The future of ACC Basketball is in good hands, as the league features a great deal of young talent.
While it’s almost a certainty Duke freshman, and Wooden Award frontrunner, Jahlil Okafor, will opt to enter the NBA Draft, there are some intriguing prospects waiting to lay claim to the best in the ACC.
Jalen Hudson – It’s seems unlikely to have a player that averaged 6.9 points a game on this list. However, if you witnessed Virginia Tech’s opening round matchup against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament, then you might have a good idea of what the future holds for Hudson.
The 6’5 freshman scored 32 points to lead the Hokies to an 81-80 victory, which included the game winning jump shot with 11.7 seconds remaining. First-year Virginia Tech coach, Buzz Williams, believes with some maturation Hudson will become an extraordinary player over time.
“I’ve said since Thanksgiving that Jalen was our most talented player, but he didn’t play hard enough to be that every game. When he plays hard, he’s really good, and when he doesn’t play hard he’s just a 6-foot-4 guard (who) doesn’t play hard. He’s growing up like the rest of the freshman are.”
Xavier Rathan-Mayes – Florida State basketball hasn’t seen the same success as its football program, but they also have never had a player like Rathan-Mayes. The freshman guard has been one of college basketball’s most exciting talents. His defining moment came during a February 25th game against Miami when he erupted for 30 points in four minutes. Rathan-Mayes described the moment to reporters after the game.
“It’s a feeling I can’t really describe. The arena was quiet. It was like I was there by myself. It was a feeling I’ve never, ever felt before. There was nothing else happening around me.”
Three games later, Rathan-Mayes would continue his scoring barrage when he put up another 30 points (this time over the course of 40 minutes) on Clemson during the Seminoles 76-73 win in the opening round of the ACC Tournament.
Codi Miller-McIntyre – The Wake Forest Junior is one of the rare college point guards, someone that looks for the pass rather than the shot. During the month of March, Miller – McIntyre averaged just under six assists during a four-game stretch. Despite Miller-McIntyre entering his senior year, there is still alot of projectability left in his game, which is evident by his improved scoring.
He scored 20 or more points in the team’s final three games, and will look to carry that his newfound confidence into his senior year.
Kennedy Meeks – Throughout Meeks’ freshman season he battled weight problems. He entered North Carolina at 317 pounds, and played most of his first season at 290.
However, Meeks got serious before the start of his sophomore campaign, and dropped down to a much more slender 270. The results have shown, as Meeks has become a much more potent factor for the Tar Heels. His 11.9 points and 7.5 rebounds are up considerably from his 7.6 and 6.1 averages a year ago.
With a little more discipline, Meeks could be one of college basketball’s more elite centers, and potentially a first-round NBA Draft pick.