ACC Player Predictions: Who’s Staying and Who’s Going

Following is a transcript of a segment from Blooperman Podcast, Episode 30, in which Ron and Mike predict which ACC players would declare early for the NBA draft. Enjoy!


Drew: “Welcome back to the Blooperman Podcast. I’m Drew Adams. I’m here with Ron Wagner and Mike Adams. It’s time for a special round of “Buy, Sell or Hold,” but we’re gonna rename it “Staying or Going.” (laughter) So I’ll say the name of a basketball player and both of you guys can weigh in…”

Ron: “An ACC player.”

Drew: “An ACC basketball player – a player from ACC – both of you can weigh in or ponder the staying or going. Alright. Sound good? So UNC loses some seniors this year: Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Nate Brit. So, um, out of the ones that aren’t seniors, staying or going. Justin Jackson? Ron you go first.”

Ron Wagner: “Going.”

Drew: “Justin is a junior; he’s a junior.”

Mike Adams: “I’m gonna say … he’s staying unless they win the championship.”

Ron: “Ooh, why would you say that? ACC Player of the Year, made a massive jump from sophomore to junior year. What does he have to gain by going back?”

Mike: “He’s staying, unless they win the championship. 3-point shooting percentage is what he has to gain. He’ll come back and improve that, he’ll make himself a better NBA player.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Justin Jackson UNC, Junior Going Staying unless win championship

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Drew: ”Joel Berry, junior.”

Mike: “Same answer, staying unless they win the championship.”

Ron: “Yeah, I think he’s staying too, just for a different reason. I just don’t know that I see Joel Berry in the NBA. He’s a six-foot guard, you know, that’s a tough sell. So, even though their second-best player…”

Drew: “So, he’ll kinda play it out and see what happens. Maybe he can play in Europe or something?”

Ron: “I think so. I mean, he could be in the NBA, but right now I don’t see it.”

Mike: “Did Raymond Felton leave early?”

Ron: “I think he did. Yeah, after his sophomore / junior – was it sophomore or junior? I’m almost positive Raymond Felton left…”

Drew: “Is Raymond Felton clearly better player than Joel Berry?”

Ron: “He’s a clearly better NBA body, yeah. He’s bigger than Joel Berry, more athletic, much more NBA prototypical.”

Mike: “He’s not crazy different. He is bigger, he is a little bit better NBA body, but he’s not crazy different.”

Ron: “Joel Berry is not an aggressive, beat-you-off-the-dribble, attack-the-rim UNC point guard. Those are the guys who go pro, and that’s what Raymond Felton did. He was just a constantly-assault-the-basket guy off the dribble, and Berry’s not that, so…”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Joel Berry II UNC, Junior Staying Staying unless win championship

Drew: “So, um, put some context on this next one. Tony Bradley, freshman, UNC.”

Mike: “Me?”

Drew: “Yeah, sure.”

Mike: “I’m gonna say “Stay. If he was at N.C. State, a “Go”. (laughter) But I mean, he’s a 6-11 guy with a big,athletic body who’s giving it more and more inside so…”

Drew: “But I will admit, his minutes were, what were his minutes like?”

Ron: “I think they grew through the season.”

Mike: “He grew, is that what you said?”

Ron: “His minutes grew.”

Mike: “Oh they did, he’s becoming much more, he took a lot of Hicks’ minutes when Hicks was hurt. You know, as Meeks continues to get fatter and slower, he’s taking more of his minutes. I think he’s gonna be an NBA player, and I think that he’s starting to catch some eyes. So, maybe something if he continues to play well, especially down the stretch it becomes something that maybe wouldn’t have been considered a possibility at all, a couple of weeks ago.”

Drew: “Did you say staying or going?”

Ron: “I said ‘Staying’ because Carolina has a better history of guys staying, especially guys who aren’t, he’s not a sure fire top first-round pick right now. I think Carolina’s pretty good at making, having guys stick around unless there’s a reason to go.”

Drew: “But was he, when he came in was he definitely gonna be a one-and-done type situation?”

Mike: “No I don’t think so.”

Drew: “OK, he’s staying.”

Mike: “I vote stay.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Tony Bradley UNC, Freshman Staying Staying

Drew: “OK. Duke loses some seniors too: Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson. They also have some highly talented freshmen, and, at least one player has one a national championship. So, “Staying” or “Going”?   Let’s start with Jayson Tatum.”

Ron: “Going. Absolutely going.”

Drew: “Did he have a terrific year, or was it just kinda so-so?”

Mike: “It was OK. I mean, versus expectation, expectations were very high. Versus expectation, it was fine. I think he’s definitely going. It’s one of those like, Karl-Anthony Towns … did he have a great season at Kentucky? He was pretty good; they were a stacked team. “

Drew: “That’s a good comparison I guess.”

Ron: “Well, I mean Tatum has come in as a true freshmen and overtaken Grayson Allen as their second-best player. He’s averaged 16 points a game, 7.3 rebounds. He is unstoppable off the dribble; he’s big. Yeah, I think he’s had a very good year.”

Mike: “Mmm, unstoppable, mmm…”

Ron: “In college he is. Nobody can keep that guy from getting to the basket in college.”

Mike: “Oh, I mean, Carolina and Florida State both have guys who can guard Tatum. He’s good…”

Drew: “…It wasn’t like Parker where it was, clearly he was the center of the offense even though he was a freshman.”

Mike: “Or Brandon Ingram last year. You can tell he was different and special, I mean. Is Tatum a top-10 NBA pick? I think he might be this year…”

Drew: “…Really?”

Mike: “The answer to the other question is: Did he have an great year? Well he had an OK year.”

Ron: “He had a better than OK year.”

Mike: “Relative to expectations, it was OK.”

Ron: “16 points and 7.3 rebounds is not as better than an OK year.”

Drew: “Wait, wait, wait. How many rebounds?”

Ron: “7.3 rebounds, 16 points, 2nd most scoring, 2nd most rebounding, excellent shooting percentage from the field everywhere. I think he’s, he’s had a good year.”

Drew: “But Townes, with Kentucky you mentioned, he got to the finals. I mean, he was a pretty…”

Mike: “He’s not an all, he was not an all-ACC performer, Jayson Tatum, and you don’t have to have a great college season to be a high NBA draft pick. I mention Karl-Anthony Townes, like last year Ben Simmons, he was the No. 1 pick overall, and he never played. He clearly didn’t play well at LSU. It doesn’t mean that he’s not a smart NBA pick, I’m just saying he’s season was OK.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Jayson Tatum Duke, Freshman Going Going

 

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Drew: “OK, let’s move on to Grayson Allen, junior. Staying or going? Mike, you wanna start on this one?”

Mike: “I think he’s gonna stay. He’s mentally gone, but I think he’s gonna stay.”

Drew: “You wanna back that up a little bit. Is it just a gut instinct or…?”

Mike: “I just think he… I think he… I think all of the mix-up, he’ll just decide to stay and try to do right by Duke.”

Ron: “Well, speaking of Grayson Allen, just for the record, Jayson Tatum had a higher free throw, 3-point and field goal percentage than him so…”

Drew: “Wow, we call Mike the data analyst.”

Ron: “Yeah, Grayson Allen is staying. I think, you know, I think he toyed with going last year when he had a much better year, so now his stock is way down. I think he’s a borderline draft pick at all. I can’t see him going, I think it would be stupid. So, yeah, he’s coming back.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Grayson Allen Duke, Junior Staying Staying

Drew: “Alright. Your boy Luke Kennard, Ron? Sophomore, Duke. He was first-team All-ACC.”

Ron: “He’s my ACC player of the year. You know what, I’m gonna say something crazy…”

Drew: “For Ron Wagner publishing…”

Ron: “That’s right. Which is essentially Blooperman. I’m gonna write a story on it, and it’s gonna be the official record of Blooperman. I think…”

Mike: “Oh man what a bromance we have brewing here.”

Ron: “I think Kennard’s going. I’m gonna blow your mind.”

Drew: “No he’s not, there’s no way.”

Ron: “Hey man, you asked the question.”

Drew: “I did.”

Ron: “I think he’s going. I think he’s not gonna make the same mistake Grayson Allen did. Grayson Allen had a great sophmore year, came back, had a crappy junior year. Luke Kennard’s had a great sophmore year. Is he gonna get better than this? Probably not. So, does he think he’s an NBA player? If he does, I think he goes.

Drew: “Alright. Mike, is he crazy?”

Mike: “It’s not crazy, I think he’s staying. I don’t think it’s crazy what he’s saying though, because, let’s go over the other two on the list and let’s talk about Duke as a whole.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Luke Kennard Duke, Sophomore Going Staying

Drew: “OK. Harry Giles (g), or Harry Giles (j)?”

Ron: “(laughing) I new you were gonna say Giles. I think Harry comes back, I think he’d be crazy to go, but…”

Drew: “He always had a lot of injury problems, I mean that was his…”

Mike: “He did, but the flipside, that could be a motivator to go, you know, if you…”

Drew: “Was he supposed to be a one-and-done?”

Ron: “I think there’s a chance, yeah. Both of these next two guys were ones-and-dones, and I think Tatum was considered a one-and-done too. I think this was one of Coach K’s best classes. I’d have to look this up, but all these great classes he’s had over last few years I think this was supposed to be the best one and it hasn’t panned out because of the injuries to Giles and Marques Bolden, the next guy. But, yeah, three of those guys were considered one-and-dones.”

Drew: “Do you wanna weigh in on this one or do you wanna wait to the very end to give your…”

Mike: “No, I think Giles is going. He’s gone.”

Drew: “Giles is going, even though not much play time. He was just waiting out his year. He’s that good?”

Ron: “Well, you talk about what they do on the court. You know, we’ve debated whether Tatum had an OK year, good year, great year, but you know when he’s out there. He’s become one of Duke’s best players – you’d be crazy to say anything else. Giles to me doesn’t, there’s nothing about him, like I really wanna see how he plays against Carolina’s big front-court, you know, when they have to have big guys and he couldn’t really separate himself at all out there that I saw, so. But, that said, past history says, these guys go pro if there’s any chance to go pro, so I guess…”

Drew: “Somebody just says…”

Mike: “I just think he was mentally married to the idea of going pro for his freshman year before he played a single game at Duke.”

Ron: “No, you could be right. He’s played 20 games this year, and averaged 12 minutes a game and 4.3 points.”

Drew: “So maybe the more apt question for him is buy, sell or hold him, making an NBA team, Giles that is?”

Mike: “For all of these guys, part of what we’re saying here when we say ‘Stay or Go’, means that, if we’re saying ‘Go’ it means we believe that they will be rated in like a top 20, as a potential top 20 pick, cause, otherwise the guys will stay. And so, what we’re really saying is, do we think they’re gonna be a top-20 rated, and if they are, will they then choose to go. So, I still think that Giles will be a top20 rated pick, and he will choose to go.”

Player School and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Harry Giles Duke, Freshman Staying Going

Drew: “OK. Staying or going, Marques Bolden?”

Ron: “Well, he’s funny. He was even more highly regarded than Giles. He was the No. 1 prep center in high school last year. Some publications had him I guess as high as like a seventh- or eighth-best player in the country. So, normally, a 6-11 kid like that is straight to the NBA, but he’s had an even worse year than Giles. 21 games, started one, averaged 1.8 points and I don’t remember ever seeing him…”

Drew: “What happened?”

Ron: “He got hurt before the season, but he’s been back for, I don’t know. He just doesn’t seem to be that good, you know. That’s the obvious answer. But, for someone that highly regarded, again, are you gonna come back? I mean, the scouts thought you were that good last year. Has that really changed in a year?”

Drew: “That’s an interesting question, because now that he’s played poorly, would he come back and try to set the record straight before trying to go pro or?”

Ron: “You know, I’ve always thought when these guys come and have dissappointing years and somehow they’re gonna come to their senses, they’ve been exposed, they’re gonna come back for sure. And instead, they almost never do. They go pro anyway, and the NBA scouts don’t seem to put that much stock in bad freshman years. I don’t know.”

Drew: “To play the game, you have to make a choice.”

Ron: “I think he will come back, but…”

Drew: “Alright. Mike?”

Mike: “I go with stay because, not enough minutes and play time, and I think that he’s…”

Drew: “But neither did Giles…”

Mike: “Well he’s been humbled a lot more than Giles has. And Giles, I think you can say he showed flashes.”

Ron: “And he had more serious injuries coming in too that he had to recover from, I think. He’s had some, already had some arthritis in his knees from high school. I think Giles had some injury concerns coming in, so, he has a little bit of more excuse for a slow start.”

Drew: “And somehow that’s actually better, having more injuries…”

(laughter)

Drew: “OK go ahead Mike, finish your thought there.”

Mike: “Yeah, I think Giles goes and Bolden stays.”

Player School and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Marques Bolden Duke, Freshman Staying Staying

Drew: “Alright. And then, we got another freshman?”

Ron: “We almost forgot about this guy. Frank Jackson.”

Drew: “Frank Jackson.”

Ron: “Yeah, who has really been coming on in the past couple of weeks.”

Drew: “Was he another McDonalds All-American, supposed to be one…”

Ron: “I’m sure he was, I don’t think coach K signs anybody else, but he’s a 6-4, big guard, who has really been playing well. He’s up to 10.4 points a game. So, I think he’s a risk to go.

Drew: “Are you staying, going?”

Ron: “I’m gonna say stay, but it’s funny, I mean, Duke could lose all these guys, they really could, but I think he’s gonna stay.”

Drew: “Are they loaded next year as well, just for the new freshmen?”

Ron: “Yes, coach K has gone straight to the one-and-done model and he gets pretty much anyone he wants, so I’m sure they are.”

Drew: “Mike?”

Mike: “Frank Jackson, stay, he stays.”

Drew: “So we’re done with Duke guys. Did you want to say something in general about the Duke team?”

Mike: “I think Kennard will be the last guy to say whether he’s going or staying, and it will depend on the outcome of these other guys. Yeah, that’s what I think. I think if all of them decide to stay he may just be like yeah, let’s run it back, let’s go for another. I think Kennard can be swayed one way or the other. I mean, if he looks at that team, and let’s say they have an early outing in the NCAA tournament, and then Grayson says he’s staying, Tatum says he’s staying or maybe Tatum goes, maybe Giles says I’m staying, Bolden says I’m staying, Frank Jackson says I’m staying, Luke will be like: “Me too, let’s run it back”. I think that’s entirely a possibility. If everybody jumps, and he’s looking around, and he’s like: “I got to deal with these freshmen coming in” or if everybody jumps except Frank Jackson say and he’s like: “Why shouldn’t I be going? Maybe it’s my time too”. So yeah, I think he can be potentially swayed depending on what the other guys do.”

Ron: “Let’s, um, quick note on Frank Jackson, since we really looked past this kid. Yeah, he is also a major stud. Number 10 overall recruit according to ESPN, No. 4 point guard, McDonald’s All-American game co-MVP and won the slam-dunk contest. So, he’s pretty highly regarded.”

Mike: “He couldn’t guard, Dennis Smith Jr. though.”

Player School and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Frank Jackson Duke, Freshman Staying Staying

Drew: “I’m glad you bring him up, because next on our game of staying or going, Dennis Smith Jr., freshman.”

Mike: “Going!”

Drew: “Going!”

Ron: “I wanna say stay so bad just to like, blow State fans’ minds. But…”

Mike: “I’m pretty sure he left last week.”

Ron: “(laughing) Yeah, he left last week. He probably left straight from New York. He’s not even going back to Raleigh. Yeah, there’s no way that he…”

Drew: “Is there an NIT for State?”

Mike: “No, they had a loosing record.”

Ron: “Yeah, Dennis Smith, he was on a plane before his teammates got out of the shower.”

Drew: “It is a little sad.”

Mike: “Highly recruited. He’s from Fayetteville. He picked State when he could’ve gone to other programs. It was a good story for State, we thought. A local recruit, highly regarded. Yeah, the season just fell apart, and there’s no reason to believe he’s gonna stay. Ron could give you the history. We have a lot of guys trying to jump when they shouldn’t. I mean, that’s not Dennis Smith’s case. I think he’s gonna be, he’s definitely gonna be a top 10 pick, he might be a top-five pick. So yeah, he’s gone.”

Drew: “So, why didn’t he become the heart and soul of that team? I mean, because there’s a history of freshman point guards sort of leading their team. I’m thinking of, um, he’s an NBA star now, but he was… Kyrie Irving, I guess for Duke, even before that…”

Ron: “Not Kyrie, he was hurt most of the year…”

Mike: “And he wasn’t the leader of that team…”

Drew: “I’m thinking of somebody else, but, it’s not impossible for a freshman to become the most important player.”

Mike: “I think it’s hard. I think the freshmen who succeed have upperclassmen around them who fill maybe role-playing slots but are the heart and soul and the leaders of the team, and I just think we lost our motor when we lost the twins and lost Cat, and everyone was looking at Dennis Smith Jr. to fill Cats role, but Cat, he was a junior and it took him two years to figure out really how to run point guard on that team, and Dennis just wasn’t ready for it. I think if we had had some stability, if we had a front-court guy step up and be the leader, I think we would be talking about a whole different season for State.”

Drew: “Dennis Smith, he still made the second-team all-ACC though.”

Ron: “Yeah, I think he should’ve been first team. I think I mentioned that.”

Drew: “Statistically, he was great.”

Ron: “But I agree with Mike, it is very… You’re right, there have been tremendously good, maybe floor leaders as freshmen, but they didn’t do it without upperclassmen. They were maybe getting the numbers, but those guys, it’s critical in the locker room, for game preparation, the grind. I think it would be hard for us to find a freshmen to who went in and led a young team anywhere without veterans around him.”

Mike: “I guess you kinda think of Kentucky from two years ago, but it was five freshmen, and they were all figuring out together, they were all equal leaders. Two of them were twin brothers, so they new how to work together. I don’t know, it was something about the chemistry of that team that made it different, maybe easier for freshmen to become leaders, but I think you can to other ones. We talk about Jabari Parker, like, he had some experienced Duke guys on his team leading it. I mean, every UNC point guard I can think of, took a while to figure out how to run a team. Whether if it was Page, now Joel Berry, or even Raymond Felton, going back to some of the earlier guys, it takes them a while to figure out how to run it.”

Drew: “There is a Duke point guard, I’m forgetting his name, when I remember him, that would be my case and point. But you also could’ve had somebody on this team who was a senior. I can’t remember.”

Mike: “I think the closest I would get to is Jason Williams. He had the experience of the classmen around him. I think, by the end of that season, he was the unquestioned leader. His injury was tragic. He could’ve been a really fun NBA player to watch. But that’s probably the best example.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Dennis Smith Jr. NC State, Freshman Going Going

Drew: “OK. Next in our round of ‘Staying or Going’. John Collins, Wake Forest, sophomore.”

Ron: “See now, to me, I think this might be the most interesting one of all, because I’ve been reading up on this kid, right now, while you guys were talking, I wasn’t listening to anything you said. But, it’s a fascinating story. He was not a super highly regarded guy out of high school. He was a good recruit, but he’s not at the level of those guys. And he played behind Devon Thomas, who I forgot about because Wake has been so bad, but he’s been Wake’s best player for a couple of years. He averaged a double-double as senior last year, and this kid had very little playing time. He was productive when he played, but no one, ever, anywhere thought that he would be this guy, but his stats are even better than they look right there, because per 40 minutes per game he’s averaging almost 30 points. His offensive efficiency is best in the country. Rick Pitino called him the best post player in the ACC, hands down, if not the country. I haven’t even seen him play this year. I haven’t watched a Wake game, but it’s really hard for me to believe that this kid is gonna come back. He’s 6-10, and he’s had this incredible season that’s put him on NBA radar, out of nowhere. I think he’s gone, and I hate to say that because, Wake is finally coming back to something respectable under Danny Manning, and they really need this kid to come back next year to take the next step. And I think his success has been such a big part of them having a chance to get to the tournament, and it is gonna also cost them him as a player.”

Drew: “And he was the second-highest vote-getter for the first-team all -ACC. So you are saying going?”

Ron: “Yeah.”

Drew: “Alright. Mike, staying or going, John Collins?”

Mike: “Like Ron, I don’t know a ton about this kid, but I’m gonna go with stay, ’cause I think he just, at the end of this year, got the recognition within the league, and, if he stays, he’ll get the recognition nationally. And I think that could be a good carrot, you know, to keep him staying.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
John Collins Wake Forest, Sophomore Going Staying

Drew: “OK, final two, staying or going, Dwayne Bacon, Florida State, sophomore.”

Ron: “Going. Even though he really played poorly down the stretch.”

Mike: “I think Jonathan Isaac is definitely going. I think Dwayne Bacon could stay. I’m gonna go with stay on Bacon.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Dwayne Bacon Florida State, Sophomore Going Staying

Drew: “OK, and Jonathan Isaac?”

Ron: “Going.”

Mike: “Going.”

Ron: “He was at the level of Dennis Smith and those guys in fact. He’s been compared to like a better Brandon Ingram. He’s had a peculiarly not-that-dominant year at Florida State. I watched him several times, and I actually don’t hold that against him because he’s very unselfish. He get’s criticized during the games for not trying to score more, but Florida State’s got all those gunning wing players. He’s perfectly happy to block shots, rebound, pass, he can handle the ball. He looks like Kevin Durant out there, and when he does try to score, he can. So, I think he’s gonna be a tremendous NBA player and I think he’s a lot better then his stats indicate on that team.”

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Jonathan Issac Florida State, Freshman Going Going

Drew: “Alright gentlemen. Thanks. This concludes Blooperman Podcast No. 30. Thanks to all of our listeners. If you enjoyed it, rate us in iTunes and rate us in your Google Play Store. We appreciate you sharing us with your friends, and we look forward to hopefully joining you again. Alright, thanks y’all. Bye!

—Music—

Final List…

Player Team and Year Ron’s Prediction Mike’s Prediction
Justin Jackson UNC, Junior Going Staying unless win championship
Joel Berry II UNC, Junior Staying Staying unless win championship
Tony Bradley UNC, Freshman Staying Staying
Jayson Tatum Duke, Freshman Going Going
Grayson Allen Duke, Junior Staying Staying
Luke Kennard Duke, Sophomore Going Staying
Harry Giles Duke, Freshman Staying Going
Marques Bolden Duke, Freshman Staying Staying
Frank Jackson Duke, Freshman Staying Staying
Dennis Smith Jr. NC State, Freshman Going Going
John Collins Wake Forest, Sophomore Going Staying
Dwayne Bacon Florida State, Sophomore Going Staying
Jonathan Issac Florida State, Freshman Going Going