ACC Preview: Duke and North Carolina start the season on top with parity throughout the league

On3 imageby:Jamie Shaw10/16/23


The college basketball season is right around the corner. On3 is going to go through each of the Power 6 conferences to preview the upcoming 2023-24 season. This week, we are diving into the ACC.

Big Ten Preview | Big 12 Preview

When going through the league, the conversation for Duke at No. 1 went relatively quickly. They are coming into the season with a National Championship as the goal and one of the most talented rosters in the country.

From that point, there is a clear second tier. North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson, and Miami all have experienced and deep rosters, but also some questions. They each start the season with top-25 rankings in their sights.

Then things get interesting, and league parity sets in. NC State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Florida State, and Syracuse are intriguing rosters that could make runs at the NCAA Tournament. Boston College and Georgia Tech have rosters that could have post-season tournament ambitions. Louisville and Notre Dame welcome a combined 15 new players to their rosters.

Let’s take a look through the basketball preseason power rankings for the ACC in 2023-24.

1. Duke

Head Coach Jon Scheyer (career 27-9)
2022-23: 27-9 (14-6, third in ACC)

PG 6-1 Sr. Jeremy Roach
G 6-5 So. Tyrese Proctor
G 6-5 Fr. Caleb Foster
F 6-8 So. Mark Mitchell
C 7-0 So. Kyle Filipowski

Bench: 6-2 Fr. Jared McCain, 6-8 Fr. Sean Stewart, 6-10 Sr. Ryan Young, 6-5 So. Jaden Schutt, 6-9 Fr. TJ Power

The Buzz: Kyle Filipowski returns to Duke as an All-American candidate. The 7-footer led the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding last season. Mark Mitchell, a former McDonald’s All-American, is a swiss-army-knife able to guard multiple positions and fill in the gaps on offense. Tyrese Proctor played his best basketball during the final two months of the season. In his final 14 games, Proctor scored 10.2 points and shot 40.1 percent from the field. Caleb Foster has great size with good length and can really shoot and pass it. Jeremy Roach is the elder statesman with 75 career starts and 980 points. Young returns for his fifth season to provide minutes upfront. McCain is an instant offense type. Stewart is a strong and explosive athlete. Schutt has a reputation as a shooter. Power has positional size and is a gifted passer.

2. North Carolina

Head Coach Hubert Davis (career 49-23)
2022-23: 20-13 (11-9, seventh in ACC)

PG 6-1 Fr. Elliot Cadeau
G 6-0 Sr. RJ Davis
G 6-5 GR Cormac Ryan
F 6-7 Jr. Harrison Ingram
C 6-11 GR Armando Bacot

Bench: 6-9 Fr. Zayden High, 6-3 So. Seth Trimble, 6-5 GR Paxson Wojcik, 6-10 So. Jalen Washington, 6-9 GR Jae’Lyn Withers, 6-8 Jr. James Okonkwo

The Buzz: The depth of this team stands out immediately. There is a possible nine to eleven player rotation with clearly defined roles and versatile skill sets. Harrison Ingram was one of the biggest portal adds of the off-season. At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, he has good size, but he is at his best with the ball in his hands. Hubert Davis could run some unique sets and actions through him. RJ Davis has scored over 1,300 career points and started 81 games over his three years. He will be vying for All-League honors, much like Armando Bacot, who was first-team All-ACC last season. He averaged a double-double with a block per game and has established himself as one of the more physically imposing big men in the ACC. Cormac Ryan adds shooting after knocking down 212 career threes to this point. High, Withers, Okonkwo, and Washington will add depth up front and could provide different looks. Trimble and Wojcik will back up the guards and wings. The x-factor could be Elliot Cadeau, one of the premier passers in the 2023 high school class. How quickly he gets caught up to the speed of the game could be huge for how successful this team is.  

3. Virginia

Head Coach Tony Bennett (career
2022-23: 25-8 (15-5, first in ACC)

PG 6-3 Sr. Reece Beekman
G 6-4 So. Isaac McKneely
G 6-6 So. Andrew Rohde
F 6-8 So. Ryan Dunn
C 6-8 GR Jordan Minor

Bench: 6-10 Fr. Blake Buchanan, 6-0 Jr. Dante Harris, 6-5 Jr. Taine Murray, 6-4 Fr. Elijah Gertrude, 6-9 GR Jake Groves, 6-5 So. Leon Bond

The Buzz: This is an intriguing team for Tony Bennett. Reece Beekman is the elder statesman on the roster, returning with 87 career starts. He was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year last season. The other four projected starters combine for one career ACC start. Andrew Rohde and Jordan Minor each transfer up from smaller programs. Isaac McKneely and Ryan Dunn are sophomores. McKneely has a reputation as a tough-minded sharp-shooter. Dunn is one of the more versatile defensive players on the roster, able to guard on the perimeter and on the block. Minor is an explosive five-man and the reigning NEC Player of the Year from Merrimack. Rohde is a Swiss army wing and reigning Summit Newcomer of the Year. Harris could be a stabilizing factor at the point. Bond and Gertrude bring athleticism to the perimeter rotation. Murray and Groves can knock down a shot. Buchanan was last season’s Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year. Finished with 8 and 8 at Nike’s Hoop Summit for Team USA and earned an invite to USA Basketball U19 Training Camp this summer. 

4. Clemson

Head Coach Brad Brownell (career 408-262)
2022-23: 23-11 (14-6, third in ACC)

PG 6-4 GR. Chase Hunter
G 6-1 GR Joe Girard
SF 6-8 GR Jack Clark
PF 6-10 So. Chauncey Wiggins
C 6-10 Sr. PJ Hall

Bench: 6-10 Sr. Bas Leyte, 6-3 Sr. Alex Hemenway, 6-7 So. RJ Godfrey, 6-8 Jr Ian Schieffelin, 6-5 Jr. Jake Heidbreder, 6-3 So. Dillon Hunter, 6-3 Jr. Josh Beadle

The Buzz: This team has interesting length and experience. While PJ Hall will get a lot of the spotlight, and much deserved, Chase Hunter will be the central piece of this team. He averaged almost 14 points with 4.5 assists and started every game last season. Hall will push for All-League honors after flirting with leaving for the NBA. Joe Girard has scored 1,652 career points and shot 39.2 percent from three over his last two seasons. Jack Clark is a versatile defender with great length and can knock down a shot. Chauncey Wiggins has great length and fluidity with a good-looking jump shot. Shieffelin will push for frontcourt minutes after starting 22 games last season. Hemmenway has started 25 career games and has shot 43.0 percent from three. Hunter, Beadle, and Air Force transfer Heidbreder will push for perimeter minutes. Leyte and Godfrey will get minutes upfront. 

5. Miami

Head Coach Jim Larranaga (career 697-458)
2022:23: 29-8 (15-5, first in ACC)

PG 5-11 RS-Jr. Nijel Pack
G 6-2 Jr. Bensley Joseph
G 6-5 Jr. Wooga Poplar
F 6-7 Jr. Matthew Cleveland
C 6-7 RS-Jr. Norchad Omier

Bench: 6-10 Fr. Michael Nwoko, 6-7 So. Christian Watson, 6-8 Fr. Kyshawn George, 6-5 So. Jakai Robinson, 6-9 So. AJ Casey

The Buzz: This team brings back experience. Nijel Pack, Wooga Poplar, and Norchad Omier started 107 combined games for Miami’s Final Four team last season. Pack is the leading returning scorer and shot 40.4 percent from three. He will be asked to handle the ball more this season. Poplar will step forward into a more prominent role while looking to add to his 8.4 points and build on his 37.5 percent shooting from three last season. Omier, while only 6-foot-7,  is one of the better defensive bigs in the league. Matthew Cleveland is a former five-star recruit and was Florida State’s leading scorer last year. Bensley Joseph was Miami’s sixth man last season and should step into a primary ball-handling role. His play could be an x-factor for the success of this team. The bench, while it has some talent, is unproven for the most part. Can Miami get enough out of the group, especially the bigs? Jim Larranaga returns some interesting pieces, but some questions loom as well. 

6. NC State

Head Coach Kevin Keatts (career 185-107)
2022-23: 23-11 (12-8, sixth in ACC)

PG 6-2 GR Michael O’Connell
G 6-2 GR DJ Horne
G 6-3 GR Casey Morsell
F 6-6 Fr. Dennis Parker
C 6-9 GR DJ Burns

Bench: 6-4 Jr. Jayden Taylor, 6-2 So. LJ Thomas, 6-10 Jr. Mohamed Diarra, 6-9 Jr. Ernest Ross, 6-10 Jr. Ben Middlebrooks, 6-2 Jr. Kam Woods

The Buzz: While this team may lack the star power of last year’s NCAA Tournament team, it could have more playable depth and experience. Four projected starters are graduate transfers. DJ Burns is the team’s leading returning scorer. The 6-foot-9 post has scored 1,500 career points in college and is a unique offense presence. DJ Horne, a local product who came home, has scored over 1,400 career points with 107 starts. He was Arizona State’s second-leading scorer on last season’s NCAA Tournament team. Dennis Parker is a versatile four-star freshman who can defend, pass, and finish in transition. Michael O’Connell, a transfer from Stanford, will provide a steadying presence at the point. He gets the ball to the right spots and holds control of the huddle. This is Casey Morsell’s third year in the program, and early returns are he is playing his best basketball. He was the team’s best perimeter defender and shot 41.1 percent from three last season. Taylor brings combo guard ability after averaging almost 13 points in the Big East last season. Look for Middlebrooks to play starter-type minutes. Diarra is a defensive-minded backup who plays tough around the basket. NC State will need Thomas and Ross to take a step forward. Woods needs a two-time transfer waiver to be eligible this season. 

7. Virginia Tech

Head Coach Mike Young (career 372-295)
2022-23: 19-15 (8-12, eleventh in ACC)

PG 6-1 Jr. Sean Pedulla
G 6-4 So. Rodney Rice
G 6-3 GR Hunter Cattoor
F 6-7 GR Mekhi Long
C 6-10 Sr. Lynn Kidd

Bench: 6-4 So. MJ Collins, 6-9 GR Robbie Beran, 6-7 So. Tyler Nickel, 6-9 Sr. Mylyjael Poteat, 6-1 Fr. Brandon Rechsteiner, 6-8 Sr John Camden, 6-4 Fr. Jaydon Young

The Buzz: Sean Pedulla is getting a lot of preseason buzz after averaging 15.0 points and 3.8 assists last season. Hunter Cattoor came back for his fifth year. He started 66 games over the past two seasons and is a career 41.8 percent three-point shooter on 600 attempts. Rodney Rice, who battled injuries last season, could be the most talented player on the roster. He can shoot it off the ball as well as play minutes on the ball. The frontcourt is a little more in the air. Mekhi Long, Lynn Kidd, Robbie Beran, and Tyler Nickel could all find themselves starting games this season. Long averaged 10.7 points and 8.7 rebounds at Old Dominion last season. Beran started 99 games and shot 36.1 percent during his four seasons at Northwestern. Nickel, a UNC transfer and former four-star recruit, is Virginia High School League’s all-time leading scorer. Poteat and Camden provide experienced depth. Collins got some starting experience last season. Young and Rechsteiner have promising futures.

8. Wake Forest

Head Coach Steve Forbes (career 180-83)
2022-23: 19-14 (10-10, eighth in ACC)

PG 6-4 Jr. Cam Hildreth
G 6-5 Jr Hunter Sallis
F 6-6 GR Damari Monsanto
F 6-9 Sr Andrew Carr
C 7-1 Jr. Efton Reid

Bench: 7-1 Jr. Matthew Marsh, 6-0 So. Kevin Miller, 6-10 So. Zack Keller, 6-1 Jr. Jai Itua, 6-8 Fr. Marqus Marion, 6-6 Fr. Aaron Clark, 6-3 Fr. Parker Friedrichsen

The Buzz: The change of scenery at Wake Forest has been pretty good to transfers over the past couple of years. Hunter Sallis looks to be the beneficiary of Steve Forbes’ style of play this season. The 6-foot-5 explosive guard from Gonzaga has had some glowing early returns. Efton Reid will need a two-time waiver from the NCAA to be eligible. At his best, he is a very skilled player with touch on the block. Domari Monsanto has made 173 career threes at a 38.6 percent clip. Andrew Carr could be in line for a jump. He averaged 10.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in his first season at Wake, coming from Delaware. This is year three for Cam Hildreth at Wake. His 12.4 points are the leading returning scorer on the team. Marsh, Keller, and Marion should provide solid minutes upfront. Miller is an interesting transfer from Central Michigan, where he averaged 13.8 points in 32 career starts. Itua and freshmen Clark and Friedrichsen have reputations as shooters. 

9. Pittsburgh

Head Coach Jeff Capel (career 250-191)
2022-23: 24-12 (14-6, third in ACC)

G 6-3 Jr. Ishmael Leggett
G 6-5 Fr. Carlton Carrington
F 6-7 RS-Jr. Zack Austin
F 6-6 Sr. Blake Hinson
C 6-11 Jr. Fedi Federiko

Bench: 6-10 Fr. Papa Kante, 6-3 GR Michael Hueitt, 6-3 Fr. Jaland Lowe, 6-11 So. Jorge Diaz, 6-7 RS-Jr. William Jeffress, 7-0 So. Guillermo Diaz

The Bench: Blake Hinson returns as last season’s leading scorer and rebounder. He is a strong-framed wing and shot 38.0 percent from three last season. He will push for All-Conference honors. Zack Austin, a transfer from High Point, is an explosive and lengthy forward who should provide a defensive presence and some highlight-reel dunks. Fedi Federiko is active around the basket. Carlton Carrington is a high IQ freshman with good length. How quickly can he adapt to the speed and physicality? Ishmael Leggett averaged 16.4 points in the A10 last season. He is confident with the ball in his hands. This could be a breakout year for the Diaz twins. Both have good length with athleticism and fluidity. Jorge has real shooting upside from range, and Guillermo is good in the mid-range and an excellent interior passer. Jeffress is a defensive presence off the bench. Lowe and Kante come in as four-star recruits. This will be Hueitt’s fourth college stop. In his last year playing (2021-22) at D2 Catawba College, he averaged 8.2 points. Can they find steady point guard play?

10. Florida State

Head Coach Leonard Hamilton (career 626-475)
2022-23: 9-23 (7-13, twelfth in ACC)

PG 6-3 Jr. Primo Spears
G 6-4 So. Darin Green
G 6-7 Sr. Cam’Ron Fletcher
F 6-11 So. Baba Miller
C 6-9 GR Jaylan Gainey

Bench: 6-7 RS-Jr Jamir Watkins, 6-10 So. Cam Corhen, 6-10 Fr. Taylor Bol Bowen, 6-7 So. Tom House, 6-5 GR Josh Nickelberry, 6-7 Jr. Michael Brown, 6-7 Jr. Jalen Worley

The Buzz: This team has some length, they have some experience, and they have some depth. Primo Spears is still awaiting a two-time eligibility waiver from the NCAA. If eligible, he is a quick-twitch lead guard who has averaged 14.4 points throughout his two-year career. Darin Green is the team’s leading returning scorer. He has knocked down 299 career threes at a 38.0 percent clip. Cam’Ron Fletcher and Baba Miller could be two players in line for a breakout season. Fletcher, a former Kentucky transfer, led the Seminoles in rebounding last season. Miller was a prized recruit from Spain who never got his footing last season after returning from a 16-game suspension to start the season. Jaylan Gainey missed last season with an injury. The graduate transfer has good length with rebounding and rim protection upside. Watkins, NIckelberry, and Worley will push for perimeter minutes. Bol Bowen was one of the better defensive players in the 2023 high school class. Corhen, who started 21 games as a freshman, has a good frame and can shoot and rebound. He should earn minutes in the front court. This is an interesting roster; how quickly can Leonard Hamilton get this team to gel?

11. Syracuse

Head Coach Adrian Autry
2022-23: Year 1 as a college head coach

PG 6-3 So. Judah Mintz
G 6-4 So. JJ Starling
F 6-7 So. Chris Bell
F 6-8 Jr. Benny Williams
C 7-4 Jr. Naheem McLeod

Bench: 6-2 So. Kyle Cuffe, 6-8 So. Maliq Brown, 6-6 So. Justin Taylor, 6-6 So. Chance Westry, 6-6 So. Quadir Copeland, 7-2 Fr. William Patterson

The Buzz: Judah Mintz and JJ Starling have some buzz surrounding their backcourt pairing. Mintz earned ACC-All Freshman honors after averaging 16.3 points. He tested the NBA Draft waters and decided to come back. Starling, a former McDonald’s All-American, averaged 11.2 points in 24 starts at Notre Dame last season. A jump is expected in year two as both will need to shoot it better and distribute it more efficiently. Chris Bell, a lengthy forward, enjoyed a positive freshman year where he started all 30 games. Benny Williams is an explosive forward with length and some still untapped upside. Naheem McLeod, a Florida State transfer, is 7-foot-4 and averaged 1.2 blocks in 22 starts last season. Cuffe and Copeland look to push the starting guards. Westry and Taylor will earn wing minutes. Brown should get plenty of time upfront, especially with his lengthy defensive presence. This team is still young, with eight sophomores in the rotation. How quickly can Autry find cohesion between his uber-talented backcourt pairing, and can the frontcourt continue moving toward their untapped potential?

12. Boston College

Head Coach: Earl Grant (career 156-126)
2022-23: 16-17 (9-11, 10th in ACC)

PG 6-2 Jr. Jaeden Zackery
G 6-3 Jr. Claudell Harris
G 6-6 So. Prince Aligbe
F 6-7 So. Devin McGlockton
C 7-0 Sr. Quinten Post

Bench: 6-4 So. Chas Kelley, 6-2 Fr. Fred Payne, 6-9 Fr. Jayden Hastings, 6-4 Sr. Mason Madsen

The Buzz: Boston College returns one of the top post players in the conference with Quinten Post. He averaged 16.2 points on 54.2 percent shooting from the field in games started last season. Jaeden Zackery is the team’s leading returning perimeter defender. He averaged 3.1 assists during ACC play last season. Claudell Harris averaged 17.4 points and 2.3 assists at Charleston Southern last season. He will look to add some offensive punch. Devin McGlockton is a strong presence on the block, and Prince Aligbe got 24 starts as a freshman. Both players are looking to take steps forward as sophomores. Kelley and Payne are versatile backcourt players, able to play on or off the ball. Hastings is a lengthy and athletic freshman big. Madsen has 78 collegiate games under his belt.

13. Georgia Tech

Head Coach Damon Staudamire (career 71-77)
2022-23: Year 1 at Georgia Tech

PG 6-3 GR Kyle Sturdivant
G 6-6 Jr. Miles Kelly
F 6-6 Jr. Deebo Coleman
F 6-7 Jr. Kowacie Reeves
C 6-8 GR Tyzhaun Claude

Bench: 6-3 GR Lance Terry, 6-9 So. Tafara Gapare, 6-11 Sr. Ebenezer Dowuona, 6-9 Fr. Baye Ndongo, 6-6 Fr. Ibrahima Sacko, 6-4 So. Amaee Abram, 6-9 Fr. Ibrahim Souaer, 6-4 GR Carter Murphy

The Buzz: Miles Kelly looks to take another step after a breakout sophomore campaign. He averaged 14.4 points and shot 37.9 percent from three. Kyle Sturdivant is the leading returning assist man at 3.3 per game. He has started 49 games over the last two seasons. Deebo Coleman has a lengthy, strong frame with some shooting upside. Kowacie Reeves, a Florida transfer, has length and athleticism. Terry will bring scoring pop off the bench, and Abram will push for starter minutes in the backcourt. Tyzhaun Claude could get the first crack in the middle. At 6-foot-8, he averaged 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds at Western Carolina last season. Damon Staudamire brought in real depth up front with Gapare (UMass) and Dowuona (NC State) in the transfer portal. Ndongo and Sacko also have interesting skill sets and sizes that could also push for minutes. Murphy will provide perimeter depth. Stoudemire returns some talented pieces with some newcomers that could provide some interesting lineup combinations.

14. Louisville

Head Coach Kenny Payne (career 4-28)
2022-23: 4-28 (2-18, fifteenth in ACC)

PG 6-0 Fr. Ty-Laur Johnson
G 6-3 So. Skyy Clark
F 6-7 So. Tre White
F 6-5 RS-So. Mike James
C 6-10 Jr. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield

Bench: 6-5 Fr. Curtis Williams, 6-6 Jr Koron Davis, 6-6 Fr. Kaleb Glenn, 7-1 Fr. Dennis Evans, 6-8 Sr. JJ Traynor, 6-8 So. Danilo Jovanovich, 6-9 So. Emmanuel Okorafor

The Buzz: It will be interesting to see how Kenny Payne puts his rotations together. The hope is for Tre White to take a step from year one to year two. He had a solid year at USC, and the slashing wing is a former top-30 recruit. A change of scenery could be good for Skyy Clark, who left Illinois after 12 starts last season. He is a former four-star recruit. Ty-Laur Johnson brings a lot of on-ball confidence and some flair to the game, but he could need some adjustment time. Mike James is the leading returning scorer. A strong-framed, long-armed forward. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield is a strong and physically built player. Can they get consistent production out of him? Davis averaged 23.8 points and 3.2 assists at a Los Angeles JUCO last season. Glenn, Okorafor, and Traynor are tough and productive players who will push for front-court minutes. Jovanovich and Williams are interesting as more skilled guys who can shoot and spread the floor. Evans, a natural rim protector, is raw and might need some time, but brings a unique skill with him. There is some depth here with some interesting pieces. You could see Payne tinker with lineups and rotations throughout the season. On a team full of unproven pieces, who will take the necessary step forward?

15. Notre Dame

Head Coach Micah Shrewsberry (career 37-31)
2022-23: Year 1 at Notre Dame

PG 5-11 Fr. Markus Burton
G 6-4 Jr. Julian Roper
G 6-7 Jr. JR Konieczny
F 6-10 Fr. Carey Booth
C 6-10 So. Kebba Njie

Bench: 6-9 Sr. Matt Zona, 6-7 Sr. Tony Sanders, 6-4 Fr. Logan Imes, 6-3 Fr. Braeden Shrewsberry, 6-9 So. Tae Davis

The Buzz: This roster returns 0 starts from last year’s 14th-ranked ACC team. Carey Booth, the son of former NBA center Calvin Booth, is a four-star recruit. While young, he has a lot of upside. Kebba Njie started 22 games with Shrewsberry as a freshman at Penn State last season. He will be a presence around the basket. Julian Roper is coming off an injury at Northwestern but shot 42.1 percent from three on 1.3 attempts per game. Markus Burton was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball last season. He has a strong frame and is someone the staff is excited about. JR Konieczny is a former four-star local recruit who redshirted last season. He has positive expectations for this season. Imes and Shrewsberry were AAU teammates and will provide perimeter depth as freshmen. Sanders is a senior wing. Zona is a tough guy up front. Davis is thin, but has talent. This is a total roster reconstruction for Micah Shrewsberry and might take some time to build.