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UCF Knights 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2011 in Conference Notes

UCF Knights (19-11, 6-10)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G A.J. Rompza
Jr. G Marcus Jordan
Sr. F P.J. Gaynor
Jr. F Keith Clanton
Sr. F Dwight McCombs

Important departures:

Isaac Sosa: 8ppg, 1.8 rpg, 39.2 percent from 3-point range
Tom Herzog: 5.7 ppg, 3,5 rpg

Additions:

Three-star SF Rod Days
Three-star F Wayne Martin
Three-star PF Kasey Wilson

% returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 68.3 percent
Rebounding: 74.8 percent

Schedule highlights

Key nonconference game: at Florida State Nov. 14
Key conference stretch: at Marshall Jan. 14, vs. Memphis Jan. 18, at UAB Jan. 21

Outlook:

UCF started the season strong with a win streak during nonconference play. Unfortunately, that was followed by a devastating losing streak in C-USA. Barring injuries, UCF should compete much better with the rest of the league this season. They will go as far as Marcus Jordan takes them.

Prediction: Fourth

Next: UTEP Miners

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UTEP Miners 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 5, 2011 in Conference Notes

UTEP Miners (25-9, 11-5)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Gabriel McCulley
Michael Perez
Darius Nelson
Jacquis Streeter
John Bohannon

Important departures:

Randy Culpepper: 19.3 ppg, 3.1 apg, 2 steals per game
Julyan Stone: 8.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 5.3 apg
Christian Polk: 11.7 ppg, 3 apg, 44.9 percent from 3-point range

Additions:

Two-star SF Darius Nelson
Two-star SF Jalen Ragland

% returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 17.7 percent
Rebounding: 35.3 percent

Schedule highlights

Key nonconference game: vs. Clemson Dec. 19
Key conference stretch: vs. UAB Feb. 4, vs. Tulsa Feb. 8

Outlook:

UTEP had a great season in C-USA last year. The Miners tied for second in the regular season and made it to the C-USA championship game before falling to Memphis in the final seconds. They relied heavily on senior leadership for success. As Randy Culpepper Julyan Stone and Christian Polk move on, UTEP is going to find it a lot harder to win.

Prediction: Sixth

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Boston College 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Boston College Eagles (21-13, 9-7)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Gabriel Moton
So. G Danny Rubin
Jr. G Matt Humphrey
Fr. F Ryan Anderson
Fr. C KC Caudill

Important departures:

Reggie Jackson: 18.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.5 apg
Joe Trapani: 14.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 apg
Corey Raji: 12.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.6 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 8.7 percent
Rebounding: 9.1 percent

Additions:

Matt Humphrey, junior guard transferred from Oregon
Ryan Anderson, ESPNU four-star freshman power forward from Long Beach, Calif.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: at Providence
Toughest conference stretch: Jan. 7-14 (at North Carolina, vs. Clemson, vs. Virginia Tech)

Outlook:

In his first season at the helm in Chestnut Hill, coach Steve Donahue propelled Boston College into the top half of the conference’s standings. En route, he helped turn Reggie Jackson into a bona fide star. Under Donahue’s tutelage, Jackson erupted for 18 points per game, and he guided the offense with nearly five assists per game.

For a second consecutive year, the Eagles won’t have lofty expectations. However, it would take a miracle for Donahue to get this team to more than five ACC wins. Boston College loses more than 90 percent of its scoring and rebounding, and nine of the 15 players on the roster are freshmen.

Prediction: 12th

Next: Clemson Tigers

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Clemson Tigers 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Clemson Tigers (22-12, 9-7)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Andre Young
Sr. G Tanner Smith
Sr. F Bryan Narcisse
Jr. F Milton Jennings
Jr. F Devin Booker

Important departures:

Demontez Stitt: 14.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg
Jerai Grant: 12.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.8 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 57.7 percent
Rebounding: 66.1 percent

Additions:

Bernard Sullivan, No. 83 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman power forward from Davidson, N.C.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: at Arizona
Toughest conference stretch: Jan. 31-Feb. 4 (at Virginia, at Virginia Tech)

Outlook:

Clemson returns a very talented lineup and faces a relatively favorable conference schedule that should help the Tigers return to the NCAA Tournament this season. The Tigers must replace the contributions of Demontez Stitt in the backcourt and Jerai Grant in the frontcourt. However, their absence will give Tanner Smith and Milton Jennings a chance to shine this year.

In addition to Jennings and Smith, coach Brad Brownell will count on Devin Booker to anchor the Tigers’ offense. Booker was second on the team in rebounds last year, and he’ll need to continue to grab six to eight rebounds per game while boosting his 8.1 ppg closer to 12 or 13 ppg.

Prediction: Fourth

Next: Duke Blue Devils

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Duke Blue Devils 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Duke Blue Devils (32-5, 13-3)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Fr. G Austin Rivers
Jr. G Seth Curry
Jr. G Andre Dawkins
Jr. F Ryan Kelly
Jr. F Mason Plumlee

Important departures:

Nolan Smith: 20.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.1 apg
Kyrie Irving: 17.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.3 apg
Kyle SIngler: 16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 47.2 percent
Rebounding: 67.4 percent

Additions:

Austin Rivers, No.1 Rivals.com and ESPNU five-star freshman combo guard from Winter Park, Fla.
Michael Gbinije, No. 35 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman small forward from Richmond, Va.
Quinn Cook, No. 38 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman point guard from Washington, D.C.
Alex Murphy, No. 45 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman small forward from Southborough, Mass.
Marshall Plumlee, No. 79 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman power forward from Arden, N.C.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: at Ohio State
Toughest conference stretch: Feb. 2-8 (at Virginia Tech, vs. Miami, at North Carolina)

Outlook:

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has to replace a couple of veteran leaders in Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler in addition to freshman sensation Kyrie Irving. Duke fans must feel shafted after Irving started on fire last season, then injured his toe and never returned to form. Duke faltered in the Sweet 16 last season, and the Blue Devils will have much lower expectations this season.

However, that might make the Blue Devils even more dangerous than last season. As usual, Coach K has a loaded recruiting class, headlined by Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook and Michael Gbinije. Add those talented youngsters to a lineup that already includes Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins and the Plumlee crew, and you have a team ready to compete at the top of the ACC standings.

Prediction: Second

Next: Florida State Seminoles

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Florida State Seminoles 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Florida State Seminoles (23-11, 11-5)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Jeff Peterson
Sr. G Deividas Dulkys
Jr. G Michael Snaer
So. F Okaro White
Jr. C Bernard James

Important departures:

Chris Singleton: 13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
Derwin Kitchen: 10.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.6 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 69.3 percent
Rebounding: 70.9 percent

Additions:

Jeff Peterson, senior point guard transferred from Arkansas
Kiel Turpin, junior power forward transferred from D-II Lincoln College
Antwan Space, No. 91 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman small forward from DeSoto, Texas
Terry Whisnant, No. 103 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star freshman shooting guard from Cherryville, N.C.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: at Michigan State
Toughest conference stretch: Jan. 7-14 (at Clemson, at Virginia Tech, vs. North Carolina)

Outlook:

Under coach Leonard Hamilton, the Seminoles have perennially been one of the top defensive teams in the country. Even without uber-athlete Chris Singleton, Florida State figures to continue its defensive dominance this season, with Bernard James leading the way. Florida State has good height throughout its lineup, forcing opponents to shoot outside the lane, and no one shot well beyond the arc against the Noles last season.

The question will be whether the Seminoles can generate enough offense to win some ugly, low-scoring affairs. Senior transfer Jeff Peterson will be a major part of that answer. The team could turn to Peterson to play point guard after he graduated from Arkansas last season and transfered to Tallahassee as a player eligible to join the team immediately. Hamilton will need Peterson to play well, and he’s got to hope that Michael Snaer, Deividas Dulkys and Luke Loucks practiced their jump shots all summer. None of the team’s top returning guards shot better than 40 percent from the field last season.

Prediction: Fifth

Next: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (13-18, 5-11)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Jr. G Mfon Udofia
So. G Brandon Reed
Jr. G Glen Rice Jr.
So. F Kammeon Holsey
So. C Daniel Miller

Important departures:

Coach Paul Hewitt: 255-187 overall record, 189-160 record with Yellow Jackets, 72-104 ACC record in 11 seasons at Georgia Tech.
Iman Shumpert: 17.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
Brian Oliver: 10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
Maurice Miller: 6.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.4 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 51.6 percent
Rebounding: 64.2 percent

Additions:

Brandon Reed, sophomore guard transferred from Arkansas State
Julian Royal, No. 125 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star power forward from Alpharetta, Ga.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: vs. Alabama
Toughest conference stretch: Jan. 21-Feb. 1 (at Clemson, vs. Miami, at North Carolina, at Florida State)

Outlook:

After Paul Hewitt took Georgia Tech to the 2004 championship game and proved that he could attract elite talent to Atlanta, Yellow Jacket fans just waited for another Final Four run. It never materialized, and the team dismissed Hewitt after another disappointing season. Brian Gregory now takes over with a decent amount of talent left in the cupboard.

Gregory will need to get solid players like Mfon Udofia, Glen Rice Jr., and Kammeon Holsey to buy in to his game plan. If they do, Georgia Tech could quickly move out of the cellar, possibly into the thick of the ACC teams competing for a final NCAA Tournament bid. Besides the existing lineup, Gregory gets the services of Brandon Reed, an elite scorer who transferred from Arkansas State.

Prediction: Ninth

Next: Maryland Terrapins

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Maryland Terrapins 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Maryland Terrapins (19-14, 7-9)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Terrell Stoglin
So. G Pe’Shon Howard
Sr. G Sean Mosley
Jr. F James Padgett
Sr. F Berend Weijs

Important departures:

Coach Gary Williams: 668-380 overall record, 461-252 record with Terrapins, 192-156 ACC record in 22 seasons at Maryland.
Jordan Williams: 16.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 0.6 apg
Cliff Tucker: 9.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
Dino Gregory: 9.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 apg
Adrian Bowie: 8.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 38.8 percent
Rebounding: 33.3 percent

Additions:

Nick Faust, No. 48 Rivals.com and ESPNU four-star shooting guard from Baltimore

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: vs. Notre Dame
Toughest conference stretch: Jan. 25-Feb. 4 (vs. Duke, vs. Virginia Tech, at Miami, vs. North Carolina)

Outlook:

Life after Gary Williams begins now for Maryland. The legendary Terrapins’ coach called it a career after last season, and it seems like good timing. With Jordan Williams bolting for the NBA and several starts graduating, Maryland is losing about two-thirds of its scoring and rebounding. That puts new coach Mark Turgeon in the tough spot of giving anxious fans some hope for the future while building toward that future.

Mark this prediction: Turgeon will win in Maryland. The former Texas A&M coach has assembled a great coaching staff that has roots in the fertile Washington, D.C, recruiting grounds. Although Williams brought a national championship to College Park, his inability to keep top talent close to home rankled the fan base. Turgeon might have a rough year this season. But Terrell Stoglin is a budding star, and Pe’Shon Howard will provide a nice change of pace for Stoglin. Within a couple of years, Maryland should be back near the top of the standings. It just won’t be this season.

Prediction: 10th

Next: Miami Hurricanes

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Miami Hurricanes 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

Miami Hurricanes (21-15, 6-10)

 

Editor’s note: This post was corrected to update information about Julian Gamble’s injury sustained in August. 

 

 

Projected starting five:

Sr. G Malcolm Grant
Jr. G Durand Scott
Jr. G Garrius Adams
So. C Kenny Kadji
Jr. C Reggie Johnson (when healthy)

Important departures:

Coach Frank Haith: 129-101 overall record, 43-69 ACC record in seven seasons at Miami.
Adrian Thomas: 9.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.8 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 87.2 percent
Rebounding: 89.8 percent

Additions:

Trey McKinney Jones, junior shooting guard transferred from UMKC
Kenny Kadji, sophomore center transferred from Florida

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: vs. Memphis
Toughest conference stretch: Feb. 6-11 (at Duke, vs. Virginia Tech, at Florida State)

Outlook:

Jim Larranaga is in for a rough ride. The University of Miami faces all kinds of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Nevin Shapiro investigation that uncovered dirty recruiting practices that primarily affected the Hurricanes football program but also implicated former coach Frank Haith. That might be more of Missouri’s problem in the long term. But Larranaga could be facing the prospects of leading a team on probation, depending on how everything falls out.

Until then, though, Larranaga has a chance to deliver a special season to Coral Gables. Miami has possibly the best backcourt in the ACC with senior guard Malcolm Grant and junior guard Durand Scott leading the way. Junior Garrius Adams is a talented wing player to help Grant and Scott stretch the court for the Canes’ interior big men: Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson. Kadji will need to take the primary lead inside until January while Reggie Johnson recovers from a knee injury sustained during a pickup game. The frontcourt suffered another blow when Julian Gamble tore his ACL in August, and he will likely miss the entire season. With a relatively favorable ACC schedule, the Hurricanes should be in decent position for a run toward the top of the standings by the time Johnson returns to the lineup.

Prediction: Third

Next: North Carolina Tar Heels

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North Carolina Tar Heels 2011-12 Preview

by - Published November 4, 2011 in Conference Notes

North Carolina Tar Heels (29-8, 14-2)

 

 

 

 

Projected starting five:

So. G Kendall Marshall
Jr. G Dexter Strickland
So. F Harrison Barnes
Jr. F John Henson
Sr. C Tyler Zeller

Important departures:

Justin Knox: 4.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.4 apg

Percent returning scoring and rebounding:

Scoring: 90.9 percent
Rebounding: 89.4 percent

Additions:

James McAdoo, No. 8 Rivals.com and ESPNU five-star power forward from Norfolk, Va.
P.J. Hairston, No. 13 Rivals.com and ESPNU five-star small forward from Greensboro, N.C.
Desmond Hubert, No. 140 Rivals.com power forward from Cream Ridge, N.J.

Schedule highlights:

Best non-conference game: at Kentucky
Toughest conference stretch: Feb. 8-15 (vs. Duke, vs. Virginia, at Miami)

Outlook:

The Tar Heels came just short of reaching the Final Four last season, and coach Roy Williams brings back 90 percent of both the team’s scoring and rebounding. Oh, and North Carolina adds two of the top recruits in this year’s class: James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston.

However, don’t hand the Tar Heels any hardware yet. North Carolina went through prolonged offensive struggles last season. Even when Kendall Marshall relieved Larry Drew II of the point guard duties, the offense was inconsistent. For North Carolina to fulfill its promise, Marshall must follow in the footsteps of Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson and be more than a supreme setup man. Marshall needs to boost his 42 percent shooting closer to 46 or 47 percent, especially with Leslie McDonald out indefinitely with a torn ACL.

Prediction: First

Next: North Carolina State Wolfpack

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