Closing Out the ACC MicrositePosted by mpatton on April 29th, 2013
Well, it was an up-and-down year in the ACC filled with injuries, March disappointments and one season for the history books. We here at the RTC ACC Microsite loved chronicling every minute of it. We’ll still be providing periodic coverage throughout the summer, looking towards the NBA Draft and next year, but this marks the official end of the 2012-13 season for us. If you start getting nostalgic, here are some good places to start (in chronological order).
- Preseason ACC Awards: Still riding the highs of my Michael Snaer mancrush after his transcendent performance in the 2012 ACC Tournament, he took the preseason ACC POY nod. We clearly meant Olivier Hanlan, not Rodney Purvis when we picked the consummate scoring frosh, we just didn’t know it yet. At least we finished one for three by picking Jim Larranaga to win COY.
- The Martin Report feels like forever ago, but the academic jokes from North Carolina‘s rivals won’t stop for a long time. And those questions the report danced around are still out there.
- Akil Mitchell is the best returning frontcourt man in the ACC, and Kellen was all over it last December. Especially without the likes of Mason Plumlee, Devin Booker and Alex Len, it’s fine to pencil him onto your 2013-14 preseason All-ACC teams right now.
- Speaking of being ahead of the curve, it took us until three days into 2013 to take note of Hanlan and his freshman teammate Joe Rahon. After one of the best rookie performances in ACC Tournament history, it’s safe to say it won’t take that long next year. Also, with Scott Wood and Seth Curry graduating, it’s hard to see much competition for best shooter in the ACC.
- And Mark Gottfried‘s coaching style will surely be a popular topic of conversation, as the talented Wolfpack fell far short of (admittedly overzealous) expectations. Next year’s team won’t have that problem, but that Sweet Sixteen run also buys a lot less equity with Wolfpack faithful as time goes by (just ask Herb Sendek).
- Ryan Kelly‘s foot picked up where it left off after he was forced to sit for much of the season. Duke fans are filling their memories with foot-related “What Ifs?” for 2011 and 2013, but the Blue Devils still had a great year.
- One guy who also has great shot at excelling in the frontcourt next season is Devin Thomas. Seriously, there’s not nearly enough buzz around this guy. Sure, he could improve offensively, but his rebounding will be second to none. James Michael McAdoo gets all the love, but if there was the Richard Howell Award for Best Motor, Thomas would get my vote.
- It took most of January but Miami‘s wood-shedding of Duke welcomed us to 2012-13’s reality: The Hurricanes were the best team in the ACC. When’s the last time you could unequivocally say that about a team not named Duke or North Carolina? Maryland in 2002. Before that? It’d been a while.
- Michael Snaer may have not lived up to some unreasonable expectations (Florida State injuries and youth have as much to do with that as him), but he was still Mr. Clutch. The only player I’ve ever seen live at the college level who matched Snaer’s late-game heroics from the last year was Kemba Walker during his junior year at UConn. Both split late-game double teams with a confidence of legendary proportions. Opposing coaches knew it was coming. It didn’t matter. Snaer will be missed.
- North Carolina‘s early struggles were at least in part due to the lack of a competent five. It took time to make a change — Roy Williams‘ belief in his system is a double-edged sword, though it’s usually used as an example of mediocre coaching (it’s not) — but Williams found a way to play an exceptional brand of small ball that kept his five best players on the floor. Exceptional passing also played an underrated role in the turnaround.
- Finally, don’t let early questionable losses, the Selection Committee’s snub or a Sweet Sixteen exit overshadow Miami’s season. The Hurricanes were a dominant team in the ACC. Shane Larkin became the player everyone hoped he could become after a promising freshman campaign; Julian Gamble probably surprised his closest family; and Durand Scott finally showed the world that his freshman postseason performance wasn’t a fluke and was the best leader in the conference.
So here’s to a great season.