Gym Ratís Notebook # 19 Ė ACC Recruiting Rankings
by Elijah Kyle, 5/25/04

After walking and driving through the upscale neighborhood for ages, but without being able to purchase, last spring saw an upheaval for Virginia Tech, and the times-they-are-a-changin, to quote Bob Dylan. With the Virginia Tech athletic program taking up residence in a new neighborhood, after finally getting the seller to acquiesce on a purchase price after a number of years, it is time to take a look at exactly what our neighbors are up to. More precisely, what kind of toys are in their attics, and have they been adding wisely?

The ACC conference has become accustomed to having the very best digs and talent, and it doesnít appear that there will be any changes to that pattern, after seeing the caliber of talent that will enter the conference next year.

What we will do in this installment is take a look at the recruiting of each ACC school, rank those schools, and look a bit more closely at the newest additions. Boston College will be included as well, even though their entrance will not take place until the 2005-06 season. For the purposes of these rankings, we will not include any player that has declared for the NBA draft. Should any of these players opt out of the draft, we will make an adjustment in the fall, when they matriculate to campus.

With that in mind, here is one personís view of ACC recruiting for 2004.The abbreviations used will represent the most recent rankings of the class for PrepStars.com (PS), Insiders Hoops (IH) and Hoop Scoop (HS) :

1 - North Carolina State

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-10

PF

Cedric Simmons

# 24

# 30

# 39

6-7

SF

Gavin Grant

# 70

# 77

# 65

6-9

PF/C

Andrew Brackman

# 42

# 43

# 132

6-2

PG

Tony Bethel

Georgetown Transfer

The key player here is Simmons, a scoring, skilled frontcourt player who can step out and hit jumpers. He is best utilized as a power forward, rather than having to play center, where his lack of bulk might make it difficult to stay out of foul trouble and guard stronger players. Brackman made a meteoric rise up the rankings during the course of the year and can play either inside position. Grant is a hard-nosed New York kid who can put it on the floor and hurt people with his jumper. Bethel got major minutes for Georgetown and will have 2 years eligibility for the Wolfpack and will add depth at the point position.

2 - Florida State

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-3

WG

Jason Rich

# 39

# 38

# 33

6-2

PG/WG

Isaiah Swann

# 36

# 36

# 6 *

6-9

PF

Jerom Habel

 

# 121

# 34 *

6-3

PG/WG

Ralph MIms

 

# 162

# 166

* 5th-year player

The Seminoles picked up an outstanding backcourt capable of stepping in right away in the ACC in Swann and Rich. Rich is a pure scorer, while Swann can slash and play either position. Habel is an athletic frontcourt shot blocker, while Mims is an undervalued, strong defensive guard. The Seminoles might not be finished and they might be adding a late inside Junior college player.

3 - Georgia Tech

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-9

C

RaíSean Dickey

# 49

# 37

# 46

6-2

WG

Zam Fredrick

# 90

# 57

# 82

6-6

WG

Anthony Morrow

# 89

# 95

# 166

6-7

PF

Jeremis Smith

# 93

# 92

# 100

A really fine, balanced and deep class that doesnít have the elite player at the top, but has size, shooting and all four players are quality recruits. Dickey is the key player here. He has the reputation of being a very hot-and-cold player, so getting him to consistently play hard and with focus could easily elevate this class to the top. Morrow needs to add strength, but has deep shooting range and is an excellent perimeter shooter. Fredrick is the son of former South Carolina guard Zam Fredrick and can play some minutes at the point guard position, if needed. Smith is a rugged, physical inside player with good athleticism.

4 - North Carolina

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-8

PF

Marvin Williams

# 7

# 5

# 6

6-2

PG

Quentin Thomas

# 40

# 40

# 89

The Heels' top recruit, 6-6 WG J.R. Smith not only declared for the NBA Draft, he signed with an agent, which means there's no turning back, and he's going pro. Even without Smith, North Carolina has signed two quality players. Williams will vie for instant minutes and is a terrific offensive talent. Williams can face the basket, is a fine passer, will block shots and rebound on both glasses, and can put the ball on the floor. Williams will probably be the most talented freshman to enter the conference next season. Thomas is a fine floor general who will feed the post creatively and use his quick hands defensively.

5 - Duke

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-3

WG

DeMarcus Nelson

# 30

# 11

# 18

6-7

SF

David McClure

# 57

# 54

# 79

The Blue Devils pick up a high-energy scorer in the muscle-packed Nelson, who is constantly in attack mode and is relentless at hunting his shot. He overpowers defenders and has the potential to be a very solid defender in the Devilsí system. McClure is a role-playing, intelligent basketball player who doesnít have any real weaknesses, but isnít a top-drawer athlete. The big question for Duke will be whether 6-7 PG Shaun Livingston leaves his name in the Draft. Livingston is a pretty unanimous top 5 player in the class, and his return could significantly help this class.

6 - Virginia Tech

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-3

PG

Marquie Cooke

# 74

# 49

# 73

6-7

SF

Deron Washington

 

# 180

# 84

6-6

WG

Wynton Witherspoon

 

# 154

# 174

6-7

SF

Justin Holt (JuCo)

 

# 9 JuCo

 

The Hokies put together their best recruiting year in quite some time, but that still only leaves them in the middle of the pack in the ACC, showing the talent that the entire conference is bringing aboard. Cooke will push to play immediately, as will Holt, a multi-skilled offensive player capable of playing multiple positions. Washington and Witherspoon both might be slightly under-valued nationally, and if that turns out to be the case, this class might end up exceeding one or two rated above them now. In any event, it was a must-have type of class as the program embarks upon the steep terrain of the ACC. More will be needed, but the program didnít lose any ground at all this year with the work accomplished.

7 - Clemson

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-5

SF

Sam Perry

# 86

# 62

# 117

6-8

PF

James Mays

 

# 89

# 137

6-2

PG

Troy Mathis

 

# 84

# 137

6-6

SF

Cheyenne Moore

 

# 100

# 10 *

6-2

PG

Cliff Hammonds

 

# 182

# 341

* 5th-year player

Clemson certainly picked up quantity in a class that is somewhat of a lightning rod among recruiting services. There is a vast difference of opinion in how well they did and it will be interesting to trace the development of their players. They seemed to double up at both the small forward and point guard positions, much like Virginia Tech was able to do. The difference is that it might be difficult for Mathis and Hammonds to both play at the same time. Perry doesnít have the handle skills to play a guard position, and Moore doesnít make the type of sound decisions that will entrust him to handle the ball for great amounts of time. A talented class that could end up much better than this, or see a couple of players end up transferring out and send the staff back to the drawing board.

8 - Virginia

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-0

PG

Sean Singletary

# 35

# 35

# 5 *

6-7

SF

Adrian Joseph

 

# 135

# 17 *

6-10

C

Tunji Soroye

 

# 196

# 121

* 5th-year player

A good solid class for the Cavaliers. Singletary is a high-character point guard with outstanding leadership qualities. He will challenge for immediate playing time. Joseph is a left-hander who can play either forward position and has an abundance of athleticism. There were quite a few schools that really liked Joseph. Soroye is a down-the-road prospect who showed significant improvement this year. He is already a quality rebounder and his offense is moving in the right direction.

9 - Maryland

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-8

PF

James Gist

# 60

# 41

# 67

6-1

PG

Sterling Ledbetter (JuCo)

     

Gist is a wiry power forward with a good jump shot and gets fine elevation on his jump shots in the paint. He is a shot rejector on defense who relishes that aspect of the game. Ledbetter is a scoring point guard with a fine three point shot and solid handle. The Terrapins didnít sign a class with an abundance of quantity, but Gist and Ledbetter are both quality additions.

10 - Boston College

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-8

PF

Sean Williams

 

# 202

# 100

6-7

PF

Gordon Watt

 

# 214

# 118

6-8

PF

Akida McLain

 

# 238

# 195

The Eagles picked up three additions for their frontcourt and the key player is Williams, who is an early graduate and was thought to be a junior last fall. Williams is a better player than his ranking and will be able to provide early assistance to the program. He is athletic, can block shots and runs the court well. Watt is a blue-collar rebounder and McLain a finesse, athletic forward with good scoring tools who might be able to make the transition down the road to the small forward position. All in all, a class that might lack versatility, but has a much-better-than-advertised player in Williams. Still, the Eagles will need to recruit better once they hit the ACC for the 2005-06 season.

11 - Miami

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-2

PG

Antoine Mayhand

 

# 142

 

6-8

SF

Anthony Ighodaro (JuCo)

     

6-7

SF

Raymond Hicks

     

6-11

C

Glenn Bateman

Fordham Transfer

The Hurricanes are still looking to add new players under new coach Frank Haith, who got the job after serving as Rick Barnesí top assistant at Texas. Haith has his work cut out for him and the Hurricanes are also seeing a couple players transfer out of their program. Haithís first signee was the solidly built scoring point guard, Mayhand, who was a late bloomer this year. Ighodaro is a player with a very checkered past who has been to more than his share of campuses. He even committed at one time to Virginia Tech, back when Ricky Stokes was still in charge. Bateman will add size to the program, but might not be in the correct program if Haith implements an uptempo style. Hicks was the most recent commitment for Haith and is a player that very few people know much about. Haith will have significant pressure next year to substantially upgrade the pool of talent and recruiting if he is to become successful.

12 - Wake Forest

Ht

Pos

Name

Recruiting Rankings

IH

PS

HS

6-7

SF

Cameron Stanley

 

# 111

# 116

Stanley represents the lone signee for Skip Prosser and the Deacon program, and he is coming off an injury-marred senior season. When healthy, the well-built lefthander is a streaky perimeter shooter who can post up smaller players inside. He will hustle to fill a lane on the break and will sneak in for his share of offensive rebounds. He must improve his handle to play more minutes in the backcourt. The Deacons werenít real busy with this class, but have already gotten off to a very strong start with the 2005 class, with early commitments out of a pair of North Carolina frontcourt prospects -- and top 100 players -- in 6-6 PF Kevin Swinton and 6-9 C David Weaver.

To Recap:

2004 ACC Basketball
Recruiting Rankings

Rank

School

Players
Signed

1

NC State

4

2

FSU

4

3

Georgia Tech

4

4

UNC

2

5

Duke

2

6

VT

4

7

Clemson

5

8

Virginia

3

9

Maryland

2

10

Boston College

3

11

Miami

4

12

Wake Forest

1



Other Gym Rat Notebooks:

#18: Adding Another Piece - 5/19/04
#17: Recruiting Hits Final Stretch - 5/11/04
#16: The 5-8 Rule -- It's Finally Gone - 5/5/04
#15: Help Could Be Looming on the Horizon - 4/23/04
#14: A Look Ahead: The Backcourt - 4/16/04
#13: A Look Ahead: The Frontcourt - 4/8/04
#12: There's No Place Like Home, Toto - 4/1/04
#11: About the Over/Under? - 3/26/04
#10: Did You Say Four, or Forty? - 3/17/04
#9: Big Game, Big Year, and Big Hopes - 3/10/04
#8: Home, Sweet, Home - 3/1/04
#7: On or Off Broadway? - 2/24/04
#6: Trolling for Additions - 2/18/04
#5: Georgetown a Must Win? - 2/11/04
#4: Defense in Numbers - 1/28/04
#3: Chemistry Class and Hitting It Early - 1/21/04
#2: Subtraction and Addition - 1/13/04
#1: Hey, Brother, Can You Spare a Big Man? - 1/6/04


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