Power Rankings: ACC Basketball’s Top 15 Players
ACC Top 15 Players
The preseason predictions have been thrown out the window as nobody expected the Miami (FL) Hurricanes to still be undefeated in league action at this point. The Hurricanes have blown away their competition at times and grinded out victories at other times, while maintaining a perfect 13-0 record.
A group led by a super sophomore and backed up by five quality seniors has been making school history, with many wondering how much more re-writing of the record book they have left to accomplish.
As one team impresses and surpasses their preseason expectation, another team in the North Carolina State Wolfpack is left disappointing their fan base. Sitting tied for third place in the ACC with the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Cavaliers is not where many predicted the talented Wolfpack roster would be at this stage in the year. A team loaded with skill, size and athleticism has struggled to find consistency but still remains one of the biggest threats to take home the conference title. If the light switch ever turned on for N.C. State, they could find themselves competing for much more than just the ACC honors.
Speaking of teams that could be competing for more than the conference title, the Duke Blue Devils have only one loss in their past eight contests. The strong squad has answered critics and proven they are still a force on the court despite the absence of their senior Ryan Kelly.
With all that said, it’s now time to reveal the top 15 players in the ACC.
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. Reggie Johnson
Reggie Johnson, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
The 6-foot-10, 290lbs senior was averaging a double-double early in the season before a thumb injury forced him out of the line-up. Since returning he’s been coming off the bench and unlike most quality players, he hasn’t let it bother him in any way. His minutes have dipped due to the injury and finding himself in foul trouble, however his insurance off the bench makes the Hurricanes one of the scariest teams in the nation. Nobody would find it surprising to see Johnson go off for a double-double while taking over a game all on his own. Despite the decrease in minutes, he’s still close to the double-double average he once had, recording 9.4 points, 8.3 rebounds along with 1.4 blocks.
14. Alex Len
Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins
The sophomore began the year looking like one of the best players in the conference, and although he’s managed to deliver a solid season to date, his production has dropped off as of late. He’s been inconsistent at times during league play as he’s struggled to stay out of foul trouble. Despite putting up quality numbers, the Terrapins needed Len to stay on the floor if they were going to have a chance at a tournament bid. Unfortunately, those chances are on the bubble at the moment but that doesn’t change the fact the 7-foot-1 center is a top five shot blocker and top 10 rebounder in the conference. Len is averaging 12.4 points, eight rebounds, 2.1 blocks while shooting 54.9% from the floor.
13. Reggie Bullock
Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels
Arguably the Tar Heels best player, Bullock is averaging career highs in every statistical category as a junior. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward combo is recording 13.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals while shooting 47.3% from the floor, 44% from long range and 80% from the foul line. A major jump up from his sophomore numbers where he finished averaging 8.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, while shooting 42.8% from the field, 38.2% from three-point range, and 72.7% from the foul line. He’s also doing it all while only playing 4.4 minutes more than a year ago.
12. James Michael McAdoo
James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Tar Heels
The sophomore entered the season as the only returning starter from a year ago and had massive expectations that came with it. Some would argue he hasn’t lived up to those expectations but when you consider the numbers McAdoo is putting up, one has to wonder if perhaps too much was expected from the young forward. He’s a top ten scorer in the conference and a top five rebounder, recording 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. He’s not going to be the top five pick in June many thought he’d be, however a return to play out his junior year could see him become the incredible prospect scouts believe he can be.
11. Quinn Cook
Quinn Cook, Duke Blue Devils
One of the best playmakers in the conference wasn’t even in the starting line-up when the season began. Things quickly changed with the Blue Devils and the sophomore guard hasn’t looked back since, owning the best assist-to-turnover ratio among the top five assist producers in the league. Cook is second in the conference in assists, averaging 5.7 per game, to go along with 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals.
10. C.J. Leslie
C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State Wolfpack
The junior’s numbers suggest he should be higher in the rankings, unfortunately inconsistent play and a maturity issue is the reason he finds himself at his current slot. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 15.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and is shooting 54.6% from the field. On his best day he looks like a young Kevin Garnett, on his worst day he makes you wonder if he and DeMarcus Cousins operate under the same brainwaves. Leslie has all the tools to dominate on any given night, but often finds himself arguing with officials as oppose to using that fiery passion to help his teammates on the scoreboard.
9. Kenny Kadji
Kenny Kadji, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
One of the most exciting big men in the game who doesn’t get nearly enough attention is the Hurricanes’ 6-foot-11 senior. Kadji stepped up big time when teammate Reggie Johnson was out of the line-up and hasn’t slowed down since Johnson's returned. He’s averaging 12.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks while shooting 48.4% from the field. He’d be shooting better than 50% from the floor if it wasn’t for his love of backing up and burning opponents from three-point range, where he’s averaging 36% from downtown. Very few players in the nation flirting with seven-feet in height are capable of shooting as well as Kadji.
8. Joe Harris
Joe Harris, Virginia Cavaliers
The conference’s fourth leading scorer is on a mission to ensure the Cavaliers earn their entry into March Madness. The 6-foot-6 junior is averaging 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists while shooting 50% from the field and an incredible 48.1% from three-point range. Nobody this season has been able to sleep on Virginia and the biggest reason why has been Harris’ ability to torch napping opponents.
7. Lorenzo Brown
Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State Wolfpack
The conference’s top playmaker is essentially college basketball’s version of Rajon Rondo. The 6-foot-5 junior can impact a game in numerous ways, proven by his averages of 12.7 points, 6.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and two steals. He’s the sparkplug that keeps the Wolfpack going despite the team failing to live up to their preseason expectations.
6. Durand Scott
Durand Scott, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Tied for the scoring lead for the Hurricanes, the 6-foot-5 senior is capable of delivering a monstrous game all on his own. Luckily for Miami (FL), the team doesn’t need to depend solely on Scott given the talent that surrounds him. Not only is he a talented offensive player, he’s also one of the best defensive guards in the conference, ranking third in the league for steals. Scott is one of the biggest reasons why the Hurricanes are still undefeated in league action, which explains his averages of 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals.
5. Seth Curry
Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils
One of the best shooters in all of college basketball is also the third leading scorer in the conference. Curry isn’t putting up numbers like his brother did, mostly due to all the talent surrounding him. However, he’s still making the family proud with averages of 17.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists while shooting 45.8% from the field and 43.5% from three-point territory.
4. Erick Green
Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies
The best scorer in the conference might not have the greatest team record, however the weak Hokies are always competitive with Green’s ability to put points in a hurry. The 6-foot-3 senior is having a phenomenal season recording 25.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, four assists, 1.3 steals while shooting 47.6 from the floor. He’s only failed to score 20 or more points, twice all season as he’s nearly jumped 10 points in his scoring total from a year ago.
3. Richard Howell
Richard Howell, North Carolina State Wolfpack
Arguably the most under appreciated player in the conference despite averaging a double-double of 13 points, 10.9 points along with two assists, 1.1 steals while shooting 56.4% from the field. He’s the conference leader in rebounding, and third in field goal percentage along with being the only player besides Mason Plumlee to average a double-double in the conference. While teammates such as C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown and talented freshman T.J. Warren grab all the headlines, Howell is the glue keeping the team together. His heart and hustle makes him without question the most important player on the Wolfpack.
2. Shane Larkin
Shane Larkin, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
The sparkplug that keeps the Hurricanes undefeated has been the definition of a super sophomore. For more on his incredible season, click here.
1. Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils
Second in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage in the conference, along with fifth in blocked shots. Few players have had a dominating impact this season like Plumlee has. The 6-foot-10 center is averaging career highs across the board with 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, two assists, 1.7 blocks, while shooting 59.6% from the floor. The inside-outside combination of Plumlee and Seth Curry are the biggest reason why many in Durham, believe another national championship could be headed their way, let alone another conference title.