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).