Evaluating All-ACC Candidates Heading Into the Home Stretch

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 10th, 2016

With four weeks to go in the regular season, it’s a good time to start thinking about potential all-ACC players. Below we list 10 players whose play to this point deserve highest consideration for conference honors. With nearly four weeks of action remaining, there’s plenty of time for movement within and perhaps into or out of the group.

Note: all statistics and (ACC Rank) are for conference games only through Sunday, February 7.

1) Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber, N.C. State   JR

PPG – 24.1 (1), APG – 4.1 (6), FT% – 91.0 (1), 3FG% – 43.1 (6), MPG – 39.1 (1)

Mike Krzyzewski lavished praise on Anthony Barber after Duke's latest game with N.C. State. (newsobserver.com)

Mike Krzyzewski lavished praise on Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber after Duke’s latest game with N.C. State. (newsobserver.com)

The debate has already begun concerning Barber as an ACC Player of the Year candidate. There is a school of thought that says he must be on a team that finishes highly in the league standings – and that’s normally the case. But the ultra-quick guard is also getting support from at least one of the league’s most prominent coaches. Here’s what Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski said about Barber just last weekend after the Blue Devils’ win over N.C. State:

That kid is really good. I’m not NC State’s sports promotion here, but don’t judge just how good a guy is by the record of his team, because they’re close to winning five more games. He gives them a chance to win every game. He’s the toughest out in the league because in trying to get him, he spoon feeds some of those guys too. He’s responsible for a lot of points for that basketball team and you can figure it out mathematically with assists, but also spacing and this and [Maverick] Rowan might get open a little more because of it, big time. He’s very good.

2) Brice Johnson, North Carolina   SR

PPG – 17.1 (10), RPG – 11.3 (1), FG% – 54.8 (3),SPG -1.8 (4), BPG – 1.9 (4)

Regarded as the top big man in the ACC, Johnson has posted seven double-doubles to lead the Tar Heels to the top of the league standings. Also impressive has been his development as a defender, currently ranking fourth in the league in steals and blocked shots. His remarkable 39-point, 23-rebound outing at Florida State earlier this season stands as one the most remarkable individual performances in recent ACC history, but Johnson has also put together a couple clunkers — notably, against Clemson (three points) and N.C. State (six points, two rebounds).

3) Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia   SR

PPG – 19.8 (3), FT% – 90.6 (3), 3P% – 40.0 (8)

The veteran Brogdon is well on his way to a third consecutive all-ACC first team selection. He has significantly increased his scoring while remaining a leading candidate for the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. His chances for ACC Player of the Year continues improving as Virginia climbs the standings.

4) Grayson Allen, Duke   SO

Grayson Allen Has Blown Up This Season at Duke (USA Today Images)

Grayson Allen Has Blown Up This Season at Duke (USA Today Images)

PPG – 21.0 (2), FG% – 53.5 (6), APG – 4.0 (8), 3P% – 45.6 (4), 3PG – 2.6 (5), MPG – 36.8 (6)

After averaging only 4.4 points per game as a freshman, Allen is on pace for the largest one-year scoring average improvement in ACC history (nearly 17 points per game). And he’s scoring in a remarkably consistent manner, posting at least 16 points in all 11 of his ACC contests this season. Allen is the most efficient perimeter player in the league and is the only player who ranks among the top 10 in both field goal percentage and three-point percentage.

5) Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame   JR

PPG- 16.0 (13), APG – 5.4 (1), FT% – 87.8 (4), SPG – 2.0 (2)

Jackson is the on-court leader of the conference’s top offensive unit. With All-American Jerian Grant no longer in the Irish backcourt, Jackson has handled his additional responsibility with aplomb. He may be the best in the league at controlling a game, and his execution in the pick-and-roll is as good as any point guard in the country. Note that Jackson’s per game averages are distorted because he left one game after only logging two minutes due to injury.

6) Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson   JR

PPG – 18.3 (5), RPG – 7.3 (11), MPG – 37.4 (4)

Blossomgame is a big reason why Clemson got off to such a great start in ACC play. He tallied 20 or more points six times in the Tigers’ first 10 league games.

7) Brandon Ingram, Duke   FR

PPG – 18.4 (4), RPG 7.6 (10), 3P% – 45.0 (5), 3PG – 2.7 (4), BPG – 2.0 (2), MPG – 36.8 (6)

The league’s top freshman, Ingram has proven to be quite the all-around player, ranking among the league’s top 10 in five different categories.

8) Sheldon McClellan, Miami   SR

PPG – 17.6 (7), FG% – 52.3 (7), FT% – 84.7 (10)

McClellan has been one of the most consistent players in the league, scoring in double figures in every ACC game.

9) Damion Lee, Louisville   SR

Damion Lee Has Led Louisville to the Top of the ACC Standings (USA Today Images)

Damion Lee Has Led Louisville to the Top of the ACC Standings (USA Today Images)

PPG – 15.4 (17), FT% – 85.4 (7), SPG – 1.3 (9), 3P% – 37.7 (10), 3PG- 2.2 (10), MPG – 36.0 (10)

The graduate transfer from Drexel has been an effective scorer, as expected, but Lee also has also impressed on the defensive end of the floor too.

10) Anthony Gill, Virginia   SR

PPG – 13.5 (25), RPG – 5.8 (19), FG% – 58.8 (1)

Like Brogdon, Gill gives Tony Bennett another reliable veteran who excels on both ends of the floor. Keep in mind that Virginia’s slow pace of play negatively impacts individual per game stats.

Others Considered

  • Michael Young, Pittsburgh   JR
  • Zach LeDay, Virginia Tech   JR
  • Malik Beasley, Florida State   FR
  • Michael Gbinije, Syracuse   SR
  • Zach Auguste, Notre Dame   SR
Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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