Ranking the Top 10 ACC Players for November
Ranking the Top 10 ACC Players of November
Prior to the 2013-14 season, people were ready to anoint the ACC as the top conference in college basketball before a single game was played. After all, this was a conference that already featured the likes of Duke and North Carolina and was adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame.
But then something happened: the league failed to live up to expectations early on, with squads like Virginia and especially Boston College failing to rise to the occasion. The Hoos dropped out of the top 25, and Boston College has been limping along despite the presence of two top tier players on the roster.
Still, there have been plenty of highlights for the ACC, notably with some emerging freshmen and some other newcomers to the league as well as some up-and-comers who were already in the league and are now starting to make names for themselves. It's with this in mind that we look back at the first month of the season and rank the top 10 players from November.
There are some noteworthy absences from this list, but obviously this is a ranking that will be fluid over the course of the season. Someone who struggled over the first few weeks could of course turn it on and live up to the preseason hype come December, January, or if these teams are lucky, March.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 ACC players for the month of November.
10. Ryan Anderson, Boston College
One of two major bright spots for Boston College in an otherwise dismal start to the year, Ryan Anderson has emerged as one of the best scorers in the ACC early in the season. The stretch forward ranks seventh in the league with 19.0 points-per-game and is adding 7.1 rebounds, while shooting 51.3 percent from the field despite doing most of his damage with jump shots.
Of course on the flip side, that's one of the areas in which Anderson seriously needs to improve. Not in his perimeter game, but in his willingness to take the ball inside. He's a good interior scorer, but in his role as a stretch forward he too often gets pulled away from the basket. If that changes his numbers could get even better.
9. TJ Warren, North Carolina State
At present, North Carolina State's T.J. Warren ranks second in the ACC in scoring, pouring in 22.7 points-per-game, and is pulling down 7.3 boards as well. The versatile Warren, having already caught the eye of many a pro scout prior to this year, is shooting 53.8 percent from the field and has been exceptional on the offensive glass with three of his rebounds coming on that end each night.
Warren is a guy who, if the Wolfpack can make a few improvements and stop losing to the likes of North Carolina Central (who?), will no doubt rocket up these rankings as the season wears on.
8. KJ McDaniels, Clemson
Prior to the season very few people had likely ever heard of K.J. McDaniels. Honestly, even now there probably aren't many casual college hoops fans who know who he is or which team he plays for. But the fact remains that the Clemson forward has been one of the best, most productive players in the league throughout the early part of the season, averaging 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and a conference-best 3.5 blocks per game.
Add to that his very solid shooting percentages of 48.4 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from three, and 88. percent from the charity stripe and you've got one of the most complete players in the ACC who is giving Clemson fans a whole lot of hope that they could surprise people this year.
7. Marcus Paige, North Carolina
Everyone knew it would be a tough road for North Carolina with the absence of star guard P.J. Hairston, but despite a few ups and downs no one could have predicted the emergence of point guard Marcus Paige as a bona fide star. Paige is third in the league with an average of 22.4 points-per-game, shooting an impressive 53.1 percent from the both the field and three point range. That field goal percentage is almost unheard of for a point guard.
Where Paige loses a few points is his subpar assist-to-turnover ratio, handing out just 18 assists while turning the ball over 15 times in five games this year. Those numbers are not great for a point guard to say the least. Yes, it's because Paige has been asked to shoulder the load, but he needs to improve on his distribution to rise in these rankings.
6. Olivier Hanlan, Boston College
As mentioned before, the beginning of the 2013-14 season has been awfully disappointing for Boston College. One thing that has not been a disappointment, however, is the tremendous play of guard Olivier Hanlan, who is establishing himself as one of the most dynamic combo guards in the nation. Right now he's ranked fourth in the conference with 21.7 points and has been the go-to guy for the Eagles all year.
The Eagles have had a poor start to the year, but even in their losses the 6-foot-4 Hanlan has been impressive, leading the team in scoring in three of six games, including exploding for 38 points in the team's first win of the year against Florida Atlantic.
5. Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh
One of the most pleasant surprises to the early season has been the elevated play of Pittsburgh's Lamar Patterson, a fifth year senior averaging 17.1 points on 50 percent shooting and, perhaps most surprisingly, handing out 5.4 assists-per-game to start the year. Patterson has been the key to Pittsburgh's hot start, in which the Panthers -- known as a defense first team -- are averaging 81.7 points as a team.
People are starting to take notice, too, as Patterson was recently named the conference Player of the Week. Another impressive stat is the fact that he's only turned the ball over 11 times in seven games which is outstanding for any point guard, let alone a shooting guard.
4. CJ Fair, Syracuse
After losing three key members of last year's Final Four team, Syracuse small forward C.J. Fair was anointed as the guy to step up and carry the team. Not many people realized that he was actually more or less the guy last year, leading the Orange in scoring and rebounding, and he's stepped up his overall game as a senior. Yes, his shooting percentages are slightly down as he has worked away from the basket a bit more this season, but he's averaging 18.0 points and 5.9 rebounds while dramatically improving his free throw shooting, hitting 88.9 percent from the line.
Fair proved to be nearly unstoppable in the championship game of the Maui Invitational last week, scoring 24 points on his way to earning the tournament's MVP award. Fair was the preseason ACC Player of the Year, and he's certainly not hurting his case so far.
3. Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
While his younger brother, Jerami Grant, is the guy scouts are falling in love with up at Syracuse, Jerian Grant is pretty quietly putting together a spectacular season for Notre Dame. The 6-foot-5 Grant can play either guard spot, as evidenced by the fact that he's averaging 19.4 points and is second in the league with 5.8 assists-per-game despite playing primarily shooting guard. He's also been fantastic from three-point range, hitting 45.8 percent of his attempts.
It remains to be seen how good Grant will be once the Irish start playing a bit stronger competition, but through the first few weeks of the year it's hard to argue against him being one of the absolute best in the ACC thus far.
2. Rodney Hood, Duke
Everyone knew that Rodney Hood was going to be an impact transfer for Duke, but it's safe to assume very few people expected him to be this good, this quickly. Whatever rust there may have been from his year away from the court as he sat out following a transfer, it's completely gone. He's averaging 20.0 points and shooting an insane 62.2 percent from the field, including a ridiculous 59.1 percent from three-point range on 22 attempts.
Basically, he's playing his way into a potential spot in the lottery after this year, which in most cases would be good enough to put him at the top of these rankings. Unfortunately for Hood he's being a bit overshadowed by a certain stud freshman on his own team.
1. Jabari Parker, Duke
While Duke has faltered a bit with two losses early this season -- albeit against a pair of teams that could challenge for a national title -- the one thing that has been absolutely clear is the fact that yes, Jabari Parker is absolutely the real deal. He's been stellar in his first collegiate season, leading the ACC in scoring with 23.0 points-per-game and adding 8.0 rebounds.
The bottom line is that at this point, Parker looks like Carmelo Anthony v2.0, and just like with Melo, if the Blue Devils win the national title you can bet it'll be primarily thanks to their outstanding first year forward.