Player of the Week
PJ Hairston - North Carolina
Roy Williams has been hesitant to commit to the "small ball" lineup for the rest of the season but last week against Duke and Virginia it was a success. Hairston was inserted into the lineup due to a combination of injuries and inconsistent play in the frontcourt. Desmond Hubert, Joel James and Brice Johnson have all had their moments this season but the trio of underclassmen haven't been able to provide any sort of consistency, particularly on offense, in conference play. At 6'5, Hairston isn't your prototypical power forward but he is relatively strong and creates all kinds of matchup problems on offense. He scored 23 against Duke and had a career high 29 against Virginia last week and stayed active on the glass in both games pulling down 8 and 7 rebounds respectively. Against Duke, it was his offensive rebounding that kept the Tar Heels in the game in the second half and he put on a shooting clinic against the Cavaliers going shot for shot with Joe Harris in what ended up being the Heels' highest scoring game since they put up 97 against McNeese State before Christmas.
Joe Harris - Virginia
For the second straight week, Harris lands in the "Who's Hot" category. The G/F for the Cavs has been on a recent tear that has seen his scoring average move into the top 5 in the conference at 16.7 points per game. Saturday's loss at UNC was his 4th straight game with 20+ points and his 5th in his last six games. He has really solidified himself as one of the conference's best shooters in recent weeks and as mentioned above, went shot for shot with [Player: P.J. Hairston] on Saturday and single handedly kept Virginia in the game in the second half. The Cavs are squarely on the NCAA bubble but with Harris and fellow forward Alil Mitchell playing well of late, a end of season run before the ACC tournament could solidify their spot.
Scott Wood - NC State
No team has struggled with expectations more than the 'Pack. After dropping three straight ACC contests, NC State in trouble of losing their 4th straight and dropping to below .500 in conference which would have been an epic failure with the high hopes that this team had coming into the season. Wood saved the season by hitting a game winning three pointer against Clemson and then followed it up by going J.J. Redick on the Hokies by hitting 6 three balls in an OT win at home. When players and fans look back on this season, they will point to Wood's performances in both games as what saved their season. Wood is the best sharpshooter in the conference and has a career 3 point percentage of 41%, including over 44% this season.
James McAdoo - North Carolina
Up until last week, McAdoo had only game in single digits all season. Saturday's game against Virginia was the third straight single digit scoring performance for the talented sophomore. He has struggled lately in an offense that relies heavily on the three pointer and that has no inside scoring threat. McAdoo is more comfortable on the perimeter and likes to use his unique skill set to create matchup problems. The problem is that Roy Williams has gone to a small lineup that features McAdoo at the center spot. That's not McAdoo's game and he has struggled to find his way in this new-look lineup that the Heels are using. If McAdoo can learn to utilize the spacing that this lineup gives him in the paint and try and face up and use his quickness on larger defenders then he can make it work. It is just something that he will need to get used to because it is hard to change on the fly when your team is in need of quality wins.
Top 5 2nd Round Draft Sleepers
Kenny Kadji - Miami
After two unsuccessful years under Billy Donovan at Florida, Kadji has really transformed his game and has become one of the better inside outside threats in the ACC. He won't wow you with his athleticism but he has length, plays tough defense, is a good rebounder and can stroke it from the outside. In the right situation, a guy like Kadji could make a name for himself in the League.
Michael Snaer - Florida State
Snaer's calling card is his ability to play defense. Leonard Hamilton instills that in each and every one of his players and it benefits them at the next level. He doesn't have the same talent around him as he had in previous years but Snaer has increased his scoring and developed a closer mentality this season. He is a reliable three point shooter and has good size for the off-guard spot in the NBA.
Dexter Strickland - North Carolina
Strickland is another player who plays hard nose defense that does quite a few things well but nothing extremely well. He can play both guard spots and has an improving outside shot. His development has been hampered by injuries during his time in Chapel Hill but he is still improving as a player and is worth a flier in the middle of the second round for a team in need of guard help.
Ryan Kelly - Duke
High basketball I.Q. and being a knock down shooter should get Kelly drafted this season. He's not the most overly athletic guy in the world but he's still a fairly decent athlete and a guy who at minimum is worthy of a second round selection. Long-term he might be better suited for the International game but he has the skill set to make an NBA roster.
Richard Howell - NC State
Most scouts are scared of Howell's length and athleticism. He's listed at 6'8 but is probably closer to 6'7. He doesn't possess great leaping ability and that could hurt him in workouts. He has had weight troubles in the past but has put those behind him. What he does possess is a great motor and a knack for pulling down rebounds. He has great size and strength and is difficult to box out. Call him a less athletic Jason Maxiell but with more rebounding prowess.
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Decent comparison but I might argue that Haslem is more athletic than Howell. But both are great rebounders and undersized for their position.