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Another Duke Title: In the Bag?

Player of the Week

Marvin Bagley III, Duke

Marvin BagleyMarvin BagleyThe PK80 exceeded expectations, featuring sixteen of the nation's top teams. And it was apparent that one player shined brighter than the rest. Bagley's spectacular effort propelled Duke to dramatic come back wins over both Texas and Florida. When his team was in need of stops and buckets, they called on their stud freshman, and he delivered.

What makes Bagley special is his desire and passion for the game. During the three games Duke played in the PK80, Bagley hauled in 15 rebounds in each contest. Bagley is long and athletic, but the reason he's able to control the glass is due to his relentless motor. He plays with a poise seldom seen in a freshman. All of the skills that Bagley brings to the table were on display as Bagley put the Blue Devils on his back, putting up 34 points against Texas and 30 against Florida to win the Motion Bracket Championship.

Who's Hot

Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

Colson entered the season as the favorite to win the ACC Player of the Year award, and so far he has not disappointed. Notre Dame was involved in the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament. Colson had his way against the Shockers, in the title game putting up 25 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in the 67-66 win. Colson's versitily is rare, as he's capable of logging minutes at all five positions on both ends of the court. Despite only being 6'6", Colson's seven foot wingspan and high basketball IQ allows him to get his hands on a lot of loose balls as well as keep players in front of him on defense. He may not be the most athletic player, but his ability to put the ball on the deck and shoot from the perimeter drives opposing coaches insane. Colson is definitely someone who will be making an appearance again on this blog, as he continues his on court dominance.

Who's Not

North Carolina Tar Heels

What you saw Sunday night was perhaps one of the worst UNC games in recent history. Michigan State had their way with the Tar Heels in the 63-45 victory in the PK80 championship game. Did Michigan State play that well? Spartans head coach Tom Izzo acknowledged the fact that it was more of a North Carolina loss than a Michigan State victory.

To be fair, the Tar Heels are a very talented basketball team and will probably look back at this game as a learning moment. For now, North Carolina will need to fix their flaws soon as ACC play approaching quickly. On the bright side, UNC is 6-1 now, having bounced back with a win over Michigan. And they can still call themselves the champs.

Top 5 Playmakers in the ACC

For this week's list, we'll be looking at the top five playmakers in the ACC and discuss their value to their respected teams.

1) Trevon Duval, Duke

Despite being a freshman, Trevon Duval has been an instant impact guy right away for the Duke Blue Devils. He has been to transition smoothly into the college game. Facing high level competition right away, Duval hasn't let the pressure get to him, and does a terrific job in taking care of the ball. His 2.60 assist-to-turnover ratio stands as one of the best in the ACC. With a roster full of excellent scorers, Duval is tasked to make plays for others first. Duke struggled last year with ball movement due to the lack of a true point guard presence. With Coach K giving Duval the keys to the offense, he has given him great responsibility and in turn confidence. Duval's ability to run the fast break is also a weapon, as he's able to make good decisions running the break.

2) Markell Johnson, NC State

Replacing a point guard the caliber of Dennis Smith is never easy. The Wolfpack recruited Markell Johnson alongside Smith knowing full well that he would enter the NBA Draft after his freshman year. No one is expecting Johnson to replicate the jaw-dropping athletic plays Smith displayed during his time with the Wolfpack, although Johnson is a solid athlete is his own right. Given the array of talent and shot makers on NC State, Johnson's job is to be the floor general and put his teammates in positions to score. The ability to pass through tight windows makes Johnson stand out from the rest of his peers. His handle and ability to get in the paint enables him to create off the dribble and kick it out to open players on the perimeter, as well as find big men in the post. Johnson, listed at 6'1"; struggles to find open shots. In NC State's two losses, Johnson turned the ball over 3 or more times. Despite not being one of the premier scorers in the ACC, the Wolfpack will need Johnson to not turn the ball over and create for his teammates in order to have success this season.

3) Frank Howard, Syracuse

After averaging just 16.2 minutes per game last season, Howard is prepared to prove his worth on this Syracuse team. Teammate Tyus Battle is taking on more of a scoring role this season; therefore, head coach Jim Boeheim must rely on Howard to get the rest of his team involved. Through the first five games, Howard has played at least 30 minutes and three of those games included 40 minute efforts by Howard. His consistency has been critical for Syracuse victories this season. He has four or more assists in each game, including a 10 assist performance in the nail-biting victory over Maryland. He needs to improve his turnover numbers, but should be able to over time. On a positive note, Howard is appearing to be one of the top candidates to win the ACC Most Improved Player award.

4) Ky Bowman, Boston College

BC was the bottom-feeder of the ACC last season, winning the least amount of conference games. However, one of the bright spots on the team was freshman sensation Ky Bowman. Mainly viewed as a scorer, Bowman has shown that he is an all-around player who is able to score when called upon. Head coach Jim Christian has granted Bowman the main playmaking duties this season, and Bowman has embraced that role to the fullest. Bowman has seven or more assists in three games this season, as well as a ridiculous 3.25 assist-to-turnover ratio. His craftiness with the basketball makes him one of the toughest defensive assignments in the ACC. Bowman can shoot from anywhere on the floor, but more importantly, his ability to take defenders off the dribble has translated nicely into assists. During his freshman year, Bowman was going straight to the rack with the intentions to score. Now with a year under his belt, Bowman's game has matured significantly, and is making better decisions to help get teammates more involved. It will take time for Bowman to perfect when to score and when to set up teammates; regardless, he's done a solid job in finding a medium between both this season.

5) Bruce Brown Miami

Brown may not be a conventional point guard, but his ability to do everything on the floor is what makes him standout. The Miami Hurricanes have been fun to watch on offense this season, despite Brown's scoring numbers taking a dip. Brown has made the effort to become more of a facilitator during his sophomore campaign, and it's paid off for Miami's offensive success. His 2.70 assist-to-turnover ratio is towards the top of the ACC, and he's averaging 5.4 assists per game. Brown is the epitome of a team player, embracing his point guard duties to the fullest. Given his athletic prowess and ability to collect rebounds, Brown's niche to run the fast break is as good as any player in the country. Brown uses his body to take to the rim at times, but he's able to see the players running aside of him and make the right decisions in the open floor. It seems the game is slowing down for Brown, which is a dangerous thing for all the other ACC teams. Miami will be leaning on Brown heavily to maintain his level of play throughout the rest of the season, which he is more than capable of.

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