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ACC Breakout Players
by: Jonathan Watters - Director of NCAA Scouting
October 24, 2006
1. 6’10 C Sean Williams, junior, Boston College

Blessed with perhaps the best combination of size, strength, and explosiveness in a traditional big man prospect since Amare Stoudemire first blew up, Williams (3.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.0 bpg in 17.3 mpg)is a very important player in the ACC this year. Williams took time to round back into form after missing the fall semester due to off the court issues, but by the end of the season his impact was undeniable. Despite offering almost nothing offensively, he changed games with his ability to alter shots. His presence alone made every single one of his teammates a significantly better defender. By the end of the season, Williams was probably the single most dominant shot altering presence in the entire country.

However, Al Skinner needs Williams to be more than just a weakside shot blocker this year. He will have to do more than just stay out of the way on the offensive end, as well as pick up a significant amount of the slack on the glass. Williams has reportedly been working hard on his offensive game, attending two high-profile summer camps and getting positive reviews from those in attendance. He won’t need to do much to emerge as a future lottery candidate, but will have to show a better feel for the game, especially in utilizing his immense physical tools in non-shot blocking areas.

A player this talented should be able to put up something along the lines of 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks per game very easily.

2. 6’3 G J.R. Reynolds, senior, Virginia

So how does an All-ACC Third Teamer show up on a list like this? Yes, last season was Reynolds' true breakout year. But Reynolds is completely under the radar nationally, and was playing like a First Teamer by the end of last season.

Dave Leitao was able to get through to the previously one-dimensional shooter and the end result was a surprisingly complete offensive force. Reynolds(17.3 ppg, 3.1 apg in 33.2 mpg), always a streaky, volume-type scorer, was suddenly one of the most dangerous perimeter players in the conference. He made teams that overplayed his shot regret it, attacking the basket with an explosive first step and the ability to finish in traffic. He pulled up in the lane with regularity, handled the ball effectively, and did a complete 180 on the defensive end. The shooting percentage, a real problem in the past, still wasn’t great overall. But Reynolds made it above the 40% mark and hit plenty of difficult jumpers with the shot clock expiring.

Reynolds spent the offseason working on his point guard skills for a stab at the next level, the very thought of which would have been laughable a season ago. Reynolds will always be a combo guard, but needs to continue improving his point guard instincts either way. He is undersized and certainly not cut from the mold of your typical combo guard, but if he can build on a promising junior season and lead Virginia to a Tourney berth, JR Reynolds could make serious waves on the national level.

3. 6’6 PF Jeremis Smith, junior, Georgia Tech

PJ Tucker. Alando Tucker. Omar Thomas. Jeff Adrien. You know the mold. Do you know Jeremis Smith? Smith, though somehow showing up at 6’8 (he’s really closer to 6’5) on the Georgia Tech roster, could be the next in a line of dominant undersized power forwards. Built like a tight end, Smith (11.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg) started his sophomore campaign with a head of steam - overpowering the opposition on the glass with his low center of gravity and elite athleticism. Smith is one of the most underrated athletes in the nation, and easily the most explosive of the players listed above. Nonetheless, his sophomore campaign wasn’t a real breakthrough one. He struggled finding a way to score and his play really fell off over the second half of ACC play.

Smith is more of a tweener on the offensive end, but Paul Hewitt doesn’t need points out of his power forward this season. With formidable offensive talent surrounding him, Smith will get to focus on his blue-collar duties and punish anybody who attempts to challenge him physically. Even if he never develops an effective way to create scoring opportunities for himself, Smith should get plenty of opportunities on the offensive glass this year. With his ability to rise up and rock the rim, expect a few facials to show up on Sportscenter. Double-digit rebounding is a legitimate possibility.

4. 6’8 SF Gavin Grant, junior, NC State

It could get ugly very quickly for Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack, but Grant (8.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg in 22.8 mpg) is one player who could gain a lot from the coaching change and the subsequently marginalized roster. Noticeably on the thin side, Grant still manages to make a physical impact due to his length and a serious nasty streak. For this reason he was anointed as Julius Hodge’s successor, even if it showed up more in 3-point shooting percentage than in scoring totals last year. Despite a hideous-looking shooting motion, Grant is a well-rounded offensive player. He can get by people off the dribble, and does a great job of finishing around the rim. Grant has excellent court vision for a 6’8 player, and can defend multiple positions.

With just one other returning regular, Grant’s offensive role is sure to increase dramatically this season. No longer can he content himself with being a complementary facilitator, but instead must find a way to create offense for himself in the halfcourt. It isn’t a natural role for him, but with Engin Atsur tied up running the team Lowe has nobody else to turn to. If Grant can revamp his perimeter jumper and show more consistency as a scorer, it could be a big year for the Sendek holdover.

5. 6’6 G/F AD Vassallo, sophomore, Virginia Tech

Seth Greenberg’s ability to recruit took a near-instant jump the moment it was announced his Hokies would be moving to the ACC, and Vassallo (6.9 ppg in 16.6 mpg) could be the first on-court dividend of the switch to basketball country. His college career began with a whimper, but a 29-point explosion against Wake Forest would ignite a stretch in which Vassallo scored 13+ points in five of seven games and established himself as one of the more promising youngsters in the conference. Just an average athlete with slower feet, Vassallo relies on a literally unblockable jumper to score points in bunches. With a high release and near-textbook form, Vassallo is just as comfortable throwing up contested shots off the dribble as he is spotting up on the perimeter. Greenberg hasn’t coached a player with this much go-to scoring potential in a very long time.

For Vassallo to emerge as an ACC standout, he must work on developing an all-around game and being a more consistent offensive presence. As a freshman, he looked to score nearly every time he touched the ball and didn’t produce much outside of that mid-ACC stretch. Nonetheless, the future looks bright for Virginia Tech and Vassallo. He will continue to fight for minutes on the wing with Marcus Sailes and Deron Washington this season, but is clearly the most talented of the trio. If Vassallo doesn’t emerge as a sophomore, he could easily develop into Greenberg’s go-to option in 07-08 once seniors Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell have moved on.

6. 6’2 PG Anthony Harris, senior, Miami

A consistent, injury-free season from Anthony Harris (9.5 ppg, 3.1 apg in 26.7 mpg) may have been the difference between NCAA and NIT for Miami a season ago. After a breakout sophomore season in which he emerged by creating scoring opportunities for fellow guards Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite, 05-06 was a step in the wrong direction. He missed a chunk of the season due to a leg injury, took a while to round into form, and then faded down the stretch. Harris was much less reliable in his second season running the show, settling for low percentage shots early in the shot clock and regressing as a decision maker in general. His Ast/TO ratio plummeted from a respectable 1.53/1 to a barely passable 1.05/1, and the chemistry that had developed between the three starting guards evaporated.

Nonetheless, Harris is still a talented, explosive performer capable of beating you as a scorer on one possession and as a playmaker the next. More importantly, he is the only member of Frank Haith’s accomplished 3-guard lineup to return this fall. Miami will need him to look for his offense a bit more this year, as well as provide leadership for a group of largely inexperienced underclassmen. With sophomore floor general Denis Clemente also returning and Siena transfer Jack McClinton now eligible, it is completely feasible that Harris slowly loses his role within the offense. However, it is more likely that Harris will eagerly gobble up the role of go-to scorer and put up big numbers on a team that might be on the outside looking in when it comes to the conference race.

7. 6'9 PF James Mays, junior, Clemson

It is hard to get much solid information on Mays, given the fact that he missed the second semester with academic problems. What we do know is that the 6’9 Mays (9.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.5 bpg, 24.0 mpg, 11 games) plays the top of the Clemson press, bothering opposing ballhandlers with his long reach and near-freakish athleticism. He was on his way to a breakout year when the academic difficulties ended his season. We also know that Oliver Purnell can develop big men, with Sharrod Ford and Akin Akingbala both putting it together when they were handed feature roles. It is Mays’ turn in 06-07, with Akingbala graduated and no other significant returnees in the Clemson frontcourt. Mays is still quite raw offensively, but brings enough energy and pure explosiveness to the floor to be a difference maker.

Considering Mays’ activity level around the rim, double digit scoring shouldn’t be a problem. He will likely be found amongst the ACC leaders in rebounds, blocks, and steals.


8. 6’6 SF Cameron Stanley, sophomore, Wake Forest

With Eric Strickland and Josh Howard before him, Skip Prosser has a history of utilizing physical, explosive small forwards most comfortable utilizing their athleticism closer to the basket. It could be Stanley (2.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 9.2 mpg) that follows in this mold in 06-After a redshirt year due to injury and a slow start when he did finally get on the court, the high-flying forward started to come on down the stretch. He scored 10 points in three of Wake’s last six games, and rebounded at a solid clip the entire season. Stanley was inconsistent as a perimeter shooter, but has the type of stroke that will force defenders to pay attention to him on the outside. Like Howard and Strickland early in their careers, Stanley needs a bit of perimeter polish before he can reach his full potential.

The rotation is wide open at Wake Forest this year, but Stanley is as good a bet as any to start at SF and should emerge as a crucial piece of Prosser’s rotation for the next three seasons.

9. 6’5 SG DJ Strawberry, senior, Maryland

Strawberry (10.3 ppg, 4.0 apg, 1.8 spg) is already a household name in ACC circles, with his defensive energy and versatility in the backcourt making him an instant Gary Williams favorite as a freshman. But Strawberry’s career has stagnated a bit over the years, in large part due to his being forced to run the team after John Gilchrist’s abrupt exit. While Strawberry has battled admirably against the quickest the nation has to offer, he isn’t just isn’t a natural point guard.

His scoring ability is somewhat of an unknown, and now Strawberry will get a chance to show what he can do as a senior with freshman lead guards Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez on board. Expect Strawberry to improve as a shooter and show more of a slashing game now that he is playing off the ball. Either way Strawberry will continue to defend multiple positions in the backcourt, which gives him the chance to play in the NBA someday.

10. 6’5 SG Marcus Ginyard, sophomore, North Carolina

While the incoming freshmen getting all the press in Chapel Hill, many thought that Ginyard (6.3 ppg in 19.1 mpg) might get lost in the shuffle of a roster literally overflowing with depth. But the sophomore has been receiving rave reviews for his work in early practice, and is the type of player that should thrive in more of a complementary role. Ginyard is a heady, well-rounded wing known mostly for his aptitude on the defensive end. He puts his sturdy frame and lightning quick hands to good use, and can really push the ball on North Carolina’s many fast breaks.

Ginyard isn’t an offensive standout, but should improve substantially in his second year. He doesn’t look like a 24% 3-point shooter when firing away from beyond the arc, so expect that number to rise significantly. Ginyard has the first step and power to slash effectively, and is the type that will take advantage of the opportunities a player running next to multiple NBA players tends to get. It may not show up in the numbers this season, but expect Ginyard to nail down a regular role in the North Carolina backcourt and emerge as a vital piece within the Tar Heel program over the long haul.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan.watters@draftexpress.com .

 

Sean Williams
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 230 lbs.
Birthday: 09/15/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Mansfield
Previous Team: Boston College , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #17 in 2007 Draft
by the Nets
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
10.9 Pts, 7.7 Rebs, 1.7 Asts


Amare Stoudemire
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 233 lbs.
Birthday: 11/16/1982
31 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Cypress Creek
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #9 in 2002 Draft
by the Suns
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
11.9 Pts, 4.9 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Al Skinner
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthday: 06/16/1952
62 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Plymouth
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 9, Pick #16 in 1974 Draft
by the Celtics
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
1.0 Pts, 0.0 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


J.R. Reynolds
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 188 lbs.
Birthday: 05/09/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Oak Hill Academy
Previous Team: Virginia , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
10.8 Pts, 1.9 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Jeremis Smith
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 236 lbs.
Birthday: 05/14/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Dunbar
Previous Team: Georgia Tech , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
12.0 Pts, 6.0 Rebs, 2.3 Asts


PJ Tucker
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Birthday: 05/05/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Enloe
Previous Team: Suns , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #5 in 2006 Draft
by the Raptors
Positions:
Current: SF/PF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
8.1 Pts, 4.4 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Alando Tucker
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthday: 02/13/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Township
Previous Team: Wisconsin , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #29 in 2007 Draft
by the Suns
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
15.6 Pts, 5.2 Rebs, 1.8 Asts


Omar Thomas
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 02/27/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Strawberry Mansion
Previous Team: UTEP , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SF/PF,
NBA: SF,
Possible:
Quick Stats:
13.3 Pts, 4.8 Rebs, 1.4 Asts


Jeff Adrien
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 236 lbs.
Birthday: 02/10/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Brookline
Previous Team: Connecticut , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
2.3 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 0.3 Asts


Gavin Grant
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 208 lbs.
Birthday: 03/14/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St Raymond
Previous Team: N.C. State , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
17.0 Pts, 3.0 Rebs, 1.5 Asts


Sidney Lowe
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birthday: 01/21/1960
54 Years Old
Teams:
High School: DeMatha Catholic
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #1 in 1983 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: G,
NBA: G,
Possible: G
Quick Stats:
2.3 Pts, 2.0 Rebs, 4.2 Asts


Julius Hodge
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 202 lbs.
Birthday: 11/20/1983
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Raymond
Previous Team: N.C. State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #20 in 2005 Draft
by the Nuggets
Positions:
Current: PG/SG/SF,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG/SF
Quick Stats:
6.3 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 4.2 Asts


Engin Atsur
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthday: 04/03/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Benoit
Previous Team: N.C. State , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
2.5 Pts, 0.9 Rebs, 1.6 Asts


Deron Washington
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 199 lbs.
Birthday: 12/12/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: National Christian Academy
Previous Team: Virginia Tech , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #29 in 2008 Draft
by the Pistons
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
10.9 Pts, 6.2 Rebs, 1.3 Asts


Jamon Gordon
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Birthday: 07/18/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Andrew Jackson
Previous Team: Virginia Tech , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
9.2 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 4.8 Asts


Zabian Dowdell
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 191 lbs.
Birthday: 09/10/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Pahokee
Previous Team: Enisey , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
5.2 Pts, 1.9 Rebs, 3.6 Asts


Guillermo Diaz
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 186 lbs.
Birthday: 11/30/1985
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Miami Christian Academy
Previous Team: Miami FL , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #22 in 2006 Draft
by the Clippers
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
10.9 Pts, 3.9 Rebs, 2.9 Asts


Robert Hite
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthday: 01/02/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Winton Woods
Previous Team: Miami FL , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
7.2 Pts, 3.2 Rebs, 1.3 Asts


James Mays
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 227 lbs.
Birthday: 03/08/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Garner
Previous Team: Beijing , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
4.5 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 0.3 Asts


Sharrod Ford
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 213 lbs.
Birthday: 01/11/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Hargrave Military Academy
Previous Team: St Petersburg , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
12.0 Pts, 5.0 Rebs, 0.0 Asts


Josh Howard
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 202 lbs.
Birthday: 04/28/1980
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Robert B. Glenn
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #29 in 2003 Draft
by the Mavericks
Positions:
Current: F,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: F
Quick Stats:
6.7 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


John Gilchrist
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Birthday: 06/29/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Salem
Previous Team: Maryland , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
11.8 Pts, 3.1 Rebs, 3.2 Asts


Greivis Vasquez
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 211 lbs.
Birthday: 01/16/1987
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Montrose Christian
Previous Team: Maryland , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #28 in 2010 Draft
by the Grizzlies
Positions:
Current: PG/SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
9.8 Pts, 1.9 Rebs, 5.3 Asts


Marcus Ginyard
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 216 lbs.
Birthday: 05/08/1987
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Bishop O'Connell
Previous Team: North Carolina , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
14.8 Pts, 4.3 Rebs, 1.5 Asts


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