Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tracking the Worthies Worthy Enough

A problem I confronted in writing a book on an ACC Basketball Hall of Fame was how to extend the possibility of enshrinement in said august body past the publication date.

When other players comes along to collect enough awards points for induction, as they surely will, I knew I wasn't going to be able to publish a new edition just to include them.

Of course when The ACC Basketball Book of Fame is in its 15th printing, having been translated into five dozen languages, such problems will take care of themselves.

Until then. . .

As good a reason as any for the blog you're reading is to keep the Hall of Fame dynamic -- and not let it become static. This way, when a worthy (James or otherwise) becomes worthy enough, I'll make a big deal about it on this blog. I can even do a bit of research and whip up a chapter on the player and include him alongside his fellow Hall of Famers here until the next edition comes out.

Better yet, we can all, together, track the progress and prospects of every ACC Player toward the ultimate reward of being included in my book. To assist such endeavors, I've posted the Awards Points Formula used to determine admission to the Hall of Fame in the railing of this blog. Just scroll to the right and down, and there it is -- right below the list of Hall of Famers I've recently added as well.

A cursory check of the qualifications of current ACC players suggests I'm not going to have to worry about any of this anytime soon. The guy who has made it further than anybody down the path through the Portico of Prominence toward the Golden Threshold of the Hall of Fame is Joe Harris of Virginia, who picked up 325 points last season as the fourth-leading vote-getter for first-team All-ACC. But because he'll be a senior, Harris is going to have to have a monster year to make it all the way.

It's certainly not outside the realm of possibilities. By being named ACC Player of the Year (200 points) and getting the most votes for All-ACC (400 points), Harris would be in range for induction with 925 points. That way, he'd only need to be named first-team All-ACC Tournament to make the cut. And if he made second-team consensus All-America along the way, he'd be in without a sweat.

Harris should not despair. The ACC Book of Fame is full of players (Tyler Zeller, Nolan Smith, Jared Dudley and Josh Howard just in the last decade) who barged their way into the Hall of Fame with monster final seasons.

James Michael McAdoo has not been the mega-star for North Carolina many predicted he would be, but he did make second-team All-ACC last season with the 10th most votes, for 175 points. And he does have two seasons remaining, if he chooses to take them.

The smarter money may be on Olivier Hanlan of Boston College, who collected 150 points last season as a freshman. Hanlan was the ACC Rookie of the Year (100 points) and second-team All-Tournament (50 points). And the fact he has three years remaining -- if he chooses to take them -- gives him far more time than Harris.

The smartest money yet may be on a freshman entering the ACC this season, say a Jabari Parker at Duke or an Isaiah Hicks at North Carolina. But the prospects for Parker, Hicks or any member of the incoming class would be contingent on a) being as good as advertised and, b) being willing to hang around college basketball long enough to accrue enough awards and accolades.

All of this is something I'll be keeping my eye on as the 2013-14 ACC season unfolds. I wouldn't mind you keeping track as well.

Let's keep track together.


  1. Dan, I don't know if this is a flaw in your formula or in the state of college basketball, but it seems like it's going to be harder and harder to get great players into future editions of the Book of Fame. Too many of the best players just aren't going to stay long enough. Do you think that you might need to make adjustments to your scoring system, or do you think players will start staying longer in college again?

  2. You raise a point, DB, that I've thought long and hard about. First off, the two issues don't have to be mutually exclusive. The problems could be both a flaw in the formula and the state of the game. I've gone back to check the flow of players into my ACCBHOF. Tyler Zeller from 2012 was the last inductee. If there are none from 2014, it would mark the first time the ACC has played two seasons without producing a HOF player. That, indeed, would be noteworthy. From the second season of 1955 on, there have been only nine seasons that didn't end with Hall of Famer playing his final ACC season. The first was 1969, followed by 1972, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2013. So you can see they have become more frequent, but not inordinately so. And as recently as 2011, three players (Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Malcolm Delaney) in my book played their final ACC season. The Golden Age of the League was from the time integration took full hold until players started leaving early. The number of HOFers by decade is as follows: Six from the 50s (little more than a half decade), 11 from the 60s, 15 from the 70s, 17 from the 80s, 13 from the 90s, 11 from the OOs and five since. So that means 32 of the 79 came from two decades, the 70s and 80s. I can't imagine there ever being that kind of volume again, but on the other hand, the formula probably should reflect the caliber of play in the league at the time. My sense is that it's too early to make any adjustments, but if the flow turns more and more into a trickle because of early departures, there may be a need to address the issue. The point can also be made that the best ones are going to make it one way or another. Dickie Hemric, Jared Dudley, Kenny Anderson and Joseph Forte all made the cut in just two ACC seasons. But it's an interesting question to mull and keep in mind, and I thank you for posing it.
    Great hearing from you.

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