College basketball returns in just under 50 days, so it’s time to take a look at some Atlantic Coast Conference players to keep an eye on before the season tips off in November.
UNC, Duke and NC State open the 2023-24 season with home games on Nov. 6. The nonconference schedule is set for the Tar Heels, Blue Devils and Wolfpack. The ACC will fill in the gaps with the announcement of the league slate on Sept. 26.
Miami and Virginia shared the ACC regular-season title last season before Duke won the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Here are some of the league’s top players entering the new season.
Zack Austin, Pitt
The High Point transfer averaged 14.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks last season as an All-Big South performer. Austin is only player in the NCAA to register 60 or more 3-pointers and 60 or more blocks in each of the past two seasons.
Amaree Abram, Georgia Tech
The Ole Miss transfer averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a freshman. He shot a team-high 36.4% from 3-point range.
Armando Bacot, UNC
The All-American big man is UNC’s all-time leader in rebounds and double-doubles. Bacot averaged 15.9 points and 10.4 rebounds last season, shooting a team-best 55.4% from the floor.
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Reece Beekman, Virginia
The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Beekman is one of the top all-around players in the nation. He shot 35.1% from 3-point range, led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.36) and finished second in steals (57).
Carey Booth, Notre Dame
Micah Shrewsberry’s prized recruit ahead of his debut season with the Irish, Booth arrives as a 6-foot-10 freshman and top-50 recruit in his class.
DJ Burns, NC State
The grad student became a fan favorite in his first season with the Wolfpack, averaging 12.5 points and 4.8 rebounds. He knocked down 56.1% of his shots, the fourth-best mark in the ACC.
Elliot Cadeau, UNC
Expected to be UNC’s top passer and playmaker, Cadeau will have high expectations as a freshman point guard. He reclassified to join the Heels a year earlier.
Andrew Carr, Wake Forest
The 6-foot-10 junior started all 33 games last season as Wake’s leading rebounder (6.2 rebounds per game) and rim protector with 32 blocks. Carr averaged 10.8 points per game.
Hunter Cattoor, Virginia Tech
The 2022 ACC Tournament MVP, Cattoor led the league in 3-point percentage (42.4%) last season. He averaged just over 10 points per game and had at least three treys in 16 games.
Skyy Clark, Louisville
The Illinois transfer will be one of Kenny Payne’s top players as the Cards look to rebound from a four-win season. Clark averaged 7.0 points,, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game as a freshman.
Matthew Cleveland, Miami
The Florida State transfer was one of the prized players in the portal. Cleveland averaged 13.8 points and 7.4 rebounds, logging 11 double-doubles as a sophomore with the Noles.
RJ Davis, UNC
Davis shot a team-best 36.2% from 3-point range and was second in scoring at 16.1 points per game last season. The senior also led the team in assists (3.2 apg) and averaged 5.1 rebounds pre game.
Ryan Dunn, Virginia
The 6-foot-8 wing has the build of a pro with a chance to be an impact 3-and-D player as a sophomore. He shot 31% from 3-point range and averaged 1.1 blocks per game.
Kyle Filipowski, Duke
The ACC Freshman of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP likely would have been a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. Filipowksi averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season.
Joe Girard III, Syracuse
The Syracuse transfer averaged 16.4 points per game for the sixth-best mark in the league. Girard shot 38.1% from 3-point range as a senior with the Orange.
Darin Green Jr., Florida State
One of the top shooters in the league, Green averaged a career-high 13.4 points as FSU’s leading returning scorer. The senior has made 299 three-points in his career.
PJ Hall, Clemson
An All-ACC player, Hall is one of the most underrated players in the nation. He averaged a career-high 15.3 points to go with 5.7 rebounds as a junior.
Claudell Harris Jr., Boston College
The Charleston Southern transfer was the second-leading scorer in the Big South at 17.4 points per game. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Jake Heidbreder, Clemson
The Air Force transfer averaged a team-best 15.1 points per game as a sophomore. Heidbreder was seventh in the Mountain West Conference in 3-pointers (75).
Cam Hildreth, Wake Forest
One of the league’s most improved players, Hildreth went from 3.9 points per game as a freshman to 12.2 points per game last season. The junior added 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Blake Hinson, Pitt
An All-ACC player, Hinson averaged 15.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game to lead the Panthers as a junior. He also drilled a team-best 97 three-pointers.
DJ Horne, NC State
The Arizona State transfer averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in his final season for the Sun Devils. He averaged 18.5 points in the NCAA Tournament.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Louisville
The 6-foot-10 forward missed some time with a foot injury last season, but averaged 6.7 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds as a sophomore.
Chase Hunter, Clemson
The senior guard averaged 13.8 points and shot 35.6% from 3-point range last season.
Harrison Ingram, UNC
A 6-foot-7 wing from Dallas, Ingram averaged 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds last season at Stanford. The 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year started 62 of 65 games with the Cardinal.
Miles Kelly, Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets’ leading scorer as a sophomore, Kelly averaged 14.4 points per game. He’ll be the leader in Damon Stoudamire’s first season as head coach.
Ishmael Leggett, Pitt
The Rhode Island transfer steps in to help fill the voids left by Jamarius Burton and Nelly Cummings. Leggett averaged 16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season.
Jared McCain, Duke
The freshman guard has impressed throughout the summer. The top-ranked recruit out of California, McCain has a chance to be among the top rookies in the country.
Isaac McKneely, Virginia
The sophomore guard averaged 6.7 points per game and shot 39.2% from long range, knocking down multiple 3s in 17 games as a freshman.
Baba Miller, Florida State
As a freshman, the Spaniard averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15 games. Miller, who missed a bulk of the season after being suspended by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits, should be a breakout player this season.
Jordan Minor, Virginia
A graduate transfer from Merrimack, Minor was the NEC Co-Player of the Year and the league’s top defender. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 17.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks last season.
Judah Mintz, Syrcause
Mintz enters his sophomore season as the headliner for Adrian Autry’s debut year as head coach. The guard averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists per game last season.
Mark Mitchell, Duke
One of the most versatile players in the nation, Mitchell averaged 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a freshman. Duke went 15-1 when Mitchell reached double-digit points.
Casey Morsell, NC State
The veteran started every game for the Wolfpack last season, averaging 11.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. He led the team with a 41.1% three-point field goal percentage.
Norchad Omier, Miami
A 6-foot-7 post player who plays much bigger than that, Omier was an All-ACC player last season. The junior averaged 13.1 points and 10.0 rebounds, with 16 double-doubles for a Final Four squad.
Nigel Pack, Miami
The Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region during the Canes’ run to the Final Four, Pack averaged 13.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season.
Sean Pedulla, Virginia Tech
Tech’s point guard went from 5.4 points per game as a freshman to 15 points per game as the team’s second-leading scorer in his sophomore season. He started every game and led the team in minutes.
Wooga Poplar, Miami
With Isaiah Wong in the NBA, Poplar will be asked to do more this season. The junior guard averaged 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds last season. He shot 37.4% from 3-point range.
Quinten Post, Boston College
The graduate student was named the ACC’s Most Improved Player last season. Post averaged 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Tyrese Proctor, Duke
The sophomore guard averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. Over the last 10 games, Proctor averaged 10.9 points, 4.4 assists and knocked down 40.5% of his 3-pointers.
Rodney Rice, Virginia Tech
Injuries hindered Rice as a freshman. Despite playing in just eight games, the guard showed he can be a breakout candidate this season. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Jeremy Roach, Duke
The senior guard averaged 13.6 points, 3.1 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game last season. In the last four games, he averaged 18 points and shot 44% from 3-point range.
Julian Roper II, Notre Dame
The Northwestern transfer is coming off an ankle injury as a sophomore. Roper averaged 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds with the Wildcats.
Cormac Ryan, UNC
The Notre Dame transfer brings 3-point shooting to a team in desperate need of it. Ryan made 35.2% of his treys with the Irish and scored 1,173 points in 116 games.
Hunter Sallis, Wake Forest
The Gonzaga transfer topped head coach Steve Forbes’ player rankings in the offseason. A former McDonald’s All-American, Sallis could be one of the breakout guards in the league.
JJ Starling, Syracuse
The Notre Dame transfer was one of the most coveted guards in the portal. Starling averaged 11.2 points per game as a freshman.
Jayden Taylor, NC State
The Butler transfer averaged a team-best 12.9 points and 1.3 steals per game last season as a sophomore. Taylor is the perfect player for Kevin Keatts’ system.
Jalen Warley, Florida State
FSU’s point guard averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 assists per game as a sophomore. Warley also has 78 career steals.
Tre White, Louisville
The USC transfer was one of the top freshmen in the Pac-12 last season. White averaged 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds for an NCAA Tournament team.
Jaeden Zackery, Boston College
The junior guard averaged nearly 15.0 points per game and 3.5 assists in the final five games of last season. Zackery was fifth in the ACC with 48 steals.
Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at email@example.com or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: ACC college basketball players to watch in 2023-24 season