2017 ACC Tournament Notebook: Seniors And Juniors On The Rise

After spending five days in New York City watching the ACC Tournament at Barclays Center, below are some notes on the upperclassmen players.

With all the players declaring for the NBA Draft (194 Early Entrees), there are plenty of players who will end up undrafted and deciding between an NBA Training Camp + D-League gig or to hop over to Europe/Australia/Asia for next season.  So not just seniors are profiled here but also Juniors and Sophomores who declared for the draft but are likely non-1st rounders: Donte Grantham, Ben Lammers, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Jaylen Johnson, Maverick Rowan.  And here at NextStep we focus on prospects at every level and the ACC has great depth.  So even some juniors who didn’t declare but are enticing to track for next season are noted.

Clemson

Jaron Blossomgame (3.5, Sr)

A missile in transition, once Blossomgame got out running on the fast break his game changed.  Big one-foot dunks and and-1 scores.  His offensive game is fairly simple and not so modern, if matched up vs a 4, he faces-up on the perimeter and can usually work his way to somewhere near the paint but not to the rim.  When matched up vs a slower Abu he was able to get around him, had a couple spectacular baseline drives.  But really he had a ton of mini mid-range plays, he lives there.  Drives turning into post-ups or floater/push shots from the lane.  That’s his game.  Limited outside shooter.  Is a cutter, some off-ball potential.  One NBA scout said, “He seems like a prospect that will be picked in the 50’s”.  Could eventually end up in Europe.

Sidy Djitte (5.0, Sr)

Started first game but was subbed out in the first minute.  Knocked down an elbow jumper.  Bad hands at the rim, couldn’t make tough catches and convert to quick finishes.  Set nice wide screens that opened up space for his roles.  Energy big.

Donte Grantham (3.5, Jr) 

Down year and a down tournament for Grantham.  Had 2 points vs NC State and 0 vs Duke.  Good body, tall, strong.  Perimeter oriented.  Guarded 3’s and 4’s.  Just didn’t attack offensively, was very passive. Declared for the NBA Draft.

Avry Holmes (1.3, Sr)

Outside shooter, gunner.  Takes deep 3’s.  Can really heat up.  Not a big dribbler, played a little on-ball but mainly utilized as a shooter.

Duke

Matt Jones (2.7, Sr)

Physical wing, did all the dirty work for Duke just wasn’t scoring.  Played 108 minutes for Duke in the tourney and scored 11 points.

Amile Jefferson (4.7, Sr)

Can’t be more active than Jefferson.  Really looks stronger, has grown into his body.  Going after offensive glass, great at sitting in the dunker spot and waiting for drop-offs or to go after an offensive rebound.  Move so well, covering space on defense, blocking shots. Worker.  NBA scout thought,  “Jefferson and Michael Young could become million dollar players in Europe.”

Georgia Tech

Ben Lammers (5.0, Jr)

Huge but also skilled.  After all of Georgia Tech’s bigs graduated, Lammers had the room to breakout this season.  A hard working beast.  Lammers was crashing into the paint and had no fear with putting his body on the line.  Showed some face-up game, elbow jumpers and he can attack.  Gobbled up rebounds.  Protected the rim.  Super interesting if he chooses to eventually pursue an international career. Declared for the NBA Draft.

Quinton Stephens (4.0, Sr) 

Super skinny stretch 4. Can shoot. Fairly active, he really competes. Made some nice passes.  But value seemed dependent on the jump shot. He’s a 6’9″ player who can come off screens and knock down shots though.

Florida St.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes (1.5, Jr)

Guard/wing hybrid type who took on the point guard role for FSU.  The Seminoles played this enormous lineup with NBA size and length at every position but no one with much feel.  He doesn’t have super burst.  Played in ball screen action but often was a passer out of it.  He’s a big guard, physically looks impressive.  Will be interesting seeing him in a pro setting next to another real playmaker. Declared for the NBA Draft.

Louisville

Anas Mahmoud (5.0, Jr)

Is a slight outlier in the Skinny Bigs Theory.1  He can really move, has feel for the game.  4.5 BLKS per 40, his agility and mobility combined with length defensively is just disruptive for guards trying to get shots off in the lane.  Occasionally tried out a jump hook or mid range shot with mixed results.  If he can really bulk up has a role defensively and while his offensive sense is quite good for a big man, he didn’t seem to have a role their yet.  Stationed a lot at the elbows.

Jaylen Johnson (4.5, Jr) 

Banger. Big body. Great length.  Overall has a super frame, will give him a chance. Had very inconsistent minutes. Still young, not even 21, has inside potential but needs development. Declared for the NBA Draft and signed an Agent.

Miami

Devon Reed (3.5, SR)

Not always the key guy for Miami, tends to fit in.  Doesn’t leave the floor though, coach really trusts him.  Runs some offense with Newton and Brown often looking for their own shot.  Defends a range of positions.  Great match-up against scoring wings, took on Andrew White and Justin Jackson.

Notre Dame

Bonzie Colson Jr. (4.5, Jr)

Well known college stud. Has the crazy 6’5″, 220 lbs, 7′ wingspan measurements.  Mainly an offensive player, has mastered the college game.  Screen and roll/pop, really emerged as a pop threat with improved 3 and attack ability.  ND’s most successful lineups come with him at the 5 and 4 shooters around.  Always had room to do whatever he wanted down the middle.

Steve Vasturia (2.5, SR)

Key playmaker for Notre Dame on the wing. Is a passer, sees the floor.   Scoring wise he seemed like ND’s 3rd or 4th option offensively.  Their best perimeter defender.

VJ Beachem (3.0, Sr)

Long and skinny. 3pt gunner, like most of his team.  Showed that unique shot-blocking/defensive playmaking combined with shooting potential.  But doesn’t fit the typical ‘3&D’ label, so skinny he’s not a shut-down 1v1 defender.  The new term should be ‘3&Some D’.  Showed off the jump shot. Non-attacker.  Offensive role player.

North Carolina

Kennedy Meeks (5.0, SR)

Had a huge game vs. Duke, 19 points and 12 rebounds.  Such a load on the block, really is a post scorer.  Against Jefferson, a slender big man, Meeks can eat up those type of defenders who don’t have the meat to stop his inside power game.

Isaiah Hicks (4.5, SR)

Had a couple huge ACC tournament games, which will be big to look back on because he basically laid in egg in the NCAA tournament even though UNC won it all.  So damn strong and athletic.  His offensive game is heavily unstructured but if he’s able to get catches in the elbow or dunker spots and just plow his way to the rim, a highlight dunk is waiting to happen.  As effective at offensive rebounding as defensive (needs to work on D-rebounding), serious tip-in threat.

North Carolina St.

Abdul-Malik Abu (4.5, Jr)

NC State has had a disaster season so it would be interesting to see Abu on a team actually fighting.  But Abu tried showing off a face-up game, likes to attack from the baseline or elbows.  Generally has skill, can dribble drive, has a reasonable jump shot, and has a great body with serious strength.  But there was little good decision making and no fluidity from one play he was involved in to the next.  He’s so damn big, can put on more weight and just transition to a mostly full-time 5.

Maverick Rowan, (3.3, Soph)

6’7″ smooth shooter. Most of his shots are 3’s.  But knows his roll, doesn’t force anything, keeps the ball moving, makes good decisions.  Not so skinny, has some bulk to him.  Plays like former Wolfpack player Scott Wood but Rowan is a better athlete.  Has Declared for the NBA Draft and signed an Agent.

Pittsburgh

Jamel Artis (2.5, Sr)

Ball dominant Pitt PG.  Strangely effective cause he’s so damn big and has the ball-handling to go with it.  Taking and making some really tough shots.  Really want to see him released on the wings and slashing to the rim but will have to wait for the Pro’s to see that.  Showing a little bit of a post game, can use it to be a passer.  Real old, already 24, why isn’t his team better?

Michael Young (4.3, Sr)

The game-changer for Young this season was the 3-point shot.  Never shooting more than 28 in a season, he shot 122 three-pointers this season at 34.4% clip.  Unfortunately at the ACC tournament Young was ice-cold (1/9 in 2 games) and it really affected Pitt.  Still a bruiser, Young worked his way inside and drew fouls when he couldn’t shoot.  Would have liked Pitt to tryout some more lineups with him as a small ball 5, which would have really spaced the floor.  Along with Jefferson an NBA scout said ‘Young could eventually be a million dollar player in Europe.”

Syracuse

John Gillon (1.0, Sr)

Baller little grad transfer point guard who ended up with a bigger role at Syracuse for just one season than most could imagine.  Gillon was their end of shot clock bucket-getter.  Extremely streaky shooter, couldn’t get it done in Cuse’s ‘must win’ game vs. Miami.

Andrew White (3.0, Sr)

At 6’7″ with a pretty outside stroke White has the look of an NBA prospect.  But he falls asleep sometimes, when the 3-point shot isn’t going in it can be tough to notice him.  Was one of the few who was effective vs Miami, can create a shot for himself but mainly a catch and shoot guy.

Virginia

London Perrantes (1.0, Sr)

UVA’s leader.  They rotate in so many guards, even playing lineups with 4 or 5 guards.  Perrantes had trouble breaking down the defense and getting by his defender consistently.  But UVA was lacking offensive threats next to him and opposing defenses could pack it in.  He came up clutch vs Pitt in their first game but couldn’t get it going vs. Notre Dame.

Devon Hall (2.5, Jr)

Really big and strong body, Hall is a guard with the physique of a wing.  Can’t knock him around.  But he lacks great speed.  He’s the player with the ball in that Twitter picture. Super rebounder for a guard but also was put in situations with UVA’s 4 guard lineup where he was a pseudo ‘4’.  Made some nice slashes.  Will be interesting next year without Perrantes if he can get more on-the-ball reps.

Virginia Tech

Seth Allen (1.3, Sr)

Allen is a spunky little bucket-getter.  He ignites Tech’s offense when he comes in the game.  Lefty stroke.  Can really get to his shot off the dribble, most interesting skill.  If he can start pulling up from 3 consistently off the dribble that’s a pro weapon.  Has some feel, played a lot of PG but better in a combo guard role.

Zach Leday (4.5, Sr)

Was definitely the MVP thru Day 2 and maybe after Day 3 too but his team lost.  He put 31 points and 15 rebounds on Wake Forest and their stud big man draft prospect John Collins.  Leday has unbelievable grit to his game.  He faces up his opposing center somewhere outside the paint, goes right by them and finishes through whatever contact impedes his way to the rim.  Super impressive performance, no one outworked LeDay.

Wake Forest

Kostantinos Mitoglou (4.0, Jr)

Tall Greek forward who can really shoot.  Damn long, his body looks extended.  Pure role player with Collins and Bryant Crawford making most of the plays.  Did have 12 rebounds and a couple blocks vs. Virginia Tech.  Not a banger but has the length and timing to make plays as a blocker, can move and get to shots to contest.

  1. They aren’t successful, especially early on. Can’t bang, have trouble playing physical on defense, trouble boxing out, and in the pro game skinny (non-crazy athlete) big men struggle