Every ACC Basketball Team's Most Overrated Player
The word overrated has become part of the everyday lexicon for college basketball fans and analysts. After all, the entire NCAA tournament seeding process is based on rating teams by seed, which sets up the path for the national championship.
Opposing fans love to point out when an archrival, or a particular player on an archrival, is overrated. Read on to see which players ACC fanbases will be deriding during the 2013-14 season for not being as good as the hype would indicate.
If there is a silver lining for these players, being overrated means you are still a significant piece of the puzzle—otherwise you wouldn’t be “rated” at all.
Boston College: Lonnie Jackson
Boston College’s Lonnie Jackson struggles with a number of facets of the game that a guard frankly shouldn’t.
He is a spotty ball-handler, has issues creating his own shot and often gets lost if he’s inside the three-point line. He is best known for being a long-range shooter, but his 38 percent clip last year from downtown wasn’t exactly lights out for a specialist.
Throw in the fact that he only shot 38 percent from the field as a whole, and Jackson isn’t the best shooter for someone whose role is to shoot. He also turned the ball over 1.5 times a night and virtually had a one-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio.
That is not a pretty fraction for a guard.
Clemson: Rod Hall
Rod Hall was a starting point guard last season for Clemson, but whether he was actually deserving of that merit is up for debate.
Hall rarely scored (5.7 points per game), was a solid but not spectacular defender and turned it over two times a night. His 3.5 assists per game was an all right number, but the fact that he gave it up as much as he did counteracts that a bit.
Furthermore, Hall could not shoot. Opposing defenses could sag off him and help out with the big guys down low without punishment. He finished at 22 percent from behind the three-point line and a miserable 59.7 percent from the free-throw line.
When there are fans in the crowd who could shoot better from the charity stripe than the starting point guard, there may be an issue.
Duke: Rasheed Sulaimon
Here’s the thing about the 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils—the players that are “rated” heading into the season are all very good. Somebody has to be the “most overrated,” but picking that player is no easy task.
While the litany of haters would scream that the entire team is overrated (we will leave that up for debate when March rolls around), the fact of the matter is there is a lot of talent here. Unfortunately for Rasheed Sulaimon, he is the least deserving of the hype he receives.
Sulaimon is a good player, but his overall numbers don’t exactly jump off the page. He shot 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from downtown in 2012-13, which are both totals that need to improve this year if he is going to be a bigger part of the offense.
He also had some turnover issues and was too streaky at times. If he can establish some consistency this year, he could be in store for bigger things.
Florida State: Montay Brandon
There is a lot to like about Florida State’s Montay Brandon. He is a versatile forward who is capable of playing multiple spots on the floor thanks to his athleticism and size. He was only a freshman in 2012-13, so there is room for growth as well.
That being said, there are a number of flaws that are difficult to overlook.
He turned the ball over two times a game despite that fact he played less than 20 minutes a night. In fact, he had more turnovers last year than assists, which isn’t something you like to see from a potential starting wing in 2013-14.
Additionally, he only shot 42 percent from the field and an abysmal 29 percent from downtown. Throw in the alarming 49 percent total from the free-throw stripe, and Florida State fans better hope Brandon practiced his shooting stroke in the offseason.
He should become a solid player, but those expecting Brandon to become a star down the road may be left waiting for a while.
Georgia Tech: Chris Bolden
Chris Bolden’s primary role for Georgia Tech in 2012-13 was as a shooter. He gradually played more minutes as the season progressed, but that didn’t necessarily mean he filled that role effectively.
Bolden shot a lowly 36 percent from the field last year and 30 percent from behind the three-point arc. He also had a one-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio (he averaged 1.3 per night of both), which is frankly unacceptable for a guard who will be handling the ball a lot this season.
The good news for Yellow Jacket fans is the fact that he was only a freshman last year. There have been plenty of tales of players who struggled in their first year on campus and eventually delivered on their potential down the road.
That being said, for now Bolden is a shooter who thus far hasn’t been able to shoot. Georgia Tech is going to need more from him this year.
Maryland: Nick Faust
With no more Alex Len around campus at Maryland, Terrapin fans are looking at Nick Faust as a potential candidate to fill in the role of second scorer behind Dez Wells. The problem is, the on-court evidence doesn’t necessarily suggest that will be happening anytime soon.
It’s not as if Faust is a bad player, but his flaws will stand out with a larger role in 2013-14. He turned it over 2.2 times a night (compared to only 2.5 assists per game) last year and wasn’t particularly effective from the field (he shot 40 percent compared to Wells’ 52.6 percent).
The good news regarding Faust is that he is a solid defender who averaged a steal per game in 2012-13. If he can continue to provide solid defense, his offensive inconsistency won’t be as much of an issue.
Miami: Rion Brown
It will likely be a long fall from the top of the ACC standings for Miami this season, and Rion Brown’s flaws will be part of the reason why.
He is athletic and versatile on paper, but Brown struggles to create his own shot and he isn’t a particularly strong ball-handler. He rarely creates for his teammates (less than one assist per night in 2012-13) and isn’t nearly a dynamic enough scorer for the amount of shots he takes.
In fact, Brown shot 130 three-point attempts last year but only made 29 percent of them. Throw in the fact that he shot a measly 36.7 percent from the field, and there are serious questions about why Brown was shooting as much as he did.
The Hurricanes are going to need a serious spike in production from Brown this year given the roster turnover. It probably won’t happen, though.
North Carolina: James Michael McAdoo
There are some college players who show up to campus with incredible hype and are expected to become superstars right away. Oftentimes those players go on to have productive careers but never quite live up to the expectations.
North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo may be on a similar path.
There is nothing wrong with the 14 points and seven rebounds a game that McAdoo posted in 2012-13, but there were some red flags. He turned it over nearly three times a night, which for a non-guard who doesn’t handle the ball frequently is absolutely dismal. He also only shot 44.5 percent from the field, which is far too low for someone who plays closer to the basket.
Throw in his spotty free-throw shooting and occasional defensive lapses, and McAdoo has plenty of room for growth. Tar Heel fans are hoping he makes the leap they have been expecting in 2013-14.
North Carolina State: Tyler Lewis
If you knew North Carolina State’s roster by heart last year, you may have to dust off the old program again this season because it will be almost an entirely new team. Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell, Scott Wood, Rodney Purvis and Jay Lewis are no longer on campus, and there will likely be some growing pains in 2013-14.
Tyler Lewis will be expected to take over a sizable portion of the ball-handling and point guard duties this year, and he may or may not be up for it. Last season he struggled mightily from the field (37.8 percent) and was even worse from downtown (29 percent).
Granted, he only played 12.4 minutes a night, but you would like to see more than 1.4 assists per game out of a primary ball-handler. He was also prone to some defensive lapses at times.
There are expectations in place for Lewis, but unless he improves on his flaws, it may be a long year in Raleigh.
Notre Dame: Jerian Grant
With Jack Cooley and Scott Martin on their way out, Notre Dame is going to need impressive production from Jerian Grant. While he is a good player, he may not have all the skills necessary to develop into a team leader on a squad that hopes to advance in the NCAA tournament.
The thing about Grant is that he is solid in a number of areas but not particularly great at any one thing. He scored better than 13 points a night in 2012-13, but he struggled with efficiency with a 40.6 percent clip from the field and 34 percent mark from downtown.
He racked up 5.5 assists a night last year but counterbalanced that with three turnovers a game. Those turnover numbers are entirely too high, and if he repeats that performance in the ACC this year, he will be in for a number of rough games.
Grant has talent, but he needs to clean up a few areas before he is considered as good of a player as some think he is.
Pittsburgh: Lamar Patterson
Lamar Patterson averaged more points a game last season than any other returning Pittsburgh Panther, but it may be too much of a stretch to expect a spike in that production this year.
He isn’t particularly athletic from the small forward spot, which can pose problems in today’s day and age of the athletic and versatile stretch forward. Expect him to struggle somewhat on defense in 2013-14 against some of the elite forwards in the ACC.
Patterson’s 46 percent shooting from the field isn’t bad, but Pittsburgh fans would like to see an improvement on the 33.6 percent clip from downtown and the 65.6 percent mark from the free-throw stripe. If Patterson is going to lead the Panthers in scoring, he must become more efficient.
Lastly, the nearly two turnovers per night are an issue. He handles the ball some, but he isn’t a point guard bringing it up the floor every time. He needs to cut down on the amount of times he gives the ball up.
Syracuse: Rakeem Christmas
This almost isn’t fair because half of the reason Rakeem Christmas is a household name among college basketball fans is the fact that his last name is Christmas, but for someone so recognizable, he put up pedestrian numbers in 2011-12.
He was such a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school that it’s difficult to not consider him somewhat of a disappointment thus far. He is a weak jump shooter and can only score with consistency right next to the basket, which is a big reason why he only scored five points a game last year.
He is a solid defender but isn’t the best rebounder for someone who possesses the coveted combination of height and athleticism. He struggles mightily from the free-throw line and fails to convert on scoring opportunities because of it.
He still has time to grow into the star it appeared he was once destined to be, but he needs to start making strides in 2013-14.
Virginia: Justin Anderson
Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell are the straws that stir the drink for Virginia, but if the Cavaliers are going to make the NCAA tournament this season, they are going to need more production from the third wheel that is Justin Anderson.
Anderson is somewhat effective at attacking the lane off the dribble, but his outside shot needs work. He only shot 30 percent from behind the three-point line, which was a major reason why he only shot 42 percent from the field as a whole.
His turnover numbers were a bit high (1.2 a game) for someone who wasn’t a primary ball-handler, and that will have to be improved this season if he wants to become more of an offensive option.
The good news for Virginia is that Anderson is a solid defender. If he can improve on his offensive totals a bit, the Cavaliers could be posed for a postseason berth.
Virginia Tech: Jarell Eddie
Virginia Tech was the Erick Green show last season, but he is no longer on campus, which means a bad team will probably be even worse.
Many are expecting Jarell Eddie, who was second on the squad in scoring last year, to fill the role of Green as go-to guy, but there are a number of areas he must improve on if that is going to be an effective strategy.
Eddie is athletic and versatile enough to play a handful of spots on the floor, but his biggest issue is his efficiency. He shot less than 40 percent from the field last year (often from the power forward position) and was only 32 percent from downtown. His lofty free-throw percentage (84 percent) suggests he has a solid shooting stroke, but he needs to find it this season.
Eddie also averaged more than two turnovers a night in 2012-13, which is far too high of a number considering he was rarely a primary ball-handler in the offense. Eddie will post solid scoring numbers, but if this team is going to do anything this year in the league but lose on a nightly basis, he needs to be better in other categories.
Wake Forest: Codi Miller-McIntyre
Codi Miller-McIntyre will likely be the point guard for Wake Forest in 2013-14, which immediately raises some red flags.
For one, he isn’t the best defender, and there are plenty of quick and athletic guards who will have no issue blowing by him with explosive first steps. If a point guard can’t stay in front of his man, an entire defense collapses in the middle, which opens up shooters on the wings or post players on the block.
Secondly, he isn’t the best shooter. Miller-McIntyre only shot 32 percent from behind the three-point line last year and 41 percent from the field, both of which are alarming but not nearly as much as the 56.5 percent clip from the free-throw stripe. A point guard simply must be better than 70 percent, let alone 60.
Throw in the two turnovers a night (compared to only 2.6 assists per game) he posted, and it is clear the Demon Deacons are going to need better production from their point guard in 2013-14.
Follow and interact with college basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.