While we wait for Miami to put us out of our collective misery, I present you with my picks for ACC hoops honors, 2008 edition. You may recall that I did this last year. Generally speaking, the ACC was not as interesting this year. But some folks deserve recognition anyway.
Coach of the Year: Oliver Purnell, Clemson. I went back and forth on this many times. Ultimately, I let Sunday’s game between Seth Greenburg’s Hokies and Purnell’s Tigers act as tiebreaker, changed my mind, then came up with supporting evidence for my original selection. Greenburg took perhaps the least talented and least experienced roster into battle, and finished 9-7 with another ACCT Thursday off. That’s impressive. But getting his team off the mat after the excruciating loss in Chapel Hill (after so many years of futility there) was an even bigger accomplishment for Purnell. Most teams would have folded, or at least suffered a hangover. Clemson just fought harder. And when they were down 20 in the second half in College Park, they decided to dish out some heartbreak instead. Unlike Clemson after the UNC disaster, Maryland never recovered. Well done, Coach Purnell. VT also benefitted from only playing 2 games total against UNC and Duke. Frank Haith had a good year, but unlike Purnell, had a real star to lean on. I am very thankful for Duke’s late losing streak – I would have hated to vote for Coach K.
Player of the Year: Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina. An absolute no-brainer vote. He was the best player on the best team. He was also the best player in the league by a long shot, in terms of production. Think I’m going to vomit now.
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Singler. Some will disagree, but I think this is a pretty easy vote. DeMarcus Nelson may have been more consistent, but I think Singler was Duke’s best player. Best player on second-best team, and objective numbers stack up well against Johnson (who hit the wall late) and Hickson (awful team – and the Pack wasn’t really any better when he was in the game). More vomit.
All-ACC, First Team
- T. Hansbrough, North Carolina
- T. Rice, Boston College
- S. Singletary, Virginia
- G. Vazquez, Maryland
- J. McClinton, Miami
The first three will be on everyone’s ballot. No Duke players on the first team is somewhat arguable, but I think the whole of Duke is much greater than the sum of its parts. McClinton is really Miami’s only good player, and he carried them to .500 in the league. Vazquez is just a fantastic all-around player.
All-ACC, Second Team
- K. Singler, Duke
- D. Nelson, Duke
- J. Gist, Maryland
- W. Ellington, North Carolina
- K. Rivers, Clemson
Clemson is another team that’s very good, but hard to place it’s individual players on the all-ACC list. But there was no strong candidate for the #10 slot, so I’ll put a Tiger on the list. Ellington stepped up bigtime for UNC this year, and Gist did the same for Maryland.
All-ACC, Third Team
- A. Vasallo, Virginia Tech
- D. Washington, Virginia Tech
- T. Douglas, Florida State
- J. Johnson, Wake Forest
- M. Ginyard, North Carolina
Honorable Mention: C. Hammonds (Clemson), T. Lawson (North Carolina), G. Paulus (Duke)
Every list like this should contain at least one controversial selection, and mine is Ginyard. With no #15 selection that I felt strongly about, I went with the “glue guy” who should also be the ACC Defensive POY. Ginyard kept the Holes together when Lawson was out with a high ankle sprain. He’s the kind of player that very good teams need in order to be great. On a team filled with players that we love to hate…I admit that I really like watching Ginyard play. Deron Washington is another “glue guy” and plus defender for the over-achieving Hokies. Johnson and Douglas both have solid numbers and led their teams to at least “high mediocre” seasons, and thus deserve some recognition.
Criticize me and submit your own rosters in the comments section below. Here’s the dead tree media’s picks, if interested.