We continue our "New Guys" week (it started Monday with our All-Freshmen team for 2012-13) by spotlighting some key newcomers in the ACC for next season.
We chose eight players – an "Elite Eight," as it were – who, for various reasons, need to make an immediate impact as freshmen. These are not the best eight players signed by league schools; instead, they are guys who should receive ample opportunity to make a splash.
Most of the ACC schools recruited well, but not every ACC school needs its freshmen to play important minutes right away.
These eight are different, though. They will play important minutes right away, either as key starters or key role players. We have listed them in reverse order of their expected impact.
We'll continue our "New Guys" week with a look at the Big East's key newcomers on Wednesday.
[Related: All-Freshman team has plenty of firepower]
8. Virginia C Mike Tobey
Particulars: 6-11/210; four-star prospect from Blairstown (N.J.) Blair School
Buzz: Virginia was limited offensively this past season and lost two of its top three scorers, including leading scorer Mike Scott (18.0 ppg), a forward. Tobey isn't necessarily going to light it up offensively, but he has a high basketball IQ and can be counted on to provide intangibles as well as defense and rebounding. He can hit the mid-range shot. He obviously needs to add bulk, but he likely will grow to be a 7-footer.
7. Maryland C Shaquille Cleare
Particulars: 6-9/285; four-star prospect from Houston The Village School
Buzz: Junior G Terrell Stoglin's decision to turn pro leaves Maryland with no one who averaged in double digits this past season. There's also no one who averaged more than 5.8 rebounds per game. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon mined his former recruiting roots in Texas to land Cleare, a massive guy who should provide an immediate upgrade in the low post for the Terps. Cleare isn't the most athletic buy, but he uses his size adroitly to carve out space on both ends of the court. Cleare is one of four incoming Maryland freshmen who is at least 6 feet 8, and he is the one with the biggest chance (literally and figuratively) to make an immediate impact.
6. Wake Forest PG Codi Miller-McIntyre
Particulars: 6-1/185; four-star prospect from Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy
Buzz: Wake is looking for a starting point guard, and Miller-McIntyre should be that guy. The Demon Deacons have nice building blocks in senior G C.J. Harris and junior F Travis McKie, but the rest of the roster was lacking last season. Miller-McIntyre heads a seven-man recruiting class that needs to produce immediately. Miller-McIntyre is an excellent penetrator and is adept at finding the open man on the perimeter. He has quick hands defensively and should be an above-average defender in the ACC.
5. Georgia Tech PF Robert Carter
Particulars: 6-8/245; four-star prospect from Snellville (Ga.) Shiloh
Buzz: Tech was horrible last season and Carter adds a much-needed infusion of talent. No returning player averaged in double digits or averaged more than 6.5 rebounds per game. Carter could (should?) do both. He was physically ready for college ball as a prep senior; he's unafraid to throw his weight and bulk around. Carter can score in the low post and also has the range (and touch) to drag defenders away from the basket.
4. Virginia SF Justin Anderson
Particulars: 6-6/220; four-star prospect from Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian
Buzz: It was mentioned earlier that the Cavs need offense, and Anderson will be expected to be a double-figure scorer right away. He is an explosive athlete with big-time leaping ability. He also has a nice outside shot and is a good ballhandler. Anderson also puts his athletic ability to good use on the defensive end; in addition, he has a high motor and is more physical than he looks.
3. Duke SG Rasheed Sulaimon
Particulars: 6-4/180; five-star prospect from Houston Strake Jesuit
Buzz: The Blue Devils lost G Austin Rivers after his freshman season, but Sulaimon's addition helps ease the pain of Rivers' departure. Sulaimon might not be as well-rounded in all facets of the game as Rivers, but Sulaimon has a nice outside stroke and is an excellent offensive player. He can drill it from long range and can be deadly with his pull-up jumper. His presence assures that Duke will remain a perimeter-oriented team.
2. North Carolina State SG Rodney Purvis
Particulars: 6-4/195; five-star prospect from Raleigh (N.C.) Upper Room Christian Academy
Buzz: For the first time since David Thompson took to the skies in Raleigh, the Wolfpack are going to enter a season expected to win the ACC title. NCSU has a solid core of returning players, but Purvis' offensive skills add another dimension. Purvis has it all on the offensive end: He has good range, a solid mid-range game and can get to the rim and finish. He's also a good ballhandler and can play the point in a pinch. The addition of Purvis and five-star SF T.J. Warren gives the Wolfpack a ton of added firepower.
1. North Carolina PG Marcus Paige
Particulars: 6-0/160; four-star prospect from Marion (Iowa) Linn-Mar
Buzz: The Tar Heels have solid returning players at every position except point guard, and that's where Paige comes in. He is a pass-first point man who should fit quite nicely into the Tar Heels' offensive attack. Paige is an excellent ballhandler and a savvy passer who is equally adept in an up-tempo attack or directing an offense in the halfcourt. Paige isn't going to average in double figures, but the Tar Heels don't need that; they need someone to distribute the ball, which is what Paige does best.
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