The Talent

USA Today put out a list the other day of the top 100 high school basketball players in the class of 2007. The first thing any ACC fan should notice with this list is the dearth of elite players headed to the ACC next year. Duke’s Kyle Singler is the only top ten guy and just four of the top twenty are headed our way. That’s not horrendous, but it’s not really up to ACC standards either.

The most obvious explanation for the drop in talent headed to the ACC is that UNC decided not to sign any 2007 players. Carolina routinely nabs a McDonald’s All-American or three and they just decided to pass this year. Carolina and Duke are really the only two ACC programs who get those kind of players year-in and year-out. The rest of the ACC usually lands a few more and that’s what happened here, with NC State signing #11 J.J. Hickson and Georgia Tech landing #19 Gani Lawal.

Another explanation is that there just weren’t very many seniors in the ACC this past year. Look around and you’ll see that a lot of the teams lost just a player or two. Of course, there are a lot of underclassmen who might be leaving, but it’s hard for coaches to anticipate that and recruit for those spots.

Back to the list, a breakdown by ACC school:
Boston College – 47. Rakim Sanders
Clemson – none
Duke – 6. Kyle Singler, 20. Nolan Smith, 29. Taylor King
Florida State – 39. Solomon Alabi, 68. Julian Vaughn
Georgia Tech – 19. Gani Lawal, 87. Maurice Miller
Maryland – 60. Braxton Dupree
Miami – 96. Julian Gamble
North Carolina – bupkis
NC State – 11. J.J. Hickson, 85. Tracy Smith
Virginia – 50. Jeff Jones, 80. Mustapha Farrakhan, 95. Mike Scott
Virginia Tech – 56. Augustus Gilchrist, 61. Jeff Allen, 70. Dorenzo Hudson, 88. Malcolm Delaney
Wake Forest – 52. James Johnson, 81. Jeff Teague

So actually, while there aren’t as many super-elite players as most years, the ACC is bringing in 21 of the top 100, or about one in five. Considering that there are six power leagues plus a few other programs like Memphis and Gonzaga, that’s not too bad.

It’s particularly interesting to see that the two Virginia schools are pulling in a total of seven top-100 players. That has to be a record for those two! Of course, all seven are in the bottom half (well, Jeff Jones – no not that Jeff Jones – is right at 50.).

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