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Power Rankings: ACC Basketball’s Top 15 Players (5th Edition)

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ACC's Top 15 Players

ACC's Top 15 Players
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

ACC league play has tipped-off which means it’s time once again to take a look at the top 15 players in the conference.

There’s been no shortage of action to begin the schedule with upsets, individual performances, and the continued battle to catch the Duke Blue Devils at the top of the standings.

For the first time all season the North Carolina Tar Heels have two players in the rankings. Despite their conference opening loss, the team has managed to place two players in the rankings with the rise of one individual and descend of another.

While the Tar Heels have struggled to begin the year their cross state rivals the Blue Devils have done the exact opposite by remaining undefeated after winning their league opener. Duke continues to be well represented in the rankings as the firepower the team possesses has taken turns stepping up with individual performances

Speaking of individual performances, the conference is not shy of players who have placed their schools on their backs through two months of action. The rankings feature several players directly responsible for their teams possessing winning records.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack aren’t a team that relies entirely on one player to lead them but they haven’t had a shortage of great individual performances either. The Wolfpack continue to chase down the Blue Devils and appear to the team with the best chance at ending Duke’s undefeated record. North Carolina State has the second most players represented in the rankings behind the Blue Devils as the two schools combine to own 60% of the top 10. That percentage along with the player’s rankings could change drastically after the teams meet on Jan. 12.

Until then, it's time to reveal where the Blue Devils, Wolfpack and the rest of the conference rank as of Jan. 7.

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.

First Rankings

Second Rankings

Third Rankings

Fourth Rankings

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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15. Durand Scott

Scott
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Durand Scott, Miami(FL) Hurricanes

Current Ranking: 15, Last Ranking: 15

Miami(FL) suffered a major blow when Reggie Johnson went down with an injury leaving their senior guard to pick up the pieces. The 6-foot-5 leading scorer of the team will have to step up until Johnson can return and with his averages of 14.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals, he is more than capable of doing so. Scott sits 9th in the conference in scoring and third in steals while shooting 49.5% from the field for the 10-3 Hurricanes.

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14. Ryan Kelly

Kelly
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kelly, Duke Blue Devils

Current Ranking: 14, Last Ranking: NR

The senior returns to the rankings after a career performance in Duke’s conference season opener. The 6-foot-11 forward delivered 22 points and four rebounds while shooting 5 for 7 from three-point range in the win. Kelly is averaging 13.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 47.3% from the floor and 50% from long range for the undefeated Blue Devils. He also sits third in the conference in blocked shots with 1.8 per contest. His scoring and defense is often overlooked on a team that has seen dominating performances from teammates higher in the rankings.

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13. Reggie Bullock

Bullock
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels

Current Ranking: 13, Last Ranking: NR

After a respectable November, the junior delivered a great December to enter conference play averaging career highs across the board. The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals while shooting 51.2% from the field and 49.3% from three-point range and 85.7% from the free throw line. Bullock is quickly making a case for himself as North Carolina’s top player while being on the verge of climbing the rankings during a time his teammate continues to fall…

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12. James Michael McAdoo

McAdoo
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Tar Heels

Current Ranking: 12, Last Ranking: 8

In recent years suggesting North Carolina had only two players in the top 15 of the conference wouldn’t be outrageous. However, having no players in the top 10 would be. That is exactly the case as the 10-4 Tar Heels have struggled to find themselves through the first two months of the season. Their 6-foot-8 sophomore has seen his offensive production drop from being a top five scorer in the conference to outside the top 10. The forward is producing in other areas but for North Carolina to have any sort of success this season they’ll need more from McAdoo. He’s averaging 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds but the surrounding competition have just ment more to their teams than the sophomore has to his at this point in the season.

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11. Joe Harris

Harris
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Harris, Virginia Cavaliers

Current Ranking: 11, Last Ranking: NR

The 6-foot-6 guard showed the 11-3 Cavaliers will be dangerous in the conference with their league opening win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. The junior delivered 19 points and five rebounds while shooting 63.6% going 7 for 11 from the field. He sits 7th in the conference in scoring averaging career highs with 15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 48.3% from the field and 46.9% from downtown.

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10. Ryan Anderson

Anderson
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Anderson, Boston College Eagles

Current Ranking: 10, Last Ranking: 12

The 8-6 Eagles are second last in the conference but the league’s fourth leader scorer and second leading rebounder will give them a chance to win in any game. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is averaging 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds for Boston College. He has three double-doubles in his past five games including a 23 point and 19 rebound performance and 22 points along with 13 rebounds in the Eagles’ conference opening 78-73 loss to the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Boston College isn’t going to have much success in conference play but when they do it’ll be because of Anderson.

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9. Michael Snaer

Snaer
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Snaer, Florida State Seminoles

Current Ranking: 9, Last Ranking: 11

The conference’s fifth leading scorer is the biggest reason why Florida State still holds a winning record at 9-5 this season. The Seminoles somehow won their league opener despite the senior only finishing with eight points, it’s the only win Florida State has won without Snaer picking up at least 14 points. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists and his freshmen filled team would be at the bottom of the conference standings if he wasn’t those numbers.

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8. Lorenzo Brown

Brown
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State Wolfpack

Current Ranking: 8, Last Ranking: 9

The conference’s assists and steals leader is playing more like the conference player of the year candidate many thought he would be after an inconsistent start to the season. He’s toned down the turnovers recently to return to the 2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio he held last year. In his last four games he’s recorded 31 assists while only committing seven turnovers. The junior is averaging 12.5 points, 6.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals for the 12-2 Wolfpack.

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7. Quinn Cook

Cook
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn Cook, Duke Blue Devils

Current Ranking: 7, Last Ranking: 7

The Duke guard gets the edge over Lorenzo Brown as the league’s best playmaking guard due to a higher assist-to-turnover ratio. The sophomore is the conference’s second leader in assists (0.2 assists behind Brown) and fourth in steals (0.5 behind Brown). He’s averaging 10.3 points, 6.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.72 assists per turnover. Despite being four inches shorter than Brown, he’s still averaging only 0.2 fewer rebounds. Brown might have a slight edge in points but both teams are loaded with offensive weapons so the key is which playmaker can take better care of the ball. Up until this point of the season it has been Cook, evidence by his 14 assists and one turnover in the Blue Devils conference opener.

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6. Seth Curry

Curry
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils

Current Ranking: 6, Last Ranking: 5

The senior is the conference’s third leading scorer despite being wildly inconsistent in his previous five games. His point totals in those games were 20, 8, 31, 6 and 22. The 31 point performance was his highest scoring total since transferring to Duke after playing his first college season with the Liberty Flames. Curry might be hot and cold lately and who knows how much of his bothersome ankle is playing a factor in that, regardless he’s still averaging 16.6 points for the Blue Devils.

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5. C.J. Leslie

Leslie
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State Wolfpack

Current Ranking: 5, Last Ranking: 6

The junior started the season slow but used a strong December to remind the conference why he is a serious player of the year candidate. The 6-foot-9 forward is the conference’s sixth leading scorer, and has a place in the top ten for rebounding and field goal percentage. Leslie is averaging 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 58.3% from the field.

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4. Alex Len

Len
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

Current Ranking: 4, Last Ranking: 4

The 7-foot-1 center is one of the most intimidating paint presences in the conference with his averages of 13.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He’s the biggest reason why Maryland is on a 13 game win streak since losing their first game of the season. Opponents are going to have their hands full trying to contain Len in the post while also looking for a way to attack the rim with him on the court.

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3. Richard Howell

Howell
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Howell, North Carolina State Wolfpack

Current Ranking: 3, Last Ranking: 3

The senior has been a solid consistent presence for the Wolfpack during the first two months of the season. When the team struggled to live up to preseason expectations early in the year, the 6-foot-8 257lbs rebounding machine continue to compete hard and has been the best player leading North Carolina State to a 12-2 record. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 64.5% from the field. He sits second in field goal average in the conference and third in rebounding while recording eight double-doubles this season.

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2. Erick Green

Green
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Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies

Current Ranking: 2, Last Ranking: 2

The conference’s leading scorer continues to attempt to put Virginia Tech on his back despite the team losing five of its past seven games. The senior is seeing career highs in nearly every category as he averages 24.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals while posting incredible shooting averages. He’s shooting 16.1 attempts per contest and making nearly half those attempts with a 48.9% average from the field. The 6-foot-3 guard is also getting to the line 8.6 times per game and making 86% of those opportunities. Green doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon after delivering 28 points in the Hokies’ league opener against the Maryland Terrapins.

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1. Mason Plumlee

Plumlee
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils

Current Ranking: 1, Last Ranking: 1

He’s been ranked number one all season long and it’s impossible to make an argument he hasn’t deserved it. Plumlee has led Duke to a 14-0 record by being first in the conference in rebounding, second in scoring, third in field goal percentage and fifth in blocked shots. He’s the only player in the conference to average a double-double after recording a nation leading nine double-doubles through the season’s first two months. The senior is averaging 18.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks while shooting 63.4% from the field.