A 9.9 PPG scoring average isn't usually something to generate major excitement, but considering where Rasheed Sulaimon started out last season, it's a major victory.
A sophomore season that started out with promise—33 points combined against Davidson and Kansas—went off the rails in a hurry. Sulaimon averaged only 3.4 PPG over his next seven, including games against those noted powers Florida Atlantic, UNC Asheville and Gardner-Webb.
In conference play, Sulaimon rallied to average 10.9 PPG and shoot 44.4 percent from long range, pulling out big games against the likes of Virginia and Syracuse.
If he was the primary option, Sulaimon could be good for 18 per game, but he never will be as long as talents such as Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor who run alongside him. Still, Duke needs him to always be a threat, ideally cutting out the 1-of-8 and 1-of-7 types of games.
With Andre Dawkins gone, Sulaimon inherits the sniper's mantle as Duke's most dangerous shooting threat—at least until freshman Grayson Allen finds a groove.
1. Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
Lest anyone think that Brogdon had a solid season by feasting on nonconference cupcakes, consider this: In pre-ACC play, Brogdon showed some signs of injury rust by averaging 10.7 PPG and shooting 37.5 percent from the floor. In ACC games, those numbers rose to 14.8 and 44.6. Brogdon will need to keep scoring with former All-ACC guard Joe Harris gone.
2. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
3. Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Before Grant withdrew from Notre Dame, he was off to a spectacular start. He posted a double-double against Iowa and came close to three others. Without Eric Atkins alongside him in the backcourt and Garrick Sherman drawing attention in the post, can Grant do it again for a full year?
4. Terry Rozier, Louisville
Rozier made the most of his 18.9 MPG as a freshman. Now he has to shoulder a big part of the load that Russ Smith carried to a Final Four and a national title. No pressure.
5. Trevor Lacey, NC State
Lacey was an able sidekick to Trevor Releford at Alabama, and now he'll be at the front of a crowded queue for shots at NC State. He shot a solid 37.3 percent from deep as a sophomore, and the Wolfpack will welcome those contributions wholeheartedly.
6. Justin Jackson, North Carolina
With Leslie McDonald gone, Marcus Paige needs another helper to provide perimeter shooting. Jackson's very well-qualified, and at 6'7", he won't force coach Roy Williams to work around the small backcourt he'd have if he started Paige at the 2.
7. Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State
Seminole fans had to wait a year while Rathan-Mayes got his academic house in order. This year, he should give FSU an explosive scorer to complement—and eventually replace—wing Aaron Thomas.
8. Josh Newkirk, Pitt
Speed is one of those things you can't coach, and Newkirk's got as much as anyone in the ACC. Look for Newkirk to establish himself as the Panthers' top three-point threat and possibly pace the team in scoring.
9. Deandre Burnett, Miami
Burnett averaged 37 PPG as a high school senior, but that was two years and one wrist surgery ago. If he's got his stroke back, he could push for All-ACC honors, and the Hurricanes could make a return to the NCAA tournament.
10. Trevor Cooney, Syracuse
In the Kentucky version of this piece, Michael Frazier was ranked as the SEC's top shooting guard. Like Frazier, Cooney makes his name as a three-point gunner. Unlike Frazier, Cooney's shot went into the toilet late last season. Cooney made only 14 of 63 triples over his final nine games, a 22.2 percent success rate.
11. Lonnie Jackson, Boston College
Jackson's always been a solid three-point threat, but like so many of his teammates, he's struggled on defense during his career.
12. Adam Smith, Virginia Tech
Tech's transfer exodus could result in Smith being pressed into starting duty. The UNC Wilmington transfer was shooting well before nagging leg injuries began costing him games. He shot 28 percent from the floor after November's end. He could lose this spot to freshman Justin Bibbs.
13. Damarcus Harrison, Clemson
Harrison found a groove near the end of 2013-14, shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc over his final 12 games en route to an 11.6 PPG average over the same span. With no K.J. McDaniels to carry the load, Harrison's one of the Tigers who must sustain his best work over an entire season.
14. Miles Overton, Wake Forest
It's either Overton's inconsistent shooting (to be fair, his minutes were highly sporadic last season) or the often sloppy ball-handling of Madison Jones. This ranking won't change either way.
15. Chris Bolden, Georgia Tech
Bolden has played 24 MPG over his first two seasons and shot 36.2 percent from two-point range. Clearly, Tech hasn't had any solid options in the backcourt.