In what we hope to make an annual tradition, we once again announce our selections the same night regular season play is complete. Yes, you will notice a distinct Terrapin flavor with respect to the major awards, but if you have watched them play down the stretch, I think you’ll understand (even if you don’t necessarily agree). Here are your honors:
Player of the Year: Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
From somewhat disappointing third team selection last year to the top dog for 2010. And despite what the TV and print analysts may say, this shouldn’t be a close vote. Admittedly, it was a close three-man race, but Scheyer and Delaney posted sub-par performances in key situations (with the Hokies paying for it dearly as a team, perhaps slipping near the bubble), while Vasquez exploded with memorable, other-worldly performances. He’s hated by many non-Terp observers, but I think he’s been good for the league, especially in a generally blah year for ACC hoops overall. Perhaps I am more sympathetic than most because he reminds me so much of a Venezuelan Julius Hodge. Man, do I ever miss that guy.
Coach of the Year: Gary Williams, Maryland
Once again, COY boiled down to a two-man race (with Coach K, who Cardiff Giant so masterfully lampooned as German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck in 2006, to DBR’s equally funny hysterics), and I ultimately made the March 3 Duke/Maryland game in College Park the deciding factor. That said, it was a brilliantly coached game by both ACC legends, and a fine microcosm of the excellent work both did this season. Still, the award goes to the King of Sweat, for leading an overall less talented team to the top of the ACC standings, and more importantly – steadily improving as the season progressed. You want to be playing your best basketball in late February and March – and Williams’ Terps are doing just that.
Rookie of the Year: Jordan Williams, Maryland
Once again, I’m going to be contrarian. I fully expect Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors to win this award in a fairly comfortable vote. He put up perfectly good numbers and showcased the athleticism that has NBA scouts drooling. I get it. But every time I saw the Bees play, I wasn’t really impressed. I don’t think he did much to lead his predictably mediocre team to loftier heights, and I honestly think he mostly coasted on his natural, God-given abilities. It was a weak year overall for ACC freshmen, which I blame for the overall mediocrity more than NBA departures. So, it was hard to find a compelling alternative to Favors. Until the last two weeks of the season, that is. Much ink has been spilled about Greivis, and he’s worthy of every drop. But don’t overlook Williams’ contributions, giving the Terps a legitimate low-post dimension that they’ve lacked for sometime (added to the stardom of Vasquez, the solid complimentary shooting of Hayes, and the gaggle of interchangeable 6’6″ guys who like shooting baseline jumpers). Williams is solid offensively, defensively, and on the glass. He may not excel in any facet yet, but he certainly stepped up in the Terps’ biggest game of the year against Duke. They don’t win that game without Williams, SFN’s 2010 ROY.
First Team All-ACC:
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
Nolan Smith, Duke
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
John Scheyer, Duke
Trevor Booker, Clemson
The first four are no-brainers, in my view. Many Blue Devil fans insist that Singler should be first team ahead of Smith, but I just don’t see it. Maybe I’m overly impressed by just how much he improved from last year. Booker is your textbook “complete player,” despite not being exceptional in any one area.
Second Team All-ACC:
Kyle Singler, Duke
Ish Smith, Wake Forest
Sylvan Landesberg, Virginia
Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
Dorenzo Hudson, Virginia Tech
Singler would be the “sixth man” of the first team, and clearly had a much better year than the next four. Ish Smith and Aminu run very hot and cold (as do the Deacs overall), but their numbers are very strong. Landesberg may have been POY at the halfway mark, but he and his Cavs finished the back stretch in total free fall (Landesberg is even suspended for the ACCT for academic reasons). Hudson really stepped up to give the Hokies a needed secondary perimeter threat. Perhaps no player in the league improved more than Hudson.
Third Team All-ACC:
Eric Hayes, Maryland
Tracy Smith, NC State
Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech
Chris Singleton, Florida State
Demontez Stitt, Clemson
Hayes is Maryland’s version of Dorenzo Hudson, and just narrowly misses second team honors. Tracy Smith carried the Wolfpack all season, even though he could only carry his lackluster teammates so far. Jeff Allen stepped up bigtime down the stretch, especially in the season finale (sending the Yellow Jackets to the bubble and removing all doubt about the Hokies’ bid). He is still a head case, though. Florida State is an incredibly balanced team, and Singleton is as good as anybody to represent the 10-win Seminoles on the honor roll. Stitt did just enough in a valiant second-half effort at Wake tonight to get the last slot ahead of Gani Lawal.