The second installment of my look at the teams in the ACC.
Conference Rank: 7
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Head Coach: Paul Hewitt
2007-08 Recap: 15-17 (7-9 ACC)
G - Maurice Miller So. 6'1" 8.1ppg, 3.3 apg
G - Lewis Clinch Sr. 6'3" 9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
F - D’Andre Bell Sr. 6'5" 6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
F - Gani Lawal So. 6'8" 7.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F - Zack Peacock Jr. 6'8" 9.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
42.3 points per game and 19.4 rebounds are gone, and so is the last player from the 2004 Final Four Team. The Yellow Jackets still have plenty of depth and experience to make up the difference.
Lewis Clinch is the leading returning scorer from last season and came off the bench. Clinch will have to do more than just shoot to stay on the court. His defense is a well-known issue.
The frontcourt lost a lot of talent but will have enough left over to be competitive. D’Andre Bell is the team’s defensive stopper and will not be asked to do much more than that.
A pair of 6'8" forwards will be the focus of the team's low-post attack. Zack Peacock should be a double-double threat every game and will take the leadership role. Gani Lawal will give the Yellow Jackets a mismatch with his length and athletic ability.
Senior forward 6'10" Alade Aminu will see plenty of time backing up both big men, and McDonald's All-American freshman guard Iman Shumpert will see minutes doing the same for the guards.
It is rare for a team to have so much of their production gone and yet still have a team that will compete. I would expect Paul Hewitt’s team to struggle defensively in the early part of the season but still be able to put points on the board.
2007-08 Recap: 14-17 (4-12 ACC)
G - Biko Paris 6'1" So. 5.7ppg, 2.9 apg
G - Tyrese Rice 6'1" Sr. 21 ppg, 5.0 apg
F - Rakim Sanders 6'5" So. 11.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F - Joe Trapani 6'8" So. 11.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
C - Josh Southern 6'10" So. 5.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg
The recent glory days of Craig Smith and Jared Dudley seem so long ago. Tyrese Rice came to Boston with All-Americans in front of him and now he is a senior with a lot of talented underclassmen looking to him as their undeniable leader.
Biko Paris showed last season he is capable of being a point guard in the ACC. With Paris running the point, Rice will be able to run off picks to get open shots.
After a up and down freshman season, Rakim Sanders is set for a breakout sophomore season. If the Eagles want to make any noise in the ACC, he will need to be more consistent.
Big man Josh Southern will see more playing time and might just pan out to be a high quality big man. To do that, he needs to stay out of foul trouble.
Vermont transfer Joe Trapani will bring some toughness around the basket and will be asked to do more scoring than Southern. Junior Tyler Roche must help out on the glass the same way he is able to provide long range shooting and scoring.
Rice will get scoring help from Sanders, and he will get help with ball handling from Paris. But don’t expect everything to be nice and balanced at all times. The offense will still depend on Rice. The Eagles are a step closer to returning to the "glory days" than they were last season, but the NIT looks like a strong possibility.
Conference Rank: 9
2007-08 Recap: 19-15 (8-8 ACC)
G - Greivis Vasquez 6'6" Jr. 17 ppg, 6.8 apg
G - Eric Hayes 6'4" Jr. 9.9 ppg, 4.5 apg
G - Landon Milbourne 6'7" So. 8.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F - Jerome Burney 6'9" So. 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
C - Braxton Dupree 6'8" So. 2.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
At 6'6", Greivis Vasquez was an interesting matchup at point guard for most teams last season, but he will not play the point as much as this season. The ACC assist leader is an emotional roller coaster, and this team better hang on.
Eric Hayes, the second-highest returning scorer after Vasquez, will take on a larger scoring load and will be the primary ball handler.
The Terrapins lost their two best post players in James Gist and Bambale Osby. Trying to find suitable replacements will be difficult.
Maryland will run a three guard offense with Landon Milbourne as the big guard. Shooting 39 percent is a decent start for him, and hopes are he will get better as he gets more looks.
The wild card in the whole mix is Jin Soo Kim. This South Korean is an athletic player that could potentially play three positions if the NCAA Clearinghouse allows it. If approved, Kim would add minutes and scoring off the bench and make a push for the starting lineup.