ACC Basketball: Predicting the 2012-13 ACC Stats Leaders
I can't wait for the 2012-13 ACC conference season to begin!
The race this season could be as competitive as any in recent years.
It will not be a two-team race.
Duke and North Carolina will be right there.
But North Carolina State, Florida State and host of possible others will fill this season with "can't miss" action.
As always, the court will be filled with talent from all 12 teams.
There will be plenty of opportunities to shine, with every member of the 2011-12 first-team All-ACC moving on from college.
Here are my preseason predictions of who will lead the league in eight statistical categories:
FG Percentage: Mason Plumlee (Duke)
Mason Plumlee does all of his scoring inside the arc. Last year, he didn't take a single shot from three-point range. Smart decision on his part.
Plumlee normally sets up down low and rarely wanders far from the paint.
As a junior, Plumlee connected on 57.2 percent of his shots from the floor.
Because he plays within his skill set and works hard to get putbacks, MP2 will shoot around 60 percent from the field again.
FT Percentage: Seth Curry (Duke)
Seth Curry is money from the line.
To start off last season, Curry hit 34 of his first 36 FT attempts.
On the year, the 6'2" junior guard knocked down 103-of-118 free throws (87.3 percent).
Curry may lead the league in FT percentage, but he has a huge task ahead of him if he wants to set the Duke single-season school record.
J.J. Redick sank 95.3 percent of his free throws in his sophomore season (143-of-150).
3-Point Shooting Percentage: Scott Wood (NC State)
Scott Wood's long-range shooting is a definite weapon for the Wolfpack as they enter the 2012-13 season.
The rising senior wing has hit 230 shots from beyond the arc in his first three seasons at NC State.
Last year, he connected on 95-of-232 threes (40.9 percent).
With the wide variety of talent that Mark Gottfried will put on the court, Wood should get more than his share of open looks from downtown.
Steals: Lorenzo Brown (NC State)
Lorenzo Brown is a thief and a pick-pocket...and NC State's head coach Mark Gottfried is excited about that.
Last year, Brown was the first NC State player since Chris Corchiani in 1990 to lead the league in steals (61; 1.8 spg), and he will most likely do it again this year.
The 6'5" guard not only uses his length to torment opponents and get in the passing lanes, but he also uses his sharp intuition, knowing when to wait and when to pounce.
Blocked Shots: Daniel Miller (Georgia Tech)
Daniel Miller's interior defense is something that the Yellow Jackets can build on in 2012-13.
Last year, Miller was the No. 2 shot-blocker in the ACC behind John Henson and was No. 21 in the nation with 75 blocks overall and 2.4 per game.
If the 6'11" 260 lbs rising junior can bump this up to the next level, Georgia Tech might become competitive in league-play this season.
Assists: Lorenzo Brown (NC State)
Lorenzo Brown was No. 2 (behind Kendall Marshall) in the ACC in assists (6.3 apg) last year.
His 2.0 assists-to-turnover ratio demonstrates that he does a good overall job of taking care of the ball.
Because the Wolfpack's abundance of scoring talent, Brown could easily improve on his two games of double-figure assists this coming season.
Rebounding: Richard Howell (NC State)
NC State's Richard Howell is the ACC rebounding leader (9.2 rpg) among returning league players.
The 6'8" 250 lbs forward has no problem creating space and going after missed shots on either end of the court.
Howell had 16 games with 10 or more rebounds and was 37th nationally in rebounds per game.
If Howell can become a double-double threat every night, the Wolfpack could win their first ACC title since 1987.
Scoring: C.J. Harris (Wake Forest)
C.J. Harris does a lot of good things for the Demon Deacons, but what he does best is put the ball in the hole.
Harris is the leading scorer (16.7 ppg) among returning ACC players.
Don't leave the Winston-Salem native open beyond the arc. He hit a sizzling 42.2 percent of his three-pointers on the year.
But, don't play the 6'3" senior too tight, or he will blow by you and get to the rim and make you pay!