As conference play wraps up, it’s now awards season for college basketball. On Sunday, the ACC announced it’s all-conference rosters — along with the usual year-end superlatives. This means that it’s time now for the second annual All-ACC Analytics roster from ACCSports.com.
There are no returning players from last year’s roster; four guys from the 2017 team went on to become first round pick in the NBA Draft. The fifth player from last year’s squad, Bonzie Colson, would be a shoo-in for the 2018 roster, but he missed too much of the season with a broken foot. (I’m still not over this, by the way.)
Alas, we have five new players, and so without further adieu: Here’s a look at the roster — led by the ACC’s Player and Rookie of the Year: Duke’s Marvin Bagley.
Marvin Bagley, Duke
Pardon the horrible sports pun, but this is a slam dunk first pick. Starting from the top: Marvin Bagley is one of only two Division I players this season to average 20 points, 10 rebounds and shot at least 60 percent from the field.
According to KenPom, Bagley used 26.5 percent of Duke’s possession while on the floor this season — possessions that end with a shot, shooting foul or a turnover. A magnet for contact, Bagley drew 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes, and finished the season tied for second in the ACC with 169 free throw attempts.
Marvin Bagley is also a special rebounder; despite having to compete with Wendell Carter, his own teammate, on the glass, MB3 grabbed 22.3 percent of the available defensive rebounds while on the floor — No. 114 in the nation. Bagley’s incredible second-jump ability will make him a lot of money in the NBA; when other players are hit the floor, Bagley is already exploding up a second time for the loose ball. His offensive rebound rate of 13.7 percent is a top-35 number in the nation, too.
Where Bagley excelled most, though, is his ability to play above the rim and score at the hoop. According to Synergy Sports, over 78 percent of Bagley’s field goal attempts in the half-court came around the basket — post-ups, cuts, rim runs and put-backs. An elite offensive rebounder, Bagley scored 1.35 points per possession (70.1 FG%) on put-backs after an offensive rebound, per Synergy — No. 21 in the nation, and No. 3 in the ACC.
The lefty shot 52.4 percent on post-up possessions, which ranked fourth in the conference; the 114 post-up points he scored this season are the second most in the ACC, too. (Elijah Thomas, 123)
In the best basketball conference in America, Bagley was borderline unstoppable if he got the ball close enough to the basket. On basket cuts this season, Bagley shot an astounding 89.1 percent and scored 1.8 points per possession. This ranks No. 11 in the nation, and is slightly better than what Anthony Davis produced during his one-and-done campaign at Kentucky (1.63 points per possession, 85.5 FG%).
Luke Maye, North Carolina
Luke Maye’s rise from bit player to folk hero to All-ACC first team is nothing short of meteoric. Did anyone outside of the Smith Center imagine this as a real possibility? My guess is unquestionably no. After scoring just 234 points across his first 68 games in a North Carolina uniform, Maye evolved into a high-usage, dynamic inside-out stretch-4. (Adjectives galore!)
Maye is one of only three Division I players to average at least 10 rebound per game, and shoot above 40 percent on three-pointers. The junior forward was one of only two ACC players to record 1,000-plus minutes this season while also shooting 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc. (BC’s Jerome Robinson is the other, more on him in a moment #SpoilerAlert.)
A low-turnover player (13 percent turnover rate), Maye posted an effective field goal rate of 55.4 percent on spot-up possessions, according to Synergy. On spot-ups, Maye scored 1.08 points per possession, which ranked inside the top 25 of the ACC. The only three other frontcourt players to land inside the top 25 of this category: John Mooney, Phil Cofer and Cameron Johnson.
As the lone returning big man from North Carolina’s 2017 title team, Maye got plenty of post touches, and he made them count, too. According to Synergy: Maye shot 46 percent on post-ups. On a roster that features plenty of firepower, Maye (56.7 FG% on cut possessions) was the top offensive player on the nation’s No. 4 offense, according to KenPom.
He did more than just score, though: the 6-foot-7 Maye assisted on 13.4 percent of his teammates’ made field goals while on the floor. Maye’s combination of shooting and passing was the lynchpin in allowing UNC to shirk its traditional offense, and go all-in on small-ball.
Jerome Robinson, Boston College
After two seasons as a productive guard for Boston College, Jerome Robinson made a significant leap forward in 2017-18. It became clear, earlier in conference play, that Robinson was the best offensive wing in the ACC.
Like Luke Maye, Robinson shot above 50 percent from the field (50.7 FG%) and 40 percent from downtown (43.8 3P%), on a large volume of attempts. Boston College’s star is special for a lot of reason; however, what makes him so dangerous on offense is his efficiency off the catch and dribble.
Dating back to the 2009-10 season, Robinson is one of just four ACC players (in 10 or more games) to post a usage rate of 25 percent, an assist rate of 20 percent and a true shooting rate of 60 percent. He’s joined on that list by Reggie Jackson, another BC Eagle, and Kyrie Freaking Irving — both starting point guards in the NBA.
Robinson scored 152 points on spot-up possessions this season, per Synergy, which ranks 12th in the ACC. The 6-foot-5 guard shot 44.4 percent on spot-ups (58.3 eFG%).
As nice as those catch-and-shoot numbers are, one of the most coveted skills for a basketball player is the ability to shoot off the dribble. It’s one thing to have handles; it’s another to be able to shoot; to combine the two is basketball nirvana. It’s what should help Robinson carve out a career in professional basketball, too.
According to Synergy, Robinson shot 51.8 percent (63.4 eFG%) out of the pick-and-roll this season — and scored 1.09 points per possession, No. 19 in Division and tops in the ACC.
Of the 131 Division I players that have attempted at least 100 off-dribble jump shots in the half-court this season, Robinson ranks 7th in efficiency: 1.11 points per possession (45.6 FG%).
Wendell Carter, Duke
I’m not sure it’s possible to nearly average a double-double, project as a top-10 NBA Draft pick, all while playing at Duke — and fly under the proverbial radar; however, that’s where we may be with Wendell Carter. The 6-foot-10 freshman plays with a stoic demeanor, and alongside Marvin Bagley, which likely shapes that perception. Because nothing about this dude’s game in understated.
Carter is a points-rebounds machine; he ended the regular season narrowly missing a double-double average: 14.1 points, 9.5 rebounds. In his first and only season of college basketball, Carter produced a double-double in 15 of 31 games, and was every bit Bagley’s equal on the glass.
According to KenPom, Carter ranks 86th nationally in defensive rebound rate (23.3 percent) and 45th in offensive rebound rate (13.1 percent). On put-back attempts after an offensive rebound, according to Synergy, Carter scored 1.44 points per possession (68.6 FG%) — No. 9 in the nation, and better than better.
Proficiency is key with Carter, who played heavy minutes for Duke — the only team in the country ranked inside the top 10 of both offensive and defensive efficiency. According to Synergy, Carter shot 67 percent on cut plays this season (1.39 points per possession), and 45.6 percent out of the post. Carter, however, differentiated himself from other stud freshmen bigs, like Bagley and DeAndre Ayton, by flashing a shooting stroke from beyond the arc.
It’s not a large volume of attempts, but Carter shot 50 percent (19-of-38) from beyond the arc; on catch-and-shoot possessions, Carter scored 1.53 points per possession (76.7 eFG%, 53.3 FG%). That ranks fourth in the ACC amongst players with at least 30 catch-and-shoot possessions, per Synergy. That fact that he’s also a decent free throw shooter, too — 102-of-140 (73 FT%) — means Carter could project out to a promising stretch-big in the NBA.
Duke’s offense ranks No. 61 nationally in assist rate — assisting on 57.3 percent of its made field goals. Carter played a significant role in both side of that equation; not only is he a hyper-efficient scorer at the rim, but Carter has a burgeoning distribution game, too.
Carter, who had six games of four or more assists, joins Luke Maye, Chris Clarke and Bruce Brown as the only four ACC players with assist rates above 10 percent and defensive rebound rates above 20 percent.
Much was made about Duke’s issues defensively in man-to-man sets; however, before Duke went to the zone full-time, Carter demonstrated some defensive skills in the post. A sturdy cover, Carter knows where the baseline is, and how to utilize it as an extra defender. According to Synergy, opponents scored a minuscule 0.39 points per possession (23.1 FG%) on post-ups defended by Carter — a top-10 number nationally.
Devon Hall, Virginia
As I wrote last week, Devon Hall’s evolution — from role player to high-usage wing on a Final Four contender — is striking. It’s similar to Luke Maye’s arc. The case for Hall — who was voted second team All-ACC, behind UNC’s Joel Berry — is simple: Devon Hall is the best two-way wing in the ACC this season. (Apologies to Theo Pinson.)
Hall logged nearly 32 minutes per game for arguably the greatest defense in ACC history. In Virginia’s Pack Line defense, Hall defended ball screens with veracity — pick-and-roll shooters scored just 0.67 points per possession (32.2 FG%) against Hall, per Synergy. That ranks No. 16 in the ACC amongst players that defended at least 50 pick-and-roll possessions.
On offense, Hall hit levels that no one could have predicted. Nearly 44 percent of his field goal attempts were of the three-point variety, and he made those looks count. Hall went 33-of-76 (43.4 3P%) from beyond the arc in conference play, which ranks fifth in the ACC. According to Synergy, Hall scored 1.36 points per possession (68.1 eFG%) on catch-and-shoots this season — No. 6 in the ACC.
Kyle Guy, Hall’s teammate for two seasons now at Virginia, is noted, accurately, as one of the top spot-up players in America. However, Hall was every bit his equal in 2017-18: 1.05 points per possession to Guy’s 1.02.
Virginia’s offense is predicated on crisp off-ball movement and hard screens; according to Synergy, 18 percent of UVA’s offensive possessions (No. 1 in the nation) were used coming off screens. The Cavaliers make you make for the entire shot clock — UVA rank last nationally in average offensive possession length (20.8 seconds) — run off a million screens. Hall took advantage of that in his final season of college hoops — scoring 1.32 points per possession off screens (66.9 eFG%), good for No. 4 in the nation.
2018 All-ACC Basketball Teams are announced — Marvin Bagley named Player of the Year