Player of the Week:

Andrew Carr, PF/C, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Coming off a win over previously unbeaten Clemson, the Demon Deacons are the hottest team in the ACC with the record to prove it. I doubted the relevance of this team with the departures of Alondes Williams and Jake LaRavia, but Steve Forbes is further proving his value as a head coach this season. The addition of Andrew Carr has never felt more important with the junior forward playing his best basketball.

A dud against Louisville lit a spark under Carr who has led the team in scoring over their last three wins over Florida State, Boston College and No. 19 Clemson. The national audience might not be talking about Wake yet, but a win over No. 10 Virginia on Saturday will make their surge undeniable.

Who’s Hot?

Terquavion Smith, PG/SG, NC State Wolfpack

The Wolfpack are on the cusp of the AP rankings thanks to seven wins in their last eight to erase an 0-2 start to ACC play. There is plenty of praise to go around, but they owe a lot of it to sophomore star Terquavion Smith. His skills are made for an NBA setting, but his return to Raleigh isn’t just providing himself the opportunity to grow. It’s putting his team back on the map.

He and Dereon Seabron were both considered NBA talents a season ago, but the Wolfpack were basement dwellers anyway, finishing the season last in the ACC with a 4-16 record. His team has now surpassed that win total (5-3) and are legitimately poised to compete for a regular season crown with the conference heavyweights experiencing a down year.

Ben Vander Plas, SF/PF, No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers

Something wasn’t quite clicking last Tuesday when North Carolina had the Cavaliers on the ropes early in the second half. Tony Bennett’s solution? More Ben Vander Plas. The Ohio transfer logged his most minutes of the season to that point and helped the Hoos mount a rally to avoid a fourth loss in seven games.

This effort forced Bennett to include the 6’8 senior in the starting five the next two games and Vander Plas isn’t letting him down. The floor spacing and consistency he provides from beyond the arc opens up a plethora of opportunities for star point guard Kihei Clark who undoubtedly needs as much space as he can get in the lane at 5’10. Vander Plas is a true difference maker in Charlottesville who could be the spark to another March Madness run.

Who’s Not?

Caleb Love, PG/SG, North Carolina Tar Heels

If the panic button hasn’t been hit for Caleb Love yet, it’s officially time. His regression in his junior season is as frustrating to him as it is for fans and scouts who projected the guard to be a first-round pick this summer. The athleticism and skills are obviously there, anyone can see that, but the efficiency and production have taken a major hit, especially in conference play.

Love was arguably the best player of the NCAA Tournament last March, but is averaging just 12 points in ACC play while shooting 24% from the perimeter including just 2 makes from his last 17 attempts. The last hope from a disappointing season is that he’ll regain his form when the lights are brightest, which would be foolish to put past him after last year.

Baba Miller, SF/PF, Florida State Seminoles

I want to preface this by saying this is far from a direct criticism of Miller’s game, especially considering his struggles are a direct result of a ludicrous 16-game suspension handed down in the summer for financial aid he received, and paid back, for travel to the United States for a training camp.

In his two games since returning, the talented freshman has mustered just eight points in 35 minutes while missing all three of his 3-point attempts. Miller started, and spent most of the season, in the top-10 of our mock draft, but it is apparent that he is going through some

Freshman of the Week:

Kyle Filipowski, PF/C, Duke Blue Devils

Not much is going right in Jon Scheyer’s first season, but he has a bona-fide star in true freshman Kyle Filipowski. While he struggled to come up with the big shots in a loss to Clemson last weekend, it would’ve been an 0-2 week if he didn’t show up against Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils faced an 11-point deficit at the break, but the seven-footer came out of the locker room possessed, leading a 45-26 second half surge and finishing the game with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Both were season highs for any player on the team and if they want any hope of turning this season around, it’ll start with more play like this from Filipowski.

Top 5 Transfer Additions of the Season:

With two of the three top players of the week playing their first season with an ACC team after transferring, it felt timely to list the top five transfers in the ACC this season. To no surprise, you’ll see those two names again below, but stick around for three more players deserving of recognition.

5. Ben Vander Plas, SF/PF, No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers

I told you there’d be some familiar names on here. Everything I said above can be repeated here, but it’s worth repeating that Vander Plas is an invaluable member of this Virginia team. With NCAA Tournament experience and trustworthy shooting, Vander Plas makes the Cavs a great team and a national title contender, rather than just a good team with only second weekend aspirations.

4. Andrew Carr, PF/C, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

And here’s the other familiar name on this list. While Carr is the star of the show this week, he isn’t even the best transfer on his own team, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t belong on here. He’s another player with valuable NCAA Tournament experience and provides size and versatility as an imposing power forward or capable center with the ability to spread the floor for others.

3. Blake Hinson, SF, Pittsburgh Panthers

Hinson is one of the many Panthers who made their way to Pittsburgh via the transfer portal. He is the best of the bunch from this year’s class and one of two Ole Miss transfers on this list. While he left the Rebels in 2020, he was forced to take two medical redshirts at Iowa State and never registered a minute for the Cyclones. He’s found his home with Pitt and is a high-energy scorer on the wing that the Panthers desperately needed.

2. Jarkel Joiner, PG, NC State Wolfpack

Joiner is the other Ole Miss transfer, but was instead part of the Rebels program last season. All he’s done so far in Raleigh is provide a secondary scoring option alongside Terquavion Smith and use his tremendous athleticism to cause nightmares for opposing guards. This tandem is one of the best in the conference and if given the stage at the NCAA Tournament, could turn some heads both at the collegiate and professional level.

1. Tyree Appleby, PG, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The top player from an exceptional transfer class has to be Tyree Appleby. He leads the conference in assists per game, is second in points and tied for third in steals while leading the Demon Deacons to a tie for second in the conference. Not only is Appleby the top transfer in the ACC, he might just be the top player as well. Steve Forbes found a special player in the portal out of Florida.

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