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November 21, 2007

ACC back in with the big names

The ACC is no stranger to landing the nation's top high school basketball talent.

In fact, seven prospects coming into the conference are ranked in the top 26 of Rivals.com's top 100 players in the nation. All seven are also potential McDonald's All-Americans.

Wake Forest has a lot to do with the talent influx. Skip Prosser's final class at Wake Forest is tops in the nation with three five-star prospects - Al-Farouq Aminu, Tony Woods and Ty Walker. The future Demon Deacons make up the top incoming class in the nation - and set the bar for the rest of the conference.

North Carolina is no strangers to landing top talent year in and year out, and this year's class is no different. Roy Williams locked up a pair of five-stars in big men Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller, as well as point guard Larry Drew. The Tar Heels check in at No. 9 overall in the nation.

Florida State was the big winner in the early signing period when forward Chris Singleton committed to the Seminoles. His addition should vault FSU into the top 10 in the team rankings. On Monday night, Leonard Hamilton and staff added yet another player to the fold in junior college guard Derwin Kitchen.

Virginia and Duke also cracked into the top 30 national rankings. The Cavaliers check in at No. 21 and the Blue Devils at No. 25.

Biggest recruiting coup

Raised in Indiana and with 75 percent of his finalists in his home state, Washington High School forward Tyler Zeller decided to leave the Midwest for North Carolina. The Tar Heels made up strong ground and overcame the location factor. Zeller chose UNC over Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue.

Best of the ACC
Best perimeter scorer: Elliot Williams, Duke
Best low post scorer: Ed Davis, North Carolina
Best passer: Luke Loucks, Florida State
Best shooter: Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech
Best rebounder: Ed Davis, North Carolina
Best shot-blocker: Tony Woods, Wake Forest
Best defender: Sean Mosley, Maryland
Most versatile: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Best in the clutch: Andre Young, Clemson
Best basketball IQ: Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech
Best pro prospect: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Best speed: Elliot Williams, Duke
Best motor: Olek Czyz, Duke
Best strength: Victor Davila, Virginia Tech
Best leaper: Dequan Jones, Miami
Impact player: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Biggest sleeper: Dallas Elmore, Boston College
Sleeper class: Boston College
The Tar Heels' other five-star recruit, Ed Davis, could also be considered a major coup. The Virginia native was long thought to be a Virginia lean, but he surprised some when opted for the Tar Heels.

Budding rivalry

The connections between players, particularly at the guard position, within the conference are tremendous. Duke landed Memphis guard Elliot Williams, who also strongly considered Virginia.

Virginia landed New York wing Sylven Landesberg, who strongly considered Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech landed Iman Shumpert, who also strongly considered North Carolina.

Biggest miss

With a brother already on the roster at Georgia Tech, a former high school teammate now playing for Paul Hewitt and the campus being located just a short drive away from his Norcross (Ga.) home, everyone in the recruiting world had Al-Farouq Aminu down as a lock for the Yellow Jackets.

Not so fast.

Aminu, a regular on Georgia Tech's campus since his brother, Alade, enrolled at the school, took a visit to Wake Forest and the interest level swung. Aminu said he wanted to find a place where he could carve out his own niche. Wake Forest provided him with that.

Best storyline

Before Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser passed away on July 26, he was able to do something no one else has been able to do. Prosser and staff landed three five-star prospects (Aminu, Woods and Walker) in the class of 2008. All three haven't wavered since committing.

Wake Forest needs size, and the trio will help - mostly on the defensive end - from the outset. When paired with the current freshmen class, the new Deacons will have the pieces in line to honor Prosser on the court as well.

  • Vote: Who has the ACC's top class? | No. 1 SEC | No. 2 Pac-10 | Coming tomorrow: No. 4 Big East

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