Last week was pretty lame as ACC hoops is concerned but this week promises to be much better as exams are finally over and done with. There aren't many big time matchups this week but there is a biggie this coming Saturday as #7 Xavier goes up against #6 Duke in East Rutherford, NJ. Should be an interesting game as both teams have played well thus far. The Musketeers are coming off of a tough road win against in-state rival Cincinnati and are undefeated (9-0) at this point in the season. Before we go on I want to give major props to my boy Pooh Bear Mars for being ranked in Rivals top 250 high school football players for 2009. Pooh Bear has one of the top names in sports and apparently the game to match. Take a look.
....Moving on, we're going to take a look at some ACC ballers that have improved tremendously over the past year. Sometimes this increased productivity can be a result of more minutes or injury issues, but often times its just that these players have worked on their games in the summer. Time to give some props.
ACC Ballers: Most Improved Players
1) G Jeff Teague, sophomore, Wake Forest - Teague has put up monster numbers this year for Dino Gaudio's club and he looks as though he is coming into his own. He's a fantastic athletic with the quicks to stay with anyone and the leaping ability to challenge shots. Teague's statistical improvement can be attributed to his dedication in the off season and an injury to last year's starting point guard Ishmael Smith. He's upped his scoring average from 13.9 to 19.3 per game, his assist average from 2.5 - 4.6, and his steal average from 1.8 to 2.4. Jeff's big time. Judging by this..(although I think he was called for the charge here)
(This is the first reference to Arabian Goggles I've ever read)
2) PF Gani Lawal, sophomore, Georgia Tech - Gani, a former McDonalds All American has really gotten it done this year for Hewitt's squad. He's upped his scoring output by 11 points a night (18ppg in 08-09') and his rebounding production by 7 (10rbp in 08-09'). His signature game thus far came in a loss against Penn State as he went for 34 points and 10 boards. He is going to be dominant for Tech this year and might actually help them get back to the tournament this year.
(it's from his high school days in Georgia)
3) PF Deon Thompson, junior, North Carolina - Deon has been a man amongst boys from the beginning of the year. He really took advantage of Hansbrough's absence early on as he dominated the paint area for the Heels. The 6'8, 240lbs junior has had several monster games thus far including a 19 point (8-12 from the field) 13 rebound performance against Notre Dame in the Maui Invitational Final. Again, his numbers were pretty decent last year (8.4 points, 4 boards a game on a loaded squad) but nothing like the production he's delivering now Deon is putting up 15.7ppg and almost 7.9rpg this season.
4) PF Jeff Allen, sophomore, Virginia Tech - Jeff has been doing his thing down in Blacksburg this year to the tune of almost 15 points and 10 boards a game. He's pretty much the only inside threat Seth Greenberg and his staff have and at times he's all they need. In his last game, a home win against Longwood, Allen went for 19 and 21! That's right, 21 boards. The kid is a beast.
5) PF Alade Aminu, senior, Georgia Tech - Alade, the older brother of stud freshman Al-Farouq Aminu is a beast inside and finally coming into his own down in Atlanta. The 6'10 power forward has upped his scoring average from 6 to 13 while his rebounding numbers have jumped up 5 boards a game to 9.1. Much of this is attributed to the increased minutes Coach Hewitt has given him and apparently they are much deserved. Aminu has looked good in almost every contest this year and gave Vanderbilt 16 points, 11 boards, and 4 blocks a little over a week ago.
6) PF Mike Scott, sophomore, Virginia - Scott has doubled his scoring and rebounding averages to pull himself up to 10 points and 10 boards a game in the young season. He's a relentless rebounder and has tried to assert himself offensively when possible. Mike's progress is impressive considering the limited amount of high school basketball he played.
7) PF/C Ben McCauley, senior, NC State - McCauley, the 6'9 237 pounder from Pennsylvania is looking like an improved version of the player we saw in 2006-2007 where he averaged 14 points and 7 boards a game. Last season was tough on Ben, as it was on many a Wolfpack player due to their lack of a seasoned point guard. His scoring average dropped significantly and State had a tough time closing out games. This season seems like a return to the norm as Ben is putting up an impressive 15 points and 9 boards a game. He's always been very skilled and his ACC experience will help the Wolfpack tremendously as conference play comes around.
ACC Ballers Dunk of the Week
Gerald Henderson gettin' up on Southern Illinois.....