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.


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

  1. Rufftown Wolf 06/24/2009 at 2:54 PM #

    I look for the Pack to breakout.. Simply b/c we’re going to have the point guards with the experience not the other way around. Not only b/c of their experience but b/c they will have better ball handlers around them to take the pressure off. Teams won’t be able to press us anymore.. We might be able to do some pressing and trapping for a change. Other than Vasques and Ish Smith I don’t see anyone with better upperclassman guards. The tide could be finally turning.

  2. phillypacker 06/24/2009 at 3:06 PM #

    It looks like the meek are inheriting the conference.

  3. NCSU4ever 06/24/2009 at 3:12 PM #

    Duke will reach a new level of suckitude this year.

    UNC I think may still be the #1 Team in the ACC but if Drew gets injured, foul trouble, is having off night then the Heels will be very vulnerable as well.

    UMD is the team we should fear the most in the ACC

    Rufftown is exactly right Javi and Mays are still not true ACC caliber point guards but having Lorezo Brown on the court will take some pressure off. Also Javi and Mays will probally be able to match up evenly with most other pg’s in the leauge.

    I don’t think we will breakout as Rufftown said though, but this will be a good oppurtunity for our freshman to get some experience without being under too much pressure (or at least not as much as they would be once the rest of the league reloads) In other words it’s a good year to be young team.

  4. Clarksa 06/24/2009 at 3:17 PM #

    Javi Gonzalez will be the surprise of the league (and StateFans)…

  5. NCSU4ever 06/24/2009 at 3:25 PM #

    I want some of what Giglio is smoking: First he thinks GT jumps all the way to 4th and Wake falls to the bottom tier. Now he thinks Duke will still compete for tops in the ACC with only Smith and Scheyer playing guard.

    Gimme a break, Has this guy ever even watched an ACC game?

    PS: Still mad about State being 10th on his last list

  6. ryebread 06/24/2009 at 3:47 PM #

    This is a big blow to Duke, who I had penciled in as my favorite to win the conference (if K were returning). Now I think Duke falls out of the league title contenders (looks like it is UNC and MD) and into the “should make the tournament” group (GT, Clemson and Duke).

    With this announcement, I think that K might be more likely to take the Lakers job should it come open and should he be asked. That’s a considerable number of things that would need to align, but I see Duke coming up on their weakest year in ages (maybe since Gaudet). It might not be a bad time for K to ride off into the sunset (fresh off of a conference tournament crown). If K does leave, expect Duke to fall back into the FSU, NC State grouping on the bubble.

    The original post though is why I think that NC State has a legitimate shot of making 8-8 in the league and bubble contention. For the first time since he’s arrived, Javi will not be worse than every other PG he’s facing in the ACC. The vast majority of the nights he’ll be just as skilled or more experienced than his foe. I like our chances a whole lot better as a result because I think that guard play is the key to college basketball.

  7. 61Packer 06/24/2009 at 4:47 PM #

    Duke, as long as it has Coach K, will continue to be a title contender. State, as long as it has Sidney Lowe, will continue to be a second-division contender. DEFENSE.

    And the apparent ACC talent drain may indeed make Javi no worse than any other PG he faces. But it ain’t gonna make him any better, either.

  8. Thinkpack17 06/24/2009 at 4:47 PM #

    +1 on Javi Gonzalez being the new kid on the block. He will be the league’s new Greg Paulus (when he was decent). I’ll take Tanner Smith if he slides down to the 2 with the departure of the fake TO. And Udofia once Hewitt realizes he needs to slide Shumpert to the 2.

  9. RickJ 06/24/2009 at 4:48 PM #

    When I saw that Elliot Williams was leaving Duke, my first thought was the NCAA coming up with some reason to allow Seth Curry to play this year.

  10. packalum44 06/24/2009 at 5:32 PM #

    Greg Paulus was the #1 PG in the country out of high school. Javi was recruited by Campbell. Paulus could dribble a ball up the court under pressure. He’s so much better than people on here give him credit for. I only make fun of him b/c he’s an easy target but I think some people take it literally.

  11. BJD95 06/24/2009 at 5:40 PM #

    I honestly don’t want this to turn into a Javi thread.

    I don’t believe that everybody in the league will have sucky guards. Someone will emerge and be better than we anticipated (not just relative to sucky competition). Tanner Smith is a distinct possibility.

    It is quite possible that the regular season champion will only have 11 or 12 wins this year, though. Nobody is going to be bulletproof.

  12. Thinkpack17 06/24/2009 at 5:47 PM #

    “Greg Paulus was the #1 PG in the country out of high school. Javi was recruited by Campbell.”

    These guys are 3 and 5 years removed from High School. I don’t think high school rankings matter much now. Which schools offered Steph Curry?

    “Paulus could dribble a ball up the court under pressure.”

    As will Javi.

    “He’s so much better than people on here give him credit for.”

    As is Javi.

    “I only make fun of him b/c he’s an easy target but I think some people take it literally.”

    I make fun of him because he has 0 athletic ability, if his 3 ball isn’t going down he’s not worth much, he makes up for his shortcomings by having a little man complex and getting under people’s skin, flopping, and generally being a jerk. I respected his game because, he was tough, gritty and even if he was having a terrible game he kept his foot on the gas. Like I said…Javi will be the league’s Greg Paulus. Save the fact Javi is much quicker and I am comparing a Freshman Paulus to a Jr. Javi.

  13. Thinkpack17 06/24/2009 at 5:49 PM #

    I’m fine with dropping it. I’m just defending my picks for Dark Horse.

  14. howlie 06/24/2009 at 5:50 PM #

    Nice comment by phillypacker.

    And ryebread, 8-8 in the conference for us WON’T put any ACC team on the bubble. The conference will be so weak next year, by default, and you can count on only three, maybe even two, who make the NCAA’s.

    For US to be ‘bubble,’ we have to now win at least 10 in conference… which I DO belive is POSSIBLE.

    POTENTIALLY, [some folks still need to qualify], but POTENTIALLY, NC State could have the strongest [or second strongest] set of guards in the conference next year. Which tells you how bad things have now become…

  15. LRM 06/24/2009 at 6:57 PM #

    “PS: Still mad about State being 10th on his last list”

    Too bad, but 13th was unavailable.

  16. NCSU4ever 06/24/2009 at 8:24 PM #

    8-8 won’t put us near the bubble but it would be the progress Fowler and Lowe promised

  17. Clarksa 06/24/2009 at 8:36 PM #

    “I honestly don’t want this to turn into a Javi thread.”

    The question was asked who would breakout this year. I gave an answer and some took this as yet another opportunity to bash Javi and the program. The same characters do it on every damn article on this website.

  18. ushum 06/24/2009 at 9:02 PM #

    if the Big Ten can’t take us out next year, then they never will…

    I’m must be going crazy, but is it possible that we could have the best backcourt in the triangle next year? wow…

  19. CStanley 06/24/2009 at 9:50 PM #

    I simply see this as another great opportunity to take advantage that NC State will likely watch pass us by (again). We have never seemed to be set up to do that or cashed in when the opportunity arose. Wake, Duke, and Carolina have all seemed to do that in recent years (Duke when Carolina was down and visa-versa, Wake in the mid-late 90’s when Carolina was vulnerable and Duke was shitty). Carolina is always going to be Carolina, and Duke won’t be that bad, but next year would have been a great chance to strike while the iron’s hot. I don’t see us being capable of doing that.

    We always seem to miss our chance. When will we be ready?

  20. ryebread 06/24/2009 at 9:54 PM #

    Howlie: If anyone here is doom and gloom about the ACC next year, it’s me. Go back and check some of my old posts and you’ll see that I’ve consistently said:
    – ACC loses the Big 10 Challenge
    – ACC doesn’t finish top 2 in the RPI from conferences.
    – ACC doesn’t have a legit final four team.

    Having said that though, the league has lots of sway when it comes to NCAA berths. There’s only been 2-3 teams ever who were 8-8 in the ACC and not in the tournament. Even as weak as the league will be next year, if we finish 8-8 in the conference, we’ll be in the bubble picture.

    You’re right in another way though. If we want to get to the bubble, we need to mop up in the non-conference schedule. Realistically we need to exit with one loss — tops. If we leave with 3, then it’d take a miraculous ACC season (which I don’t see happening) to put us on the bubble.

  21. 61Packer 06/24/2009 at 10:11 PM #

    I’m forever blowing bubbles…………..
    Tiny bubbles………………………..

  22. Alpha Wolf 06/24/2009 at 10:14 PM #

    “Duke will reach a new level of suckitude this year.”

    Every time folks predict that, Krzyzewski puts together a team that somehow finds a way to win 10 league games.

  23. Alpha Wolf 06/24/2009 at 10:16 PM #

    I happen to agree with Clarksa, I think Javi will impress people this season. He improved drastically over the last month of last year, and I think he may well put it together and play in games like a lot of folks say that he does in practice.

    Sure, it’s easy to doubt now, and no, Javi is not an NBA-caliber talent, but I have seen a few lost causes turn into awesome upperclassmen through hard work and heart.

  24. James 06/24/2009 at 10:16 PM #

    If we have a breakout season this year I hope that’s exactly what it is. Doing just enough by barely making the NCAA Tournament in a down ACC would be a rerun of Sendek’s sixth year, when Herb got the benefit of playing the worst UNC-CH in school history.

    We need to analyze any progress made this year from the standpoint of the overall trajectory of the program. A 9-7 ACC record against a weak conference while beating up on the School of the Blind in our OOC games isn’t enough and it won’t be enough to show the current leadership can move us into an elite tier. This would include better talent and resource management and evidence of a much improved off season conditioning program.

  25. VaWolf82 06/24/2009 at 10:27 PM #

    There’s only been 2-3 teams ever who were 8-8 in the ACC and not in the tournament.

    Look again. There have been at least two teams left out of the NCAAT with a 9-7 conference record. Several years ago, a Big-10 team (Indiana?) got left out with 10 conference wins.

    Don’t focus on the gross number of wins. What will matter more than 8, 9, or even 10 conference wins is WHO those wins came against.

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