The first weekend of ACC play got underway with essentially few surprises. Duke remained unbeaten while sitting atop the polls, and Boston College, Virginia Tech and Clemson struggled once again.
However, North Carolina got off to a rare 0-1 league start after a dismal offensive performance at Virginia, and Maryland quietly improved to 13-1 on the season — thanks to a deeper-than-expected bench.
There was no shortage of quality individual performances from the weekend, too.
With respect to Maryland’s Alex Len, Seth Allen and Jake Layman, Wake Forest’s Travis McKie and C.J. Harris, Miami’s Rion Brown, Florida State’s Okaro White, Clemson’s Devin Booker, Boston College’s Ryan Anderson, North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock and North Carolina State’s Rodney Purvis, Scott Wood, Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie, here are this week’s Big Men On Campus:
Joe Rahon, Boston College – The freshman point guard had a terrific week for the Eagles, totaling 42 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in a win over Dartmouth and narrow home loss to NC State. Rahon drained eight of 12 three-pointers and did a fine job directing BC’s offense.
Lorenzo Brown, NC State – The junior combo guard, who shined in the Wolfpack’s 78-73 win at Boston College, has shown continual improvement at making his teammates better and knowing how to produce when necessary. For the week (against UNC-Greensboro and BC), Brown had 29 points, 17 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
Kenny Kadji, Miami – With center Reggie Johnson out with a broken finger, Kadji needs to play more physically than he typically does, and he did that this past week. In wins over LaSalle and Georgia Tech, the 6-foot-10 senior notched 25 points, 25 rebounds, five blocks and five steals.
Ryan Kelly, Duke – The 6-10 senior rarely gets much attention, but his value to the Blue Devils has been significant, especially when hitting from the perimeter. Kelly once again lit up Wake Forest, scoring 22 points in 18 minutes (before fouling out). For the week, he totaled 40 points and 11 rebounds in a pair of victories for the nation’s top-ranked team.
Erick Green, Virginia Tech – Green scored 28 points in the Hokies’ 23-point loss at Maryland. Despite the blowout defeat — Virginia Tech’s third straight — Green is among the top scorers in the nation and deserves props for his overall season to this point.
Disappointment of the Week
North Carolina – This is a collective deal, from head coach Roy Williams . . . down to the reserves off the bench. Other than Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, the Tar Heels (10-4) showed little fight or grit in their 61-52 loss at Virginia on Sunday. UNC has no true point guard ready to play at this level or an offensive presence in the post, so the Heels must find other ways to win. They did that in beating UNLV a week earlier but came up short against the Cavaliers.
Player of the Week
Joe Harris, Virginia – One of the most under-appreciated players in the nation, the 6-6 junior turned in an excellent performance in Virginia’s victory over UNC. Harris scored 19 points, grabbed five rebounds, tallied two steals and was instrumental in the Cavaliers’ offense, executing efficiently for long stretches. He was also very good defensively, as few players communicate on the court at his level.
Coach of the Week
Jim Larranaga, Miami – The second-year head man of the Hurricanes directed his team to a quality win over LaSalle and then a road victory over Georgia Tech — a young club that had won six straight and was hosting its first ACC game at the brand-new McCamish Pavilion. This was an impressive victory for the Canes, playing without Reggie Johnson on Saturday.