By: Kinchen Taylor
What’s up people, sorry for the hiatus, but life and work happens. Feels good to be back behind the keyboard and typing out the takes here for ACC Basketball Report. I came on during the second half of last season and look forward to being here for the long haul starting this season.
I have decided to start of my off-season/preseason coverage by giving out my Starting Lineup Predictions for all the ACC teams. This is something I have been working on for some time now. From grad transfers, to guys staying in or withdrawing from the NBA Draft, it is something that I feel like I cannot type out in the middle of May if I want to give you readers a quality product.
Even now, this past week it was announced Clyde Trapp tore his ACL all but knocking him out for this upcoming season for Clemson. That really stinks for him and the Tiger faithful and we all hope for a speedy recovery. It just goes to show that you never know what might happen in the off-season. With that being said, here is the FIRST ANNUAL WAY TOO EARLY STARTING LINEUP PREDICTIONS
G: Derryck Thornton GR-SR (7.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.3 APG at USC)
G: Wynston Tabbs SO (13.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.7 APG)
F: Jairus Hamilton SO (5.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.8 APG)
F: Steffon Mitchell JR (4.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.3 APG)
F: Nik Popovic SR (14.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.1 APG)
Sixth Man: Chris Herren Jr SO (4.2 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.1 APG)
This year’s team is very intriguing. Who will be the one to step up and take over Ky Bowman’s roll and be the number one option to score? My guess is put your money on Wynston Tabbs or Jairus Hamilton.
Hamilton, a Charlotte NC native, could keep up the tradition of being Jim Christian’s diamond in a coal mine of NC products who were passed over and have strong seasons much like Bowman and Jerome Robinson had during their time in Chestnut Hill. My way too early prediction for the season for BC is middle of the road in the ACC.
Former Duke and USC point guard Derryck Thornton brings his experience to this relatively young back court. It will be interesting to see how he plays in the ACC now compared to his one year in Durham.
G: Curran Scott GR-SR (8.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.1 APG at Tulsa)
G: Tevin Mack GR-SR (9.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.8 APG at Alabama)
G: John Newman SO (2.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.4 APG)
F: Aamir Simms JR (8.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.0 APG)
F: Trey Jemison SO (0.4 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.1 APG)
Sixth Man: ???
I’ll be honest, with Clyde Trapp being out for the season, this team looks terrible on paper. You have some experience with Scott and Mack (low key would be a great law firm name), but that’s pretty much it. The Tigers are really embracing this football school mentality by how this basketball teams looks heading into this season.
Bold Prediction Number 1: As bad as this season will probably be, Brad Brownell will NOT get fired at the end of the season. I just hope my good friend who runs the Fire Brownell Twitter account has his liquor cabinet well stocked heading into November, it might be a long 4-5 months.
G: Tre Jones SO (9.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.3 APG)
G: Cassius Stanley FR (High School)
G: Alex O’Connell JR (4.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.6 APG)
F: Wendell Moore Jr FR (High School)
C: Vernon Carey FR (High School)
Sixth Man: Joey Baker (0.8 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
Bold Prediction Number 2: Joey Baker will be Duke’s best player off the bench. His numbers can only go up from last year. I am fully aware of the ACCBR curse and think that of all my bold predictions, this is the one that could potentially blow up in my face.
If Tre Jones went to the NBA this year, I would not be as high on Duke as I am right now. With the freshman talent coming in and an off-season for Jones to work on his weaknesses, Duke will once again be a top contender to win the ACC this year. Now if only they can get to a Final Four…
G: MJ Walker JR (7.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.6 APG)
G: Trent Forrest SR (9.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.7 APG)
G: Anthony Polite SO (2.7 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.6 APG)
F: Patrick Williams FR (High School)
C: Dominik Olejniczak GR-SR (5.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 APG at Ole Miss)
Sixth Man: Devin Vassell SO (4.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.6 APG)
Florida State lost a lot off of last years team and it will show early on this season. Walker and Forrest make up a good scoring back court, but I am not completely sold on them winning games in the ACC. I believe that if Kabengele stayed another year, I would have put the Noles as the team to beat this season, but they have a void to fill with him deciding to pursue an NBA career.
G: Jose Alvarado JR (12.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.4 APG)
G: Michael Devoe SO (9.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.5 APG)
F: Kristian Sjolund SO (3.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG)
F: Moses Wright JR (6.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.8 APG)
C: James Banks III SR (10.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.4 APG)
Sixth Man: Jordan Usher JR (8.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.7 APG at USC)
Low key, I like the way this Georgia Tech team looks on paper. They have scoring back. They have some experience coming back. It could be an interesting year for the Yellow Jackets.
The only drawback might be Pastner. Josh Pastner is a coach, who *at times* looks like he is in over his head, but then sneaks out a big win on the road in the ACC. The key to their season will be whether or not Pastner messes with a rotation or does not know what to do with these guys.
G:Darius Perry JR (5.4 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.5 APG)
G: Dwayne Sutton SR (10.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.9 APG)
F: Jordan Nwora JR (17.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.3 APG)
F: Jaelyn Withers FR (High School)
C: Steven Enoch SR (9.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.2 APG)
Sixth Man: Ryan McMahon SR (7.2 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 1.8 APG)
Aside from Duke, the Cards look to be the top contender for the ACC Title this year. Jordan Nwora deciding to stay another year in Louisville is really good for the Cards and probably him as well.
Bold prediction number 3: Jordan Nwora will be the Preseason ACC Player of the Year. The leading scorer from last year can really improve his draft stock by having a stellar year. Along with a good group of experienced juniors, seniors and a solid freshman class, Louisville is in my Top 3 ACC teams for this year.
G: Chris Lykes JR (16.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.2 APG)
G: DJ Vasiljevic SR (11.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 APG)
G: Kam McGusty JR (DNP, Redshirt Year)
F: Keith Stone GR-SR (6.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.6 APG at Florida)
F: Rodney Miller JR (DNP, Redshirt Year)
Sixth Man: Deng Gak RS-FR (2.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.6 APG)
It can only get better from here for the Hurricanes after last season. I believe they have the senior leadership and experience to be on the top half of the ACC this season. I love Chris Lykes and his mentality on offense. Also, looking forward to seeing some of the offensive load off his 5’7″ shoulders with Keith Stone (side note cannot wait to make Keystone Light references) and Kam McGusty being corner pieces.
Larranaga had his hands full last year but I expect this year to be a complete 180 in terms of success.
G: Markell Johnson SR (12.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 4.2 APG)
G: Braxton Beverly JR (9.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.5 APG)
G: CJ Bryce SR (11.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.8 APG)
F: Pat Andree GR-SR (12.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.7 APG at Lehigh)
F: DJ Funderburk JR (8.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.4 APG)
Sixth Man: Manny Bates (DNP, Medical Redshirt)
Kevin Keatts in Year 3 looks to have his most complete team on paper. A good balance of scoring, size, and senior leadership could go a long ways into March. The Pack has depth at every position here in the offseason. You could swap out either Devon Daniels, Blake Harris, or even Jericole Hellems at that Sixth Man spot.
The Pack looks strong this season, I have them as a potential Top 5 team in the ACC and a not so long shot at the ACC title. Something they have not won since the Reagan Administration.
G: Cole Anthony FR (High School)
G: Brandon Robinson SR (3.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.4 APG)
G: Christian Keeling GR-SR (18.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.8 APG at Charleston Southern)
F: Justin Pierce GR-SR (14.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 4.1 APG at William and Mary)
F: Garrison Brooks JR (7.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.3 APG)
Sixth Man: Leaky Black SO (2.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.2 APG)
Every year when Carolina loses a core class of scoring and good players, I think they are due for a drop off. In ACCBR curse fashion, I get proven wrong almost every year.
Carolina lost a lot from last year’s team and has reloaded with players just as good. With two grad transfers in Keeling and Pierce, plus a slew of great freshmen, Roy Williams will continue to show he is one of the best coaches in college basketball, whether I like it or not.
I fully expect UNC to be in the top 3 by the end of the season and again competing for an ACC title.
G: TJ Gibbs SR (13.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.4 APG)
G: Prentiss Hubb SO (8.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.0 APG)
F: Rex Pflueger RS-SR (8.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.3 APG)
F: John Mooney SR (14.1 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 1.3 APG)
F: Juwan Durham JR (5.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.4 APG)
Sixth Man: Dane Goodwin SO (6.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.1 APG)
Notre Dame lost literally no one off of last year’s team aside from transfer D.J. Harvey. With Rex Pflueger returning from an injury that sidelined his true senior year, I believe he will take over on the court this season and become an offensive terror with John Mooney. That may sound like a ridiculous but a totally plausible scenario.
Bold Prediction Number 4: Notre Dame finishes the season in the Top 5 of the ACC and an outside shot at a Double Bye in the ACC Tournament.
G: Xavier Johnson SO (15.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.5 APG)
G: Trey McGowens SO (11.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 APG)
G: Au’Diese Toney SO (7.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.5 APG)
F: Kene Chukwuka SR (3.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.4 APG)
F: Terell Brown JR (5.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.2 APG)
Sixth Man: Eric Hamilton GR-SR (6.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.1 APG at UNC-Greensboro)
I’m not entirely sure what to expect from Pitt this year. I really like this young core of guards with McGowens, Johnson and with some added depth, Capel could have something to build on for the next coming years for the Panthers. I think they could end up being in the mix for middle of the pack and will prove to be a tough place to play for road teams.
G: Jalen Carey SO (3.5 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.0 APG)
G: Elijah Hughes JR (13.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.5 APG)
F: Marek Dolezaj JR (4.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.6 APG)
F: Quincy Guerrier FR (High School)
F: Bourama Sidibe JR (1.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.2 APG)
Sixth Man: Buddy Boeheim (6.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.0 APG)
For now, I like Syracuse to be on the top half of the ACC. They lost a lot of scoring with Frank Howard and O’shae Brissett, but they make up for it in a solid recruiting class coming in. The one I am most looking forward to seeing play is Joe Girard III. He and Buddy Boeheim off the bench could give a glimpse what’s in store for the Orange in a year or two.
G: Kihei Clark SO (4.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.6 APG)
G: Tomas Woldetensae SO (17.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.5 APG at JUCO)
F: Justin McKoy FR (High School)
F: Braxton Key SR (5.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.0 APG)
F: Mamadi Diakite SR (7.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.3 APG)
Sixth Man: Jay Huff JR (4.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.2 APG)
Coming off their National Championship, the Big Three of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter have all furthered their careers and left for the NBA, leaving a big hole on offense for Tony Bennett to figure out.
Coach Bennett is one of the best in the country right now and I believe he has capable scorers in JUCO transfer Tomas Woldetensae and freshman Justin McKoy. There is probably someone I will over look and become the main guy on offense for the Hoos, but that is what makes Virginia so much fun to watch. You never know who is going to be the number one guy that night. Yes, I do mean I enjoy watching Virginia basketball. It is a form of art that should be immortalized in museums.
G: Jalen Cone FR (High School)
G: Isaiah Wilkins SO (4.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.6 APG)
F: Landers Nolley FR? (DNP)
F: PJ Horne JR (3.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.3 APG)
C: Branden Johnson GR-SR (4.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.1 APG at Alabama State)
Sixth Man:Wabissa Bede JR (3.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.3 APG)
Before I took a long hard look at Clemson’s roster, Virginia Tech was the team I thought was going to be 15th this year. It is going to be a rough start, in my opinion, to year 1 for Mike Young. This is certainly not the SoCon or Wofford.
I do believe he will eventually have some success in Blacksburg, but much like driving up there, it will be a steep hill to climb. I am interested to see how much the offense revolves around either Landers Nolley or Jalen Cone, the two best offensive pieces on the team.
G: Brandon Childress SR (14.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.0 APG)
G: Chaundee Brown JR (11.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.2 APG)
G: Sharone Wright Jr SO (7,1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.0 APG)
F: Isaiah Mucius SO (6.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.7 APG)
C: Olivier Sarr JR (6.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.5 APG)
Sixth Man: Torry Johnson SR (5.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.4 APG)
How Danny Manning made it past last season, I will never know other than the fact the buyout was $18 million.
Wake Forest has had a lot of talent, but it seems that Manning cannot pull off a “miracle” and consistently win in the ACC.
I would enjoy to see Brandon Childress embrace an inner Erick Green and go off for 30+ every night no matter how bad his team is. He has the ability to score like that, it is just a matter of if his teammates will help him out. I expect this to be Manning’s last season unless something drastically changes in Winston-Salem.
There you have it people, my starting five predictions for the 2019-2020 season. Stay tuned for upcoming #Korner3s. I promise they will not be as long as this posts was. If you agree or disagree or just want to further the discussion about all things ACC, feel free to follow me on Twitter @kinchen1andonly