1. 610 C Sean Williams, junior, Boston College
Blessed with perhaps the best combination of size, strength, and explosiveness in a traditional big man prospect since Amare Stoudemire
first blew up, Williams (3.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.0 bpg in 17.3 mpg)is a very important player in the ACC this year. Williams took time to round back into form after missing the fall semester due to off the court issues, but by the end of the season his impact was undeniable. Despite offering almost nothing offensively, he changed games with his ability to alter shots. His presence alone made every single one of his teammates a significantly better defender. By the end of the season, Williams was probably the single most dominant shot altering presence in the entire country.
However, Al Skinner
needs Williams to be more than just a weakside shot blocker this year. He will have to do more than just stay out of the way on the offensive end, as well as pick up a significant amount of the slack on the glass. Williams has reportedly been working hard on his offensive game, attending two high-profile summer camps and getting positive reviews from those in attendance. He wont need to do much to emerge as a future lottery candidate, but will have to show a better feel for the game, especially in utilizing his immense physical tools in non-shot blocking areas.
A player this talented should be able to put up something along the lines of 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks per game very easily. 2. 63 G J.R. Reynolds, senior, Virginia
So how does an All-ACC Third Teamer show up on a list like this? Yes, last season was Reynolds' true breakout year. But Reynolds is completely under the radar nationally, and was playing like a First Teamer by the end of last season.
Dave Leitao was able to get through to the previously one-dimensional shooter and the end result was a surprisingly complete offensive force. Reynolds(17.3 ppg, 3.1 apg in 33.2 mpg), always a streaky, volume-type scorer, was suddenly one of the most dangerous perimeter players in the conference. He made teams that overplayed his shot regret it, attacking the basket with an explosive first step and the ability to finish in traffic. He pulled up in the lane with regularity, handled the ball effectively, and did a complete 180 on the defensive end. The shooting percentage, a real problem in the past, still wasnt great overall. But Reynolds made it above the 40% mark and hit plenty of difficult jumpers with the shot clock expiring.
Reynolds spent the offseason working on his point guard skills for a stab at the next level, the very thought of which would have been laughable a season ago. Reynolds will always be a combo guard, but needs to continue improving his point guard instincts either way. He is undersized and certainly not cut from the mold of your typical combo guard, but if he can build on a promising junior season and lead Virginia to a Tourney berth, JR Reynolds could make serious waves on the national level.