ACC's losses to NBA should be tolerable
Posted April 17
As college basketball fans await the final go-or-stay NBA decisions by Duke players Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, along with a few others, it’s already clear that the Pac-12 will take the heaviest personnel hit among conferences.
With this week’s exits by UCLA sophomore wingman Kyle Anderson and freshman guard Zach Lavine, the Bruins went from being a preseason No. 1 contender to a top-25 maybe.
Anderson and Lavine are only two of six top-tier Pac-12 underclassmen opting for the June 26 draft in New York. Also leaving are Arizona’s Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson, Arizona State’s Jahii Carson and Oregon State’s Eric Moreland.
Not only that, 11 of the top 20 vote-getters on the Pac-12 all-conference teams were seniors.
By comparison, the ACC has a chance to escape in relatively decent shape even if Parker and Hood leave, which has been widely expected for weeks and prematurely reported during the past few days.
Parker, who was named the team’s most valuable player during Wednesday’s banquet, surprised many fans (and some reporters) when he didn’t reveal his decision earlier Wednesday.
There are two “deadlines” for underclassmen to declare. The NCAA date was Wednesday, but the NCAA’s deadline is meaningless. What really matters is the NBA deadline – April 26 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern – so Hood, Parker and other players still have lots of time to figure it out.
But regardless of what Hood and Parker do, Duke will be a preseason top-25 team and a top-3 ACC pick in 2015-16. Recruits Jahlil Oakfor (center), Tyus Jones (point guard), Justise Winslow (forward) and Grayson Allen (wing) actually could raise the talent bar.
The Blue Devils again will be generally young, but the talent is there for another win total in the 25-30 game range. Mike Krzyzewski will start the season with 983 career wins (910 at Duke), and should crack the 1,000 barrier by mid-January.
Syracuse probably will not be so fortunate.
With stars Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant leaving for the draft and C.J. Fair graduating, the two-man recruit class of Chris McCullough (forward) and playmaker Kaleb Joseph will leave Orange coach Jim Boeheim with a rebuilding challenge in his 39th season. He’ll start with 948 wins, all at his alma mater.
UNC standout James Michael McAdoo is leaving, but the Tar Heels will likely be the preseason ACC favorite as long as Marcus Paige is around and assuming he’ll get some perimeter support from newcomers Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson.
Other than Parker and Hood, the last ACC verdict appears to hinge on Clemson junior forward K.J. McDaniels. The Tigers obviously will be much better if he stays, but probably not a conference title contender either way.
But it’s for sure the ACC needs all the clout it can muster after its miserable NCAA tournament showing last month.