ACCMBB: Who's Got Next?

Note: This piece reflects on the ACC underclassmen who decided to declare early for the 2015 NBA draft by Wednesday, April 15th. It does not touch on every ACC player’s draft stock.

Following Tyus Jones and Trevor Laceys' decisions to leave their respective schools on Wednesday, the ACC is providing a slew of young talent for the 2015 NBA Draft. Although we will miss these exceptional student-athletes, the conference looks forward to watching them shine at the next level. Let’s look back on the brilliant careers of these former players and also look forward to those who will fill their shoes next season.

 

Justin Anderson, G, Virginia

The 6-6, 228-pound guard from Montross, VA averaged 12.2 points per game this season and emerged as one of the nation’s best juniors. Anderson led UVa in scoring before breaking the pinkie finger in his (left) shooting hand against Louisville on Feb. 7.

The combination of Anderson’s outstanding athleticism, ferocious defense and pure leadership made him a fan-favorite in Charlottesville.

Who’s Got Next?

Although it will be challenging to fill JA’s void, Malcolm Brogdon and the rest of the Cavaliers will need to step up next season in a big way.  

At this point in time, the majority of the nation recognizes Malcolm Brogdon. For those of you who don’t, get to know the name. Brogdon was named to the 2014-15 All-ACC First Team and led UVa in scoring with 14 points per game.

The 6-5 junior guard from Norcross, GA will quickly become Virginia’s knight in shining armor. Brogdon’s size, basketball IQ, and work ethic make him a viable option to help Virginia win three straight ACC regular season titles. 

Another name to keep in mind is Marial Shayok. Shayok, who averaged just under 4 points per game this past season as a freshman, will anchor Virginia’s defense. Despite losing a superstar in Justin Anderson, the Cavaliers will be ready to defend their ACC crown in 2015-16.

 


 

Olivier Hanlan, G, Boston College

Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan led the ACC in scoring last season with 19.5 points per game. The 6-4, 190-pound guard, also earned All-ACC First Team in 2014-15.

This offensive machine from Quebec led Boston College in scoring in all three of his seasons in Chestnut Hill. Unfortunately for Hanlan’s draft exposure, he was crippled by BC’s mediocre record all three years. Only time will tell if that affects Hanlan’s draft stock.

Who’s Got Next?

Unfortunately for Boston College, the Eagles will graduate eight seniors this spring. That leaves many holes in an already Swiss cheese like team. Fortunately for BC fans, this is all part of Jim Christian’s rebuilding process.  

One name that may surface next season will be future freshman, A.J. Turner. This 6-7 SF from Warren, Michigan, signed with BC this past fall. Turner, a 4-star on most recruiting sites, plays ironically similar to Olivier Hanlan.

A.J. Turner shares Hanlan’s offensives awareness, cutting to the basket when defenders are asleep for example. Turner is however much more athletic and longer than Hanlan. Just keep his name in mind as BC continues to rebuild over the next few seasons.

 


 

Montrezl Harrell, F, Louisville

Louisville had quite an up-and-down season. The Cardinals lost guard Chris Jones to dismissal back in February. Then two days after Rick Pitino’s squad fell to Michigan State in the Elite Eight, Louisville lost their two best players.

Montrezl Harrell, the nation’s best true power forward, declared for the 2015 NBA Draft two weeks ago. Although Harrell is considered undersized for his position, his 7-3 wingspan certainly makes up for that. Not to mention this kid is a ferocious beast down low. Harrell’s explosive leaping ability and strong stature make him a first round NBA draft choice.

Who’s Got Next?

Chinanu Onuaku emerged as a consistent and effective player for Louisville this past season. The 6-10 Center’s numbers may not jump out at you, but they are very comparative to Harrell’s numbers when he was a freshman:

Harrelb, 2012-13: 16.2 MPG, 5.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.7 BPG

Onuaku, 2014-15: 17.8 MPG, 3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Considering he got a ton of experience this season as a freshman, these numbers bode well for Onuaku’s future with Louisville. Match that experience with a physical specimen and Onuaku may lobby for ACC Defensive Player of the Year at some point in his career.

 


 

Tyus Jones, G, Duke

Tyus Jones has ice in his veins. This kid is completely unflappable. You saw it on display on the biggest stages this past season. Jones hit a dagger 3-pointer against then undefeated UVa with 10 seconds left. The freshman averaged 23 points against bitter rival UNC in two victories against the Heels. Oh yeah, then Tyus Jones dropped 23 points in the National Championship against Wisconsin, taking home the Most Oustanding Player award. It will be very difficult to replace this big-game player.

Who’s Got Next?

Most people will argue that Duke’s biggest hole to fill during the offseason will be the point guard position. Besides losing the ACC POY, there’s no argument there.

As it stands right now, combo guard Grayson Allen seems to be the likely candidate to fill that void.  Allen flashed signs of greatness when his minutes were extended in the last month of the season.

In the National Championship game, Grayson Allen was the spark that Duke needed when the Blue Devils were down nine with under 14 minutes left. Allen finished the game with 16 points, asserting himself as Duke’s next big thing.

 


 

Trevor Lacey, G, NC State

Much like Duke's freshmen phenoms, the ACC only saw a snippet of the brilliance that is Trevor Lacey. The 6-3 guard averaged 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his only season with the Wolfpack after sitting out the previous year following a transfer from Alabama. Lacey was a second-team All-ACC pick this season.  

NC State was considered a top 25 team next season with Lacey on board ​so this news must leave a bitter taste in Wolfpack nation's mouth.

Who's Got Next?

With Lacey gone and Ralston Turner graduating, this is Cat Barber's team now. Barber improved tremendously this past season on the offensive end. He averaged 12 points, 3 rebounds and nearly 4 assists per game. Not to mention, Barber improved his shooting percentage to 44 percent on the season. 

As a junior next year, Anthony "Cat" Barber will have to play the role as team leader. Not only on the court as the floor general, but off it as well. 

 


 

Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

There was no doubt that Jahlil Okafor would declare for the NBA following this season. There is also no doubt that this kid will be a superstar at the next level. Regardless of ACC bias, Okafor should be the first overall pick without question. Seeing him play in person is impressive; his sheer size alone makes him stand out. Not to mention Okafor’s offensive skill-set is already comparable to Tim Duncan. We will miss you, Ja.

Who’s Got Next?

One name that most ACC fans don’t know right now is Sean Obi. The 6-9, 270-pound PF sat out this past season after transferring to Duke from Rice University.

As a freshman for Rice, Obi averaged 11.4 ppg and led Conference-USA with 9.3 rebounds per game. He scored in double-figures in 17 of 30 games, while shooting 59 percent for the Owls.

A native of Nigeria, Obi becomes only the fifth player to transfer to Duke under Coach K. He has good hands, solid footwork and great rebounding instincts.

Let’s get real here folks, no one can fill Jahlil Okafor’s shoes (can’t even imagine how big they actually are). Regardless, at least Blue Devil fans can rest a little easier knowing that they can insert an experienced Obi into the lineup.

 


 

Terry Rozier, G, Louisville

Terry Rozier was consistently impressive throughout the majority of the 2014-15 season. The sophomore ranked fourth in the ACC in scoring with 17.1 ppg. Rozier also led the league in steals per game with 2. The 6-1 guard rebounded relatively well (5.6 rpg) for his size. That bodes well for his draft stock.

Who’s Got Next?

If Louisville is looking for a hometown hero, the Cardinals have potentially got one in Quentin Snider. Snider, whose hometown is Louisville, Kentucky, came up big for the Cardinals last season after Chris Jones was dismissed.

Snider averaged 13 points per game in Louisville’s first three rounds of the NCAA Tourney. This kid is not afraid to shoot. Neither was Rozier so that should be an easy transition for Louisville fans.

 

 


 

J.P. Tokoto, G, North Carolina

J.P. Tokoto raised some eyebrows last week when he announced his decision to leave UNC for the 2015 NBA Draft. Many people suggested that Tokoto was not being pushed enough to become more than just an athletic defender who could dunk the ball occasionally. That’s what we saw out of him during his time in Chapel Hill. As long as the NBA values potential over hard stats, there’s a possibility that an NBA team could take a chance on Tokoto.

Who’s Got Next?

Although it’s a little disconcerting that he had better production than Tokoto in 2014-15, Justin Jackson is next up for the historic UNC program.

Jackson averaged 10.7 ppg and was named to a loaded First Team All-ACC. The 6-8 SF averaged 13 points and 5.3 rebounds in Carolina’s last five games.

We saw flashes of his greatness during the 2015 ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Jackson absolutely lit up Virginia, one of the best defenses in the nation last year.

 


 

Justise Winslow, F, Duke

Justise Winslow cemented himself as a lottery pick by averaging 14.6 points per game during the second half of the ACC regular season and league tournament. Winslow set himself apart by leading Duke’s title run, averaging 14.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in six NCAA Tourney games. He was unstoppable in transition, dangerous off the dribble and progressively improved his three-point shooting.

Who’s Got Next?

Duke’s next big man on deck is high school senior, Chase Jeter. The 6-10 Center from Las Vegas signed with the Blue Devils last August.

Although Chase Jeter will most likely fill in Duke’s center void left by Okafor’s departure, he plays more like Justise Winslow.

Jeter is extremely lengthy and athletic around the rim, but he does not possess the same post skills as Okafor. He plays a lot like Winslow in transition, and will provide a great shot-blocking presence for the Blue Devils in 2015-16.