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Coming and Going - A Look at ACC Basketball in 2009-10, Pt. I

This is a project that we as a blog have been working on for quite awhile. Yes, it's out of order (shouldn't a football preview be here?), but Maryland's a basketball school first and foremost, dagnabbit! Plus, we got the idea during March Madness and just ran with it. All three of us put in work on it, with homertuck bearing the brunt of it, and there's a boatload of raw data behind it, which you'll see in a few days.

Below, you'll find a team-by-team analysis of what exactly is being lost - through graduation, the NBA, or Europe -and who exactly is coming in - ie, the recruiting class, and their rankings - for each ACC basketball team. A couple of predictions accompany this. We realize that a lot could change between now and November, which is why we include three different possible predictions - a Best Case, a Worst Case, and our own prediction, a fusion of the two.

While we realize that basketball doesn't use the divisions, reading 12 of these reports at once is darn near impossible. For that reason, and the lack of a clear division of basketball teams, we borrowed the divisions concept from football. Today, we break down the six Atlantic teams: Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Tomorrow, check back to see the Coastal Division. On Thursday, we'll publish a companion piece of sorts - a visual aid, loaded with graphs to help you make sense of all this.

So, without any further ado, make the jump and get to reading.


2009 Recruiting Class:
Mason Plumlee 6' 11" Center: 98 grade
Ryan Kelly 6' 10" Forward: 97 grade


With Jon Scheyer going into his senior season and Greg Paulus already gone, many Terp fans may be wondering what awkward-looking white player they'll have to root against in the future. Have no fear: Coach K is bringing in two of them for next season in Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee. The bad news: Kelly and Plumlee are ranked #20 and #55 overall by Rivals, respectively.


Overall Class Ranking: #9 (ESPN), #9 (Scout)

Players lost to graduation/NBA/Europe:
Greg Paulus (G) - Graduation (4.9 ppg)
David McClure (F) - Graduation (1.9 ppg)
Gerald Henderson (G-F) - NBA (16.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg)

Scheyerface2_mediumOverall, Duke doesn't lose too much next season, especially when compared with other ACC schools. They only lose 28% of their three-point baskets, 35% of their assists, 24% of their blocks, 30% of their points, 26% of their rebounds, and 24% of their steals. Maryland and Virginia are the only other schools that lose less than Duke, and that is in Maryland's best case scenario of Vasquez returning. Add in the fact that Duke brings in a good true center in Mason Plumlee and a nice forward to replace part of the void lost by Gerald Henderson, and the Blue Devils again look like a possibly scary team in 2009-2010. Duke's only other loses aside from Henderson are back up point guard Greg Paulus and seldom used forward David McClure.  Also, watch out for the development of Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer (pictured with a traditional Scheyerface).  The man with the funny faces really improved towards the second half of last season and he'll be counted on to pick up the 16.5 ppg lost by the departure of Henderson.   

Best Case - Duke is Duke, Plumlee is actually a good white guy center that isn't a bust for Duke, and the Blue Devils actually show up in the NCAA tournament and make it to the elite eight under the leadership of Scheyer and Singler. The Blue Devils dominate the ACC, and rack up a 13-3 ACC record.

Worst Case - Plumlee and Kelly are two more awkward looking white guy busts, Scheyer quits the team after seeing thousands of pictures of his face again at the Comcast Center, and Duke again fails to make it past the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament after having a 10-6 ACC season.

Testudo Times Prediction - Duke is Duke but doesn't live up to the media hype yet again. The Blue Devils finish with a 12-4 ACC record, continue their dominance and win the ACC tournament, and then bow out of the NCAA tournament in the sweet 16.

Georgia Tech

2009 Recruiting Class:

Derrick Favors  6' 9" Power Forward: 98 grade
Mfon Udofia 6' 2" Point Guard: 93 grade
Kammeon Holsey 6' 8" Power Forward: 92 grade
Daniel Miller 6' 10" Center: 91 grade
Glen Rice Jr. 6' 4" Shooting Guard: 89 grade
Brian Oliver 6' 6" Small Forward: 87 grade


Georgia Tech's recruiting class is highlighted by one name: Derrick Favors (pictured below). Rivals' third best player in the country is most likely a "one and done" but he's joined by five others, including three who are ranked in Rivals' top 80. 

Overall Class Ranking: #7 (ESPN), #5 (Scout)


Players lost to graduation/NBA/Europe:
Lewis Clinch (G) - Graduation (15.5 ppg)
Bassirou Dieng (C-F) - Graduation (1.2 ppg)
Gary Cage (G) - Graduation (0.7 ppg)
Alade Aminu (F) - Graduation (11.8 ppg, 8 rpg)
Gani Lawal (F) - Undecided (15.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg)


Recruit_i_favors_mediumGeorgia Tech had a tough year in 2009-2010, limping to an 11-18 (2-14 ACC) record. But Tech's head coach Paul Hewitt is hoping to erase memories of last season by bringing in a top 10 recruiting class to replace four departing seniors and possibly sophomore Gani Lawal. Hewitt survived the 2-14 ACC performance of last year but if he doesn't start to produce, the natives might become restless and attack - where do you think they'll go first? For Hewitt's head. Whether or not Lawal returns will have a huge impact on the success of the Yellow Jackets in 2009-2010. If Lawal does come back, Tech will lose 33% of their point production from last season but if he doesn't return to school, that number jumps up to 54%. A similar story holds true for rebounding where the return of Lawal means Tech only loses 28% of their rebounding if Lawal is back. But if Lawal leaves, that number will pump up to 56%.


Best Case - Tech's young guys perform at a very high level and bully around some of the other ACC teams to a 10-6 record.


Worst Case - Lawal leaves and Favors doesn't live up to their hype. Tech improves on last year, but finishes 5-11 in ACC play.


Testudo Times Prediction: Paul Hewitt might have saved his job by bringing in a top ten recruiting class following last season's horrible 2-14 ACC finish. Even though injuries might have played a role in that final record, the head coach is normally the one who gets the axe, no matter how valid the excuse might be. With their new recruiting class coming in, this will be a very different Tech team. Expect the Yellow Jackets to improve by 7 wins in 2009-2010, finishing with a solid 9-7 ACC record and returning to the NCAA tournament.


2009 Recruiting Class:

Durand Scott 6' 5" Shooting Guard: 93 grade
Garrius Adams 6' 5" Shooting Guard: 91 grade
Donnavan Kirk 6' 8" Power Forward: 91 grade   
Antoine Allen 6' 2" Shooting Guard: 85 grade


Miami will need help next season filling the void left by first team All-ACC guard, Jack McClinton. They've brought in three shooting guards to do the job including Rivals' 33rd rated prospect, Durand Scott


Overall Class Ranking: #24 (ESPN), #19 (Scout)


Players lost to Graduation/NBA/Europe:

Jimmy Graham (F) - Graduation (4 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Lance Hurdle (G) - Graduation (7.3 ppg)
Brian Asbury (F) - Graduation (8 ppg, 5 rpg)
Jack McClinton (G) - Graduation (19.3 ppg)
Dwayne Collins (F) - Undecided to NBA (10.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg)


Dwayne_collins_dunks_on_greg_paulus_mediumMiami loses a lot of production from their graduating seniors and could be one of the top production-losing teams if junior Dwayne Collins (depicted dunking on Greg Paulus, but really, who hasn't done that yet?) decides to stay in the NBA, but word on the street says he'll be returning next season. Jack McClinton is Miami's biggest loss going into 2009-2010. The Maryland native was Miami's best player and also one of the best players in the ACC. Even if Collins returns, Miami will still be losing 57% of their three-point production for this upcoming season and 52% of their overall scoring from last season. Miami will be looking to build on their 7-9 ACC (19-13 overall) record from last season, but may find that task difficult.


Best Case: Collins returns and shooting guard Durand Scott helps to fill the void left by McClinton. Miami cruises to a 9-7 ACC record (+/- 1 game)


Worst Case: Collins does in fact leave and some of Miami's top 25 recruiting class struggles. Miami finishes with a 6-10 ACC record (+/- 1 game)


Testudo Times Prediction: Miami brings in a strong, top 25 class, but their supporting cast isn't too great, they don't have the home court advantage most ACC schools do, and they lost their best player from last year. Anytime you lose five players, there is an adjustment period. Look for this Hurricane team to be a category 1 storm, enough to cause some trouble, but not strong enough to make you run for higher ground. 7-9 (+/- 1 game) in the ACC and an NIT appearance sounds about right.

North Carolina

2009 Recruiting Class:
John Henson 6' 10" Power Forward: 98 grade
Dexter Strickland 6' 3" Shooting Guard: 95 grade
Leslie McDonald 6' 5" Shooting Guard: 95 grade
David Wear 6' 9" Power Forward: 94 grade 
Travis Wear 6' 9" Power Forward: 94 grade 


You know when you were younger and your mom made you do some annoying chore? Then, as soon as you got through it, she made you do another one? That's how every ACC coach not named Roy Williams (and maybe Mike Krzyzewski) feels year after year. After losing Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green, the Tarheels bring in a consensus top three class which is highlighted by Rivals' fifth ranked player, athletic power forward, John Henson. 

Overall Class Ranking: #2 (ESPN), #3 (Scout)


Players lost to Graduation/NBA/Europe:
Marcus Ginyard (G-F) - Graduation (1.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
Bobby Frasor (G) - Graduation (2.6 ppg, 2 rpg)
Danny Green (G-F) - Graduation (13.1 ppg, 4.7 apg, 1.3 bpg)
J.B. Tanner (G) - Graduation (1.1 ppg)
Jack Wooten (G) - Graduation (0.5 ppg)
Patrick Moody (F) - Graduation (1 ppg)
Mike Copeland (F) - Graduation (0.8 ppg)
Tyler Hansbrough (F) - Graduation (20.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
Ty Lawson (G) - NBA (16.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 3 rpg)
Wayne Ellington (G) - NBA (15.8 ppg, 2.7 apg, 4.9 rpg)


Ncb_a_davis_400_mediumSomeone is going to have to explain to me how UNC has so many people on their roster. That's the size of GT's whole team now that they have scholarship reductions. I guess a lot of people want to walk on to UNC to average a point a game. Or does their roster include that JV team they also have? Anyway, UNC has 10 players leaving the team this year, either because of graduation or leaving early for the NBA. UNC is losing 74% of their points scored from last season, 93% of their made three-pointers, 78% of their assists and 56% of their rebounds. That is a whole lot of loss. Fortunately for the Tar Heels, their recruiting class is ranked in the top 3, as forward John Henson will look to fill the big shoes of Tyler Hansbrough. They also return senior forward Deon Thompson, and sophomore bigs Ed Davis (seen right, trying to annoy me by wearing a t-shirt) and Tyler Zeller.  The development of Davis and Zeller could go a long way in determining how this Carolina team fares this season.   With the departure of so many players, most of UNC's team will be unproven next season, so the Tar Heels could struggle early and could also fade down the stretch.


Best Case: Davis and Zeller ease of the pain of losing Hansbrough and UNC's top three recruiting class excels early. The Tar Heels don't miss a beat after winning it all last season and finish at 12-4 and 2nd in the ACC.


Worst Case: UNC's new team takes a while to gel and some of the top-billed prospects don't live up to the hype. 9-7 ACC, 2nd round of NCAA's.


Testudo Times Prediction: One thing you have to give UNC head coach Roy Williams credit for: he's a hell of a recruiter and the guys he recruits are normally slam dunks. But its Roy's in-game coaching that has been his limiting factor in his career. Expect UNC to start struggling a little but come together by midseason. Then expect the team relying so heavily on freshman players not used to the tough competition of the ACC to fade a little in the last few games. 10-6 ACC, 2nd round of the NCAA tournament.


2009 Recruiting Class:
Tristan Spurlock 6' 7" Small Forward: 91 grade
Jontel Evans 5' 11" Point Guard: 87 grade 


After Dave Leitao stepped down, new coach Tony Bennett had some significant ground to make up on the recruiting trail. He managed to keep former Leitao commits, Tristan Spurlock (SF) and Jontel Evans (PG), who make up his first Cavaliers recruiting class.  


Overall Class Ranking: N/A (ESPN), N/A (Scout)


Players lost to Graduation/NBA/Europe:

Tunji Soroye (C) - Graduation (1.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Mamadi Diane (G-F) - Graduation (6 ppg, 2 rpg)


SylvenUVA doesn't lose much this off season and compared to the rest of the ACC; actually, they're losing the least in almost every category we've broken down. The biggest loss they'll suffer this offseason is in blocked shots, where they lose 26% of the shot blocking production from last year. Unfortunately for UVA, what remains on the team is nothing really new from last season and the two recruits coming in aren't exactly superstars.  Tony Bennett will have his work cut out with this group and maybe he can catch lightening in a bottle. A lot will also depend on the development of guard Sylven Landesberg (pictured with all his gum-filled smiley goodness). Last year, the freshman led the Wahoos in points, was second in assists, and second in rebounds. Incoming players Tristan Spurlock and Jontel Evans will provide some nice new blood into the program but the undersized Evans might struggle when he gets to ACC play. This could definitely be a rebuilding year in Charlottesville.


Best Case: Sylven Landesberg establishes himself as an elite ACC guard and new head coach Tony Bennett changes the culture at UVA.  The team surprises a lot of people and finishes with an 8-8 ACC record and a NIT appearance or a low seed in the NCAAs. 


Worst Case: Same old story from last year, with just a little improvement. 5-11 ACC


Testudo Times Prediction: The Tony Bennett hire will help this team a lot - new system, blood into the program. But can the players Leitao recruited fit into and succeed in Bennett's system? Only time can tell. Expect Landesberg to improve and Spurlock to do well, but not well enough to pull UVA out of another unsuccessful season. 5-11 ACC.

Virginia Tech

2009 Recruiting Class:
Erick Green 6' 3" Point Guard: 88 grade
Cadarian Raines 6' 9" Center: 88 grade
Manny Atkins 6' 6" Small Forward: 87 grade
Ben Boggs 6' 3" Shooting Guard: 87 grade


Seth Greenberg's 2009 class isn't filled with any instant superstars but he does bring in four players all rated above an 87. They'll collectively try to offset the loss of last season's leading scorer, A.D. Vassallo.


Overall Class Rankings: N/A (ESPN), N/A (Scout) 


Players lost to Graduation/NBA/Europe:

A.D. Vassallo (G-F) - Graduation (19.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
Cheick Diakite ( C ) - Graduation (3.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg)


Picture_1_mediumSeth Greenberg will try to offset the loss of A.D. Vassallo by bringing in four solid freshmen and hoping that they can fill the void. This recruiting class seems to be typical Greenberg - nothing too flashy, but a group of solid players who are willing to work to get better. Greenberg might be one of the more under-rated coaches in the ACC when it comes to getting the best from his players. Tech does lose 40% of their made three-point attempts from last season, as well as 41% of their blocks, but other than that and losing Vassallo, they won't lose too much.  If Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen (seen giving Maryland fans the bird) can step up and be leaders this could be a very good Tech team.


Best Case: Va. Tech builds off last year and rides Delaney and Allen to a surprising 11-5 ACC record (+/- 1 game), with this year's recruiting class tag-teaming to pick up for the production lost by the graduation of leading scorer A.D. Vassallo.


Worst Case: Jeff Allen is more focused on flipping off Terp fans than improving his game and the four incoming players don't adjust fast enough to the learning curve of ACC basketball. The team struggles, especially down the stretch, and limps to a 7-9 ACC record.


Testudo Times Prediction: Greenberg, while he can be obnoxious at times, is a fairly solid coach who gets the best out of what he has. Expect him to do the same this year and will his team to an 8-8 record (+/- 1 game) and sneak in as an NCAA tournament team. 


Remember to check back in tomorrow and Thursday for parts II and III.