Monday, July 16, 2012
ACC: Five freshmen to watch
By Robbi Pickeral
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.
Marcus Paige, North Carolina: With Cousy Award winner Kendall Marshall now playing in the NBA, senior shooting guard/backup point guard Dexter Strickland returning from a knee injury and last season's third-stringer, Stilman White, away on a Mormon mission, the left-handed Iowan is going to play a lot of minutes. But he's coming off a summer foot injury, so how quickly he has healed and how fast he adapts will be key for the Tar Heels.
Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke: The wing from Houston won the 3-point shooting contest in the McDonald's All-American game and averaged 27.4 points as a high school senior. Now that Austin Rivers is gone to the NBA, Duke needs some more perimeter scoring -- and the 6-foot-3 Sulaimon is a strong candidate to do provide it. Freshman forward Amile Jefferson, a late signee, will be a key piece of the Blue Devils' puzzle, as well.
Rodney Purvis, NC State: One of three new McDonald's All-Americans on the Wolfpack's roster, the 6-4 combo guard should add athleticism and depth to the wing. And although he's expected to make an instant impact, he'll have the bonus of being able to adjust without the burden of carrying the full load, thanks to the return of Leslie and Brown, among others.
Robert Carter, Georgia Tech: Yellow Jackets fans are hoping the big Georgia product will help turn around a program that hasn't had a winning conference record since 2004. The 6-8, 250-pounder was ranked the No. 7 power forward prospect in the nation by RecruitingNation.
Justin Anderson, Virginia: The 6-5 wing is a strong defender with scoring potential -- and the Cavaliers need both after the losses of Mike Scott, Sammy Zeglinski and Assane Sene. Anderson is from Spotsylvania, Va., and is ranked the No. 12 small forward by RecruitingNation.