Jim Young and the folks over at the ACC Sports Journal don’t wait around until September or October to put out pre-season basketball power rankings. Try late April. Following the NBA Draft Deadline, Jim Young and Andrew Skwara came up with the ACC rankings based on coaching changes, incoming recruiting classes, and what players left and what players are returning to each squad. Take a look at the full list here.
Here’s the list:
2. Virginia Tech
5. NC State
9. Georgia Tech
11. Wake Forest
Young’s thoughts on NC State and, just for fun, UNC:
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Key losses: Dennis Horner
Key returnees: Tracy Smith, Scott Wood.
Quick take: I’m putting the Wolfpack up this high even though I don’t know right now whether State will get C.J. Leslie (it’s supposedly looking better for the Pack, by the way). There’s a power vacuum in the ACC next season that the Wolfpack is poised to fill. Still, I think chemistry will be tricky. The team’s top player, Tracy Smith, will be reliant on freshmen – Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown – to get him enough touches. And how will senior point guard Javi Gonzalez handle having a reduced role?
Skwara’s ranking: No. 5
Key losses: Deon Thompson, Ed Davis
Key returnees: Larry Drew II, John Henson, Tyler Zeller
Quick take: I know a lot of UNC fans wouldn’t have shed tears if Drew had transferred, but I think his return was important. He’ll be a junior next season, with a year of starting under his belt. And he’ll have a lot more perimeter help with the addition of top recruits Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bulllock. The key: can UNC’s tall, but not exactly physical, frontcourt, stay healthy?
Skwara’s ranking: No. 4
Obviously CJ Leslie coming to NC State would make that No. 5 ranking a little more solid, but the Wolfpack should be improved even without him. I’m not sure if the Pack can move up that far but things should be better in 2010-2011.
Regarding his recruitment, it should be over soon. Leslie appears closer to his decision and rumors have even had him making it as soon as this week.