With the fall beginning and college basketball just around the corner, it's time to look back at what our favorite teams did during their summer vacations. Some did some good things; some had a bad time. So let's look back at who did what in our How I Spent My Summer Vacation series.
Today's look is the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Roy Williams Hits Jackpot When All His Guys Return
The Tar Heels were at quite the crossroads. After a great season ended with a disappointing loss to Kansas, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green all decided to take a look at the NBA Draft. Hansbrough decided to come back, but the other three entered the draft with the opportunity to come back to school if they didn't like their draft status.
If any or all left, the Heels were facing some uncertainty heading into the season. Yes, they'd still be a good team but they'd have a few holes.
In a somewhat surprising move, all three Heels decided to come back for one last hurrah. That means Ol' Roy gets everyone back from that Final Four team (sans a transferred Alex Stepheson and a graduating Quentin Thomas -- both role players). They also bring in three McDonald's All Americans.
Now the Heels are scary deep, scary talented and very experienced. They will enter the season as probably a clear-cut No. 1 ranked team with a NCAA Tournament Championship as the goal. Anything less will be a huge disappointment.
Coach K Turns Golden
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski spent his summer vacation in China coaching the USA Olympic basketball team. Team USA won the gold in a thrilling victory over Spain and reasserted America as the best hoops country in the world.
Now Coach K heads back to his day job, coaching a Duke program that sees themselves as the kings of college hoops. The Blue Devils are experienced, talented and primed for a run back to the Final Four.
What people are interested to see is how Krzyzewski's time with the NBA guys will affect Duke. I don't think that the team will suffer from not having him while he was with the Redeem Team, but what nuances may K add into his already lethal arsenal? Remember that last season he brought Mike D'Antoni's (former Suns, now Knicks head coach who served as an assistant for Team USA) offensive system to Duke with some great success.
Maryland's Revolving Door
Gary Williams has been on a hot seat of sorts. That's unfair to a man that took the Terps to a National Championship earlier this decade. However, NIT appearances and questionable recruiting have taken him out of favor from the Maryland faithful.
During this offseason, Williams watched several players bolt. Bobby Maze couldn't get his grades up to university standards so he moved on to Tennessee. Gus Gilchrist was put off by the ACC's intraconference transfering rules and left for South Florida. Stud recruit Tyree Evans was run out of College Park once his police record and jail time were made public.
J.J. Hickson Leaves N.C. State
Despite all the commotion about what the UNC players might do, there was still just one underclassman that left an ACC program for the NBA. Freshman forward J.J. Hickson decided one year at N.C. State was enough and entered the NBA Draft. He was selected with the 19th pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There have been one-and-dones in the ACC and players have left early for a long time. But this was really the first offseason where we saw premiere guys "testing the waters".
Hickson leaving N.C. State also creates an interesting void. After the 2007 season, the Wolfpack were being buzzed about as a sleeper team. Hickson was the best player on the 2007-2008 team but they stumbled in the standings. With no Hickson, will the Pack go back to its better days? We'll have to see.
Psycho T's Leap
While Tyler Hansbrough didn't leap into the NBA Draft, he did find time to leap into a pool. From a balcony. Hansbrough received some flak for pulling off the stunt, but continues to feed his "Psycho T" persona.
Sean Singletary (Virginia), DeMarcus Nelson (Duke), James Gist (Maryland), J.J. Hickson (NC State), James Mays (Clemson), Jason Rich (Florida State), Anthony Morrow (Ga Tech) and Deron Washington (Va Tech).
Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest), Tony Woods (Wake Forest), Tyler Zeller (North Carolina), Miles Plumlee (Duke), Ed Davis (North Carolina), Elliot Williams (Duke), Olek Czyz (Duke), Iman Shumpert (Ga Tech), Andre Jones (Clemson) and DeQuan Jones (Miami).