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Film Study: The ACC

This month on 'P.I. Pulse,’ Pro Insight’s Esayas Gebrekidan highlights over 100 college basketball players to watch after pouring through countless hours of film throughout the 2022-23 NCAA season and over the summer:

Ahead of last season, we analyzed a number of college basketball’s top returners and transfers via Film Study. Since it was a productive exercise and so well-received — we upped the ante this season. Over the next week, we’ll be publishing written analysis and video breakdowns on over 100 college players. Across each Power 6 conference and amidst Mid-Majors, who are the top returners? Transfers? How about those primed for a breakout season? We've got you covered. Stay tuned later this month for plenty of content on freshmen, as well.

With that said, let's get to it — we will begin with the ACC:

Top Returners

Armando Bacot

6’11” Forward | North Carolina | Senior

Bacot has the potential to put together another stellar season and get the Tar Heels back to the tournament. Listed at 6'11” and 240 pounds, Bacot is a double-double machine, successfully leveraging his functional strength and high motor to become one of the top rebounding bigs in the country as well as a productive presence in the paint. He does a great job using his big frame to create space, seal opponents and play long. Per Synergy, post-ups accounted for 36.7% of Bacot’s offense in 2022-23 and he converted 54.2% of them.

Bacot plays physical, finishes through contact and gets to the foul line, ranking #10 in the nation in FTA as a junior. Averaging 1.3 APG for his career, Bacot has improved making reads out of the post, displaying good awareness and feel as he passes out of double teams finding cutters or spot-up shooters. His effort and hustle are second-to-none and he’s a monster on the offensive glass, which accounts for 21% of his offense, as he ranked #4 in the nation in offensive rebounds per game at 4.2 last season.

On the defensive end of the floor, Bacot does a good job protecting the rim. He does not generate a ton of blocks but he plays vertically, is a tough body to finish through, and holds opponents to 40% shooting on attempts in the paint. Bacot has even displayed an ability to step out and defend on the perimeter at times, holding opponents to 18.6% shooting from 3. The trademark hustle and energy show up on the defensive end, too, as Bacot ranked #4 in defensive RPG at 8.9, consistently boxing out and putting a body on opponents.

Reece Beekman

6’3” Guard | Virginia | Senior

Beekman is an all-around talent who impacts the game on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he is not going to blow you away with his scoring, but he does a great job playing within Virginia's system, plus being capable of knocking down shots in big moments. Off the dribble, Beekman has shown he can get down hill, beating opponents off the dribble and pulling up from mid-range. In pick-and-roll offense he is patient, engaging both the help defender and primary defender as he navigates the screen to get to his spot.

Beekman’s decision and playmaking are key to his offensive production, he has a high BBIQ, great court vision and an ability to make reads in the moment as he limits mistakes. He averaged 5.3 APG last season and ranked #2 nationally with a 3.4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Off the ball, he never stops moving, running his opponents through screens or relocating to create space.

The reigning DPOY for the Cavaliers, Beekman will continue to make his case as one of the best defenders in the nation. He has displayed an ability to lock down opponents with his physicality, ball pressure and his ability to cut off drivers. He also does a great job limiting fouls and staying on the floor, as he forces opponents into turnovers that don't necessarily show up on traditional box scores. When Beekman does generate turnovers and steals, it's close to 2 per game (he led the ACC in steals last season) thanks to his defense on and off the ball, showing great instincts, awareness and timing. Beekman plays the gaps but is also hard to shake free from as he locks and trails, getting to his man on the catch with hands up.

RJ Davis

6’0” Guard | North Carolina | Senior

Davis has been one of UNC’s more productive and efficient players over the last two seasons. He will see his already major role increase this season as he’s one of just two key returners from last season's team that missed the tournament.

Davis had some big time moments throughout his junior season as he filled the stat sheet, showing flashes of his three-level scoring ability, shooting 36% from 3, 40% from mid-range and 57.5% on attempts in the paint. Davis scores in a variety of ways but his touch in the paint when getting to his floater is one of the more impressive aspects of his game as he converted 51.7% of those attempts in 2022-23. Davis is a speedy guard who can break down defenses off the dribble as he dumps off to bigs and kicks out to shooters. Davis averaged 3.2 APG a season ago and could see a significant spike in his assists with the addition of the floor spacers UNC signed from the transfer portal.

A willing defender, Davis has embraced playing a physical style of defense, making opponents work on every possession. He plays with effort, has a good motor and fights over screens. Off the ball, Davis locks and trails, and is aggressive on the catch with a hand up as his opponent looks to get a shot off. He’s also appeared to embrace crashing the glass and is eager to push the ball in transition after grabbing a rebound.

Kyle Filipowski

7’0” Forward/Center | Duke | Sophomore

The reigning ACC Freshman of the Year has his sights set on a deeper tournament run this season while further preparing his game for the highest level. At 7’0”, Filipowski is a talented multi-positional frontcourt chess piece who can do a little bit of everything, making him a tough opponent to scout. Last year, he excelled playing off the ball as a cutter, constantly moving and spacing the floor with Duke using his ability to stretch the floor as a way to keep defenses from collapsing in the paint.

Filipowski has strong BBIQ, in part illustrated by his understanding of off ball movement, where he relocates and times his cuts to precision, connecting on 60.7% of his attempts as a cutter as a freshman. He crashes the glass and does a great job positioning himself and playing physical, having averaged 2.5 offensive boards per game and 1.154 PPP on put-backs in 2022-23. Even given his size, Filipowski has an ability to take opponents off the dribble, utilizing his shot fake to get to the rim or to a mid-range jumper. His ball handling skills are highlighted by his ability to rebound and push the ball in transition, flashing point-forward potential as he leads the break. The key for Filipowski heading into his second campaign in Durham will be his efficiency as he looks to improve his shot selection (in 2022-23, he shot 44.1% from the field and 28.2% from three).

Filipowski did a great job embracing the defensive end of the floor in his first season with the Blue Devils but there is always room for growth. As the primary defender, he held opponents to 43.6% shooting from the field and 27.6% from three, showing an ability to provide interior and perimeter defense. Filipowski plays well in the gaps and as a weak-side defender, routinely rotating to stop drives or contest shots at the rim. Moving forward, look for “Flip” to find some consistency defending in the post and to improve his defense in pick-and-roll coverage.

PJ Hall

6’10” Forward | Clemson | Senior

Hall’s versatility and floor spacing will make Clemson tough to match-up with. At 6'10”, Hall posted shooting splits of 53.5/39.8/78.1 as a junior, doing everything on the offensive end to help his team earn wins. Hall possesses multi-level scoring ability, having finished the 2022-2023 season shooting 39.8% from 3, 42% from mid-range and 60.8% in the paint. Hall scores in a variety of ways but excels in the post which accounted for 37.2% of his offense as he converted 44% of his attempts last season. He does a great job sealing while avoiding turnovers by keeping the ball and going straight up. Hall has keen awareness while passing out of double teams, and this season, he’ll be sharing the court with two teammates who shot 38% or better from three point range last year.

Hall has improved his three-point shooting every season, capped off by his impressive productivity last season in which he shot 39% on catch-and-shoot and 40.7% on pick-and-pops. Defensively, Hall does a great job using his length to his advantage. More of a rim protector than shot blocker, he alters shots at the rim but also plays long when defending on the perimeter. In situations where Hall is tasked with defending on the perimeter, he displays an ability to switch and defend adequately in a pinch.

Judah Mintz

6’3” Guard | Syracuse | Sophomore

Mintz outplayed expectations as a freshman with the Orange, solidifying himself as one of the top guards in the country. After entering his name into the draft, he made the decision to return for his sophomore season. This move could prove to be wise, as he has the potential to rise up draft boards throughout 2023-24. Mintz is a speedy guard with a crafty handle who uses both to break opponents down off the dribble to get to the rim. His ability to change speeds and stop on a dime allow him to keep defenses off balance.

For Mintz, extending his game will be a part of his development, but his ability to get to the paint could help unlock his shooting if defenders choose to sag off. Last season, 60% of his made shots came in the paint where he converted 54.8% of them. Ranked #5 in the ACC in assists per game, he is a skilled facilitator with excellent court vision and good BBIQ. He consistently finds cutters and shooters on drive-and-kicks, displaying creativity as a passer.

It will be interesting to see if Syracuse moves away from the heavy zone defensive schemes they have used throughout Coach Boeheim's tenure. Mintz has displayed an ability to defend, moving well laterally cutting off driving opportunities, playing with active hands and applying ball pressure, but will need to be more consistent and disciplined. He did a great job forcing turnovers, averaging 1.8 SPG as he used his speed, awareness and instincts to play the gaps and passing lanes. If the program does go with a more equal man to zone coverage and Mintz embraces and thrives on that end, it could go a long way with NBA personnel.

Nijel Pack

6’0” Guard | Miami | Junior

In Pack’s first season in Miami, he helped lead his team to the Final Four, proving to be one of the better transfer portal signings from the 2022 cycle. Pack will now look to lead the Canes back to the promised land with an encore. Pack scores in a variety of ways at multiple levels, making him one of the best scorers in the country, pound-for-pound.

Pack is an elite shooter from three who connected on 41.6% of his three-point shots on 6 attempts per game in 2022-23. Pack’s ability to play off the ball allows him to come off screens or hand-offs where he has been just as effective, shooting 43.4% on such attempts. He has deep range and a quick release which forces defenses to stretch, allowing the Canes to capitalize off the space and gravity. Using his range shooting to unlock other aspects of his game, he is a crafty and shifty ball handler who does a great job avoiding containment by changing speed and direction.

Even with his scoring prowess, Pack is a good creator, and averaged 2.3 APG last season. Historically, he proved he could take on even heavier floor general usage at Kansas State where he averaged 3.8 APG as a freshman. This season he should have the ball in his hands even more, providing ample opportunity to function as an offensive initiator.

Tyrese Proctor

6’5” Guard | Duke | Sophomore

Proctor should make a huge impact this season and is already being touted as a potential lottery pick. He has the opportunity to back up the hype with his play this season. The things NBA evaluators would like to see improve are his shooting splits of 38% from the field and 31% from deep for his freshman year.

Two aspects that weighed down his shooting percentages are areas that we expect to see major development this season: one was his inability to finish consistently in the paint, having finished last season converting 46.9% FG on runners and shots at the rim. By getting stronger, using his body to create and to better finish through contact, he should see a nice improvement in this area of his game. The second aspect: his lack of shooting off the dribble from long range. Per Synergy, about one-third of his three-point attempts came off the dribble, where he connected on just 18.4%.

When Proctor played off the ball and was playing more off the catch, he connected on 38% from range. His ability to shoot on the move is also a strength, indicated by his 37.5% three-point shooting off screens, last season. As the primary ball handler, he shows patience, good court vision and a high BBIQ with an ability to make reads and allow the play to develop. Averaging 3.3 APG, he’s shown creativity and an ability to make tough passes while limiting mistakes.

Where Proctor made his greatest impact for the Blue Devils last season was on the defensive end of the floor. He plays with great energy, effort and intensity, holding opponents to .763 PPP, 32.9% FG and 30.6% from 3. He’s improved his physicality since high school, often getting into opponents, applying ball pressure and cutting off driving lanes. In pick-and-roll coverage, there is plenty of evidence of him fighting over screens getting back to his man, allowing the defense to recover on their rotations. Proctor doesn’t generate steals at a high rate but his defense forces opponents into tough passes, leading to turnovers, while he also plays within the defensive scheme and limits mistakes on this end.

Jeremy Roach

6’2” Guard | Duke | Senior

Roach will be the unquestioned leader of this Duke team going into his senior season. With another heralded recruiting class and multiple potential lottery picks in next year's draft, Roach has the potential to be the piece that solidifies Duke's season.

On the offensive end of the floor, Roach will act as a facilitator and creator, areas which suit him well due to his ball handling and ability to penetrate and collapse the defense. Averaging 3 APG for his career, he brings a mature feel and understanding of the game, often seeing plays before they fully develop. He is adept at making the right reads off the dribble and is willing to make the extra pass. Last season was his best year shooting from behind the arc at 34%, proving to be an adequate shooter and someone you have to account for when playing drop coverage in pick-and-roll situations.

Roach will continue to make nights tough for opponents on the defensive end of the floor. Playing with a competitive edge and physicality, he does not let up on or off the ball. At the point of attack, Roach plays with active hands and moves laterally, defending and cutting off drives. He has shown some defensive versatility on this end, as well, when switched onto bigs he does a great job using his lower body strength to fight in the post. A good weak-side defender, Roach plays the gaps, stunts at ball handlers and sees man and ball.

Top Transfers

Joe Girard III

6’2” Guard | Clemson | Senior

Girard has been one of the best shooters in the country during his time at Syracuse. Girard’s addition to the Clemson program provides them a big time scorer with deep range and playmaking ability. His off-ball movement is elite and the pace at which he plays allows him to get open. Per Synergy, coming off screens accounts for 23% of his offensive production; when coming off screens, his percentage jumped to 43.3% from deep.

Although he had limited possessions as a cutter during the 2022-2023 season, he shot a strong 62.5%. As a creator, Girard has averaged close to 4 APG, consistently making the extra pass but he also finds cutters and shooters off the dribble. Girard's ability to move off the ball and space the floor is impressive and creates gravity. Additionally, his deep shooting range makes him a constant threat as soon as he crosses halfcourt.

Defensively, Girard has played in a zone-heavy scheme at Syracuse and this is where his biggest adjustment will be at Clemson. Some of those Syracuse defensive schemes will translate to his new program, such as his ability playing the gaps, understanding rotations and having active hands to generate deflections and steals.

Harrison Ingram

6’7” Forward | North Carolina | Junior

Ingram’s addition to North Carolina gives the Tar Heels another ball handler with point-forward potential who generates offense for himself and teammates. Ingram handled a good amount of the ball handling responsibilities for Stanford, averaging 3.4 APG, generating assists in a variety of ways while remaining patient and showing great feel. Already an effective playmaker, we could see an increase in Ingram’s assists due to UNC bringing in four transfers who shot 34% or better from range.

Ingram will be used in pick-and-roll situations alongside Armando Bacot who will generate double teams, allowing Ingram to showcase his skills as a creator. The Ingram/Bacot combination will really force opponents to have to pick their poison. An area of his game that can see major improvement this season is his shooting from behind the arc, as he is a career 31.6% shooter from 3, making 35.2% of his catch-and-shoot attempts last season.

Andrew Rohde

6’6” Guard | Virginia | Sophomore

If there were expectations to be had going into his freshman season, Rohde all but shattered them, averaging 17p-3.7r-3.6a-1.7s, while leading St. Thomas in all four categories. Rohde was highlighted in our overachieving freshman article last season based on his non-conference play. At 6’6”, he has great positional size and flashed some three-level scoring as well as playmaking as a freshman. Although he didn't shoot the ball particularly well from behind the arc (32%), his efficiency should improve this season while being surrounded by more playmakers. He has the ability to play off the ball, as a cutter, coming off handoffs and screens will help space the floor for the Cavaliers.

As the primary ball handler, Rohde showed an ability to beat opponents off the dribble, getting downhill and does a great job finishing at the rim, having converted 57.3% of such attempts, last season. Rohde's skill in pick-and-roll situations is impressive, as he attacks the opposing big/helper and collapses the defense, while creating scoring opportunities for teammates. His unselfish approach to the game will be a great asset for the Cavaliers, as he is always looking for opportunities to create and initiate offense for his team.

Defensively, Rohde uses his length well, playing with active hands and acting as a disruptor on and off the ball. Averaging almost 2 steals per game as a freshman, he has demonstrated good instincts and awareness while playing within himself and limiting mistakes — hallmark traits in Tony Bennett’s system.

Cormac Ryan

6’5” Guard | North Carolina | Senior

The addition of Ryan provides UNC with the perimeter shooting they missed last season. The Notre Dame transfer has struggled to finish at the rim, but is a capable multi-level threat who shot 34% from deep and 44% on mid-range attempts, last season. He will provide instant floor-spacing and will be the recipient of a ton of drive and kicks, acting as an outlet when teams look to double the post. On catch-and-shoot attempts last season, his percentage increased to 39.1% from 3. Cormac has averaged 2.2 APG for his college career, providing the Tar Heels with another ball handler and secondary playmaker.

Primed to Breakout

Amaree Abram

6’4” Guard | Georgia Tech | Sophomore

Abram is a physical guard, who showed glimpses of his potential in an up-and-down season at Ole Miss as a freshman. He now plays for a coach who was once an elite NBA PG who knows what it takes to be successful in the collegiate and pro ranks. At 6 '4”, Abram brings good size to the backcourt and an ability to play on or off the ball. Having averaged 8p-2r-2a on 36% shooting from 3 last year, Abram is just scratching the surface of his potential as a two-way impact player.

With a majority of his possessions coming as the primary ball handler in pick-and-roll situations, Abram is patient and reads the defense as he navigates the screen, with the defender on his hip, he’s prone to attacking the big and getting to the rim (53.6% FG) or pulling up for a short jumper. Off the ball, Abram plays with pace, shifting gears as he comes off screens or hand-offs to get downhill, converting 66.7% of his mid-range attempts in those situations. Abram converted 36.4% of his three-point attempts, one of the most consistent areas for him throughout the season, and cashed in 47.8% of his catch-and-shoot attempts from range. As a creator, Abram does look to get teammates involved, but he will need to improve the 2 APG, while focusing on limiting turnovers (1.8 TO).

As anyone who watched him in high school would’ve predicted, Abram defended well in his first college season and it’s an area in which he can provide an immediate impact for Georgia Tech. He plays hard and physical, moves well laterally and is an active on-ball defender. As the primary defender, Abram held opponents to 34.4% shooting from the field and 27% from 3 while at Ole Miss.


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