ACCBR’s Top Returning ACC Players: #2 Markell Johnson

Welcome to the end. The posting of North Carolina State’s Markell Johnson being the #2 player on the countdown is actually a confirmation of two places on the countdown. If you still don’t know who the #1 player is, stay tuned. For now, let’s concentrate on the best point guard in the ACC, the alpha of the Pack, Markell Johnson.

Last season, Johnson established himself as one of the best guards in the ACC, averaging 12.6 points, 4.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds. There was some regression from his sophomore season, in which he averaged 8.9 points, 7.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game, but that is to be expected. The 40.5% assist rate he posted as a sophomore is only the third time that has happened in the ACC in the last 10 years among players with a usage rate under 19% that played 700 or more minutes. It was an anomaly.

Markell does seem to be coming into his own as a scorer though, upping his scoring average by 30% while averaging four fewer minutes per game last season. He was more efficient from two, three, and the stripe as his offensive rating increased by over 14 points and his defensive rating improved for the second season in a row. I am not completely sure why there was a decrease in minutes, but the change seemed to have a positive effect, so who am I to question?

The kid is simply a remarkable player that seems to get better every time he steps on the court. This season, the expectations are high for the Wolfpack and Markell is a huge part of that. As a junior, he will have numerous weapons at his disposal including Braxton Beverly, Devon Daniels, CJ Bryce and eventually DJ Funderburk (who is serving an indefinite suspension). Virginia 4A state POY Dereon Seabron is also receiving rave reviews according to some whispers out of Raleigh, which just adds to Johnson’s arsenal.

The versatility of this roster also allows Johnson to play off the ball, and given his ascension into knock down shooter status, that is something you may see a bunch of this season. Last season, he was one of only four players to play more than 800 minutes and shoot 40% or better on at least 150 attempts from behind the arc. The obvious issue with playing up on him to take that away is that he has the ability to then blow right by you.

Best of luck ACC guards!

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