Power Rankings: ACC’s Top 15 Players (Second Edition)
ACC Power Rankings: Top 15 Players
Before the ACC tips-off for another weekend of exciting conference action it’s time once again to rank the 15 best players the conference has to offer.
This past week saw some fresh faces join the rankings along with plenty of movement within those already on the list.
The Virginia Tech Hokies fell leaving the Duke Blue Devils as the only remaining undefeated team within the conference. The Hokies battled hard led by the scoring of Erick Green but ultimately fell short losing by one point with Green missing a chance to win the game with a buzzer beater that hit front rim. Green fell to the floor in disappointment but the Hokies wouldn’t stay down long bouncing back 48 hours later to improve to 8-1.
Speaking of Duke, the Blue Devils once again passed a key test on the season easily taking care of the Temple Owls. Duke’s starting five led the team in victory proving why they are the nation’s best starting unit in the blowout win.
Meanwhile the North Carolina State Wolfpack appear to getting things back on track. The team’s frontcourt is looking like one of the best in the conference and their point guard is slowly remembering how he took such good care of the ball a year ago, something he’s forgotten how to do to begin this season.
Along with the Hokies, the conference features two other schools with only one loss on their season records. The Maryland Terrapins and Miami(FL) Hurricanes have looked good to begin the year and will hope to carry their momentum into conference play when things tip-off in two weeks.
With all that said it’s time for the second edition of the ACC's top 15 players.
The rankings are based on player performance, strength of schedule, team success, and are designed to give an idea of where the player might finish if the conference player of the year was named today. Players who have performed at high levels against strong competition are weighed higher than those who might have higher numbers against considerably weaker competition.
15. Ryan Kelly
Ryan Kelly, Duke Blue Devils
Last Ranking: NR, Current Ranking: 15
Kelly makes his debut in the rankings after recording his first double-double of the season against the Temple Owls with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The senior is often forgotten given his high profile teammates but his overall contributions to the Blue Devils this season cannot be overlooked. Kelly adds to Duke’s firepower as the team’s third leading scorer with 13.1 points and is second in team rebounding with 5.2 boards per game. The 6-foot-11 forward's defense is a big asset for the Blue Devils with his hustle, rebounding and shot blocking where he sits tied for third in the conference averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Duke also doesn’t need to worry about subbing him out late in case opposing team’s are looking for someone to foul as the big man shoots 73.7% from the foul line.
14. Dezmine Wells
Dezmine Wells, Maryland Terrapins
Last Ranking: 14, Current Ranking: 14
Wells continues to live up to his reputation as player that can do a little bit of everything with his play in Maryland’s last two games. In those games the sophomore averaged 50% from the field, nine points, four rebounds, two assists, 1.5 blocks and one assist while averaging 23 minutes of action. Both games were double-digit victories for the Terrapins meaning Wells was allowed to sit in order to provide bench players more court time before conference play begins. Wells leads 9-1 Maryland in steals with 1.2 per game and is second in scoring with 12.2 points. He also leads the team in minutes played with 25.7 per game.
13. Michael Snaer
Michael Snaer, Florida State Seminoles
Last Ranking: NR, Current Ranking: 13
Snaer makes his debut in the rankings after Florida State picked up a win over the past week improving their record to 5-4. The senior is the unquestioned leader of a young Seminoles roster that features five freshmen and when Snaer struggles, Florida State struggles. In the team’s four losses Snaer is shooting 29.4%, averaging 9.7 points and the team is losing by an average of 16 points. In the Seminoles five victories he’s shooting 42.3%, averaging 17.8 points and the team is winning by an average of 19.6 points. Florida State’s success is clearly dependant on Snaer’s ability to put the young Seminoles on his shoulders.
12. Jarell Eddie
Jarell Eddie, Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Ranking: 6, Current Ranking: 12
Two games where Eddie failed to record double-digits severely hurt his ranking this week. The junior was stuck in foul trouble and was nailed to the bench unable to contribute more than five points in 20 minutes of action in Virginia Tech’s first loss of the season. He followed that performance by shooting 28.6% and finishing with only eight points against a winless Mississippi State Valley Delta Devils squad. Eddie is still averaging 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds so he’ll likely see time in the top 10 again but for now the forward sits just outside.
11. Lorenzo Brown
Lorenzo Brown, North State Wolfpack
Last Ranking: 12, Current Ranking: 11
Brown jumps up one spot after helping the Wolfpack improve to 6-2 by recording 10 points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals while only committing one turnover. He’s first in the conference in steals with 2.1 per game and second in assists with 5.9 per contest but won’t get much higher in the rankings shooting 37.5% from the field and averaging 3.8 turnovers per game.
10. Shane Larkin
Shane Larkin, Miami(FL) Hurricanes
Last Ranking: 10, Current Ranking: 10
Larkin is fourth in conference scoring averaging 15.2 points per game and is tied for second in steals with two per contest. He failed to finish with double-figures for the first time this season in his last game with only nine points but was still productive recording five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Larkin is a big reason why the Hurricanes are 6-1 and if he can maintain his solid play once conference action begins he’ll quickly find himself higher in the top 10. Until then, he just hasn’t faced strong enough competition to earn a spot over those ahead him.
9. C.J. Leslie
C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State Wolfpack
Last Ranking: 11, Current Ranking: 9
Leslie is looking like the potential player of the year candidate many thought he would be entering the season. After an ugly ending in Puerto Rico, the junior bounced back with three straight double-doubles and finished with a season high 19 points in his last outing. Leslie hit his first three pointer of the season, shooting 87.5% from the field to go along with eight rebounds while helping the Wolfpack improve to 6-2. If the 6-foot-9 forward can continue to produce at the level he’s shown since returning from Puerto Rico, then conference opponents will have their hands full trying to contain the Wolfpack’s frontcourt duo of Leslie and Richard Howell.
8. Reggie Johnson
Reggie Johnson, Miami(FL) Hurricanes
Last Ranking: 8, Current Ranking: 8
The 6-foot-10, 296lbs center has been a force in the middle leading the 6-1 Hurricanes with four double-doubles already this season. The senior is averaging 12 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. His rebounding averaging is good enough for second in the conference and Johnson is tied for third in blocked shots.
7. Quinn Cook
Quinn Cook, Duke Blue Devils
Last Ranking: 9, Current Ranking: 7
The 6-foot-1 sophomore hasn’t slowed down since taking home Battle-4-Atlantis Tournament MVP honors. Cook once again showed his value in the Blue Devil’s starting line-up against Temple when he finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He sits third in the conference in assists averaging 5.7 per game. He has done a good job of taking care of the ball averaging almost two assists per every turnover as he has a total of 51 assists and 26 turnovers through eight games. That number is even more incredible after taking into account the opponents Duke has had to face early on and that Cook wasn’t even a starter to begin the season.
6. James Michael McAdoo
James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Tar Heels
Last Ranking: 5, Current Ranking: 6
McAdoo won’t be the only Tar Heel on the rankings for much longer given the play of some his teammates recently but for now he represents his team alone. Averaging 15 points and 8.4 rebounds, the sophomore failed to score in double-digits for the first time this season in the Tar Heels most recent blowout victory. McAdoo only played 23 minutes in the win but still managed to shoot 50% from the field. Once conference play begins it’s likely McAdoo will find himself a regular in the top five but for now he can thank a state rival for bumping him out this week.
5. Richard Howell
Richard Howell, North Carolina State Wolfpack
Last Ranking: 7, Current Ranking: 5
Howell cracks the top five after recording his fourth double-double of the season finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three assists helping the Wolfpack improve to 6-2. He’s ranked eighth in the conference in both scoring and rebounding as the senior averages 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. However, his most impressive stat is his 68.1% from the field that leads the conference. The frontcourt combination of Howell and C.J. Leslie is going to be a nightmare for conference opponents to try and match-up against.
4. Alex Len
Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins
Last Ranking: 3, Current Ranking: 4
One player that might stand a chance matching up against North Carolina State’s frontcourt is Maryland’s sophomore center. Len is the Terrapins leading scorer along with being ranked first in the conference in blocks and fifth in rebounding. The 7-foot-1 center is averaging 13.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and shooting 58.7% from the field for 9-1 Maryland. He’s also another big man that can shoot well at the foul line averaging 70.5% from the charity stripe. He had a season high five blocks while shooting 83.3% from the field helping the Terrapins extend their win streak to nine after losing the season opener. The same season opener Len posted 23 points and 12 rebounds being matched-up against Nerlens Noel.
3. Seth Curry
Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils
Last Ranking: 4, Current Ranking: 3
After sitting out his first game of the season with an ankle injury that’s bothered him to start the year, Curry returned to score a season high five three-pointers finishing with 23 points. The scoring outburst saw his average improve to third best in the conference recording 16.1 points per game. He’ll need to improve in other areas if he wants to stay this high averaging only 1.9 rebounds and only one assist per game. However, there’s no denying how important Curry’s scoring has been to Duke and he’s being doing it all with only one healthy ankle.
2. Erick Green
Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Ranking: 2, Current Ranking: 2
Green has been lights out for the 8-1 Hokies being the only player in the nation to score in the twenties every game of the season. He’s averaging 24.4 points, five assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals while shooting 51.2% from the field. He leads the conference in scoring and sits fourth in assists. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 23 points and 10 assists trying to do everything he could to avoid the Hokies first loss of the season. Virginia Tech ultimately fell short and Green put the team back in the win column two days later by shooting 61.5% on 8 for 13 shooting, finishing with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Green’s scoring performances to begin the season have been incredible and they’re highlighted by his free throw shooting. Since the third game of the season, the 6-foot-3 guard has only missed two free throws going 62 for 64 during that span.
1. Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils
Last Ranking: 1, Current Ranking: 1
There’s not much more that can be said about the dominating performance Plumlee has opened the season with that hasn’t already been said. Plumlee is averaging 19.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and shooting 61.1% from the field. Those numbers see him ranked first in the conference in rebounding, second in scoring and fourth in field goal percentage. He also has six double-doubles on the season with the most recent coming in a win against Temple where he finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. The 6-foot-10, 235lbs senior’s spot at the top of the rankings won’t be in jeopardy any time soon.