Forever Young

After going 18-1 in the opening weekend of hoops, the ACC came back to Earth a little this week. The league finished 28-7 with a few key victories and a few losses that potential contenders would love to have back. There were great performances all around the league and quite a few from players you haven't heard of...yet. Clemson is the only team with multiple losses on the season and just haven't looked the same since their opening night win against Georgia. The trio of injured freshman at Duke have still yet to take the floor, Virginia's chances just took a blow and the dynamic duo of Bonzie Colson/VJ Beachem looks like it could carry Notre Dame further than anyone expected.

Week of 11/14 - 11/20

Player of the Week


Michael Young - Pittsburgh

Michael YoungMichael YoungIf you aren't an avid college basketball fan or if you aren't from the Pittsburgh area, you likely don't know much about Young, a player who averaged just shy of 16 points and 7 rebounds for the Panthers last season. He isn't a household name and you won't find him at the top of anyone's mock drafts at this point, but under new Head Coach Kevin Stallings, Young is having his coming out party through four games this season. Stallings has put a more aggressive up and down offensive system in this season, his first with the Panthers and Young has been one of the primary beneficiaries. He's averaging 24 points and over 8 rebounds per game through the team's first four contests and he looks extremely comfortable in a more high powered offense that seems to feature him more than he was last year with Jamie Dixon, now at TCU, running the show. He's not just a threat in the post anymore either. He's already hit the same amount of three's as he did all of last season. He's getting to the free throw line at an extremely high rate (9.5 attempts per game thus far) and is without question this team's leader both on and off the court. Young will become a name mentioned a lot more in NBA Draft conversations if he can continue to show that he's becoming a more well-rounded offensive player and someone who has the ability to step outside of the paint and score at the four spot. Young's past and present has made for a great story, one that Bleacher Report chronicled last Spring. If you haven't read his story, I would suggest you give it a read as you sit back and watch arguably the best upper classman in the ACC go to work night in and night out.

Who's Hot

Ben Lammers - Georgia Tech

No one expects much out of the Yellow Jackets this season. Josh Pastner is in his first year with a team that former Head Coach Brian Gregory left pretty bare in terms of talent. But don't tell Tech big man Ben Lammers that, because he is on a roll to start the season and is out to show everyone that there is a reason to watch Tech basketball this season. Lammers played sparingly his freshman season and wasn't a key player during his sophomore campaign either, but the junior from San Antonio has solidified himself as one of Pastner's go-to players early in the season. He was one block shy of a triple double against Southern last week with a line of 15/13/9 a game in which the Jackets set a school record for blocked shots with 16. Nine of those were from Lammers who tied a Tech record for most blocks in a game and who was a huge presence in the paint. And if that wasn't enough, he followed up that performance with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 4 more blocks in a loss to Ohio on Friday night. He's blocked 18 shots through three games and should give Tech fans something to watch and root for this season as Josh Pastner tries to right the ship and get this program back to where it was under Paul Hewitt just a few short years ago.

Luke Kennard - Duke

To say that the Blue Devils have been banged up this season would be an understatement. Without Giles, Tatum, Bolden and Sean Obi to start the season, Duke has had to rely on about six guys to play the bulk of the minutes, two of those being Chase Jeter and Grayson Allen who have also been dealing with injuries to start the season. What does all that mean? That someone else was going to have to step up for this team in the early going. And to this point that player has been Kennard. He played in all but five minutes of the team's three games last week while averaging over 20 points and 5 rebounds per contest. He had a nifty strip of Landen Lucas against the Jayhawks and then went coast to coast, dishing to Matt Jones for the three. He was a one man wrecking crew for most of that game and was asked to do all of that and more against a solid Rhode Island team on Sunday. Kennard is a true scorer in every sense of the word. He isn't the NBA prospect that Allen is due to his lack of elite athleticism but he's every bit of the player. I might argue that he's the better basketball player at this point in their careers as he has the ability to do more on the basketball court and impact the game positively than Allen does, even if he isn't the athlete. His numbers will likely start to come back to Earth once Allen gets going offensively and when the injured freshman take the court, but at this point, no one knows when that will be and this team will need Kennard to continue to play well as the tread water while waiting to get back to full strength.

Who's Not

Austin Nichols - Virginia

One game into the Austin Nichols era and it has already ended. And it might cost Virginia a shot at making it a 4th straight appearance to the NCAA Tournament. Nichols, a transfer from Memphis, who was suspended for the team's opener against UNC Greensboro has been dismissed from the Virginia program altogether after playing one game for the program. No one knows the specifics as of yet on why he was dismissed, but as someone who was supposed to help fill the void left by seniors Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill from last season, this is a huge blow to the Cavaliers' team.

Quote from Tony Bennett on the suspension: "It’s a privilege to be a part of this program and Austin has lost that privilege. We have standards for our student-athletes and when those standards aren’t met, there are consequences and this is the unfortunate consequence."

Grayson Allen - Duke

Allen is another player who hasn't really looked like himself so far this season. Although it wasn't called, Allen was fouled by Kansas freshman Mitch Lightfoot late in the first half last week in the Champion's Classic. He hit the floor pretty hard and stayed there as he looked to have caught a hand in the face as well as come down awkwardly on his knee. He got up, went to the locker room early and played pretty much the entire second half, but clearly Allen isn't 100%. He's shot just 34% from the field including 22% from beyond the arc this season and has looked like anything but the Preseason ACC Player of the Year. Now, I don't expect his numbers to remain this poor the rest of the season because he's such a gifted scorer and play maker, but I was in the camp that felt Allen should have gone to the NBA after last season when his stock was high. Short of Duke winning another National Championship with Allen averaging close to 20 points per game, I don't see his stock getting any higher than a mid to late first round pick at this point. I have questions about his height and what position he will play at the next level, but he is one heck of a college player and should carve out a role in the NBA if he can learn defend and become a more consistent shooter.

Top 5 ACC Transfers to Watch

1. Andrew White - Syracuse (from Nebraska)

Long, athletic wing player and three point specialist that should keep Syracuse from falling off with the losses of Richardson and Gbinije from a season ago.

2. Torin Dorn - NC State (from Charlotte)

Conference USA Freshman of the Year two seasons ago, now will be relied upon to give NC State another play maker to go alongside Dennis Smith.

3. Shelton Mitchell - Clemson (from Vanderbilt)

Played in all 31 games for Vandy as a freshman averagine 4.3 points per game. Should take over the team's starting PG duties when he is able to play.

4. Marcquise Reed - Clemson (from Robert Morris)

Averaged over 15 points per game as a freshman. Can absolutely fill it up on any given night and will provide a spark off the Clemson bench and lead the second unit.

5. Keyshawn Woods - Wake Forest

Like Dorn, another impact player as a freshman who left the 49ers after his freshman season. Will be asked to score and lead this young team on the perimeter as a sophomore.

My apologies to Austin Nichols who would have landed at #1 on this list last week.

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