My All-ACC Ballot

FIRST TEAM

Erick Green, Virginia Tech

Mason Plumlee, Duke

Shane Larkin, Miami

Richard Howell, N.C. State

Joe Harris, Virginia

This was pretty straightforward, with respect to Seth Curry and Reggie Bullock, both of whom I thought deserved a spot. Ultimately, there wasn’t enough space. 

SECOND TEAM

Seth Curry, Duke

Reggie Bullock, North Carolina

Kenny Kadji, Miami

Akil Mitchell, Virginia

Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State

THIRD TEAM

P.J. Hairston, North Carolina

Devin Booker, Clemson

Ryan Anderson, Boston College

Quinn Cook, Duke

Michael Snaer, Florida State

Toughest omissions: Durand Scott (Miami), Dez Wells (Maryland), C.J. Harris (Wake Forest), C.J. Leslie (N.C. State), James Michael McAdoo (North Carolina), Alex Len (Maryland).

Full disclosure: I’m a big believer in tempo-free stats, and those omissions came from a combination of those and, you know, the eye test. I watched a lot of ACC games this year. Consistency also played a role, and defense. 

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Olivier Hanlan, Boston College

T.J. Warren, N.C. State

Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke

Marcus Paige, North Carolina

Marcus Georges-Hunt, Georgia Tech

Toughest omissions: Devin Thomas (Wake Forest), Robert Carter Jr. (Georgia Tech), Joe Rahon (Boston College).

ALL-DEFENSE

Daniel Miller, Georgia Tech

Julian Gamble, Miami

Durand Scott, Miami

Michael Snaer, Florida State

Tyler Thornton, Duke

Toughest omissions: Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), Jontel Evans (Virginia), Akil Mitchell (Virginia), Rod Hall (Clemson). 

This was the most difficult category for me, and I don’t have a problem admitting that some of those picks might have been wrong.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Freshman of the Year: T.J. Warren, N.C. State.

Consistency and efficiency won the day here, as Warren edged Hanlan of BC. Sulaimon has recently hit the freshman wall, as most freshmen tend to, but he was taken out of the starting lineup and has generally looked frustrated while the other two are closing strongly. Warren was very good most of the year and is starting to hit his stride as a starter, which is part of what put him over the top for me. 

Defensive Player of the Year: Julian Gamble, Miami.

I honestly had no idea what to do here, but Gamble has done a great job bothering opposing big men all year and has been very difficult to score against. And considering how much Miami’s defensive numbers have dropped since Gamble left the starting lineup/saw his minutes decrease in favor of Reggie Johnson only helped solidify that opinion. But I am very willing to admit I might have been wrong.

Coach of the Year: Jim Larranaga, Miami.

This seemed like a no-brainer until very recently, when it looked like Miami might not win the outright ACC regular-season title. Still, a weak ending to the season doesn’t take away from the body of work. And he has had this Miami team playing defense at a very high level, believing in each other and being unselfish. They’ve been very tough to beat most of this year, and he’s a big reason for that. Sure, they’re older, and experienced. But Frank Haith had older, tough-minded teams at Miami. They didn’t play like this. 

(Side note: Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Tony Bennett also did some nice things this season.)

Player of the Year: Erick Green, Virginia Tech.

A lot of my case was made for Green here, but I’ll add this: the ACC Player of the Year award is not the Most Valuable Player. If it were, I would have gone with Shane Larkin. Green averages nearly double the amount of points as Larkin, is more efficient and has a higher assist rate despite having MUCH worse teammates. Larkin’s a better defender, but not significantly.

I tend to err on the side of picking a POY from a winning ACC team, preferably a team that wins the league (or at least a top-five team). It takes a very strong effort from a guy on a last-place team (or close to last) to even merit consideration, much less win it. He has to be significantly ahead of the pack. And Green was that guy to me, based on a combination of statistics and my judgment from watching him.

He did all he could to make his teammates better (compared to another high-volume scorer from last year, about whom his coach said “I can’t coach him”). That, combined with no one else on the top-five teams jumping up to grab the award (at least in my estimation), led to my vote. Reasonable minds can disagree, of course.

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