Reviewing Five Notable ACC Offseason Headlines

Posted by Lathan Wells on October 16th, 2014

The 2014-15 ACC college basketball season is roughly a month away, which means Midnight Madnesses, secret scrimmages and overseas exhibitions are either on the near horizon or recently concluded. With Louisville’s replacement of Maryland in the league this year, it should be another dynamic season of ACC basketball. To further elicit excitement for the upcoming year, here are a few of the offseason storylines that bear revisiting as we build up to the start of games in the middle of November.

Coach K dismisses idea that coaching Team USA helps with recruiting

Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski Teamed Up to Win Another Gold Medal This Summer (Photo: Raleigh News & Observer / Getty Images)

Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski Teamed Up to Win Another Gold Medal This Summer
(Photo: Raleigh News & Observer / Getty Images)

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a piece last month suggesting Coach K’s Duke teams benefit heavily from his status as the coach of Team USA, comprised of the best professional players in America. Krzyzewski dismissed this idea, pointing to all the great players he recruited before assuming the mantle of America’s team and citing the measured success he’s had in the college ranks since. His friend, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, came to his defense, pointedly remarking that the main dissenter of Krzyzewski’s side gig was Kentucky’s John Calipari. There’s no need to state how humorous a complaint about recruiting that comes from a guy running an NBA combine at his practices happens to be, but this idea is ludicrous to begin with. Duke is going to be good every year because they have a great coach and a program with great tradition, and if Krzyzewski’s coaching the U.S. Men’s National Team also provides him more face time in high school stars’ living rooms? Well, deservedly so.

Clemson signs Brad Brownell to a six-year extension

Brownell's will get another six years at Clemson to try to continue to build on recent success (credit: Associated Press)

Brownell will get another six years at Clemson to try to continue to build on recent success (credit: Associated Press)

This news may have caught some by surprise over the summer, given that Clemson is only a respectable 74-58 with one NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons under Brownell. However, there’s no denying that his 23 wins last year with basically K.J. McDaniels and smoke and mirrors was commendable. Still, the Tigers only received an NIT invitation, so six more years is a pretty big gamble for the long-term success of the program. Clearly, the fact that the team won 10 more games than the year before and double-digit ACC games for only the fourth time in the school’s history weighed heavily on the administration’s decision.

Charles Mitchell deemed immediately eligible at Georgia Tech

In a season where head coach Brian Gregory needs to make some positive strides in the conference, Mitchell’s eligibility decision was a big deal for the Yellow Jackets. His transfer from Maryland will immediately replenish some of what was lost from Georgia Tech’s frontcourt, namely the losses of Daniel Miller (graduation) and Robert Carter (transferring, ironically, to Maryland). Mitchell’s family situation in his hometown of Atlanta allowed for the NCAA to grant him a waiver for immediate participation. He’ll have plenty of playing time to improve on his averages of 6.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last year at Maryland, and he has demonstrated some much-needed efficiency when on the floor.

Attrition and addition at Boston College

Any time there’s a coaching change, there are usually several roster casualties as a result. After axing Steve Donahue and bringing in Jim Christian to replace him last spring, Boston College promptly lost forwards Ryan Anderson and Joe Rahon to transfer (Arizona and St. Mary’s, respectively). While these two were solid, contributing veterans, they were also part of quite possibly the most disappointing team in the conference last year. Christian managed to salve the wounds a bit by responding with transfer commitments from Southern Miss’ Aaron Brown (forward) and Old Dominion’s Dmitri Batten (guard). Batten is a graduate student who scored in double figures 23 times last year, while Brown is a noted three-point marksman who averaged just over 10 points per game a season ago. Each has only one year of eligibility remaining, and while their offensive statistics may be exciting to Eagles fans, they had better play defense at a high level too to reverse the nightmare of a season ago.

A heavy dose of ACC on ESPN’s “Big Monday”

ACC basketball fans (and if you’re not one, what are you doing here?) should be elated by the news that ESPN again will feature a major lineup of conference match-ups on its “Big Monday” showcase this season. Eight games will be shown in all, and seven in consecutive weeks from January 19 to March 2. Every game will feature a team in the preseason Top 25, including Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse. Since this is year two of ESPN highlighting the conference on its marquee college basketball night of the week, it’s obvious that the realignment has shifted much of the network’s college basketball focus from the old Big East to the new ACC.

Lathan Wells (77 Posts)

A 30-year old unabashed college basketball fan, I currently reside in Richmond, Virginia. I especially enjoy following the ACC and the local teams, VCU and the University of Richmond. I hope to continue my journalistic pursuits in the sports arena full-time in the future, but in the meantime I am really enjoying covering the greatest sport there is for RTC. Follow me on Twitter @prohibitivefav.

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