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Caulton Tudor

Tudor: Wiggins a symbol of ACC weakness

Posted May 17, 2013

If most of the 2014 NBA draft projections are on target, the ACC’s group of incoming basketball recruits will not have a big "wow" factor.

With Tuesday’s decision by forward Andrew Wiggins to pick Kansas over North Carolina and Florida State, the only ACC newcomer touted for a one-and-done college career is Duke forward Jabari Parker.

Almost all of the early NBA 2014 mock drafts list Wiggins as the No. 1 pick, followed closely by Parker and several other current high schools seniors – none of them destined for the ACC: Kentucky’s Julius Randle, James Young, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Kansas’ Wayne Selden, Florida’s Chris Walker and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon.

Since long-range draft predictions in all sports routinely require revisions and can be wildly inaccurate, there’s no reason to think the new-look ACC will be intimidated by the SEC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or any other league.

It was only a year ago that many thought N.C. State’s Rodney Purvis and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon would be headed to the pros this spring. Purvis, after a so-so rookie season, is transferring to Connecticut and will be fortunate to be a draft pick in 2016, if then. Sulaimon started 33 games and averaged 11.2 points but shows up on only two or three 2014 first-round projections. 

Lack of high-profile recruits keeps ACC out of championship contention

That said, there’s evidence to indicate the ACC’s recruiting clout has slipped to the extent that Tobacco Road cornerstones Duke and North Carolina are finding it more difficult to reach Final Fours.

Although injuries to point guards hampered Duke (Kyrie Irving in 2011) and Carolina (Kendall Marshall in 2012) in recent postseason runs, injuries are a part of the sport. Louisville, the 2013 national champ (and an ACC team beginning in 2014-15), had to deal with injuries to key players most of the season.

There’s a popular perception nationally and regionally that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and UNC coach Roy Williams don’t care to recruit likely one-year players, but the Blue Devils signed Luol Deng and Austin Rivers in addition to Irving.

Williams signed Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright, who were projected as one-and-doners and followed that pattern. Harrison Barnes was the Wiggins of 2010 and signed with the Heels but stayed two seasons before going pro.

In reality, the early exits of mid-range NBA prospects have done as much to hinder ACC progress of late as the failure to bring in Kentucky-like recruiting classes.

Among current ACC sophomores or juniors leaving for the draft are Shane Larkin (Miami sophomore point guard, the 2013 league player of the year), N.C. State’s Lorenzo Brown (junior point guard) and C.J. Leslie (junior forward), UNC’s Reggie Bullock (junior guard) and Maryland’s Alex Len (sophomore center).

All of those players would be preseason first- or second-team all-ACC picks if they has stayed. But it’s unlikely that any of newcomers – even Duke’s Parker – will land on the preseason 2013-14 first team.

Only six freshmen have ever made the postseason first team: Rivers (2012), UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough (2006), Georgia Tech’s Stephon Marbury (1996) and Kenny Anderson (1990), Maryland’s Joe Smith (1994) and Clemson’s Skip Wise (1975).

An ACC team hasn’t reached a Final Four since Duke won the title in 2010. And other than the Devils and newcomer Syracuse, the league probably will not have a preseason top 5 team in 2013-14. 

The conference is already riding a championship drought. The last time the ACC was shut out of the Final Four for three years in a row happened in the mid-1950s.

There’s no doubt that recruiting misses have played a major role in the retreat. So have injuries, early exits, coaching and to some extent, bad luck. But coaches are fond of saying that talent is the most important part of the mix. If the ACC can't or won't recruit that talent, the other factors loom even larger.

43 Comments

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  • gunny May 19, 7:13 p.m.

    Hogwash!! The ACC is not any different that the rest of the power conferences. You can't win the... View More

    — Posted by itsnotmeiswear

    um, UNC lost its dignity a couple of years ago.....oh boy.

    — Posted by kmorsreturn

    No we didn't. And there's nothing you do about it. GO HEELS!

    — Posted by 75Tarheel

    its start with roy who has no dignity that guy has no class

  • jeff727 May 19, 4:14 p.m.

    Go Wolfpack!

  • charlesboyer May 18, 10:15 p.m.

    Watching the NBA playoffs, I have yet to see a team that didn't give at least one ACC player a lot of minutes. Overall, the majority were Duke and UNC alums, as would be expected, but most all of the other schools were represented too. Not only that there were a number of former ACC players as head coaches too.

    Back here, there are a ton of prospects going into the draft -- State will see a couple players go in the first round and one in the second. Maryland will put a top five pick onto the board. UNC, Duke, VT, Miami and GT will too.

    Next year will be the same -- Parker and TJ Warren are projected as top 10 picks.

    And the ACC is weak? Bullocks.

  • ugottabkiddinme May 18, 9:55 a.m.

    I am kinda glad he didnt come to the Hill. Roy needs to spend more time recruiting the players that are going to stay at least 3 years..that's the team that will win you the national championship regularly. It is a shame that the boys come and get a free scholarship and only play one year. They should be made to pay that back if they decide to go early at the minimum...the NBA is the problem not the ACC..do a story on that tudor

  • rdavis5996 May 18, 9:49 a.m.

    Why is Tudor still writing? Really WRAL? Please find someone who is a little more up on the times and not so biased.

  • ericsgrowing May 18, 9:47 a.m.

    So Caulton Tudor, I must ask you about Jabari Parker in the 2014 draft. You don't think he will be a top 5 pick? Weakness?

  • tayled May 18, 9:04 a.m.

    I predict that Wiggins will stay one, maybe 2 years at KU and then it's the NBA. If that's the case, the ACC does not need him.

  • Cragsdale May 18, 1:47 a.m.

    Hogwash!! The ACC is not any different that the rest of the power conferences. You can't win the... View More

    — Posted by itsnotmeiswear

    um, UNC lost its dignity a couple of years ago.....oh boy.

    — Posted by kmorsreturn

    not really. The previous FOOTBALL team lost it's, but Basketball is just fine. Thanks for playing, but you lose again wolf9ecker

  • jsp1267 May 18, 12:23 a.m.

    An ACC team hasnt reached the Final Four since 2010? Oh no! Are we serious? Duke and UNC individually have ben to more Final Fours than the whole Big East combined.
    They are a candidate almost every year, give me abreak on this decline and hard to reach a Final Four. Dont say the "ACC" cause when its all said and done you are writing abiut UNC/Duke. No one else comes close, ever.

  • The Greatest Ever May 17, 11:54 p.m.

    No body wanted this one and done dummy anyways, he prolly can't even spell his name. SMH!!

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