When the Noles season ended in the ACC Tournament, I looked at how the conference might shape up next year. But now we have a much better idea of how the rosters will look, and that changes the perspective. More recruits have inked with teams, transfers have come and gone, and a number of players decided to stop playing for free* and instead turned pro to earn a paycheck.
So where does FSU fit in?
The Blue Devils lost a ton - Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow all elected to delare for the NBA draft, and Quinn Cook graduated. That's three five stars and a top-40 recruit, and only leaves them with 4 returning McDonald's All Americans. Of course, they're bringing in four more 5* recruits, and they also have transfer Sean Obi who sat out this season, and he's the best rebounder in the nation.
Not that recruiting rankings matter, and I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the two teams with more 5*s than anyone else made the Final 4, but this truly is a reload and not anything approaching a rebuild. Duke can run out a complete lineup of 5*s. The rest of the ACC has six total 5*s on the rosters, and only UNC has more than one.
Oh, what could have been. The Hoos are looking to become a fixture on the national stage, only now they'll have to do it without both Justin Anderson (NBA), and his replacement BJ Stith (transfer). They do have Darius Thompson (Tennessee) who sat out this year, and he may be their best defender.
3. North Carolina
UNC has no seniors who were regulars, and - despite being absolutely loaded with blue chip recruits - they didn't have a single player who was a slam dunk to leave early. JP Tokoto didn't get the "let's come back and make a statement" memo, however, and instead decided to start making money. The Heels talented roster can still be scary if they reach their potential.
Rakeem Christmas is gone, Chris McCullough went pro (after missing much of the season injured), and BJ Johnson and Ron Patterson left, but the Orange are still loaded. They're currently set to have 9 top 100 recruits on the roster. DaJuan Coleman should also be back assuming his knees can handle it.
The Cardinals graduated Wayne Blackshear, and they knew they'd lose Montrezl Harrell to the draft, but then they lost sophomore Terry Rozier as well. Of course, they have a top ranked recruiting class, and landed senior Damion Lee (Drexel), who may have been the most coveted player on the transfer market.
6. NC State
The Wolfpack graduated Ralston Turner, and they have West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson to take over that spot. If this summary ended there, then Wolfpack fans would be jazzed. Instead, 24-year-old Trevor Lacey turned pro, and versatile power forward Kyle Washington transferred out of Dodge.
7. Florida State
The Noles lose Kiel Turpin, but bring in the 3rd ranked ACC recruiting class. The key is that FSU is in desperate need of help on the wing, and incoming 5* freshman Dwayne Bacon is one of the most college ready wings in the class. Xavier Rathan-Mayes will put up better overall numbers once he's surrounded by more talent. Benji Bell, a JUCO All American, could be extremely valuable off the bench.
8. Notre Dame
Bad news: Notre Dame was 7-13 in the past two years without Jerian Grant, and 38-9 with him. He graduates. Good news: Notre Dame has another superstar in junior-to-be Demetrius Jackson.
Everything looked great for Miami until their best point guard - Manu Lecomte - transferred to Rutgers. Now the team will fail or succeed based on the play of Angel Rodriguez. PF Kamari Murphy (Oklahoma State) will be eligible after sitting out a year. Promising freshman Deandre Burnett, who never met a shot he didn't like, also left the program.
The core trio of Jamel Artis, Michael Young, and James Robinson are all slated to return. The problem is that the core trio has led a defense which is terrible. It also hurts that former top 100 recruit Durand Johnson - who sat out the year injured - decided to transfer.
11. Virginia Tech
Buzz Williams has a talent infusion on the way, but they'll need time to get their feet wet. He had four freshmen this year who were all solid players, and they'll be joined by some more ACC quality talent.
12. Wake Forest
Keeping up the theme of "team X returns pretty much everyone," Wake Forest returns pretty much everyone. But Danny Manning needs better players.
13. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets couldn't afford to fire their coach, which pretty much sums up the program. They did land Adam Smith, who was Virginia Tech's top scorer last year.
Jaron Blossomgame returned. Had he not, the Tigers would be in serious trouble.
15. Boston College
The Eagles lose more than anyone. They were already really bad. Jim Christian has a monumental rebuild on his hands. Close your eyes, BC fans.
*Yes, I know that players don't technically play for free. The average athletic scholarship is worth somewhere around $28,000 a year. Of course, that calculation includes ridiculously overpriced housing and food, books which are pretty much a publishing racket, and several other things that wouldn't be nearly as valuable on the open market. College athletes might be the only people in the nation who earn a 28K "salary" yet can't afford to go to a movie. So many of them decide to turn pro, even the ones who might not play in the NBA, because for some reason a hundred thousand in actual money seems - to some - more attractive than 28 thousand in pretend money.