Christmas Wish List for ACC Head Coaches

Posted by Mick McDonald on December 21st, 2017

What’s on the Christmas wish list for each coach in the ACC this holiday season? Let’s take a look.

Jim Christian May Have Already Gotten His Gift With a Win Over Duke (USA Today Images)

  • Jim Christian (Boston College): A healthy Deontae Hawkins. The Eagles pulled off a surprising upset of Duke thanks to red-hot three-point shooting, but they won’t be able to sustain it without some help on the interior. Hawkins was averaging 12.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury on November 29 at Nebraska. Sadly, Santa can’t fix knee tendons.
  • Brad Brownell (Clemson): Some luck in close ACC games. The Tigers appear poised to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Brownell’s first season, but they will need to avoid being snake-bitten like last year’s team that lost nine ACC games by six points or fewer.
  • Mike Krzyzewski (Duke): Trevon Duval’s jumper to improve. Teams like Boston College are leaving the freshman point guard open for jumpers in favor of helping on Marvin Bagley III, and Duval is falling into the trap, making just 5-of-33 three-pointers on the season.
  • Leonard Hamilton (Florida State): Somebody makes a free throw. The Seminoles shoot 65.8 percent from the line (295th nationally) and M.J. Walker (13-of-16) is the only regular making over 78 percent this season.

  • Josh Pastner (Georgia Tech): Expectations returning to last year’s levels. Remember a little over a year ago when many pundits said it would be a great success if Pastner won a single ACC game? After winning ACC Coach of the Year for leading the Yellow Jackets to last year’s NIT, expectations rose considerably. Georgia Tech has responded in kind by losing to Grambling and Wofford.
  • David Padgett (Louisville): A W on December 29. It’s been a learning experience for Padgett and his team this season, but the Cardinals’ only two losses were to Purdue and Seton Hall. The rest of the schedule has been relatively soft, but the true test looms next week at Kentucky. A win there will earn the rookie head coach immediate street cred in Louisville.
  • Jim Larranaga (Miami): A decent opponent. Look, Larranaga put himself in this position by creating such a soft schedule and the Challenge win at Minnesota has lost most its luster. The Hurricanes’ upcoming trip to Hawaii looks like it will provide no help either. If this team is truly a Final Four contender, let’s see them beat someone.
  • Roy Williams (North Carolina): More shots for Kenny Williams. There hasn’t been nearly enough talk about how good Williams has been for the Tar Heels this year, especially in the absence of Cameron Johnson. His 65.7 percent effective field goal percentage leads the team and he is making over 54 percent from long range.
  • Kevin Keatts (NC State): Somebody hits a three-pointer. The vast majority of the Wolfpack’s 233 attempted three-pointers this year have come from one of Allerik Freeman, Sam Hunt and Braxton Beverly. They’ve combined to make only 45 of those, good for just 28.8 percent.

Mike Brey is Great Friends With Santa (USA Today Images)

  • Mike Brey (Notre Dame): The Irish play some defense. In their last four games, Notre Dame has lost to Ball State and Indiana while giving up 87 points to Dartmouth. In that stretch, they have allowed opponents to shoot 46.1 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three.
  • Kevin Stallings (Pittsburgh): He was somewhere else? This gift may seem harsh, but does anyone really feel like Stallings is enjoying any of his time at Pitt? Maybe on payday?
  • Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): Franklin Howard stops turning the ball over. Howard has been solid for the Orange this season (15.4 PPG, 6.1 APG, 47.3% eFG), but his 21.6 percent turnover rate has to drop if Syracuse is going to compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament this year.
  • Tony Bennett (Virginia): Devon Hall keeps it up. Bennett knew Hall would be the senior leader of his team, but he has to be pleasantly surprised by his production. Hall is setting career bests in field goal percentage (52.7%) and from three-point range (47.2%), as well as PER (25.0) and effective field goal percentage (61.8%).
  • Buzz Williams (Virginia Tech): Nothing happens to Kerry Blackshear, Jr. Whether it’s an injury, an off-the-court situation, or just foul trouble, Williams cannot afford to lose Blackshear this season. He is the only Hokie taller than 6’6” who plays over 12 minutes per game.
  • Danny Manning (Wake Forest): Doral Moore continues to improve. There were big shoes to fill with the departure of John Collins and Dinos Mitoglou from Manning’s frontcourt, and Moore has begun to step up. Over his last six games, he is shooting 88.9 percent from the field and grabbing almost eight rebounds per game. All six contests were Demon Deacon wins.
Mick McDonald (70 Posts)

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