Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Will Ojanen @WillsWorldMN –
It was undoubtedly one of the craziest college basketball seasons we’ve ever seen. To be brutally honest, I’m not referring to the fun kind of crazy. Covid pauses hurt every team in the league. Teams weren’t able to practice to the extent they needed to. Crowds weren’t there to make a difference. Yet, we made it through. It wasn’t the best season for the ACC. No one made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. But I think there’s a lot of potential for the ACC going into next season. It’s time for me to sharpen the pencils, check the stats and transfer portal and formulate a very early preview of ACC men’s basketball for next season.
Boston College-This program needs some work, and it’s going to take a couple of years to really be competitive again. My prediction is that the leading scorer for this team next season will have the letters L-a-n-g in his last name.
Clemson-The big question here is who is going to consistently score? With Aamir Simms likely gone. Three returning players averaged between seven and nine points per game. Unfortunately, only one of them shot better than 42% from the field.
Duke-Let’s get real. The success of the Blue Devils next year depends on whether or not Mark Williams returns. If he comes back, we can talk about them as a national championship contender. If not, they’ll probably still be a top 15 team. This is all assuming Matthew Hurt goes pro.
Very Early Preview
Florida State-It’s hard to say at this point who all will be staying or going. Frankly, this team could be loaded next season. They bring in one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Plus add in Caleb Mills, who was arguably Houston’s best player before transferring.
Georgia Tech-The ceiling for this team has gotten a lot higher since the end of the season. This is especially so with the announcements that Jordan Usher and Bubba Parham are returning. There’s a possibility that Jose Alavarado could return as well. Michael Devoe and Moses Wright are going to test the draft waters. But, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could return. The Yellow Jackets could finish in the top five of the league next year.
Louisville-There’s a lot of unknown about this team at the moment. Carlik Jones could come back, but there’s not much out there on where he’s leaning. Malik Williams will return after missing almost the whole season. Having David Johnson and Samuel Williamson return would be huge for the Cardinals.
Miami-The Canes are one giant question mark. Does Isaiah Wong enter the draft? Does Kameron McGusty use his extra year of eligibility? Who scores for this team if they leave? The prospects for for Miami in this very early preview don’t look great, at least for the moment.
North Carolina-This could be one of the most up in the air situations as we head in to next season. Hubert Davis replaces Roy Williams. This team will still have some talent. The biggest question, aside from the head coach, is whether or not this roster can improve its outside shooting.
NC State-I have been high on this team going into next season. I expect Cam Hayes, Deron Seabron, and Shakeel Moore to take steps forward in their sophomore seasons. Manny Bates is a lock for first team All-ACC Defense. They could really use one more shooter, though.
Notre Dame-Assuming nobody else leaves, there is a lot of potential for this team. Prentiss Hubb took a huge step forward this season. Nate Laszewski was one of the better rebounders in the leagues, and was a pretty good shooter as well. The problem is that a lot of other teams that finished ahead of them in the standings will be really good, too.
Pitt-What started as a potential NCAA Tournament team spiraled into a team that finished near the bottom of the league. Then they lost five players to the transfer portal. To add further insult to injury, Justin Champagnie could stay in the NBA Draft. Unless the Panthers get a lot of key players in the transfer portal, the ceiling doesn’t look very high next season.
Syracuse-For my very early preview I have one question for Cuse fans. So how are we feeling about another season of being on the bubble? That’s what it feels like with this team. The loss of Kadary Richmond is huge for this team. This team was much better when he was on the court. Buddy Boehiem should be back, along with Joe Girard, and Alan Griffin. Griffin is one of the more underrated players in the league.
Virginia-I’m surprised to see the national media so high on this team at the moment. All we know about this roster at this point is that the point guard play will be good. Kihei Clark returns as a fourth year and Reece Beekman is back for his second year season. But Jay Huff and Sam Hauser are gone and Trey Murphy could head to the NBA Draft. If the Hoos want to be near the top of the league again they need two shooters from the portal.
Virginia Tech-Mike Young did one of the better coaching jobs in the country with this Virginia Tech team. A lot of the key players on that roster return. Plus,they add one of the top transfers in Storm Murphy. This looks like an NCAA Tournament team.
Wake Forest-We all knew this was going to be a work in progress. Don’t expect that to change next season. There are six players in the transfer portal. Several other players are likely graduating thus this will likely be a whole new roster again.
Potential appears to be the key word in this very early preview of the ACC.
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