Friday, January 1, 2010

ACC Ballers: Top Front Courts in the ACC

While the ACC season is already underway we are still in the portion of the season where most teams are still playing out of conference opponents. Only a handful of ACC games have been played and what we have noticed is that the ACC has a very talented assortment of front court players In fact, if you have paid attention at all in these first few months of the college basketball season you would have noticed that the ACC is a (big) man's league this season. Several of the league's teams boast front line size that resemble what NBA teams throw out down low. This information, combined with the fact that the conference lost 5 point guards to first round of the 2009 NBA draft, suggests that more than perhaps any season in recent memory post play will be instrumental to determining the final standings of the 2009-2010 ACC Season. As a result, Why not rank the best front courts in the conference....

ACC Ballers Top Front Courts in the ACC:

(starters in bold)

1. North Carolina

The Tar Heels boast what many believe is the deepest front court in the country. Leading the way are 6'8 senior forward Deon Thompson and 6'10 sophomore Ed Davis. These two absolutely dominate the low post to the tune of 31 points, 17 boards, and 3 blocks a night. Davis is a legitimate top 10 pick in the 2010 NBA draft. He's second in the conference in both rebounding (9.8) and blocks (2.2) per game all while shooting a conference leading 64.7% from the field. Thompson started on that National Title team of last season. As if this were not enough Coach Williams also brings 7'0 sophomore center Tyler Zeller off of his bench. I'm not going out on a limb in saying that Tyler would start on at least nine other teams in the conference, and just about every other team in the country. An immensely talented performer Zeller was actually a starter for Carolina last season before a nasty fall left him with a broken hand. Zeller gives the Tar Heels ten points and four boards in just 16 minutes a night.

This is just a little bit of what Davis can do....

In most conferences, this would be enough to solidify the top spot amongst the front court rankings. Not in the ACC. Carolina has about 3 quality freshman post players as well in the 6'10 baby faced John Henson, 6'9 Travis Wear, and 6'9 David Wear. Henson is the cream of the freshman crop for ole Roy and I've heard from a reliable source that he's as high as #3 on at least one NBA team's draft board. Henson has guard handle with big time athleticism. He projects as an NBA three but needs a year or two of seasoning and some weight. At 6'10 he is only 195lbs. Travis and David Wear are two highly recruited post players that also have decent perimeter skills. These two are just winners and played at a high level for the famed Mater Dei High School out in California. Five of the six players discussed were former McDonald's All Americans and the depth/talent combination is why the home of the best front court in the Conference is in Chapel Hill.

check out this big time rejection by Henson

2. Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets run with two probable first round draft picks in the 2010 NBA Draft in 6'9 junior forward Gani Lawal and 6'10 freshman forward Derrick Favors. Lawal leads the team in both scoring and rebounding at close to 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. Favors gives coach Paul Hewitt's squad 12.8 points and 8.8 boards per game. Derrick does all of this while swatting away an impressive 2.2 blocks each night. In addition to this impressive duo the Jackets bring in experienced and versatile senior forward Zachery Peacock off of their bench. Peacock gives them 9.5 ppg and almost 5 boards a game. All while shooting 44% on three point shots. This is great production from a 6'8 235lbs kid. His ability to defend three positions is also an advantage that most teams just don't have.

3. Duke

While the Blue Devils heavily lean on guards John Scheyer and Nolan Smith for much of their offense they rely on several front court players to do just about everything else, and one of em' scores quite a bit also. Forward Kyle Singler, definitely the most acclaimed of the lot plays the Shane Battier/Mike Dunleavy role for Duke in that he plays both inside and out. Singler puts about 16 points and 7 boards along with a steal a night. Along with Singler Coach K uses a bevy of big forward/center type players to close down the lane and grab rebounds. 6'10 sophomore Miles Plumlee,6'9 senior forward Lance Thomas and 7'1 260lbs senior Brian Zoubek give the Blue Devils about 20 points and 18 boards a night. You could look at these numbers and not be impressed but when you consider that Miles' younger bro and 2010 McDonalds and Jordan game All American Mason, a 6'11 freshman, is just now starting to round into form you're looking at a talented front court. Mason was actually projected to the be the starter down low due to his considerable athleticism before a pre-season injury sidelines him for several weeks.

take a look at Mason Plumlee mixtape to see what I'm talking about.

Not to add but on Duke is so loaded down low that they have a 2010 McDonald's All American in Ryan Kelly way down on their bench. He's a skinny 6'10 with a sweet shot and would play alot more than 11 minutes a night at most schools.

4. Florida State

Leonard Hamilton's squad is loaded down low this season as they bring back two very talented performers in 7 foot center Solomon Alibi and 6'9 combo forward Chris Singleton, both of whom happen to rank 1 and 2 respectively in points per game for the Seminoles. Alibi and his 12 points and 7 boards a night is impressive, esp. when you combine that with an ACC leading 2.9 blocks per game average. He is now starting to get considerable NBA interest and many would not be surprised if he declared himself eligible.

...take a look for yourself

The 6'9 Singleton is a 2009 McDonald's All American who's been consistently good for two seasons now. His 7 boards a night ties Alabi's mark for the team lead. The third member of this starting front court is senior Ryan Reid. Reid has had several big games thus far and was intstrumental in FSU's first road ACC win of the year against Georgia Tech (17 points, 5 rebounds) Off the bench Hamilton has two young high flyers in 6'10 Xavier Gibson and 6'7 Jordan DeMercy. Gibson, a sophomore has NBA potential and Demercy can just fly. This front court has NBA size and could easily rank higher in the next few months.

5. Wake Forest

Al-Farouq Aminu leads the way for Wake's front court as the big time sophomore combo forward averages 17 points, an ACC leading 11.5 rebounds, and a little over 1 block per game. Aminu is very versatile and along with Ishamael Smith keeps the Deacons in the game.

Senior centers 7 foot Chas McFarland and 6'11 David Weaver combine for 10 points, 11 boards, and 2 blocks a night. The two really close down the middle and their experience helps them to do just that. What keeps this group at five is the fact that Wake's two other highly touted sophomores,6'10 Tony Woods and 7'1 Ty Walker, really haven't come on. By the same token it's a good bit of the reason why the group made the list to begin with. Woods averages 3 points and 3 boards a night. On the other hand, Walker has barely played this season as he still needs to add weight to his very slight frame. While I expect Woods to come on a bit more this season Walker is still a year away.

ACC Ballers Duke of the Week:

Al Farouq Aminu with the big time dunk off the feed from Ish Smith. This was a huge play in the game as well.....

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