Oh, boy. The last four-five months have absolutely flown by in another college basketball season. Let’s cut through the preamble and get right to the ACC Analytics Page’s All-ACC teams: First, Second, Third, Honorable Mention, Freshman and Defense.
(Note: There 15 teams in the ACC; some of those teams are very, very good — some, not so much. There are a lot of players to choose from for a finite number of spots. This is a tricky process, and some deserving players will be left off, unfortunately. The game is the game.)
Zion Williamson, Duke
This was the year of Zion Williamson in college basketball — or basketball, period. The hype, which started early, was justifiable, too. Williamson is arguably the best NBA prospect since LeBron James back in 2003; he also doubles as the best offensive player in the country and the best defensive player in the nation, too.
Williamson put up a comical stat line: 21.6 points (10 double-doubles), 8.8 rebounds (12.5 per 40 minutes), 2.2 steals, 1.8 blocks and 2.2 assists. There’s nothing this guy can’t do on the basketball court (13.2 percent offensive rebound rate); he was the most disruptive help defender in the country — blowing up opponent pick-and-rolls and protecting the rim — while scoring at will, especially around the basket.
On post-up possessions, according to Synergy Sports, Zion shot 77 percent and scored over 1.3 points per possession — both of which rank No. 1 in the nation.
Williamson, who tallied 52 dunks in 26 games (2.8 per 40 minutes), shot 72.7 percent at the rim in the half court — scoring 1.48 points per possession. These are monster numbers, both of which rank in the top 15 nationally. Even against the best defenders the ACC had to offer, he was virtually unstoppable — scoring 1.13 points per possession on isolations (No. 2 in the ACC).
This dude never disappointed; he showed up and played hard every game — popping off the screen or court with unprecedented aesthetics, and the numbers to match. Sometimes you would see all of it — the motor, power, defensive prowess, handles and explosive finishing — in one single burst. It was amazing.
He’s so special.
Duke lost just twice this year when Zion was able to play 15+ minutes: Gonzaga (22 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists) and Syracuse when Tre Jones got hurt (35 points, 11-of-15 2PA, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks). Put this guy on the floor, and this is one of the best teams in modern college basketball.
De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
Hunter returned to Charlottesville for his redshirt sophomore season and put together a spotless campaign. On offense, Hunter is a marvel of efficiency; in the 2018-19 season, he averaged 15.2 points on 63.1 percent true shooting with a usage rate around 24 percent.
Hunter’s face-up game — jab step, rocker step — is his bread and butter; it’s also what Virginia can go to when its half-court offense bogs down. Throw the ball to him at the nail or elbow and let him go to work. According to Synergy, Hunter posted an effective shooting clip of 56.8 percent on half-court jump shots this season.
However, Hunter can shoot/score from all three levels of the floor — while also avoiding turnovers (1.7 per 40 minutes). That package, along with his steady defense, are why he’s such a coveted NBA prospect. On catch-and-shoot attempts, Hunter (50 3P% in ACC play, No. 1 in the league) posted an effective shooting clip of 67.3 percent — No. 6 in the ACC.
Hunter’s passing took a leap this season, too. It will never be at the top of his scouting report, but Hunter showed the ability to make simple reads (15 percent assist rate) on face-up drives or over the top of the defense.
Outside of the impact numbers, Hunter is the perfect cog for Virginia’s defense, which wants to avoid fouls and defend late into the clock. Hunter (2.5 fouls per 40 minutes) is long and can slide gracefully with a variety of player types — just ask future pros Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Coby White. (He spent time on Kerry Blackshear Jr. in the Virginia Tech games, too.)
For whatever it’s worth, I think — as Hunter moves to the pros — there’s untapped potential for him to emerge as a better stocks player.
RJ Barrett, Duke
When it comes to offensive production, few players in the country are more industrious than Duke’s RJ Barrett, who led the ACC in scoring (23.4 points), usage rate (32.7 percent) and field goals (269). He also ranked second in the conference with 188 free throw attempts.
Players nationally averaging 20.0+ points, 7.0+ rebounds, 4.0+ assists:
RJ Barrett | Duke | Fr.
23.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 4.2 apg
Justin James | Wyoming | Sr.
21.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 4.4 apg#DukeMBBStats
— #DukeMBBStats (@DukeMBBStats) March 5, 2019
Playing next to the supernova that is Zion Williamson, would force a lot of players into the shadows; however, that wasn’t the case with Barrett. At this point, Duke’s offense isn’t the most creative; a lot was asked of Barrett to simply make things happen.
Barrett scored 0.85 points per possession (45.7 eFG%) on isolation possessions and 0.87 points per possession from the pick-and-roll, per Synergy.
There’s no doubt he can get to the midrange and score; Barrett shot 40 percent on 2-point attempts away from the rim — only 23 percent of which were assisted on. Late in the season, however, with Williamson out, Barrett became a dynamo at getting to the rim.
At times, Barrett’s playmaking and vision have been nitpicked, but for a freshman that’s yet to turn 19, he’s shown potential. By the end of the season, Duke ran plenty of flat 1-5 ball screens and let him facilitate.
Over Duke’s final seven games, Barrett averaged 5.8 assists per contest; in ACC play, he ranked ninth in assist rate (25.1 percent) and handed out 4.8 dimes per 40 minutes.
Ty Jerome, Virginia
Ty Jerome was already a really good basketball player a year ago, but one could easily make the case he’s the league’s most improved player, too. Across the board, Jerome’s output increased — a nice blend of high-usage and efficiency.
For the season, Jerome posted a top-50 assist rate (32.8 percent) while leading the conference during ACC play in that statistic (35.6 percent, 10.6 assists per 100 possessions).
As good as his passing and floor game are, Jerome is a serious bucket-getter, too. The junior guard averaged 13.5 points per game on 55.1 percent effective shooting. He got to the free throw line more frequently this season (3.3 FTA per 40 minutes), and even if he can’t get all the way to the rim Jerome has a potent floater to use as a weapon, too.
All Jerome needs is an angle, which should serve him well as defenders get faster and longer in the NBA; according to Synergy, Jerome shot 53.1 percent of floater attempts inside of nine feet.
Jerome also has incredible shooting range; Tony Bennett has clearly given him the green light, too. Once upon a time, early-clock 3-pointers where mythical for UVA hoops. That’s no longer the case.
From the half court, Virginia likes to run a lot of mover-blocker offense, or attack with its continuity ball screen approach. As Bennett and the Cavaliers diversified the offense — using more ball screens — Jerome continued to excel.
Few players in the country are more adept at shooting on the move than Jerome (42.4 3P%). The arrival of Kihei Clark allowed Jerome to get off ball more this season, which proved pivotal for Virginia’s offense. Through a combination of screen and dribble utilization, Jerome seems to always create enough space.
According to Synergy, Jerome scored 1.48 points per possession (73.6 eFG) on catch-and-shoots this season, which ranks No. 1 in the ACC — above Cameron Johnson, Kyle Guy and Coby White.
There’s more of that, too — this time against a man-to-man concept. He’s so good coming off screens, looking to score, even when an excellent defender, like Nickeil Alexander-Walker, closes out quickly.
Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson is more than just a good story. Finally healthy, Johnson emerged as one of the most efficient offensive players (62.9 eFG%) in the country this season.
Early on, Johnson (46.9 3P%) established himself as a go-to guy for UNC, and never let up: 16.8 points per game (20.8 percent usage). He’s one of 15 Division I players (three from the ACC) shooting over 45 percent on 3-pointers with at least 150 3-point attempts. Similar to Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, Johnson needs little time to get a shot off, too.
Watch how quickly he gets his feet set here.
During ACC play, Johnson led the conference with an offensive rating of 132.5, according to KenPom. For the season, he scored 1.32 points per possession (65.9 eFG%) on spot-ups — a top-25 number nationally, which also ranked No. 2 in the ACC.
Along with Guy and Jerome, Johnson was one of the league’s elite off-screen scorers. According to Synergy, Johnson posted a ridiculous 74 percent effective shooting clip on said possessions.
This kind of movement and accuracy allowed North Carolina to feature Johnson in a variety of methods, including one of their pet action: elevator door screens from a vintage UNC box set. (They brought this back in the home finale against Duke, too.)
Here he is again off that weak-side stagger-screen look. This right here — the ability to square his feet and hips (healthy now) — is an NBA-level move.
Johnson may have the profile of a pure catch-and-shoot weapon, which includes a turnover rate of just 10.3 percent in conference action; however, he did other stuff, too. In the half court, Johnson shot 37.5 percent (45.3 eFG%) off the dribble and 57.7 percent at the rim.
At 6-foot-9, Johnson’s defense is mostly fine (it’s certainly not a major weakness), but he did manage to record a steal rate of 2.1 percent in ACC play (No. 23).
Kerry Blackshear Jr., Virginia Tech
- 14.5 points (36.5 3P%, 59.7 TS%), 7.2 rebounds (14.6 percent offensive rebound rate in ACC play)
- Post-ups: 1.07 points per possession (55.4 eFG%)
- Pick-and-pops: 1.15 points per possession (59.6 eFG%)
- 3.2 assists per 40 minutes in ACC games (19.2 percent assist rate)
- 119.6 offensive rating, 4.2 percent block rate
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech
- 16.6 points, 3.9 assists (4.6 per 40 minutes, 24.3 percent assist rate), 111.4 offensive rating
- STOCKS: 1 of 23 Division I players with 15 blocks, 50 steals (2.3 per 40 minutes)
- Spot-ups: 1.12 points per possession (59.8 eFG%)
- Virginia Tech: 1.06 points per possession (53.8 eFG%) when Alexander-Walker passed out of the pick-and-roll
Coby White, North Carolina
- 16.3 points (26.8 percent usage rate, 57.7 TS%), 4.1 assists (5.9 per 40 minutes)
- 27.6 minutes per game; UNC’s offense: top-10 in adjusted efficiency and tempo/pace
- 6.9 FTA per 40 minutes (82.3 FT% in ACC play), 4.4 fouls drawn per 40 minutes
- Catch-and-shoot 3PA, per Synergy: 47.8 3P% (37.9 3P% overall)
- Spot-ups: 1.31 points per possession (67.2 eFG%)
Kyle Guy, Virginia
- 15.3 points (21.2 percent usage rate), 60.7 eFG%, 4.5 rebounds
- Off screens, per Synergy Sports: 131 points (No. 1 in the ACC), 1.05 points per possession (54.5 eFG%)
- Catch-and-shoots: 1.27 points per possession (63.2 eFG%)
- Third in the ACC in 3PA (215, 8.4 per 40 minutes), first in 3-pointers (97)
Marcquise Reed, Clemson
- 19.4 points (28.7 percent usage), 57 percent true shooting, 5.7 FTA per 40 minutes
- Isolations: 1.15 points per possession (56.6 eFG%), No. 1 in the ACC (minimum 20 possessions)
- Spot-ups: 1.21 points per possession (60.6 eFG%), No. 73 in the nation (minimum 100 possessions)
- 3.9 percent steal rate in ACC play, No. 1 in the conference
Jordan Nwora, Louisville
- 17.3 points (26.4 percent usage rate), 7.7 rebounds, 71 3-pointers (37.2 3P%)
- 21.8 percent defensive rebound rate, No. 148 in the country
- Pick-and-pops, per Synergy: 1.6 points per possession (92.3 eFG%)
- Spot-ups: 185 points (No. 2 in the ACC), 1.03 points per possession (55 eFG%)
- 27 dunks, 54 FG% at the rim in the half court
Ky Bowman, Boston College
- 19.2 points per game (26.4 percent usage rate), 7.5 rebounds, 4 assists
- 39.4 minutes per game, played in 99 percent of Boston College’s ACC minutes
- Range shooting: 40 3P% in ACC play, 78 3-pointers total
- Off dribble, per Synergy: 117 points (0.78 per possession), No. 4 in the ACC
- 18.4 percent defensive rebound rate, eight double-doubles
John Mooney, Notre Dame
- 14.1 points (24.6 percent usage rate, 55.4 TS%), 11.2 rebounds, 1 of 6 Division I players averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds
- 30.7 percent defensive rebound rate, No. 4 in the country; 32.6 percent defensive rebound rate in conference play, No. 1 in the ACC
- Put-backs: 1.22 points per possession (63.6 FG%)
Terance Mann, Florida State
- 11.5 points (18.6 percent usage rate, 56.8 eFG%), 6.2 rebounds (9.5 percent offensive rebound rate), 2.5 assists, 43.9 3P% in ACC play (No. 4)
- 61 percent true shooting, 42.4 percent free throw attempt rate
- Spot-ups: 1.07 points per possession (57.6 eFG%)
- 33 dunks (64.3 FG% at the rim, transition and half court)
Luke Maye, North Carolina
- 14.6 points (22.9 percent usage rate), 10.5 rebounds (13.6 per 40 minutes)
- 18 games with 10+ rebounds
- 108.5 offensive rating, 51.8 percent true shooting
- Post-ups: 1.02 points per possession (48.1 FG%)
- 15.3 percent assist rate in ACC play
Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State
Chris Lykes, Miami
Markell Johnson, NC State
Dwayne Sutton, Louisville
Christen Cunningham, Louisville
Torin Dorn, NC State
Zion Williamson, Duke
- 11.8 percent offensive rebound rate in ACC play, 1.48 points per possession (72.9 FG%) on put-backs (No. 1 in the ACC)
- Transition: 1.32 points per possession (83 FG%)
RJ Barrett, Duke
- 23 games of 20+ points, 5.2 fouls drawn per 40 minutes, 31.6 percent usage rate in ACC play (No. 1 in the conference)
- Transition: 1.07 points per possession (59.5 eFG%)
- First Duke freshman since Jabari Parker (2013-14) to post a usage rate above 30 percent; one of three ACC rookies to do that since the 2009-10 season
Coby White, North Carolina
- With 75 3-pointers already, including 52 in ACC play, White has tied Rashad McCants for the UNC freshman record.
- As good as this North Carolina team is, White is the one guy on the roster who can get to wherever he wants on the floor. With his draft stock rising, White has also emerged as one of the league’s more productive end-of-game players, too.
Coby White's per-40 clutch stats this season: 45.2 pts, 7.8 reb, 4.7 asst, 0.0 TOs. Not a bad line for a freshman.
— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) February 9, 2019
Tre Jones, Duke
- 8.7 points, 5.3 assists (6.4 per 40 minutes)
- 42.1 FG% on floaters/runners, according to Synergy
- 2.1 steals (3.2 percent steal rate in ACC play)
Xavier Johnson, Pittsburgh
- 15.6 points (30.3 percent usage), 4.5 assists (5.9 per 40 minutes), 1.3 steals (1.6 per 40 minutes)
- Along with Ja Morant, 1 of 11 Division I players with 30 percent assist rate and 30 percent usage rate. In ACC play, he finished second in both assist rate (32.9 percent) and usage rate (31.4 percent).
Xavier Johnson with the nice relocation to the corner after the drive and kick. He probably could have put up the 3 but he attacks the closeout well and has a really nice finish around the basket pic.twitter.com/bkOTlRngW1
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) February 11, 2019
- Gets to the rim with all kinds of speed, although he struggles to finish at the rim, some (50.9 FG%). Less than six percent of his finishes at the rim were assisted on.
Xavier Johnson making a statement early in this game… pic.twitter.com/xoJyCRnE1c
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) December 10, 2018
- Johnson has some craft with the ball, too; he scored 0.82 points per possession on isolations this season, and drew a shooting foul on 20.5 percent of those possessions, according to Synergy
- For the season, Johnson drew 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes, which ranked 65th nationally.
- Cam Reddish, Duke
- Jaylen Howard, Wake Forest
- Nassir Little, North Carolina
- Kihei Clark, Virginia
Zion Williamson, Duke
- Despite playing in just 26 games, Williamson is 1 of only 3 Division I players this season with 45 blocks and 45 steals — along with Matisse Thybulle.
- Williamson was a wrecking ball on defense — emerging as a historically-great help defender. Williamson posted per 40 minutes averages of 3.1 steals and 2.6 blocks; he ranks 21st nationally in steal rate, too (4.2 percent)
- Williamson rendered opposing pick-and-roll attacks useless by blowing up passing lanes. As the season progressed, too, he became an even better on-ball defender — capable of guarding 1-5 and sliding with point guards he outweighs by 100 pounds. (Yep, you read that correctly.)
then he goes and does this, though pic.twitter.com/e3dOLnAI8j
— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) January 29, 2019
De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
- On the defensive end, Hunter doesn’t put up huge steals/blocks numbers (0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per 40 minutes), which is one of his knocks, albeit a modest one. Down the stretch of ACC play, though, he hit another gear; in eight of UVA’s final 10 games, he posted multiple stocks (steals plus blocks).
Tre Jones, Duke
- Sports Reference: 94.4 defensive rating, 4.3 defensive box plus/minus
- 2.5 steals per 40 minutes, 2.1 steals per game (18 games with 2+ steals)
- 14.9 percent turnover rate (14.7 percent in ACC play)
- 153 assists to 41 turnovers
- One of the best on-ball defenders in recent ACC history, helped spearhead a defense that ranks No. 4 nationally in steal rate (12.8 percent)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech
- Like we mentioned above, Virginia Tech’s Alexander-Walker is one of the top steals/blocks players in the country.
- NAW: 1 of 10 ACC players this season with a defensive rating under 100, a two percent block rate and a two percent steal rate.
- Alexander-Walker is more than just a steals guy, though; he can get in a stance and stay in front of the best of them, including Miami’s jet-quick Chris Lykes.
Mamadi Diakite, Virginia
- For the third straight season, Diakite posted a defensive rating under 90, according to Sports Reference.
- Diakite ranked 26th nationally with a 9.9 percent block rate; however, that rate jumped to 12.2 percent in ACC play — good for the best in the conference. (3.7 per 40 minutes)
- This season against UVA, opponents shot just 49 percent on non-post-up attempts at the rim in the half-court
- Starting in December, Diakite had a 14-game stretch where he blocked at least one shot in each game. He blocked at least one shot in 23 of Virginia’s 30 games, so far; in 13 of those games, the junior big blocked two or more shots.
- James Banks, Georgia Tech
- Kenny Williams, North Carolina
- Marques Bolden, Duke
- Trent Forrest, Florida State
- Braxton Key, Virginia
- Garrison Brooks, North Carolina