College Basketball Nation: 2012 ACC shootaround

ACC's most important players

July, 16, 2012
7/16/12
4:00
PM ET
Editor's note: ESPN.com’s Summer Shootaround series catches up on the offseason storylines for each conference. For more on the ACC, click here.

Boston College: Ryan Anderson
The forward was a unanimous All-ACC rookie selection last season after leading his team with 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds. But the freshmen-laden Eagles averaged only 59.1 points and 40.8 percent shooting. So as Anderson's numbers build, so perhaps will BC's.

Clemson: Milton Jennings
Remember when the senior forward was touted as the first McDonald's All-American signed by the Tigers since 1991? With Andre Young and Tanner Smith having graduated, Clemson needs Jennings to finally live up to that potential. Last season, he served two suspensions and averaged 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds.

Duke: Seth Curry
Austin Rivers was Duke's go-to guy last season, but his early departure makes Curry, a senior, Duke's leading returning scorer (13.2 ppg). Coach Mike Krzyzewski has said he wants Curry to be able to concentrate more on scoring this season, and it helps that he won't be asked to play point guard, like last season.

Florida State: Michael Snaer
The 6-foot-5 senior isn't just key because he's the team's leading scorer (14 ppg), but because he's the Seminoles' leader, period. His two ACC game winners gave the Seminoles a fearless attitude last season that should carry over to this season, too, even with so many of last season's players gone.

Georgia Tech: Mfon Udofia
No returning Yellow Jackets averaged double figures last season, but the closest is Udofia (9.9 ppg at point guard). His senior leadership will be as important as his stats, as Tech will continue to try to rebuild after an 11-win season. Perhaps making things a bit easier for the young team: Udofia and the Jackets will open at their new arena, McCamish Pavilion, in November.

Maryland: Nick Faust
With last season's ACC leading scorer, Terrell Stoglin, gone, Maryland needs some offense, and this sophomore looks like a good candidate. Although the guard averaged 8.9 points last season (third on the team), that jumped to 13.4 over his last nine games. And the Terps would like to see it jump even more.

Miami: Reggie Johnson
At 6-10 and 284 pounds, this senior is an exhausting load for most big men to contend with. With veterans Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott also back, expect second-year coach Jim Larranaga to try to get more of everything out of Johnson (10 points, 7.2 rebounds), who got a late start last season after knee surgery.

North Carolina: James Michael McAdoo
Questions linger about who's going to get the sophomore forward the ball (Will Dexter Strickland be healthy? Will Marcus Paige be ready?), but with little experience in the frontcourt, McAdoo is going to be counted on to be UNC's go-to big guy. He came on strong at the end of the last season, averaging 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds over his last seven games.

NC State: C.J. Leslie
The 6-8 forward averaged a team-best 14.7 points, plus 7.3 rebounds last season and helped the Wolfpack to a late surge that pushed them to their first NCAA berth since 2006. State isn't very deep in the frontcourt, so his decision to return bolstered the Wolfpack as a top-10 favorite.

Virginia: Jontel Evans
It's going to be difficult for the Cavs to replace forward Mike Scott's offense, but Evans, a senior guard, returns with defensive intensity and consistency. Last season, Evans became the first Cavalier since 2001 to be named to the ACC's All-Defensive team, and coach Tony Bennett will expect him to set the stick-to-itive tone, again.

Virginia Tech: Erick Green
New head coach James Johnson is expecting the senior to lead the Hokies on and off the court, and to that end, Green attended Chris Paul's CP3 Elite Guard Camp and the Deron Williams Skills Academy this summer. The second-team All-ACC selection averaged 15.6 points last season, and his consistency will be key to a team that features a single-digit number of scholarship players.

Wake Forest: Codi Miller-McIntyre
After the transfer of Tony Chennault, the freshman point guard will likely have to play 30-plus minutes from the get-go. How well, often and consistently he can get the ball to veterans C.J. Harris and Travis McKie will impact how much the Deacons improve on last season's 13-18 finish.

Summer Shootaround: ACC

July, 16, 2012
7/16/12
2:59
PM ET
Editor's note: ESPN.com’s Summer Shootaround series catches up on the offseason storylines for each conference. For more on the ACC, click here.

[+] EnlargeNorth Carolina State Wolfpack forward C.J. Leslie
Greg Bartram/US PresswireExpectations are high for C.J. Leslie and the rest of the NC State Wolfpack heading into the season.
1. Expectations at NC State: The last time the ACC media picked the Wolfpack to finish first in the league standings was 1988-89. But after a run to the Sweet 16 last March, forward C.J. Leslie's decision to return for another season, the arrival of a heralded recruiting class and so many departures from the other top conference teams, expect Mark Gottfried's club to top the ballots come fall. Point guard Lorenzo Brown needed knee surgery late last month, but is expected to practice before NCSU leaves for an August trip to Spain.

2. Departures at North Carolina: Losing so many stars to the NBA in one swipe (this time, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall) is nothing new in Chapel Hill. The question is, how will the Tar Heels respond? In 2005-06, after losing seven of its top eight players, a young UNC team exceeded preseason expectations by making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. But in 2009-10, after losing four of five starters, the Tar Heels didn't make it to the NCAA tournament at all. Returners such as James Michael McAdoo, Reggie Bullock, Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland still make UNC a top-15 favorite this time around.

3. Decisions at Duke: The Blue Devils' jaw-dropping defeat to 15th-seeded Lehigh in the NCAA tournament was followed by a couple of other spring surprises: the announcement that guard Andre Dawkins will redshirt his senior season, and forward Mason Plumlee will return for another year. The latter is particularly key for Duke, which will boast sizeable frontcourt options in Mason and Marshall Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Alex Murphy and late signee Amile Jefferson. But without Dawkins, how Seth Curry, Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton and freshman Rasheed Sulaimon perform on the perimeter could determine how far the Blue Devils go.

4. Personnel changes at Virginia Tech: Seth Greenberg is gone. But so are rising sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith and recruit Montrezl Harrell, who opted for new schools after Greenburg was fired. Former Greenberg assistant James Johnson -- who left Blacksburg, Va., for the same position at Clemson, only to return weeks later after he was hired to replace Greenberg in the head-coaching job -- has some talent to build around. But not all he could have hoped for.

5. Don't forget about Florida State: After losing six players in their rotation (including fan favorite forward Bernard James, who went No. 33 overall in the NBA draft), it would be easy to overlook the chances of the Seminoles, who won their first ACC tournament last season. But don't. The Noles return four of their top five scorers, including guards Michael Snaer and Ian Miller, who both buried game-winners last season. Plus, coach Leonard Hamilton has proven that defense wins.

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