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High Rollers - Duke Scorers Set An ACC Standard

To quote Bob Harris, “how sweet it is.”

Duke v Kansas
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils attempts a shot against the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at CenturyLink Center on March 25, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Duke Blue Devils 85-81.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Over the past decade Duke had three of the ACC’s leading scorers in a season, allowing it to move ahead of all other conference programs with 13 top point-producers.

The players who put Duke over the top were Marvin Bagley III in 2018 and RJ Barrett in 2019, breaking a tie with North Carolina that existed since Nolan Smith paced ACC scorers in 2011.

Last year the Blue Devils’ Vernon Carey finished third among league scorers with a 17.8 average, after Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes and Louisville’s Jordan Nwora. Fourth was Garrison Brooks of UNC.

Three schools that joined the ACC during the 21st century have yet to provide a point-producing pacesetter: Louisville, Miami and Notre Dame.

Of note, UVa hasn’t had a top scorer since Jeff Lamp in 1979, including the period during which center Ralph Sampson won three straight consensus national player of the year awards (1981-83). Tony Bennett is the fourth Virginia coach since then, so the lull doesn’t solely reflect his stylistic approach.

Georgia Tech hasn’t produced a No.1 ACC scorer in 30 years, since Dennis Scott and “Lethal Weapon III” secured the school’s first Final Four berth in 1990.

Duke and NC State, courtesy of Anthony “Cat” Barber (23.5 in 2016) and Anthony “T.J.” Warren (24.9 in 2014), are the only programs that had multiple top scorers in the past 10 seasons.

The closest race for ACC scoring leadership occurred in 2019, when Barrett averaged 22.63 points in 38 games and teammate Zion Williamson finished with 22.61 in 33 games.

Last Player To Lead ACC In Scoring, By School
School Year Player Avg. All-Time
Boston College 2015 Olivier Hanlan 19.5 1
Clemson 2000 Will Solomon 20.9 5
Duke 2019 RJ Barrett 22.6 13
Florida State 2009 Toney Douglas 21.5 3
Georgia Tech 1990 Dennis Scott 27.7 2
Louisville NA - joined in 2015
Maryland 2012 Terrell Stoglin 21.6 6
Miami NA - joined in 2004
No. Carolina 2008 Tyler Hansbrough 22.6 11
N.C. State 2016 Cat Barber 23.5 10
Notre Dame NA - joined in 2014
Pittsburgh 2017 Michael Young 19.6 1
South Carolina 1957 Grady Wallace 31.2 1
Syracuse 2020 Elijah Hughes 19.0 1
Virginia 1979 Jeff Lamp 22.9 4
Virginia Tech 2013 Erick Green 25.0 2
Wake Forest 2003 Josh Howard 19.5 7