Player of the Week:
Dorenzo Hudson isn't a household name, but his performance in Virginia Tech's opening week is certainly worth a bit of recognition. The fifth year senior had a relatively quiet 9 points in game one, but followed with outbursts of 18 and 31 in games 2 and 3 respectively. Personally, I think the slow start was directly related to point guard Erick Green's absence. Hudson (like his predecessor, Malcolm Delaney) seems to be much more effective with a second ball-handler in the backcourt with him. This is apparent in his statistical output, as Hudson is averaging 24.5 points per game on 65% shooting in the two games that Green has started. Virginia Tech is very fortunate to have Hudson with the team this season after his injury last year. With Delaney and Allen having graduated, the Hokies will look to Hudson (along with Victor Davila and JT Thompson) for senior leadership. If Hudson can provide that and continue to score at a high rate, the Hokies might sneak up on a few teams. They'll have an excellent opportunity to see what they're really made of on Wednesday against Syracuse.
Hey, I didn't expect to be writing about him either. In fact, I doubted NC State would even be worth a mention prior to the return of CJ Leslie, but the Wolfpack is starting to make some noise, and it's primarily because of 6'8" forward Richard Howell. Coming off a season where he averaged a mere 7.8 points per game, Howell has burst out of the 2011-2012 gate, averaging 19.5 PPG on 55.6% shooting. He's also managing to pull down 11.5 rebounds while dishing out 3 assists and swatting 2 shots per game. All of this while only averaging a single turnover and shooting 81.8% from the stripe. Maybe this kind of efficient production is a fluke due to the flakey competition NC State has played so far. Maybe NC State's first-year coach Mark Gottfried is responsible, or maybe it's just the fact that he doesn't have Tracy Smith (graduated) and CJ Leslie (suspended) in his way at the moment. Anyway, if he continues to play well the Wolfpack could finish higher in the standings than I initially thought.
Jones isn't playing this year, so I'm not sure if he technically qualifies as "cold", but I don't feel there are a lot of better candidates at this point. It hasn't even been a full week yet. Some teams have only played one game. The competition has been pretty soft so far, and guys like Daniel Miller, Carson Desrosiers and Terrence Shannon are putting up big numbers. All things considered, nobody has really disgusted me yet, so this week I'm letting the players off easy -- or at least the players who are playing. Turns out Miami's DeQuan Jones will not be playing in the 2011-2012 season due to allegations that he accepted $10,000 while being recruited by Miami. This is an extreme disappointment, as Jones is perhaps the most electric athlete in the ACC, and consequently a very fun player to watch. He's still practicing with the team and could return next season, but this is yet another big blow for the Hurricanes, who have already lost forward/center Julian Gamble for the season and star center Reggie Johnson for a few months due to injuries.
Top 5 ACC Centers
1. Tyler Zeller - Zeller's not the most physical center you'll find, but he's one of the most mobile 7-footers in the country and he's got an impressive and expanding skill-set. His defense is underrated and effective, but he definitely needs to improve his defensive rebounding.
2. Mason Plumlee - Players with Mason Plumlee's size, athleticism and passing ability are quite rare. He's a tough player defensively and has a nice shooting stroke on the offensive end. His listed height of 6’10” is fine for Coach K, but it might make his ideal position power forward at the next level.
3. Reggie Johnson - As I alluded to before, Johnson suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee while playing in a pick-up game over the summer. If the 300-pounder can recover quickly, he'll be a devastating weapon for the Hurricanes during ACC play.
4. Bernard James - James is a perfect fit for Florida State due to his excellent shot-blocking ability and his tough, physical defense. He's also proven to be useful on the offensive end, scoring 18 points on 8/9 shooting against UCF on Monday.
5. Daniel Miller - I could have gone a few different ways with #5 on this list, but I opted to give the prestigious honor to Georgia Tech's Daniel Miller. The still green center put up 14 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and a block in a win against Delaware State on Monday. I'm sure the Yellow Jackets’ new head coach Brian Gregory would love to see similar performances from Miller against better competition throughout this season.
Notes: After Duke's win over Michigan State in Madison Square Garden, Coach Mike Krzyzewski has officially passed Bob Knight for the most wins in Division 1 Men's Basketball history with 903 ... UNC played Michigan State on an aircraft carrier (USS Carl Vinson) for Veteran's Day ... John Henson (who has a wingspan roughly the length of a mid-sized aircraft carrier) amazed the president (who was in attendance) with a whopping 9 blocks ... Kendall Marshall had a highly impressive 15 assists against only one turnover in UNC's 91-75 win over UNC-Asheville ... Freshman Austin Rivers has been living at the free-throw line, almost attempting as many free throws (21) as field goals (24) ... Seth Curry has played well as the acting point guard for the Blue Devils, averaging 15.3 points and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 57% from behind the arc ... Lorenzo Brown put up an impressive line of 13 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 8 steals in NC State's season debut ... Center Carson Desrosiers nearly had a triple-double in Wake Forest's season opener with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 8 blocks ... Freshman Dorian Finney-Smith has been impressive for Virginia Tech, posting 10 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks in a victory against East Tennessee State, and 14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in a victory against Florida International ... CJ Leslie was suspended for first three games of the season by the school for receiving improper benefits and is expected to play Saturday against Vanderbilt ... Glen Rice Jr of Georgia Tech was also suspended for the first three games of the season ... Travis McKie scored 19 points in his sophomore debut ... Senior forward Tanner Smith scored 6 points (3/4 shooting) in Clemson's only game thus far, but combined them with 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks ... 5'11" guard Jontel Evans of Virginia is shooting 82% from the field (9/11), 100% from the three-point line (2/2) and 100% from the free-throw line (5/5) in two games... The ACC conference has a combined 20 wins and 0 (that's ZERO) losses ...