ACC Basketball

2013-14 Top-Five ACC Juniors

jamesmcadoo

I already knocked out the top-five seniors (see the list below), a group that featured two Cavaliers and two former Big East players. The best part about the seniors was that you could actually field a team since it featured one point guard, two wings and two power forwards. Now it’s time to move down a grade to the juniors.

TOP-FIVE JUNIORS

1. James Michael McAdoo (PF), North Carolina
After waiting his turn his freshman year, McAdoo was thrusted into the go-to role last year. At first, he seem to struggle with the demands, but as the season played out, his numbers began to slowly improve, especially after Roy Williams switched to small ball. Overall, he is a skilled, face up forward. A solid athlete with an impressive seven-foot wing span. McAdoo averaged 14.6 PPG last year, grabbing 7.3 boards. With zero outside shooting ability, McAdoo will need to continue to work on his inside moves, footwork and for the love of all that is holy, stop turning the ball over so much. If he can do that, look for him to be a potential first-team All-ACC Player.

2. P.J. Hairston (SG), North Carolina
For about a season and a half, Hairston struggled at North Carolina, turning himself into a one-dimensional jump shooter. However, once he was placed into the starting lineup late last season, things began to click. Hairston began to use his ball handling skills to do some damage inside as one of four guards starting for the Tar Heels. He ended up averaged 14.6 points per game, hitting 40-percent of his threes. As a starter for an entire year, Hairston will need to continue to assert himself both with his basketball skills and vocally as a leader. If he can do that, he could be the best player on the team.

3. Jerian Grant (SG), Notre Dame
The redshirt junior has produced back-to-back solid years for coach Mike Brey. With great basketball IQ, Grant plays both the point and off the ball and loves to create for his teammates. He’s willing to jack up plenty of three’s (which is nice if you like confident shooters), although he’ll need to work on hitting more of them (he shot 34-percent from three last year). Overall, Grant averaged 13.3 points per game, to go along with 5.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds. With Jake Cooley graduating, more will be asked of Grant. If he can continue to add bulk, look for him to take the ball inside more and become a better finisher at the rim.

4. Ryan Anderson (G/F), Boston College
Last year, no player had a quieter productive season than Anderson, although I’m not sure the refs would agree about the “quiet” part of that sentence. Anyhow, since coming to Boston College, Anderson has been a solid double-digit scorer and one of the better rebounders. Last year he was 8th in the ACC in points (14.9 PPG) and fourth in rebounds (8.0 RPG). He has a solid back to the basket skills, a handy fade away and although he appears bulky, he’s more agile than he appears. Of course the best part about last year was the fact he finally realized he wasn’t a shooting guard and stopped taking so many damn threes. Heading into next season, Anderson just needs to work on his basketball IQ and maturity. Stop with the dumb fouls and keep his mouth shut when he gets a call he doesn’t agree with (all of them).

5. Dez Wells (SG), Maryland
Wells, who transferred from Xavier prior to last season, is a bruising guard, with a great frame. He plays under control, which I love. He’s basically a guy who knows his weaknesses, but also knows his strengths. Neither his first step nor his jumper release are what you would call quick, but he’s a crafty scorer, who just finds the open spots and scores. Inside, he uses his big frame to get deep inside, grab rebounds and lives to get fouled. In his first season at Maryland, Wells averaged a team leading 13.1 points per game, plus 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists. If he can work on his ball handling skills, bring up his FT percentage up a little and his three-point percentage a lot, Wells could be a top-five scorer in the ACC next year.

 

TOP-FIVE SENIORS:
1. Joe Harris (SG), Virginia
2. C.J. Fair (SF), Syracuse
3. Okaro White (PF), Florida State
4. Eric Atkins (PG), Notre Dame
5. Akil Mitchell (PF), Virginia

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