Menace to ACC Society
Player of the Week
Dennis Smith Jr. - NC State
NC State was a very disappointing team early on this season. Now that they are back to full strength, they have seemed to click better on offense and are hopefully finding their way on defense a little. Smith had his struggles early on shooting the ball and he still turns the ball over at a higher clip than I would like my elite PG to do, but he seems to have found his rhythm shooting the ball and the Wolfpack have become a much more well rounded team offensively because of it. He hit five three's against Fairfield on Sunday, a career high, after getting to the free throw line a career high 12 times against App State on Thursday. He's finally picking his spots better and using all of his offensive tools to put up his numbers. He's getting others involved more consistently over the last week or two and if he can cut down on the turnovers and times when he wants to do everything himself/make the highlight reel play then things will really start coming together for both himself and this NC State team.
"They are well on their way to being a solid team in this league, but their time isn't now." That's what I wrote about this Hokie team in my ACC Preview before the season started. I still believe that but with the way they are playing lately, their time just might be now. No, I don't mean they are going to win the ACC but I do believe they could get themselves in a position where they could be on that proverbial NCAA bubble come March. Buzz Williams' squad sits at 10-1 with wins at Michigan, at Nebraska and at home against Ole Miss. And while those wins won't really move the meter for most people, they signify to me that this team is a lot closer to being "back" than people realize. Zach LeDay is having another stellar season and while this team is really undersized most nights and will have to gang rebound on most nights, they are a tough team with very solid guard play. They get one more "tune up" game next week before they welcome Duke to Blacksburg on New Years Even in a game that will tell us a lot about this team's chances the rest of the way.
Jerome Robinson - Boston College
At 6-5 on the season with losses to Nicholls State and Hartford on the resume, there hasn't been a lot to write about for this Boston College team. But they did have two wins last week, one against a decent enough Auburn team so that's something to build on. Robinson had 23 points and 11 boards in that game and followed that up with a 32 point, five steal night against Sacred Heart on Sunday. He now has 20+ points in 7 of the team's 11 games so far this season. Just a sophomore, Robinson is leading this Eagle team in points, steals and blocks so far this season. He's got a nice shooting stroke and has the ability to get to the basket when he wants to, especially when going left. You won't hear a ton about him since he's on a team that isn't going very far this year but over the next two seasons, he could help get this BC program back to the days of Al Skinner with the right mix of guys coming in to help him.
Nate Britt - North Carolina
Britt is a role player and a good one. We all know what he is at this point in his career and that's fine. He's been a very solid player for UNC over the last four seasons having to play behind the likes of Marcus Paige and now Joel Berry. But this season I really wanted him to take a step forward, not to an NBA level prospect, but to one that UNC could count on to be more consistent. After going scoreless and playing a season low 14 minutes against Kentucky on Saturday when the team needed some perimeter help on defense, Britt was a no-show. He had one assist, one block and one turnover for the game. It is the second such instance that he has been shut out this season. And while his scoring is a up a tick overall this season, he is shooting career lows from the field, from beyond the arc and from the free throw line. With the injury to Theo Pinson and with the uncertainty of what Kenny Williams was going to give this team coming into the season, the minutes were there for the taking and Britt just hasn't taken that step forward that I thought he would this season. The Tar Heels are still winning and playing good basketball, especially on the offensive end of the floor but Britt hasn't played well outside of one or two games this season.
Top 5 Under the Radar Players to Watch For
1. Xavier Rathan Mayes - Florida State
Hasn't really played as well as I thought he would this season and has been overshadowed by Bacon, Mann and Isaac but as we get into ACC play his experience and leadership will be big for this FSU team.
2. Shelton Mitchell - Clemson
The transfer from Vandy had to sit out out the first few games of the season do to transfer rules but he's scored double digits in four straight games after being held under 10 in his first two with the team. He's a talented guard that should complement Blossomgame well.
3. Terry Henderson - NC State
He and Torin Dorn have both had their nights being the Robin to Dennis Smith's Batman but Henderson is the guy who has played exceptionally well when the Wolfpack needed it most. This team is going to be extremely guard oriented on the offensive end and he's the second option for Mark Gottfried's squad.
4. Andrew White - Syracuse
As the team's leading scorer it might be hard to imagine White as being "Under the Radar" but considering the love that Tyler Lydon seems to be getting, he is lost in the shuffle a tad. In my opinion, it doesn't matter what Lydon does on a nightly basis but rather what White does for this team to be effective.
5. Deng Adel - Louisville
One of the more athletic wings in the conference. On a team that spreads the ball around and that is extremely balanced, his presence on the wing on both sides of the ball will be huge as Louisville matches up with the Duke's, Kentucky's and UNC's of the world.
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