At UNC, Nothing Less Than A Title Will Do
CHARLOTTE -- The new North Carolina narrative is to leave a legacy, a championship that your class can call its own.The 2005 Tar Heels featured a collection of core players who could have left a year earlier but didn't. The same thing occurred in 2009. And now it could repeat in 2012. Harrison Barnes would have been a lottery pick after his freshman season. The length and size of John Henson and Tyler Zeller, regardless of how productive they've been, could have pushed them into the first round. But all three turned down any flirtation with the NBA draft. Kendall Marshall starts the season as one of the hottest point guards in the country after taking over the team in February and leading the Tar Heels to the Elite Eight. A starting wing also returns in Dexter Strickland. Sure, Leslie McDonald is likely out for the season but there is still depth with guards Reggie Bullock, Justin Watts and P.J. Hairston and impact freshman forward James Michael McAdoo, whom Barnes said reminds him of former Tar Heel Ed Davis.
Can These Hokies Get Over The NCAA Hump?
Tanner Smith Sets Perfect Example For Tigers
CHARLOTTE -- Clemson's Tanner Smith should be one of the top shooters in the ACC.He may be the most accomplished, too. Smith's charitable efforts with Tanner's Totes were beautifully documented by ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil two years ago and he was featured on ABC's "Everyday Health" last month. Tanner's idea of providing tote bags to help pre-teens and teens deal with long-term care in hospitals has caught on across the country. As a young child, Smith had experience going to hospitals for his father's cancer treatments. Now Smith has become the ideal model for Brad Brownell's second season at Clemson. He's a person who everyone on the team can emulate in their quest to become a more well-rounded person and contributor to society, not just to the greater good of making the Tigers a success on the court. "He's a phenomenal young man," Brownell said. "He's an incredible kid. He runs golf tournaments. He fundraises. There aren't that many 18- to 20-year-olds who have that much community service in mind." Smith said being at Clemson has helped the project soar. The tote bags, according to Smith, are now in 35 different hospitals from Hawaii to all over the mainland. "It's nothing I ever thought was possible," Smith said. "We're selling Tanner Tote T-shirts online now, and every day I see our guys wearing the shirts on campus. It means so much to see my teammates wrapping their arms around it. We've got a great group of guys on this team." Clemson is a legitimate sleeper in the ACC. The Tigers did lose Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant off a team that won a First Four game against UAB in Dayton before falling to West Virginia in Tampa two days later. If Smith makes shots, it will be because he's playing off Andre Young in the backcourt and Devin Booker, Milton Jennings and Bryan Narcisse are productive, too. But Brownell can't thank Smith enough for getting his teammates grounded and thinking about the greater good. "It helps tremendously that the other kids on the team have a leader like this," Brownell said. "He does a great job on the basketball court. He understands the service aspect. He's making a difference."
With A Healthy Scott, Watch Out For Virginia
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton
North Carolina's Harrison Barnes
Boston College: "The best thing about [highly touted German wing] Patrick [Heckmann] is that he really competes already. He gets that. He just has to adjust to our system. Missed shots bother him. He's got a great upside and knows how to play."
-- Second-year coach Steve Donahue
Clemson: "We lost our best two scorers in Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant. We've got to find ways to score. Andre Young can be a productive scorer. But we've got to find another guy -- Devin Booker or Milton Jennings. They have to take their game to another level."
-- Coach Brad Brownell
Duke: "Seth Curry has really improved. He was very good for us last year but sometimes for transfers it takes a year to feel comfortable. He's gotten quicker and instead of trying to play someone else's pace, he knows his pace."
-- Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Florida State: "We had to make a lot of adjustments and grew up [without the injured Chris Singleton] and these challenges will make them better. We're more mature. I like this team. I love the attitude. We've got six seniors and have tremendous leadership and every player is a few percentage points better."
-- Coach Leonard Hamilton
Georgia Tech: "Daniel Miller will be at the 5-spot for us and he had a really good summer and a really good fall. He's carried that over to the first few practices. He's very skilled. He's starting to have the light click to see how good he could be and he's starting to gain the self-confidence to have high impact in the ACC."
-- Coach Brian Gregory
Maryland: "We're better than what I was told. I was told we had great guards but how bad our bigs were. But are bigs are better than I was told and the guards not quite as good, but that's because I was a point guard and I'm hard on them. I'm concerned about our lack of depth. I think we can do some things around the basket and if everyone continues to buy in, we've got a chance to be better than everybody thinks."
-- Coach Mark Turgeon
Miami: "Malcolm Grant is a high-energy, smiley kid. Durand Scott is a worker and is consumed with wanting to be really good. Neither one is a true facilitator. Both are scorers more than passers. But I will need them to score without [injured] Reggie [Johnson]. We don't have a go-to guy offensively so those two guys need to play well."
-- Coach Jim Larranaga
North Carolina: "Harrison Barnes is much more of a leader, but we're not just depending on him. Tyler Zeller and Justin Watts were freshmen on a team that won the national championship. Harrison leads by example. He's 10-15 pounds stronger, not heavier. Hopefully he'll get to the free throw line more and attack the basket. But his first five days of practice have been pretty darn good."
-- Coach Roy Williams
North Carolina State: "Lorenzo Brown will be our point guard. He's got great size at 6-5, but what he doesn't have is a real understanding of how to play the position. He'll have to run the team and set the tone defensively and how to get us what we want. He's learning, but it may take him the whole year."
-- Coach Mark Gottfried
Virginia: "We've improved from our first to our second year and we'll be better this year, but how that equates to wins and losses we're not sure. There are a lot of questions in the league and that's an opportunity for a program like ours. We're hoping to make this an important year to get into the mix."
-- Coach Tony Bennett
Virginia Tech: "We're down to eight guys. But J.T. Thompson is back to being healthy. He's gotten his step back and he's going to be explosive. Dorenzo [Hudson] has done a nice job so far and now we have to educate the five freshmen to make sure they compete."
-- Coach Seth Greenberg
Wake Forest: "I'm really enjoying coaching these guys. They are hungry and want to be coached. And my phone never rings in the middle of the night. These guys are doing the right thing. We've got a recruiting class that's solid. There will be four-year guys and in two years we could be really good. We're in a better place."
-- Coach Jeff Bzdelik
Clemson's Tanner Smith
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon
ACC Preview Content
For a Blue Ribbon breakdown of all 12 ACC teams, click here.
• Dana O'Neil's "Five Things I Can't Wait To See" in the ACC
• Jay Bilas examines five burning questions in the league
• Katz with 14 things he learned at ACC Media Day
• Katz's ACC podcast with Jay Williams and Dino Gaudio.
• Check out the chat that all 12 ACC coaches had with ESPN.com readers
• More video: Katz with Florida State forward Michael Snaer, Duke forward Miles Plumlee and Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg
• New Faces, New Places: Katz on Maryland's Mark Turgeon and Miami's Jim Larranaga. O'Neil on Georgia Tech's Brian Gregory and North Carolina State's Mark Gottfried
• Katz takes a team-by-team look at the league's nonconference schedules
• Katz with a look at the future of the ACC and whether a move to 16 schools is inevitable
• Paul Biancardi with a look at the recruiting picture in the conference.
• Summer Buzz series: Eamonn Brennan takes an in-depth look at North Carolina and Duke
• For more ACC coverage in the Nation blog, click here
Virginia's Mike Scott
NC State coach Mark Gottfried