greg Donlon 21 Satchel Pierce 23 Jalen Hudson 32 Zack LeDay Chris Clarke Kerry Blackshear Jr. Justin Robinson Johnny Hamilton Tyrone Outlaw

Pos

Ht

F G G G G F F G F F F G C F

6-8 6-1 6-5 6-4 6-5 6-8 7-0 6-5 6-7 6-6 6-9 6-1 6-11 6-6

Wt YR 190 195 220 190 195 230 255 195 235 190 220 178 215 215

Sr. Jr. So. Jr. So. Sr. So. So. Jr. Fr. Fr. Fr. So. Jr.

Hometown Newton, GA Woodbridge, VA Dayton, OH McKees Rocks, PA Augusta, GA Midlothian, VA Barberton, OH Akron, OH Dallas, TX Virginia Beach, VA Orlando, FL Manassas, VA Louisville, KY Roxboro, NC

Buzz Williams

Head Coach

164

Isaac Chew

Assistant Coach

Steve Roccaforte

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Jamie McNeilly

Assistant Coach

Jeff Reynolds - Director of Operations Devin Johnson - Director of Personnel Steve Thomas - Director of Student-Athlete Development Lyle Wolf - Assistant to the Head Coach

COURTESY VIRGINIA TECH ATHLETICS

COACHES


VIRGINIA TECH 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

BUZZ WILLIAMS continues to put his emphatic stamp on the Virginia Tech program. He’s now the third-longest tenured individual in Hokies basketball, behind Devin Wilson and walk-on Greg Donlon. His straight-shooting honesty — and notoriously tough practices and conditioning sessions — have helped get rid of the players he didn’t feel measured up. Meanwhile, his own hard-nosed approach to recruiting has restocked the program with top-flight players. The Hokies are poised to take a leap forward. Williams will surely be behind them urging them on.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

44%

68%

17%

28%

8%

24%

44%

50%

10%

71-92

44-21

1-5

27-71

2-22

21-65

4-5

1-1

3-27

MATT GENTRY/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

22-12 16-17 13-19 9-22 11-22 71-92

8-4 11-3 9-4 8-5 8-5 44-21

0-2 0-1 1-0 0-1 0-1 1-5

14-8 5-14 4-15 1-17 3-17 27-71

1-1 1-6 0-4 0-5 0-6 2-22

9-7 4-12 4-14 2-16 2-16 21-65

2-1 1-1 0-1 0-1 1-1 4-5

1-1 --------1-1

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 1-3 1-7 1-4 0-6 0-7 3-27

165


BOSTON COLLEGE

EAGLES

“The resiliency of our team is what I’m really proud of. especially last year’s seniors, they helped me change the culture of this program day‑by‑day, because they continued to compete, fight, stay together. The culture is changing, and it’s got to be continued with the next group.”

Head Coach Jim Christian 166

www.accsports.com


OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR

THIS YEAR

Although the 2014-15 Eagles were by and large a veteran squad, it didn’t translate into victories. Jim Christian’s first BC squad had four non-conference losses by the time the ACC’s regular season rolled around and then got off to an 0-5 start in league play. Following a win at Georgia Tech on Jan. 25, the Eagles lost nine straight. BC did improve down the stretch, winning four straight before getting eliminated in the ACC Tournament by UNC. The Eagles finished 13-19 overall and 4-14 in ACC regular-season play.

The Eagles’ depth has been decimated by a variety of offseason personnel departures. BC’s top four returning players combined to average just 13.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in 2014-15 — leaving a production gap that could prove very challenging for this mostly young squad. BC has brought in a talented five-man freshman class full of shooters and perimeter defenders, so the Eagles have a chance of playing closer to Jim Christian’s philosophy in his second season than his first.

KEY GAMES

POSTSEASON

Boston College gets a golden opportunity early on this season to prove on the national stage they’re an improving club, with games at home on Nov. 22 against Ivy League champion Harvard, as well as a matchup on Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) against Michigan State in the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, California. The Eagles have home-and-aways with North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Syracuse, and travel to NC State, Virginia, Louisville, and Pittsburgh in ACC regular season play.

Boston College hasn’t appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2009, when the Eagles were bounced in the opening round by Southern Cal. Al Skinner was fired after the 200910 season, and BC has just one postseason appearance since — a postseason NIT berth in 2011. Since reaching the championship game of the ACC Tournament in 2006, the Eagles have posted a 6-9 overall record in ensuing years. The Eagles haven’t advanced past the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament since 2007.

INTANGIBLES

WHAT THEY LOST

BC ranked dead last in the ACC in blocked shots in the 2014-15 season. With a guard-oriented squad, the Eagles don’t figure to improve much in this category this coming season. What’s more concerning is the fact that BC was the league’s worst team in offensive rebounding last winter – averaging just 8.2 per contest. The Eagles need to contest more shots and do a significantly better job on the offensive glass this season if they’re to make any substantial improvement.

The Eagles lost their most viable ACC player, Olivier Hanlan, to the NBA Draft. The All-ACC standout scored 19.5 points per game last season, while shooting 35.3 percent from 3-point range. BC also lost multiple seniors, including Aaron Brown, Patrick Heckmann, Dimitri Batten, Eddie Odio, Alex Dragicevich, K.C. Caudill and John Cain Carney. Guard Lonnie Jackson transferred to Boise State, and forward Will Magarity to Davidson. In all, Boston College lost eight of its top 10 scorers from the 2014-15 season.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT

IF THINGS GO WRONG

The Eagles catch lightning in a bottle in the form of a motivated group of upperclassmen teaming with a versatile five-man freshman class. The result is a resurgent team that plays much more to the liking of its head coach and proves much more capable of competing in this tough league. While the NCAA Tournament appears to be a stretch for this young team, a winning record and a possible NIT berth could be possible if this group overachieves and pulls off a couple upsets.

BC’s overall lack of experienced depth catches up to the squad early and often, leading to some embarrassing losses in non-conference play that damage the team’s confidence, snowballing into a dreadful ACC regular season. Without the necessary scoring and rebounding, the Eagles find themselves once again unable to compete on a game-by-game basis in the ACC and wind up with four or fewer league victories, as well as their third 20-loss season in the last five years.

www.accsports.com

167


POSITION-BY-POSITION pOWER FORWARD Incoming freshman Johncarlos Reyes may wind up getting significant playing time at the power forward position for the Eagles, even if only because there are not a lot of experienced players to enter the game ahead of him. BC’s tendency to employ a four-guard rotation under Jim Christian minimizes the role of traditional post players a little, but the Eagles are going to need help on the boards, which Reyes could provide.

q Dennis Clifford

CENTER A 7-1 big man Dennis Clifford is clearly going to be BC’s most relied-upon post option this season. As a junior, Clifford averaged over 25 minutes a game, and he’s likely to play significantly more as a senior. Clifford has to be prepared to be on the court much of the time. He has to try and avoid foul trouble as best he can. Idrissa Diallo, who is 6-11, was injured much of his freshman year but will likely serve as Clifford’s top backup.

COACHING Jim Christian faces major obstacles in rebuilding the program, not the least of which being the mass exodus of talent graduating and transferring out of the program following his first year. This season could be a difficult chapter, but it will be a step forward as Christian seeks to change the culture in Chestnut Hill. His team was resilient at the end of last season. Now it’ll try to put it together for a whole season.

168

POINT GUARD

SMALL FORWARD Garland Owens could see his role elevate substantially his junior year. As a sophomore, the 6-5 Owens was seventh on the Eagles in scoring a year ago with 3.4 points per contest. Owens led BC in field goal percentage at 51.1 percent but had the team’s worst 3-point average, making just 23.1 percent of his attempts from behind the arc. Freshman A.J. Turner could push Owens for playing time if he comes in and shows early promise.

SHOOTING GUARD

Freshman Jerome Robinson has a golden opportunity to come in and earn BC’s starting point guard role right out of the gate. An underrated high school player, Robinson gives the Eagles a big point guard with quality decision-making skills. If Robinson can shoot well his freshman season, there’s no reason to think he can’t have one of the larger impacts of any incoming freshman point guard in the entire ACC.

p Jerome Robinson

Garland Owens q

BENCH Depending on who wins the starting job at small forward, the Eagles should have a capable backup player in either junior Garland Owens or freshman A.J. Turner. Two more freshmen, Matt Milon and Sammy Barnes-Thompkins, will likely get minutes in the guard rotation. Idrissa Diallo and Johncarlos Reyes provide bodies for the frontcourt rotation. Steve Perpiglia could also see more action as a backup guard.

www.accsports.com

With most of BC’s options along the perimeter gone from last year’s team, transfer Eli Carter has a unique opportunity to step in and make an impact in his last college season. Carter is a proven scorer who seems to be a natural fit to step into BC’s starting lineup. Freshman Matt Milon will also get minutes to show what he can do. Darryl Hicks has missed the last two seasons with knee injuries but could provide some depth as well.

NEW FACES The Eagles were forced to bring in a large freshman class this year, and they wound up signing five scholarship newcomers — point guard Jerome Robinson, wings Matt Milon, A.J. Turner and Sammy Barnes-Thompkins, and power forward Johncarlos Reyes. They’re in a fortunate position from the standpoint that there’s not a lot of veteran talent ahead of them. Several of them — if not all five — could wind up getting significant minutes.


10-Year ACC History Boston College entered the ACC like gangbusters back in 2005-06, going 11-5 in its first regular season in the league and reaching the championship game of the ACC Tournament. That was the peak of the program’s ACC success, as the Eagles haven’t gotten back to the ACC Tournament

2006

PREVIOUS SPREAD: MARY SCHWALM/ AP; OPPOSITE PAGE: RICARDO ARDUENGO/AP (CLIFFORD), ASSOCIATED PRESS (OWENS), NEWS & OBSERVER (ROBINSON)

CLEMSON DUKE FLORIDA STATE GEORGIA TECH LOUISVILLE MIAMI NORTH CAROLINA N.C. STATE NOTRE DAME PITTSBURGH SYRACUSE VIRGINIA VIRGINIA TECH WAKE FOREST

2007

final or won as many regular-season games in the nine ensuing seasons. The Eagles fell from 10-6 in ACC play in 2006-07 to 4-12 in 2007-08. Since going 9-7 in 2010-11, the Eagles haven’t posted a winning record in ACC regular-season competition. The 2014-15 season was the second straight for

Boston College with just four conference victories, and the fourth straight with 17 or more losses. Interestingly enough, BC has won more road games in ACC play the last two seasons (5), than at home (3). The Eagles have won ACC Tournament games in two of the last three seasons.

2008

2012

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

H

A

T

W L W W W L W W

L W W W L W W

L W -

W L W W L W W -

L L W L W W L W

W L -

L W L W L L W

L L L L L L L -

L -

L W W W L W W L

W L W L W L L

L W -

W L L W W W W -

L L L L W L L L

L -

W L L W W W W

L L L L L W W -

L W

W L W W L L W L

L L L L L L L

L -

W L W L L L W W

W L L L L L W L

W L -

L L L L L L L W -

L L L L L W L W W

L -

L L L W L L L L W

L L L W L L L L W -

W L -

CLEMSON

DUKE

FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH

LOUISVILLE

MIAMI

NORTH CAROLINA

6-9

1-14

5-7

9-8

0-1

8-13

4-11

N.C. STATE

NOTRE DAME

PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE

VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA TECH

WAKE FOREST

6-9

0-4

0-3

1-3

7-8

12-6

9-6

HOME GAMES

56.6% 51.9% FG 40-37

BC has posted a .500 or better record against current ACC schools in Conte Forum in seven of its 10 seasons in the league. But it’s gone just 3-14 the last two seasons at home.

AWAY GAMES

56.6% 28.5% FG 22-55

After going 5-2 on the road against current ACC schools in 200506, the Eagles haven’t posted a winning road record in league play since. They went winless in 2008 and 2012.

www.accsports.com

TOURNAMENT GAMES

56.6% 37.5% FG 6-10

BC hasn’t gotten past the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in the last eight seasons. But the Eagles have never gone back-to-back years without an ACC Tournament victory.

169


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Dennis

Clifford #24 CENTER SENIOR HEIGHT: 7-0 WEIGHT: 250 lbs HOMETOWN: Bridgewater, MA For a team with few returning contributors, Clifford’s post production will be essential for the Eagles in 2015-16.

Clifford is Boston College’s only returning key contributor from last season, having appeared in 31 of 32 games in the 2014-15 season with 28 starts. His minutes went up dramatically, from 11.0 minutes per game in his sophomore season to better than 25 minutes a game as a junior. His scoring totals more than tripled, while his assists, blocked shots and rebounding totals also trickled up. Clifford is Boston College’s

19

top returning scorer, though he averaged just 6.9 points per contest last season. The seven-footer is easily BC’s top returning post defender, having led the Eagles in rebounding and blocked shots by a wide margin his junior year. Given Jim Christian’s guard-oriented philosophy, Clifford may find himself on an island at times this coming season, serving as one of the team’s only trusted post options.

The Eagles are going to need quite a bit out of Clifford if they’re to make any noise in the league standings this winter. As the only returning BC player with any legitimate experience in the post, Clifford will have to take on all the many talented big men throughout the ACC, perhaps by himself at times. If the Eagles are to make a surge in the standings this coming winter, it will have to come on the back of a guy like Dennis Clifford.

SINGLE-GAME SCORING HIGH. Twice during the 2014-15 season, Clifford went off for 19 points. He was 5-of-6 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the free throw line in both games — December victories for BC over Maine and UMass-Lowell.

BLOCKED SHOTS. Clifford easily led the Eagles in blocked shots a year ago and figures to do so again this coming season. As a team, BC had just 49 combined blocked shots from players other than Clifford in 2014-15.

1

CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE. Clifford showed against Harvard last January that he can be a stat stuffer, recording 13 points with 10 rebounds in BC’s overtime triumph. He added two blocked shots against the NCAA Tournament-bound Crimson.

170

172

GAMES FOULED-OUT. As the key component of a thin Boston College frontcourt, the Eagles will need Clifford to limit his personal fouls this coming season. He fouled out of six games in 2014-15, finishing 10 other games with three or more fouls.

www.accsports.com

TOP: ASSOCIATED PRESS; BOTTOM: KEITH SRAKOCIC/AP

REBOUNDS. Clifford was BC’s leading rebounder by an overwhelming margin last season. He had over 30 rebounds more than his next-closest teammate. His rebounding average ranked in the top 25 of the ACC.

6

37


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Eli

CARTER #3 GUARD GRADUATE HEIGHT: 6-2 WEIGHT: 200 lbs HOMETOWN: Paterson, NJ The former Rutgers and Florida guard arrives in Chestnut Hill at a time when he can make an immediate and significant impact as a senior transfer.

Carter made the decision to transfer to Boston College for his final season of eligibility after an intriguing collegiate journey so far, which has also seen him suit up for Rutgers and Florida over the past few years. Carter led Rutgers in scoring in 2012-13 as a sophomore, though he fractured the fibula in his right leg in mid-February, prematurely ending his season. He wound up transferring to UF for the 2013-14 season but had

55

lingering effects from his leg injury. He eventually redshirted, earning another season of eligibility after averaging just 7.6 minutes per game in the fall of 2013 for the Gators, making a single 3-pointer in the opening game for his only points of the season. Returning at full strength in 2014-15, Carter registered 17 starts for Florida last season, playing in 28 games overall. While he had troubles with a nagging foot injury,

Carter finished with averages of 8.8 points and 2.0 assists per game. He elected to graduate from UF and transfer to Boston College, where he could be a key component of the 2015-16 Eagles. With Olivier Hanlan gone, as well as much of the rest of last year’s nucleus, Carter will be asked to be a leader on this year’s Boston College squad while also serving as one of the teams’ primary offensive options along the perimeter.

ASSISTS. Despite his reputation as an outside shooting threat, Carter finished third on Florida’s roster in assists last year. He had 18 multiassist games, including a season high of six assists against Tennessee in late February.

81.0% FT Free Throw Percentage

t Carter could help improve BC’s free throw shooting with his 81 percent average from a season ago. The Eagles ranked fourth in the ACC in free throw shooting last season. Jim Christian hopes Carter can improve on his outside shooting after converting 30.5 percent from 3-point range as a junior, including just 29.8 percent in SEC competition. u

44

3 Point Percentage TOP: MATT STAMEY/AP; BOTTOM: ASSOCIATED PRESS

GAMES WITH TWO OR MORE 3’S. Carter proved to be one of the more consistent long-range weapons for Florida last season, producing a trio of 20-point games, as well as 15 games with two or more 3-pointers. He also led the Gators in scoring five different times.

30.5% 3FG

15

GAMES MISSED LAST THREE YEARS. Carter missed Florida’s final 32 games in 2013-14, including its run to the Final Four. He missed seven additional games as a sophomore at Rutgers after breaking his leg, as well as five games last season.

www.accsports.com

171


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Garland

OWENS #5 FORWARD JUNIOR HEIGHT: 6-5 WEIGHT: 210 lbs HOMETOWN: Gaithersburg, MD After playing a minimal role for the Eagles as a freshman and sophomore, Owens has an opportunity for a breakout junior season.

Owens was not asked to do a great deal his first couple of seasons at Boston College. But now, with much of the team’s personnel gone from a season ago, the 6-5 junior will have to step up and provide the Eagles with production on both ends of the court. The Maryland native played a similar role in each of his first two years at BC, averaging 15.3 minutes as a freshman and 16.6 minutes last season as a sophomore. His scoring

PPG

went down slightly from Year 1 to Year 2, from 3.7 to 3.4 points per contest, while his rebounding improved a little bit, from 1.8 to 2.0 boards an outing. In a way, it’s difficult to know what to expect from Owens this season simply because he hasn’t done much so far at the college level. The Gaithersburg, Maryland, product saw 20 minutes or more of playing time in only eight games in 2014-15, though six of those

3.4 Points Per Game

outings came in the season’s final nine contests, as Jim Christian saw a need to get him more action. Owens made just two starts. But as one of the only veterans returning to this year’s BC squad, there’s little doubt that Owens is going to have a chance to emerge as a starter and key contributor. If he doesn’t rise to the occasion in the preseason, he could find himself playing behind newcomers along the perimeter as the season progresses.

Owens attempted just 92 shots in 32 games a year ago. His shooting average was respectable enough, but the junior needs to put up more shots this season.

t While Owens hasn’t taken a lot of shots in college, he’s been consistent, shooting 51.1 percent from the floor as a freshman and 51.2 percent as a sophomore.

51.0% FG

SEASON HIGH IN REBOUNDS. Though Owens didn’t play enough last season to be among BC’s team leaders in rebounding, he showed glimpses of potential on the boards, including fiverebound performances against UMass and Florida State.

0 172

5

GAMES FOULED-OUT. Although he finished with four fouls in back-to-back games in November, Owens didn’t have another game all season with more than three fouls. The Eagles will need him to continue this trend and stay on the court.

www.accsports.com

TOP: ASSOCIATED PRESS; BOTTOM: RICHARD ARDUENGO/AP

Career Shooting Percentage

61.9%

Owens attempted just 21 free FT throws all of last season, making 13. He went from late November to Jan. 28 without a made free throw. u Free Throw Percentage


SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS OPPONENT

DATE

TIME TV

LAST MEETING

vs. vs. 

St. Francis Brooklyn Central Connecticut

Saturday, November 14

2012

W

Thursday, November 19

2008

W

80-65

vs.

Harvard

Sunday, November 22

2015

W

64-57 (OT)

vs.

Michigan State

Thursday, November 26

W

65-58

vs.

Boise State/UC Irvine

Friday, November 27

vs.

TBA

Sunday, November 29

vs.

Penn State

Wednesday, December 2

6:30 PM

ESPN2

2006

72-64

FIRST MEETING 7:15 PM

ESPNU

2012

W

73-61

W

69-60

W

85-74

@

Providence

Wednesday, December 9

2014

vs.

Maine

Sunday, December 13

2014

vs.

Delaware

Saturday, December 19

vs.

Fordham

Tuesday, December 22

1998

W

69-56

vs.

New Hampshire

Wednesday, December 30

2014

W

58-50

vs.

Duke

Saturday, January 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

85-62

vs.

Notre Dame

Thursday, January 7

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

87-70

@

Syracuse

Wednesday, January 13

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

70-56

@

Pittsburgh

Saturday, January 16

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

71-65

vs.

Miami

Wednesday, January 20

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

89-86 (2 OT)

@

Notre Dame

Saturday, January 23

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

87-70

vs.

Florida State

Tuesday, January 26

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

L

69-60

@

North Carolina

Saturday, January 30

4:00 PM

ESPN2

2015

L

81-63

@

Virginia

Wednesday, February 3

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

66-51

@

Louisville

Saturday, February 6

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

81-72

vs.

North Carolina

Tuesday, February 9

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

81-63

vs.

Syracuse

Sunday, February 14

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

70-56

@

Clemson

Wednesday, February 17

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

64-49

FIRST MEETING

@

Wake Forest

Sunday, February 21

6:30 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

79-61

vs.

Virginia Tech

Tuesday, February 23

9:00 PM

ESPNU

2015

W

66-59

vs.

Georgia Tech

Saturday, February 27

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

66-65

@

NC State

Wednesday, March 2

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

W

79-63

vs.

Clemson

Saturday, March 5

ACC Network/Raycom

2015

L

64-49

hings don’t get much tougher than Boston College’s stretch of five ACC regular season games in late January into mid-February. The Eagles will play North Carolina twice — first in Chapel Hill Jan. 30 before hosting the Tar Heels February 9 in Chestnut Hill. BC will also travel to Virginia and Louisville back-to-back February 3 and February 6, and then play Syracuse at home February 14. If the Eagles can win even one of those contests, they’ll be doing well for themselves.

B

MEASURING STICK GAME

oston College is going to find out early on this winter if they’ve got the goods to compete in the ACC. On Jan. 2, the Eagles will welcome Duke to Conte Forum in a game that serves as the ACC opener for both squads. The Blue Devils aren’t the same squad that won the national championship, but Boston College has arguably lost just as much of its personnel from a season ago. If the Eagles pull this upset, it could set the tone for the whole regular season.

O BOB LEVERONE/AP

T

TOUGHEST STRETCH

www.accsports.com

UPSET ALERT

nce again Boston College welcomes local rival Harvard to Chestnut Hill, as the Crimson will head over to Conte Forum on Nov. 22. Former Duke standout and BC head coach target Tommy Amaker is building a budding powerhouse in Cambridge, reaching last year’s NCAA Tournament and nearly upsetting UNC. Harvard lost to the Eagles last season in a hard-fought 64-57 overtime game in Chestnut Hill in mid-January. This season could be different if the Eagles aren’t ready.

173


PROGRAM SNAPSHOT YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORDS The Eagles failed to reach the postseason for the fourth straight season in 2014-15 and finished with a losing record in ACC play for the sixth time in eight years. The Eagles avoided another 20-loss season but went 4-14 in the ACC regular season for the second straight year.

2006

Overall

Conference

Finish

Home

Away

28-8

11-5

3rd

14-2

8-3

Neutral ACC Tourn. Postseason 6-3

NCAA/NIT Tournament Finish

2-1

2-1

NCAA

Final 16

2007

21-12

10-6

T-3rd

14-4

5-6

2-2

1-1

1-1

NCAA

Final 32

2008

14-17

4-12

T-11th

11-8

2-7

1-2

1-1

---

---

---

2009

22-12

9-7

T-5th

15-4

5-5

2-3

0-1

0-1

NCAA

First Round

2010

15-16

6-10

8th

11-6

3-7

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2011

21-13

9-7

T-4th

12-5

5-6

4-2

1-1

1-1

NIT

Second Round

2012

9-22

4-12

T-9th

8-9

0-10

1-3

0-1

---

---

---

2013

16-17

7-11

8th

12-6

3-8

1-3

1-1

---

---

---

2014

8-24

4-14

14th

4-9

3-11

1-4

0-1

---

---

---

2015

13-19

4-14

13th

9-8

2-7

2-4

1-1

---

---

---

OVERALL WINS

0

*Big East Conference

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

ROSTER + HOMETOWNS BC’s projected roster is loaded with personnel from the East Coast. The Eagles have players from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The Eagles also brought in freshmen from California and Arizona.

ROSTER

Pos

1 Jerome Robinson

G G Eli Carter G Idy Diallo F Garland Owens F Ervins Meznieks F A.J. Turner F Johncarlos Reyes F/C Steve Perpiglia G Matt Milon G Dennis Clifford C Gordon Gehan G/F Sammy Barnes-Thompkins G

2 Darryl Hicks 3 4 5 10 11 12 20 22 24 25 55

Ht

Wt

6-5 6-2 6-2 6-11 6-5 6-7 6-7 6-10 5-10 6-4 7-0 6-5 6-3

177 185 200 240 210 211 185 200 165 204 250 200 192

YR

Hometown

FR Raleigh, NC SO Louisville, KY GR Paterson, NJ R-FR Los Angeles, CA JR Gaithersburg, MD FR Riga, Latvia FR Warren, MI FR Suwanee, GA SR Broomall, PA FR Oviedo, FL SR Bridgewater, MA FR Dallas, TX FR Phoenix, AZ

Jim Christian

Head Coach

174

Scott Spinelli

Assistant Coach

Bill Wuczynski

Assistant Coach

www.accsports.com

Stan Heath

Assistant Coach

Dan McDermott - Director of Operations Chip Cunningham - Video Coordinator Scott Gallon - Athletic Trainer Nick Asermelly - Strength Coach

COURTESY BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS

COACHES


BOSTON COLLEGE 5-YEar Win/Loss Analysis SPLIT SEASON PERFORMANCE 2011

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2012

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2013

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2014

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1

2015

OVERALL BEFORE JAN 1 AFTER JAN 1 0

Wins VS. TOP 25

5

Other Wins

10

15

Losses VS. TOP 25

20

25

30

35

Other Losses

CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE

POSTSEASON ACC TOURNAMENT

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 0

ACC Wins

5

Most college basketball coaches face attrition from years one to two of course, but nothing like the personnel losses that Boston College’s JIM CHRISTIAN deals with heading into this season. Christian didn’t run them all off — most were seniors who were supposed to be part of the fruition of Steve Donahue’s rebuilding efforts in Chestnut Hill. Combined with a couple transfers, Christian only has a handful of guys with legitimate ACC experience heading into this season, which will make it tough to compete game in and game out.

10

15

POSTSEASON

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

20

ACC Losses

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Tournament Win

Tournament Loss

5-Year COMBINED WIN PERCENTAGES TOTAL ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

BEFORE JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

AFTER JAN 1 ALL OPPONENTS

AFTER JAN 1 VS. TOP 25

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

TOTAL VS. TOP 25

41%

54%

0%

33%

9%

33%

38%

50%

8%

67-95

34-29

0-3

33-66

2-21

28-58

3-5

1-1

2-24

CURTIS COMPTON/AP

5-Year DATA COMPILED BY ACCSPORTS.COM 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 TOTALS

OVERALL

BEFORE JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 BEFORE JAN 1

AFTER JAN 1

VS. TOP 25 AFTER JAN 1

CONFERENCE

ACC TOURNAMENT

POSTSEASON

21-13 9-22 16-17 8-24 13-19 67-95

10-3 5-8 8-5 4-9 7-4 34-29

0-0 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-3

11-10 4-14 8-12 4-15 6-15 33-66

0-3 1-3 0-5 1-3 0-7 2-21

9-7 4-12 7-11 4-14 4-14 28-58

1-1 0-1 1-1 0-1 1-1 3-5

1-1 --------1-1

www.accsports.com

VS. TOP 25 TOTAL 0-3 1-4 0-6 1-4 0-7 2-24

175


ALL ACC CARROLL

KREST

FIRST TEAM:

FIRST TEAM:

Malcolm Brogdon - Virginia Marcus Paige - North Carolina Anthony Gill - Virginia Damion Lee - Louisville Cat Barber - NC State

SHAWN

MARK

Only four All-ACC selections from last year are back for the 2015-16 season. The ACC Sports Journal team provides its favorites.

SECOND TEAM:

SECOND TEAM:

THIRD TEAM:

THIRD TEAM:

POWELL

CONSENSUS

FIRST TEAM:

FIRST TEAM:

Brice Johnson - North Carolina Sheldon McClellan - Miami Trey Lewis - Louisville Brandon Ingram - Duke Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame

Xavier Rathan-Mayes - FSU Cat Barber - NC State Brandon Ingram - Duke Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame Kennedy Meeks - UNC

Malcolm Brogdon - Virginia Marcus Paige - North Carolina Xavier Rathan-Mayes - FSU Sheldon McClellan - Miami Damion Lee - Louisville

SECOND TEAM:

Adam Smith - Georgia Tech Tonye Jekiri - Miami Trevor Cooney - Syracuse Justin Jackson - North Carolina Grayson Allen - Duke

THIRD TEAM:

Cat Barber - NC State Luke Kennard, Duke Codi Miller-McIntyre - Wake Forest Zach Auguste - Notre Dame Anthony Gill - Virginia

Justin Jackson - North Carolina Grayson Allen - Duke Brice Johnson - UNC Zach Auguste - Notre Dame London Perrantes - Virginia

CONSENSUS

ADAM

Justin Jackson - North Carolina Grayson Allen - Duke Jamel Artis - Pittsburgh Zach Auguste - Notre Dame London Perrantes - Virginia

178

Malcolm Brogdon - Virginia Marcus Paige - North Carolina Anthony Gill - Virginia Sheldon McClellan - Miami Damion Lee - Louisville

Malcolm Brogdon - Virginia Marcus Paige - North Carolina Damion Lee - Louisville Sheldon McClellan - Miami Anthony Gill - Virginia

SECOND TEAM:

Cat Barber - NC State Xavier Rathan-Mayes - FSU Justin Jackson - North Carolina Brandon Ingram - Duke Grayson Allen - Duke

THIRD TEAM:

Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame Brice Johnson - North Carolina Adam Smith - Georgia Tech Tonye Jekiri - Miami Trey Lewis - Louisville


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VOLUME 38 • ISSUE 3

2014

ISSUE

4

we ACC”, es of the polici ing ness s the In “Busi the evolv acrosrence. sales ine exam alcohol the confe of of 3 cape Page lands

Back from summer basketball events, Brick Oettinger runs down the top 55 high school juniors.

Page 20

$4.00

FUTURE OF DUKE

Duke A.D. Kevin White expresses his optimism, while providing his thoughts on the future of collegiate athletics.

Page 25

2015 ANNUAL

PAGES

PLAYERS TO WATCH

n Wojn ion gives U of L lands a quarterback and a e Sept. 13tage. docket isn’t terribly loaded ki addre m guard. it was st Adria Thposit basketball

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forwa ecti- interest Tech all ntage have regional Grego ,todoVirginia ewsk Brian 2015 small shots and an advapion Conn rightat least a little interest, " Krzyz has bit of national elite iting it some of UNC’s tage?inwins Learn more about the case ofcham Southern Cal.through recru comm tage who But basketball targets. (of NCAA starting Sept. ntage 20 things get 34 pretty hoops pg. 11 top top pledge. adva Ollie an advan ille’s has interesting inan a hurry. The marquee his K ON PAGE game, RUTH PETERKIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM cut) But it's Louisv d out of SEE COah of course, is the Clemson-Florida State Florida State hosts Clemson at Tallahassee’s Doak Campbell Stadium Sept. 27 in a game backe now. QBoffensive The Pack try to of keep the an SEE SEPTEMBER ON PAGE 34 that could very well decide who claims the ACC’s Atlantic Division this fall. pg. 9 in state. thinks pg. 12 lineman rd Brown r Leewa mothe as his it Cordell Broadus is considering pg. 10 QB comm UNC. passes for the Irish. pg. 13 catching when will visit out Find n Elliott Natha BY ADAM POWELL “I had one last year (a last-minute scor- yards and three more scores through the pg. 11 Pittsburgh’s latest pledge an fromshould h ing catch) in the state championship, but air in 2013, helping lead the Spartans beeflinem to the O-line. Raleig E to pg. 14 add some d to ensive Jordon Brown is getting pretty familiar this is a whole new year, a whole new a 14-2 overall record and the Sschool’s MOOR first SyraAn off a is heade state championship. beginning, and it’s great to get the win with making big plays in the fi nal minutes BY CHRI to add Florid ded Pittsburgh top of games — games that he’s helping put against such a big rival,” Brown said in an Brown's strong junior season itthe expan comwith pg. 12 New Jersey DB becomesonthethe dawith an offseason in the win column for Southern Durham interview with ACCSports.com. “It was bined of quality devel- n thatrence all comm along the ACC is taking to 2015 class. know Flori to ville, pg. 15 latest addition Brey a footb a 5-star confe in the was High School in Durham, North Carolina. just a call from the sidelines. I knew Kenresulted in his first scholarship When mar, opment Louis ed Mike ms for lost e, it in the MiraMydecid and Th e 5-11, 180-pounder hauled in an dall was going to throw me the ball. offeers earliercuse this year,Dam including 5-11, progra tball threet. Andfour proda State 5, as Cole back Notre heigh all Flori job blocking, and we exe- Th from ACC schools. sive 80-yard touchdown catch in the final line did a great 13 and ty of baske with on Sept. Tyrekt back up. ntly listed the ACC pg.2016 a new defen guard Ty Jerome will be the hadquali talbacka touchdown. and scored “We just to workreach hard in thecycle weight bers, 2015 enroll early.minute of Southern’s 38-31 triumph over cuted the play ment itmen , currenally in sive d Charlottesville. to its most 34 pg. 16 heading toOne of Pitt’s Shelby Crest High School in the NCHWe’ve always been below room, getting woul mentallyrecru anditing physically full mem LL It feels great. rback defen 25 prosing in his recru PAGE full its plans to the ed as said POWE ect natio No. like (Hillside). ed for bringof itng ON season, ” Brown SAAto3-AA state championship game last these, guys We corne getprosp the feeling first open ound comm ork’s prepared ADAM s enlist ss of pledg d159 great. nds netw program “Our December, and on Aug. BY 29 he caught Septe an mber of being on top, and No. it feels his offconsi season approach. a 165-p SEE Recru procecoach did has the that Its aa, had pg. 14 he’s jobWest im respo in the h of and year, Top prospect Josh Sweat has the n great teammate great feeling to as getthe this win. We had a full now ly of Florid Boehe sm. eight-yard scoring pass from - isthat, and I think we’re s 250 mont ding of doing t the ts withi also Jim state ry critici 26 bi-week Rival and ghou and going to Louis have a great year." (at thes game), to but get inclu Kendall Hinton, breaking pg. 17 Hokies on his list. e the a tackle USA Coach in theit’s great itmen house per year, 200, Raleigh,als Janua options Auburn, h has throu Whil pectfor our in the winment for our fans, againstma, Brown bursting across the goalhsline with just 25mont has34picked up offers in recent comm of PAGE the Team d 30 timesds Blvd, Ste ed. Periodic back team, ON ty ple mont mmit and ninth FSU mits from East Carolina,1)N.C. is publishe varie feeling. such atball big rival. It’s just a great ” DeCom months State, seconds the clock to give SouthHighwoo is prohibit ACC Sports tly visitedleft onall i, Alaba d multi pg. 15 year’s a few de-co recen have 750 532-882 and SEE LLC, 3012 or in part changes to Sports Miam ering duceover Brown yards ern a 16-13 triumph crosstown rival in baske Virginia, Quarterback discusses his future this ectsran for nia,and 13 touch- Wake Forest, Westw(ISSN:1 Media, inBoston Settle ls, whole address quite t: Curtis Virgi prosp while Journal Curtis Sports ctionON PAGE Send schoo adding Durham Hillside.ACC, uced league, boththe downs 23 catches for 415 SEEReprodu BROWN pg. 18 in Winston-Salem. 4-star Tim Sports by STER: 34 Copyrigh ned ia. other prod d the le of issues, reserved. The ACC POSTMA N.C. 27604. Virgin coup ted to letely reope its 4 special All rights N.C. 27676. Raleigh, A aroun and 200, comm all. mmit Raleigh, ds Blvd, Ste pg. 16 Byrd N.C. 27604. footb dy re-co have comp ts. paid at Logan itmen postage 3012 Highwoo alrea others 67, ia QB recru SUBSCRIPTIONS 47-76 l Journal, Georg Hokies IONS 2014. while respective CRIPT call 800-4or e-mai For LLC, inquiries call 800-447-7667, Media, to the their ies SUBS y om, visit ACCSports.com, or e-mail 17 alread pg. For inquir orts.c ts.com support@accsports.com ACCSp an has from Wake. visit rt@accspor er freshm A true ed to transf suppo decid

Scholarship Charts +

DANIEL

who willITcommit next? JUST DID BLAKENEY BUILDING A WALL YOU? IS THAT MOM?

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Expert Analysis

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Volume 4: Issue 2

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MOST SIGNIFICANT ACC PLAYS OF ALL TIME

Hinton excited aboutvisit Wakes uva settle Another

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ACC FOOTBALL & BASKETBALL

RECRUITING HANDBOOK & GUIDE

2015 FOOTBALL

2015/16 BASKETBALL

2016 & 2017 Football Recruiting Preview

2016/17 & 2017/18 Basketball Recruiting Preview

Regional Football Recruiting Analysis

Regional Basketball Recruiting Analysis

+

ewsafter l perfo of last two weekends Krzyz September are like-

est of its 2015 commitments? cole daysgold-medaMike pg.the 8 softmost CITY? Thre ly goingh to play an o! essential ing role in deterCoac n by Yaho USA's ll has CUPCAKE ACC. mining who winds up inanthe ACC Chamfootba ski claim , Duke a columarow Duke ule in the Cards Add FloridaTeam Talent Duke Spain ssedpionship Game in Charlotte in December. in sched

+

Positionby-Position Analysis

Do ir Recr Unfa

Where is Georgia Tech finding

line

pg. 8

IVE 10 ExCOLUS N EA

+

Kyrin Priester was dismissed after only one game as a Tiger.

ROLLING STONE A scouting report on Duke target pg.USC 6 Dylan Singleton. PAST USC RUSHe’s upset of BY ADAM POWELL g. EAGLESn Collegbuzzin Taylor joins Seminoles ts Bosto While late August and early September recrui FSU adds a key commit along the has sive big 7boys games around the ACC are often of the defensive line from Virginia. T g the pg. the defen KRES — favorable home matchups soft N variety made 2015 class. fromor small conference SHAW recruitin against FCSning schools on has in the ce recruiting priorities BY FBS Clems priority retur rman programs — the slate of games the a

pg. 6

S I DE IN

PREDICTIONS

Wide receiver dismissed

20

pg. 5

pg. 5

ACC Women’s Basketball Analysis PAGE 162

BASKETBALL

2015 ANNUAL

+

an ? Late September Duke tagelikely n A Give Adva decisive ACC standings am USuitingin es Te

Brick of B.C. AddS Hoops Transfer guru iting down some s s.Aaron Brown should provide key s recru Hoop ger break pg.classe 4 depth for BC’s basketball team. e’s top Oettin the leagu

pg. 4

10 PAGES ON EVERY ACC TEAM

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ACC in the NFL draft BOSTON COLLEGE ♦ CLEMSON ♦ DUKE ♦ FLORIDA STATE ♦ GEORGIA TECH ♦ LOUISVILLE ♦ MIAMI ♦ NORTH CAROLINA NC STATE ♦ NOTRE DAME ♦ PITTSBURGH ♦ SYRACUSE ♦ VIRGINIA ♦ VIRGINIA TECH ♦ WAKE FOREST

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ACC Basketball - 2015 Annual  

AC Sports Journal's Basketball Annual magazine is published every September and previews the upcoming season for the best basketball confere...

ACC Basketball - 2015 Annual  

AC Sports Journal's Basketball Annual magazine is published every September and previews the upcoming season for the best basketball confere...

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