I turned in my ballot just before the start of the Maryland-Virginia thinking nothing would happen in Charlottesville that would change any of my selections. Nothing did, though Akil Mitchell further validated my putting him on the All-ACC second team.
Here’s how I voted. I will offer brief explanations, but more in-depth reasons are coming Wednesday along with how the rest of us at FOXSportsSouth/Carolina/Tennessee, etc, see things in the ACC and SEC.
First-Team Erick Green, Virginia Tech Joe Harris, Virginia Shane Larkin, Miami Mason Plumlee, Duke Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State
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My take: Four are pretty obvious, and I went for Brown because NCSU was 0-3 without him and he was responsible for making nothing but scorers happy while also scoring himself. He is darn good.
Richard Howell, N.C. State Seth Curry, Duke Kenny Kadji, Miami James Michael McAdoo, UNC Akil Mitchell, Virginia
My take: I think McAdoo improved a lot this season by extending his game and playing more physically, plus his numbers don’t lie. Mitchell came on strong late and complemented Harris very well.
Reggie Bullock, UNC Devin Booker, Clemson Durand Scott, Miami Ryan Anderson, Boston College Michael Snaer, Florida State
My take: I easily could have put UNC’s P.J. Hairston on here, but he didn’t start until seven games ago, and could have also gone for a few others. I didn’t vote for N.C. State’s C.J. Leslie because I don’t believe he gave enough effort and hurt the team too often to make any of these teams.
T.J. Warren, N.C. State Olivier Hanlan, Boston College Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke Devin Thomas, Wake Forest Marcus Georges-Hunt, Georgia Tech
My take: Thomas improved a lot during the season and posted some big numbers at times. Georges-Hunt was consistent, though unspectacular. Sulaimon makes it because he has been good often enough trying to blend with a mature, experienced group. A few others were considered, but UNC’s Marcus Paige took forever to get comfortable and was still pretty bad in big games. N.C. State’s Rodney Purvis has struggled for a while and lost his starting job.
Julian Gamble, Miami Shane Larkin, Miami Joe Harris, Virginia Akil Mitchell, Virginia Michael Snaer, Florida State
My take: The ACC was loaded with good defensive players, so several others would have been justified making this list. Harris makes it because he is so good playing off the ball and communicating, something not enough people see or pay attention to.
Player of the Year
Erick Green, Virginia Tech: Green not only led the nation in scoring, but Tech coach James Johnson said if the rest of the Hokies shot around 42 percent instead of 37 percent, Green might average seven assists a game. Imagine the nation’s leading scorer also leading the ACC in assists. That’s how good and unselfish he was this season. And in a year where the other candidates had some poor performances in the last couple of weeks, Green, who never turned in one bad game all year, stands out.
Coach of the Year
Jim Larranaga, Miami: No brainer. Some may go for Roy Williams or Mike Krzyzewski, and maybe even Tony Bennett of Virginia because the Hurricanes lost three of their last five ACC games. But to break out to a 13-0 mark was special, and they still won the league outright, the first time in a decade a team other than North Carolina or Duke won the regular season title.
Rookie of the Year
T.J. Warren, N.C. State: Three times in ACC contests Warren failed to score, but he still averaged 11.2 points in 18 conference games. He scored 20 or more points five times this season, including a high of 31, and in the last seven games he has averaged 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Wolfpack. He edged out Hanlan mainly because Warren did his damage attempting just 266 shots while Hanlan, who was needed more on a younger team, attempted 325 shots.
Defensive Player of the Year
Julian Gamble, Miami: Gamble’s length, quickness and smarts made him a terrific interior defender who could hedge out nicely when called on. He was excellent at disrupting but also taking care of the post. It may be more than a coincidence that Miami struggled once he was replaced by Reggie Johnson in the starting lineup, a move Jim Larranaga should reconsider moving forward.