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ACC Stage Nearly Set For Next Season

As soon as John Wall makes up his mind we can delve into what the next basketball season holds.

Duke's Gerald Henderson made official what everyone assumed a month ago by declaring for the NBA Draft.  Henderson will be a likely top then pick and probably more surprising than the announcement is the fact Mike Krzyzewski sounded somewhat supportive. Henderson leaving means Duke is without any real playmakers outside of Kyle Singler and possibly Elliott Williams.  I do expect we will see more in the way of scoring drives from Jon Scheyer in the future.  Duke is still looking at a PG issue if Nolan Smith does not improve.  The interior game looks to improve with Mason Plumlee coming in along with Ryan Kelly. The question is which lineup is better?

Duke: Nolan Smith, Elliott Williams, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas. Bench: Brian Zoubek, Mason and Miles Plumlee, Ryan Kelly

UNC: Larry Drew, Marcus Ginyard, John Henson, Deon Thompson, Ed Davis. Bench: Tyler Zeller, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, David and Travis Wear

The real question is whether UNC's interior game is better than Duke's perimeter game?  Better yet, which team can develop their perceived weakness faster: UNC on the perimeter or Duke in the middle?

Of course Clemson returns the most of anyone in the ACC only losing K.C. Rivers with a returning balanced offense.  The only problem is Clemson is still Clemson. There is a trio of ACC teams losing one or two key players but retaining some decent talent.  FSU loses Toney Douglas and Uche Echefu but brings in Michael Snaer(McD AA) and has some young talent that will receive very little in the way of meaningful coaching from Leonard Hamilton. Likewise Virginia Tech and Boston College lose key players but also retain most of their roster meaning they will still be positioned to make some noise.  If Greivis Vasquez returns to Maryland there is a chance the Terps will build on their late season surge to be an upper half ACC team.

On the bottom half questions surround Wake Forest after losing Jeff Teague and James Johnson but retaining Ish Smith and Al-Farouq Aminu along with some talented younger players.  Dino Gaudio enters the pressure portion of his career at Wake having lost any insulation he may have had following the plunge from one time #1 to loser of a 4-13 game in the NCAA Tournament. Miami loses a ton of seniors, including Jack McClinton. Dwayne Collins is testing the waters and I think will probably be back. Georgia Tech is in full rebuild mode and Virginia will be breaking in a new coach which means they will likely surprise someone. NC State finished off the Herb Sendek players which means Sidney Lowe owns whatever happens now.  The Wolfpack have a decent class inbound and without so many malcontents hanging around perhaps there will be something but I would not trust to hope, it seems to have long forsaken Raleigh.

In the end I think we are still talking about the rival blues with Clemson trying to crash the party.  Maryland, FSU, Virginia Tech and BC all look fairly dangerous on any given nigh but there in lies the problem.  Only UNC and Duke have the stockpile of talent and coaching to be consistent it seems. Then there is the John Wall factor which could make UNC or Duke #1 in the ACC with a bullet or change nothing at all should he end up at Kentucky.