2009/10 ACC Hoops – Where Are the Guards?

Another one bites the dust – guard Elliot Williams is leaving Duke for family reasons. This means that the consensus pick for 1st place next season returns only two guards, neither of whom is really that good (Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer). J.P. Giglio has more on how this potentially shakes up the ACC race. Our best wishes go out to the Williams family.

Just down the road, consensus #2 (and defending national champion) North Carolina must replace both starting guards and its top 2 reserves (Frasor and Danny Green shifting over from the 3). Ol’ Roy is already in full “aw shucks” mode in this morning’s N&O. Those freshmen will have to really suck in order for Graves to play significant minutes at the 2, though. Even facing the prospect of starting Larry Drew or Marcus Ginyard (Ginyard would be my choice) at the point – I’m sorry, Roy, but we’ll always expect the Holes to be very good as long as you are the head coach. Wow, do I ever hate typing that.

So…who’s got any good guards, anyway? Looking back at SFN’s all-ACC selections from last season, Malcolm Delaney (2nd team) and Greivis Vasquez (3rd team) are the only returning guards (and if you want a dark horse for 2009-10 POY, it’s Delaney). Perhaps we are underestimating Maryland and Virginia Tech’s chances to streak forward into contention. After all, Delaney and Vasquez might be the only “take over a game” type talents in the ACC next year. Dead-tree media ROY Sylvan Landesberg also returns for Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers, but I can’t imagine UVA doing anything beyond being a pesky annoyance with an outside shot at .500. And I laugh uncontrollably whenever I see predictions of Iman Shumpert (who can barely walk and chew gum at the same time) leading GT’s talent-laden frontcourt into the promised land.

But certainly, somewhere on somebody’s roster, there is a breakthrough performer guard or two. Throw out your possibilities in the comments (I would keep an eye on FSU’s Derwin Kitchen and Clemson’s Demontez Stitt).

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

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65 Responses to 2009/10 ACC Hoops – Where Are the Guards?

  1. howlie 06/24/2009 at 10:42 PM #

    Little more reflection on this sudden ‘downgrade’ of the ACC with losses by early departures:

    -Great ‘fortune’ for the new UVA coach. Landesbury [I don't remember his name] will soar and will finish suddenly higher. A first year coach usually has a tiny ‘honeymoon blast’ with recruiting [as an unkown quantity] in that first year. UVA will have a surge more wins; lots of enthusiasm, and it will give UVA a ‘bump’ in recruiting players for an extra year. IF there new staff has any recruiters, watch out.

    -2 Gary Williams saves his job and surges. Vasquez has no one his size to guard him, and they’ll go deep into the year doing well.

    -GT should, by default, also ‘soar’ in improvement. These three, along with VaTech, should improve against the ‘dumbing and numbing’ of the rest of the conference. It’ll be an entire conference of muddled middle level teams. In this environment, other teams like BC will GRIND OUT a handful more wins.

    -Until I see our new guys, I have a sick feeling about what’s ahead. Sort of like the year before the shot clock when everyone was playing 12-10 games, and you wondered how the game could get more ugly.

    -Which is all to say, the ACC may finally become a football conference this year…

  2. Greywolf 06/25/2009 at 3:22 AM #

    CStanley Says:
    June 24th, 2009 at 9:50 pm
    We always seem to miss our chance. When will we be ready?

    Perhaps you could refresh my memory as to one or maybe two of the times we had “our chance.” Rumor has it we have been irrelevant for 20 years.

  3. Wolf74 06/25/2009 at 7:17 AM #

    I, for one, believe we have missed our chance twice in the last 14 years. Once when Les stepped down and then again when Herb left. (In my opinion Herb should have been released after the year 5 meltdown and then we could have had an earlier chance at redemption.)

    We could have went after an established coach after Les stepped down but appeared to be happy to go after an assistant from a basketball school with a couple of years experience as a head coach. That is definitely a risky venture.

    Then when Herb left, the “powers that be” finally opened their eyes and decided we needed a prime time ready coach but because of a botched search we ended up with a coach with no college coaching experience at all. Even more risky than the first assistant coach hire.

    We had our chances. As one friend of mine and huge State fan & contributor constantly reminds me, “we cann’t blame anyone but ourselves for this mess”.

  4. Clarksa 06/25/2009 at 8:07 AM #

    Our only chance since V left ended when UNC-CH fired Doh! and hired Roy…

  5. ryebread 06/25/2009 at 9:57 AM #

    Clarksa: Agreed. Our best shot was when UNC had Doh and we were wasting our time with Sendek and his flawed system.

    VaWolf: The ACC and Big 10 aren’t the same thing when it comes to bids. Maybe they should be given the recent success of the leagues, but our historical name is better. You’re right that I was thinking about 9-7 ACC teams (only 2-3 have ever been omitted), but my point remains the same.

    If you’ve got 8 conference wins, you will be discussed in the bubble conversation. That doesn’t mean you’ll get in — in fact I expect at 8-8 we’ll sit on the outside looking in next year unless we sweep the non-conference schedule. It does mean that you’re in the discussion, which is all I’ve said.

    I expect the ACC to get 4-5 teams in next year. The non-conference slate will be more critical for the league as a whole than it has been in a long, long time. The perception is that the league is very down (rightfully so).

    In my opinion, the thing that prevents us from only getting 2-3 teams (like some on here think) is what happens when you look around college basketball. The Big East is also “down” as well (though I think they’ll be better than us). The PAC 10 is still down from the talent departure. I think the SEC will be better (no way they can be worse and Kentucky should be a championship favorite) and the Big 12 will be very good.

  6. choppack1 06/25/2009 at 10:36 AM #

    You guys are forgetting who our AD was at the time. I’ll give you a hint – the man leading the search is the same person who led our last search.

    Basically, when V was let go, the school basically decided – hey, if we can be good at b’ball that’s great, but it’s more important for us to run the cleanest program in the conference.

    Regarding the riskiness of hiring a coach w/ extensive experience at one of the top schools in the country and a brief but successful period as a HC at a mid-major – it was actually a very solid hire. We went after some big names – Sampson and Calipari – and were rebuffed. After you get shot down by the big dogs, you go after the next best things.

    Now, the height of stupidity is hiring a coach w/ no college coaching experience, a horrid record as an NBA Head Coach and no college degree simply because he’s charming and was a great PG at your school.

  7. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 10:55 AM #

    ^Oookay. I don’t know what any of this has to do with picking a backcourt dark horse, but with some folks still picking us to finish very low and a lot of folks not going along with the demise of Wake we have no takers in Ish Smith? I don’t think he will impress much without his backcourt buddy Teague or his release valve Johnson…but folks that like Wake to remain at the top of the ACC have to be big on him right?

  8. choppack1 06/25/2009 at 11:06 AM #

    By the way, is Lorenzo Brown the highest rated guard coming into the league this year?

    At least on paper, next year, we could have the highest rated PG AND one of the higher rated 2 guards.

    I do think the last 3 defects – Teague, Oglbesby and Williams – really should impact us in a positive manner. Suddenly, our returning firepower looks pretty decent compared to what else is out there. I’ll admit that I’m totally biased – but Tracy Smith and Javi played at ACC level the second half of the season. At times, so did Horner and CJ Williams.

    We should have as much inside/outside game as anyone in the conference. Whether we’ll put it all together is another story.

  9. BJD95 06/25/2009 at 11:18 AM #

    Ish Smith is an interesting choice. He is without a doubt the lynchpin for Wake next year. Whether they suck or remain an NCAAT-caliber team rests almost entirely on his shoulders.

    Had Wake returned Johnson (but not Teague), they would have been a very intriguing team.

    For the record, I didn’t mean “don’t mention Javi” as much as “I hope this thread doesn’t turn into a Javi’s great! Javi sucks! debate that turns into a more general discussion of NC State hoops that we’ve had many times.”

  10. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 11:27 AM #

    ^I understood what you meant. In that case I wasn’t defending Javi because he is a NC state player, I was defending Javi because he was one of my picks. I would have defended Tanner Smith just the same.

    “Whether they suck or remain an NCAAT-caliber team rests almost entirely on his shoulders.”

    I agree totally, he alone will be responsible for breaking presses and getting the ball into one of their dozen 7 footers. I foresee him playing a bit too fast for his own good and the ball sticking in his hands a bit too much. But I could totally see someone else picking him.

  11. packalum44 06/25/2009 at 11:39 AM #

    The league will be top heavy in post players. I guess the teams especially top-heavy (Duke & UNC) will have a good excuse if they underachieve. There fans will understand. Its just too hard to win without guards. Its a guards game. blah blah blah. :)

  12. Dr. BadgerPack 06/25/2009 at 11:40 AM #

    I’ll be interested in seeing if Degand, in his second year off surgery, regains the lateral quickness he had before. That would be a rather nice plus.

  13. timberwolf 06/25/2009 at 11:40 AM #

    After 5 years in to the bb lifetime rights, we are not renewing. Its like going to a funeral twice a week. Done. what a shame. and we were on the brickyard.

  14. choppack1 06/25/2009 at 11:46 AM #

    DPB – Degand seemed to regress as the year went on. In addition, he also appeared to have some “off-court” issues as well. In short, any help at all we get from him will be a bonus. He’ll probably still get plenty of playing time though…

    Timber – I don’t blame you one bit. It’s a pretty sad situation. Hopefully, things will change this year. When I dropped my season tickets in 2001, things started to get better! Of course, when I dropped my Value Packs, they collapsed.

  15. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 11:54 AM #

    Yeah I wouldn’t pick Degand as my “guy to watch”. Sadly I don’t think we will see him enough to know if he has bounced back, I know Sid is talking about getting him some time at the two, but he may just be saying that to give a Sr. the benefit of the doubt.

    When his knee buckled he took it like a man though. I would have been flopping around and slapping the deck like Paulus.

  16. Dr. BadgerPack 06/25/2009 at 12:00 PM #

    Well, he certainly isn’t my “guy to watch” but, if he gets that quickness back and can get his act in gear off the court, we’ve seen over the past few seasons that you can never have too many guards. I think he’d also be useful at 6’3″ in guarding Brown in practice (him, and Williams)… From the scouting reports, it seems Brown needs to be pushed from time to time.

  17. howlie 06/25/2009 at 12:26 PM #

    Someone whispered on PP that DeGands knee is ‘finished’ (i.e. not rehabilitatable)…
    do we know?

  18. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 12:40 PM #

    ^I think it gets to a point where you are as good as you are going to get, and I think Farnold’s at that point. But Shaun Livingston got back into the league after his horrible injury. Just because you aren’t as quick as you use to be that doesn’t mean you can’t play at a high level. If he’s lost his a step he will just have to find another way to help us win. He’s a streaky shooter…maybe that will be his new role.

  19. zahadum 06/25/2009 at 12:43 PM #

    Choppack the answer to your question would be no. Most rankings I’ve seen have Snaer (Fl St.) and Scott (Miami) both ranked ahead of Brown.

  20. Oldwolf 06/25/2009 at 1:05 PM #

    Along with Snaer and Scott, Udofia at GT is ranked ahead, Strickland at unc-ch is just behind.
    Should we now count Ryan Kelly at Duke a guard? :-)

  21. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 1:08 PM #

    ^Dexter Strickland probably edged him out too.

  22. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 1:12 PM #

    Must have caught me in transit…my bad Oldwolf. Udofia is higher?? Damn I heard Lo Brown used to give it to him head to head.

  23. BJD95 06/25/2009 at 1:14 PM #

    Based on what I saw from Degand last season, I’m expecting him to contribute next to nothing. Without his lateral quickness, he went from a plus defender to an awful one. His offense is never going to be sufficient to get him on the court when he’s a negative defensively.

    The real question surrounding the Pack backcourt is whether Brown starts at the 1 or the 2. Media interviews with the Harrow kid reference Lowe’s plan as using Brown at the 1 for next season, then shifting him back to the 2 when Harrow arrives. That would mean more time at the 2 than the 3 for CJ.

  24. Thinkpack17 06/25/2009 at 1:38 PM #

    “Based on what I saw from Degand last season, I’m expecting him to contribute next to nothing.”

    Sadly that’s exactly what I am expecting. I think Brown wants to play the 1, but we need him at the two. When Sid laid out his plans for positions he mentioned that’d he’d like Lo at the 2 not 1 and Dennis at the 4 not 3. When Harrow talked about the “plan” I think he was talking more about his and his buddy Lo’s plans, not Sid’s. We need to keep Lo at the 2 and getting him used to moving off the ball, but like I said he said he wants to play the one next year. So we may not have much choice in the matter…he may just come in here and take it.

  25. b 06/25/2009 at 2:30 PM #

    I’d say Biko Paris from BC and the rookie Adams at Miami.

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