[We now continue with the longest delayed series in atleagle history...]
When pinpointing the difference between last season and the '07-'08 campaign, you don't need to look much further than Rakim Sanders. Always considered to be the most talented recruit of his class, Sanders showed this year he has the ability to lead a team, create mismatches with any player in the league and make a big play when the game is on the line.
Sanders accession didn't seem like a sure things when the season began. Early on you saw many of the same issues from his uneven freshman year. He'd be off on his shots. He'd shoot too much. He'd get in foul trouble. Slowly he turned a corner and the bigger the stage the better he played. His shot selection and defense were huge factors in our upset of UNC.
Despite his progression, Sanders still has areas in need of improvement. His handle in the open floor is not great. Even down the stretch he still had games where he committed stupid fouls. Considering how often he is touching the ball and the offense we run, he needs to improve his assist to turnover ratio. (Or even just be more careful with the ball.)
If he continues to improve Sanders should be all ACC next year. I am very excited for what he may do (and not just because of his late game heroics). His size and strength and ability to play inside and out could make him deadly when our offense is clicking. Think of all those easy baskets Smith and Dudley got in the flex. That could be Rakim next year as he pounds smaller wing players. Ultimately, he has the tools to be great. This year he showed glimpses of that greatness and the willingness to work to get there. For that he gets a strong grade.
Season Grade: A-