Photo: Syracuse Athletics

There were a ton of freshmen that made a name for themselves last year in the ACC and players like Matthew Hurt and Justin Champagnie already made our list of “Stars of the ACC.”  However, there are several other rising sophomores that will be big names in college basketball this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Here is a list of players that we will have our eyes on.


(No specific order)

Jay Heath Jr (Boston College)

Last year, he led the Eagles in scoring, averaging 13 points per game, while also racking up 33 minutes a game.  He is a quick, scoring guard that shot 42 percent from the floor and averaged 5.6 shot attempts from three.  Heath has a chance to continue his quick rise for the Eagles this season.

Joseph Girard III (Syracuse)

Girard was a scoring machine in high school and despite a low shooting percentage last year (34.8 percent), one can see that he will be tough to slow down for the Orange.  Averaging 12.4 point and nearly putting up seven 3-pointers a game, those percentage numbers should certainly increase and with that, his numbers will increase.

Nahiem Alleyne (Virginia Tech)

Alleyne earned significant minutes early on and showed that he can produce.  He finished the season averaging 8.8 points but only shot 38 percent from the floor.  However, he started 27 games last year and earned valuable minutes that should translate into his sophomore season.

Wendell Moore (Duke)

Moore has a ton of talent and that is why many pegged him early as a prospect that could see his name in this year’s draft.  Instead, he is coming back for his sophomore season.  On multiple occasions, he showed that he can be a big threat in creating, scoring, and getting to the line.  Games like at North Carolina, Georgetown, and against Wake Forest, Moore stepped up big.  Now, it will be his time to showcase that talent on a consistent level.

Al-Amir Dawes (Clemson)

The quick guard was thrown into the fire for the Tigers but man, did he produce.  Now, he will be part of an experienced group that will lead the charge for Clemson.  He averaged nearly 30 minutes, 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, using his speed to get downhill and score.  With another year under his belt, Dawes is one to really watch in the ACC this season.

Tyrece Radford (Virginia Tech)

You don’t always see a 6’2 guard post the numbers Radford did early on for the Hokies, averaging 10.2 points but also averaging 6.2 rebounds per game, which is quite impressive in itself.  It will be interesting to see what steps Radford takes with his game, along with Alleyne.  If they both can take the necessary step forward, the Hokies will have a nice duo for the future.

Samuell Williamson (Louisville)

Williamson was pegged as a freshman to watch when he came to Louisville but he did have to deal with a loaded roster last year.  However, we are talking about a 6’7 prospect that can impact the game in multiple ways.  Now is his chance to step up and take on the challenge.  The talent is there, he just has to produce.

Manny Bates (NC State)

Bates still has a ton of room to improve and he has to find ways to stay on the floor and not get in foul trouble so much.  However, he had bright moments as a freshman and you can’t teach 6’11.  Last year though, he averaged 5.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game.  Bates could continue to be a big threat on the boards and blocking shots, which is where he could make his mark as a sophomore.