The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 39 of 139

38 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2019-20 1. North Carolina (29-7 overall, 16-2 ACC in 2018-19) The ACC appears wide open and few schools in the country filled holes like the Tar Heels did last spring. Star freshman point guard Cole Anthony is a future lottery pick, and graduate transfers Christian Keeling (Charles - ton Southern) and Justin Pierce (William & Mary) were badly needed at shooting guard and forward, respec- tively. UNC also has powerful five-star post Armando Bacot (No. 27 overall) arriving in the class of 2019. Anthony was voted preseason first-team All-ACC and finished second in league Player of the Year voting by the media. UNC junior center Garrison Brooks was voted second-team All-ACC. Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium. com ranked Pierce as the No. 7 graduate transfer, while Keeling was No. 10. 2. Duke (32-6, 14-4 ACC) The Blue Devils landed four quality freshmen, and sophomore forward Joey Baker might as well be a new - comer after playing in just four games last season. Soph- omore point guard Tre Jones will be the key, and he'll have to improve his perimeter shooting. Both rookie post players, Vernon Carey Jr. and Matthew Hurt, are capable outside shooters, giving Duke something differ- ent from a year ago. Jones, who averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 assists per game last year, was voted first-team All-ACC by the media. Carey earned a spot on the second team and was runner-up in preseason ACC Freshman of the Year balloting, and ranked Hurt four spots behind Carey at No. 9 in the class of 2019. 3. Louisville (20-14, 10-8 ACC) The Cardinals landed six recruits in the class of 2019, and return star junior forward Jordan Nwora and fifth- year seniors Steven Enoch, a center who transferred in from Connecticut, and small forward Dwayne Sutton, a former walk-on from UNC Asheville. The trio finished as three of the Cardinals' top four scorers last year. Nwora was voted preseason ACC Player of the Year and first- team all-conference. Enoch averaged 9.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last year, while Sutton was at 10.0 points and 6.9 boards a contest. St. Joseph's graduate transfer Lamarr Kimble and ju - nior Darius Perry will need to take care of the playmak- ing duties. ranked Kimble the No. 5 graduate transfer, after he averaged 15.6 points per game for the Hawks, while Perry added 5.4 points a contest for the Cardinals last year. 4. Virginia (35-3, 16-2 ACC) The defending national champions have gotten some lofty preseason accolades despite an exodus of talent. Senior center Mamadi Diakite came through in the NCAA Tournament and had 16 blocks in six tourney games. Senior forward Braxton Key and sophomore point guard Kihei Clark also return, but offense could be harder than usual for the Cavaliers this season. Diakite flirted with entering the NBA Draft, but returns to improve upon averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He was named preseason first- team All-ACC. Key, a transfer from Alabama, chipped in 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in his first year at UVA. The diminutive pass-first Clark added 2.6 assists per game. 5. NC State (24-12, 9-9 ACC) The Wolfpack have one of the "oldest" teams in the ACC with senior point guard Markell Johnson, fifth-year senior wing C.J. Bryce, senior power forward Pat Andree, junior guard Braxton Beverly and redshirt junior center D.J. Funderburk, though the latter enters the season suspended indefinitely. Johnson was named preseason second-team All-ACC. Johnson's ability to create for himself and others is a difference maker and Andree — a graduate transfer from Lehigh— will help space the floor after he hit 41.9 percent of his three-pointers last year. Johnson, Andree, Bryce, Beverly and redshirt junior wing Devon Daniels all made at least 38 three-pointers last year. 6. Florida State (29-8, 13-5 ACC) The Seminoles lost a good chunk of their offense with forward Terance Mann and center Mfiondu Kaben - gele heading to the NBA. FSU senior point guard Trent Forrest and junior wing M.J. Walker will have added scoring responsibility this season. Forrest averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 assists per game and Walker chipped in 7.5 points per contest. Forrest was named preseason second-team All-ACC. Sophomore wing Devin Vassell, who averaged 4.5 points per game, could emerge this season. Incoming freshmen Patrick Williams, a forward, and center Balsa Koprivica should both contribute right away. Williams, who attended West Charlotte High, was ranked No. 20 in the country by, while Koprivica checked in at No. 88 nationally in the class of 2019. 7. Miami (14-18, 5-13 ACC) Injuries and suspensions wrecked Miami's chances last year. The Hurricanes were typically competitive with teams until the last five or 10 minutes of games, when its lack of depth took over. Junior point guard Chris Lykes, senior wing Dejan Vasiljevic and Oklahoma wing transfer Kameron McGusty should supply the offense. Four new- comers and two players who redshirted a year ago will bolster the depth. The 5-7 Lykes led the way with 16.2 points and 3.2 assists per game last year, and he was named preseason second- team All-ACC. Vasiljevic shot 36.7 percent from three-point land en route to 11.8 points per contest. McGusty was ranked No. 51 overall in the country by in the class of 2016, and averaged 8.0 points in 18.5 minutes per game his sophomore year at Oklahoma. 8. Notre Dame (14-19, 3-15 ACC) The Fighting Irish lost wings Rex Pflueger and Robby Car - mody to injuries last year, and essentially went with a youth movement. Senior forward John Mooney, senior shooting guard T.J. Gibbs and Pflueger will anchor this year's group. Mooney was named preseason first-team All-ACC. Mooney led the way with 14.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest a year ago, and Gibbs was second on the team with 13.4 points per game but slumped to 34.7-percent shooting from the field. Pflueger was averaging 8.1 points per contest before he hurt his knee in the 10th game of the season. Sophomore power forward Nate Laszewski could be a breakout performer, after he posted 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last year. 9. Syracuse (20-14, 10-8 ACC) The Orange will be one of the hardest teams to figure out. Head coach Jim Boeheim continues to find a way to guide his squad to the NCAA Tournament each year despite premature losses to the NBA. Tyus Battle and ACC Predicted Order Of Finish Duke rookie Vernon Carey Jr. was ranked as the No. 5 recruit in the 2019 class by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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