What was billed as one of the ACC's best freshman classes is proving to be otherwise.
Most of the disappointment lies with North Carolina's five-player class, starting with John Henson, who has had a difficult adjustment to dealing with more contact at the college level.
But Henson is not alone.
Even Georgia Tech forward Derrick Favors, who probably will win the league's Rookie of the Year award and go high in the NBA Draft if he leaves early, has made less of an impact than anticipated.
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Favors has impressive scoring and rebounding averages (11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) but has been held to single-digit scoring in four of the past six games. In the Yellow Jackets' 75-64 loss at Wake Forest a week ago, he managed a modest four points and two rebounds while struggling to keep pace with the Deacons' frontline. In two games against Duke, he scored a combined 15 points.
Two other freshmen who were expected to make substantial offensive contributions - N.C. State's Scott Wood and Richard Howell - have been wildly inconsistent and frequently overwhelmed by the defensive intensity they've faced.
None of this is particularly unusual. Talented first-year players routinely are slow to get up to speed. Duke junior Nolan Smith averaged slightly less than six points in 34 games as a freshman.
But what is surprising is that the 2009-10 newcomers haven't been able to make a bigger splash in a down season for the conference. When Smith was a rookie, the ACC had five teams that won at least 21 games each, and the league was loaded with quickness - Ty Lawson, Toney Douglas, Tyrese Rice, Sean Singletary, Jeff Teague, Jack McClinton and Cliff Hammonds, just to cite a few.
Overall, the league is much, much slower this season. There's a good deal more size - even among the league's guards - but opposing quickness usually bothers rookies a lot more than bulk.
Most of the current freshmen will be around at least another season or two and should improve, but the possibility that the class was grossly overrated certainly can't be discarded for now.
Not everyone has been a disappointment, of course. Wake's C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart have been impressive throughout the season. Florida State's Michael Snaer is rallying late, and Maryland big man Jordan Williams has the tools to one day lead the league in scoring and rebounding.
But last summer and during the preseason, there was speculation that the freshmen would counter the loss of so much personnel to the NBA and eligibility expiration. Thus far, those expectations have been overly optimistic.