They’re hidden in the statistical bushes. Sometimes they pop out and make an impression, then slip back into the group of similarly uniformed reserves on the bench. You think, why doesn’t that guy play more? Where has he been? Who is that guy?
Of all the top returning field goal shooters among last year’s ACC regulars (300-plus minutes), only NC State’s BeeJay Anja played as much as half of each game. The rest were spot performers, who may or may not emerge in 2016-17 as mainstays of their respective teams.
None of those invisible marksmen qualified for league leadership by making a minimum of five field goals per game in 2016, even though seven of them hit at least 56 percent from the floor.
The official mantle of the ACC best field goal shooter went to North Carolina’s Brice Johnson, who made .614 from the floor. Only Johnson, along with Virginia’s Anthony Gill and Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste, converted better than 56 percent of their field goal tries among the official leaders.
The unofficial leader among returnees, Georgia Tech’s Ben Lammers, hit at a .639 clip. This year, given a thin roster and a new coach, the 6-10 junior figures to get more opportunity to show what he can do. That’s particularly the case in the absence of big men Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs and James White, all of whom presumably graduated and certainly exhausted their eligibility.
Who knows? Lammers might even get the first start of his career.
Opportunity similarly beckons at Clemson, where 6-10 Sidy Djitte, the first Tiger ever from Senegal, is the most proven big men now that Landry Nnoko has graduated. Djitte made 62 of 100 shots (.620) in ’16.
Then there’s Isaiah Hicks of North Carolina, whose accuracy but not his playing time matched Johnson for the Tar Heels. Hicks, now a senior, has seemed poised to break out the past two years, but a crowded roster and a penchant for foul trouble have slowed his emergence.
As for Anya, who has battled weight and stamina issues throughout his career, he now faces the additional handicap of more talented frontcourt competition. Anya was listed at 344 pounds entering fall practice, a bit of a load even for his 6-9 frame. He was listed at 295 pounds last season when he finished second to Clemson’s Nnoko in blocked shots per game.
(Minimum 300 Minutes Played)
|FG Pct.||Player, School||Class||Games||Min/G||FG-FGA|
|.639||Ben Lammers, GT||Jr.||36||14.8||57-87|
|.620||Sidy Djitte, C||Sr.||31||15.1||62-100|
|.614||Isaiah Hicks, NC||Sr.||40||18.1||132-215|
|.584||Terance Mann, FS||So||34||17.0||73-125|
|.583||Ryan Luther, UP||Jr.||32||13.2||63-108|
|.575||BeeJay Anya, NCS||Sr.||33||23.4||61-106|
|.560||Ray Spalding, UL||So.||30||17.5||70-125|
|.550||Jarquez Smith, FS||Sr.||34||17.0||72-131|
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