Way Too Early 2018-19 ACC Rankings

Posted by Mick McDonald on April 6th, 2018

This season may have just wrapped up, but we are always looking forward to next season. Here’s a much too early look at how the ACC may shake out in 2018-19.

The Four Kill4s Arrive in Durham With Much Fanfare

  1. Duke. We’ll see if Gary Trent returns, but either way, it’s another loaded freshman class that will make the Blue Devils the most talented team in college basketball. RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson are the top three players in the class of 2018 and will be joined by the top-rated point guard, Tre Jones.
  2. Virginia. The Cavaliers lose Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins but return their starting backcourt of Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, plus ACC Sixth Man of the Year De’Andre Hunter. Look for Mamadi Diakite to continue a long line of athletic bigs who flourish in Tony Bennett’s system.
  3. North Carolina. Joel Berry and Theo Pinson are gone, but the Tar Heels return Luke Maye in addition to Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams. Roy Williams is also bringing in his best recruiting class in years, with point guard Coby White and wing Nassir Little set to arrive. The improvement of sophomore big men Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman will be important to watch.
  4. Virginia Tech. Buzz Williams loses just Justin Bibbs and Devon Wilson from this year’s squad, and he will return a senior-laden backcourt with Ahmed Hill and potential All-ACC player Justin Robinson. Chris Clarke and Kerry Blackshear, Jr. are versatile bigs who can hit shots from the outside. Last year’s freshmen class also has the potential to break out, especially Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
  5. Clemson. While losing Gabe DeVoe hurts, Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed are still a great 1-2 punch. Elijah Thomas proved himself to be one of the top big men in the ACC last season, but the key for the Tigers will be the continued development of sophomore Aamir Simms.

    Deng Adel Should Return For Louisville Next Season (USA Today Images)

  6. Louisville. This ranking assumes Deng Adel will return for his senior season to play under new head coach Chris Mack. Even without Adel, though, Mack has some talent in Louisville to work with. VJ King was a McDonald’s All-American two years ago and sophomores Lance Thomas, Malik Williams and Jordan Nwora all have ACC-quality talent.
  7. NC State. Omer Yurtseven and Al Freeman (among others) are gone, but Kevin Keatts returns ACC assist leader Markell Johnson and two other solid guards in Braxton Beverly and Lavarr Batts. Torin Dorn is back to continue to make big shots, while UNC-Wilmington transfer CJ Bryce joins the team along with a nice freshmen class led by top-rated big man Immanuel Bates.
  8. Syracuse. The news that top recruit Darius Bazley is heading straight to the G-League hurts. Tyus Battle’s decision looms, and if he also leaves, the Orange would slip a few spots further down this list. Syracuse returns a senior point guard in Frank Howard and a pair of intriguing sophomores in Oshae Brissett and Marek Dolezaj.
  9. Boston College. This ranking assumes both Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson will return to Chestnut Hill next season. If they are back alongside fellow wing Jordan Chatman, promising sophomore big Steffon Mitchell and freshman Jairus Hamilton, this team should make the NCAA Tournament. If they leave, it’s back to square one at BC.
  10. Florida State. Braian Angola and maybe Phil Cofer (depending on an NCAA ruling about an injury year) are gone, and the transfer of CJ Walker also really hurts. I’m not sure I trust PJ Savoy playing a ton of minutes at the point, but Trent Forrest and Terance Mann are much better suited to play off the ball. As always, Leonard Hamilton will run out an array of athletic bigs that get after it defensively.
  11. Notre Dame. I know I’m supposed to blindly believe in head coach Mike Brey, but this roster just doesn’t look like a contender. The Irish lose Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson in addition to Martinas Geben up front. The freshman class looks like one of Brey’s best, but who plays point guard? If he stays healthy, we could get the breakout from DJ Harvey that many expected last year.

    Trust In Brey? (Matt Cashore/USA Today Sports)

  12. Wake Forest. I love the senior combination of Bryant Crawford and Doral Moore and expect a big sophomore season from Chaundee Brown. Meanwhile, the incoming freshmen class of Jaylen Hoard and Isaiah Mucius is very talented. All that said, the ACC is loaded and it’s unclear if we can trust Danny Manning to lead this group back to the NCAA Tournament.
  13. Miami. This pick assumes both Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown are staying in the NBA Draft, and it looks bleak on their hopes without the pair. I love Chris Lykes, but without Brown or Walker to create offense, how will this team be able to score? The Hurricanes also have zero current commitments from 2018 freshmen.
  14. Georgia Tech. Tadric Jackson and Ben Lammers are gone. While Josh Okogie returns and highly-touted point guard Mike Devoe is coming to Atlanta alongside Tennessee transfer Shembari Phillips, there just isn’t enough here to envision a legitimate NCAA Tournament contender.
  15. Pittsburgh. Jeff Capel was a terrific hire but this program is a mess and it would be a success to simply win an ACC game next year.
Mick McDonald (70 Posts)

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