The Top 10 Players in ACC Basketball
Alright, I'll admit it. The ACC isn't the best conference in college basketball. It took me a while to come to this, being a Boston College fan.
But from watching the conference closely, I got to see some of the bests in the game on a regular basis.
One thing I realized is that there's a lot of great playmakers and a lot of experience. Six players on the list are point guards and eight of them are upperclassmen.
Here are who I feel are the top ten players in the ACC, in order.
10. Jack McClinton (Miami)
McClinton averaged 19.3 points this season, third in the ACC. He shot .453 from three point land to lead the conference.
But McClinton is more of a spot-up shooter than a playmaker, which is why he's not higher on the list, along with playing in a deep conference that's built around point guards. Not to mention he's kind of streaky.
McClinton is one of the best scoring point guard in the conference, nonetheless.
9. Tyrese Rice (Boston College)
Rice's childhood dream was to play for UNC. Underrecruited, he settled for BC. But look at him now. He may be no Ty Lawson, but he's an elite college point guard.
Although second in the conference in assists, most of Rice's damage comes from shooting, averaging 16.9 ppg.
Not to mention he was voted as the most clutch player in the ACC in a Sporting News preseason poll. Maybe he's not that good, but you can't go wrong with the ball in his hands.
8. Kyle Singler (Duke)
Singler was a top ten freshman last year and was one of the best to return.
Singler is a solid offensive rebounder, averaging three per game. He's also the cornerstone of a Duke defense that's the second best in the conference.
He's a very versatile defender, having to defend both forward positions at some point this year.
Singler is a very good interior passer, averaging 2.4 per game.
Singler has one of the best all-around games in the conference.
7. Trevor Booker (Clemson)
Booker would be a top five player in most conferences. He's almost forgotten amongst the ACC's elite.
Averaging a monster .571 field-goal percentage and two blocks per game, Booker is one of the best interior players you'll find on both ends of the court.
Clemson cooled down toward the end of the season, but don't blame Booker. He got a double-double in six of the their last eight games and shot for 50 percent or better in seven of those.
6. Jeff Teague (Wake Forest)
Teague has nights where he looks like the best player in college basketball. Unfortunately, he has nights where he seemingly loses his shooting stroke, especially evident during the conference tournament and against Cleveland State.
Teague's strength is in his three point shooting and he shot .500 or better from the arc in 16 games.
Despite averaging only 3.5 assists, he has the ability to pass the ball when he's guarded well. With a .485 field-goal percentage, Teague is simply one of the smartest offensive players out there.
5. Greivis Vasquez (Maryland)
The Terrapins lost to Duke 85-44 on January, 24. During the halftime show, ESPN asked Duke fans if they'd ever heard of Vasquez.
Well, now they know. Vasquez got a triple double against UNC February, 21.
Vasquez finished seventh in scoring and third in assists in the ACC.
He's a tall point guard at 6'6", so he was able to average 5.4 rebounds per year.
4. Ty Lawson (North Carolina)
Lawson is the point guard of the top scoring offense in the conference.
He leads the conference in assists and assist/turnover ratio. Not to mention he has a higher field goal percentage than Hansbrough.
He's the fastest point guard in the conference and arguably the best passer, but why is he not high on the list?
That's because he plays defense at a Steve Nash level. When Lawson has a strong performance on offense, it's not rare to see the same thing from whoever he's guarding.
Here's what happened in his last meetings against some of the ACC's elite point guards:
Jon Scheyer: 24 points
Greivis Vasquez: 35 points
Jack McClinton: 35 points
Lawson is only 5'11" and has opponents have an easy time getting shots over him.
Nonetheless, Lawson is the engine of an offense that's gotten the Tar Heels to the Final Four.
3. Gerald Henderson (Duke)
Henderson reminds me of Brandon Roy. This is because even when Duke needs to slow down their offense, Henderson is so efficient with the ball.
He's played a lot of great defenses this year and he's been able to exploit the best of them.
He scored 24 against Texas, who's won from great half-court defense.
He scored 27 against Florida State, the best scoring defense in the ACC.
But Henderson is also similar to Roy in that he is smart enough to know when there's no shot for him and he always makes the right pass, being able to average four or five assists when the pressure's on.
Although not an elite defender, Henderson has fit perfectly into Duke's defensive system, living up to all his strengths.
Henderson will likely be a lottery pick, but there's a chance he'll stay for his senior year.
If you want a fun fact, Henderson is also a very talented golfer. One ESPN announcer even said that he had the potential to become the black Tiger Woods. Yeah.
2. Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)
Hansbrough recently became the only four-time All-American in college basketball history. He has the opportunity to complete his epic college career with a championship.
His 20.9 ppg were second in the ACC and averaged 8.1 rebounds per game. This all came from playing his unnatural position of center most of the year. But he's one of the fastest 6'9" players in the game.
Simply, Hansbrough has accomplished things no one else has and he's leading arguably the best team in college basketball. What else do you need to know?
1. Toney Douglas (Florida State)
Be honest. Have you ever heard of him? Unless you closely follow the ACC or you're a stats geek, the senior point guard would have never crossed your mind.
Even the media has hardly caught on. Douglas is one the third AP All-American team. There are two ACC players on the first and second teams.
It's sad that you never hear about Douglas because not only is he one of the best in the ACC. He is the best.
Douglas lead the conference in scoring with 21.5 points per game. Despite averaging only 2.9 assists per game, don't think that Douglas put himself over his team.
The Seminoles (25-10, 10-6 ACC) finished fourth in conference play and Douglas lead the team to the ACC championship to lose to a much deeper Duke.
Down the stretch, Douglas played out of his mind offensively and defensively.
Against Boston College 2/24:
Douglas: 19 points
Tyrese Rice: 11 points
Against Miami 2/18:
Douglas: 24 points
Jack McClinton: 13 points
Against Wake Forest 2/14:
Douglas: 22 points
Jeff Teague: 15 points
Douglas also shot for a higher percentage than those opponents while having less around him.
It's a point guard's conference and Douglas is the best there is.