Everyone, get ready to know the name C.J. Bryce. The sophomore guard has been granted his release from UNC Wilmington and plans to transfer. Thanks to Bryce’s connection with new NC State coach Kevin Keatts, who coached Bryce for two seasons, and the program’s fluid roster situation, the Wolfpack seems like a logical fit.
However, NC State is not the only ACC team after Bryce’s services. Virginia, Georgia Tech, Miami and Wake Forest have all reportedly expressed interest in the first-team All-CAA performer. Here is why a handful of ACC clubs are eager to add Bryce to their roster.
The Seahawks finished the 2017 season in the top 20 nationally in offensive efficiency, per KenPom.com; that’s an impressive feat for Keatts. Senior forward Chris Flemmings was the only player to spend more time on the court than Bryce. The sophomore averaged a tidy 17.4 points per game on an efficient true shooting rate of 55.3 percent.
According to Synergy Sports, Bryce shot a solid 34.8 percent on catch-and-shoot opportunities. He was especially good, however, out of the pick-and-roll. As a shooter in pick-and-rolls, Bryce shot a sizzling 46.6 percent. He scored 0.9 points per possession, which ranks No. 74 in Division I of players who have recorded at least 100 pick-and-roll possessions.
Bryce is a quality distributor out of this action as well. When he was a passer in pick-and-rolls, Wilmington scored 1.15 points per possession and shot 55 percent from the field. Most of this was built on big man Devontae Cacok, who lead the country in two-point field-goal percentage (79 percent) and ranked No. 1 nationally in points per possession as a roll man (1.68).
It’s a Bryce day for a run outside
C.J. Bryce spent over one-fifth on his possessions in transition, per Synergy. He rained fire in this capacity, too. Transition possessions usually result in high-percentage shots and are therefore more efficient than the half-court counterpart. However, Bryce’s numbers are still impressive.
Bryce scored 167 points this past season on 127 transition possessions, which works its way out to 1.32 points per trip. That tied Bryce with Virginia Tech’s Ahmed Hill for 14th in the nation in offensive efficiency in transition among Division I players with at least 100 possessions. He shot 67.7 percent in transition and turned the ball over just 9.4 percent of the time, according to Synergy.
This profile fits what Wilmington did as a team last season. Per KenPom, UNCW averaged better than 70 possessions per game and finished the season No. 1 nationally in turnover rate — 13.9 percent.
The Colonial Athletic Association is certainly nothing to sneeze at when it comes to basketball conferences. In fact, KenPom’s numbers ranked it as the 12th-strongest conference in America last season and the 10th-best in 2015-16. That said, few — if any — leagues can stack up with the madhouse that is the ACC.
In his two seasons at Wilmington, Bryce played in 68 career games — three of which came against ACC foes: Duke, Clemson and Virginia. Wilmington and Keatts ended each of their last two seasons with a loss to an ACC team in the NCAA Tournament — by a combined 13 points.
Bryce played a total of 109 minutes across those three contests against ACC foes (36.3 minutes per game). That may not seem like all that much, but it is invaluable experience. For the record, Bryce played well against ACC competition, too:
36.3 minutes, 14 PPG, 39.5 FG%, 33.3 3FG%, 5 RPG, 5.3 free-three attempts per game
Those are not the most efficient shooting percentages, but the numbers in this small sample are dragged down because of the Virginia game, when Bryce shot just 2-of-11 from the field.