I do this every year, and despite my general malaise, am back for more:
Coach of the Year: Jim Larranaga, Miami
This selection can be explained by one word – duh. But as you know, I like to run my big mouth. Before the season started, I consistently said that I expected someone other than Duke or State would win the league…I just had no idea who it would be. Turns out that when Miami is on, they are the best team in the country, and by a comfortable margin. The ultimate “high risk, high reward” NCAAT pool team. Coach Larranaga has shown before what kind of magic he can work with an upperclassman-laden team (George Mason’s awesome Final Four run), so maybe we should have seen this one coming. The question remains – what does he have for a second act?
Player of the Year: Seth Curry, Duke
As is my tradition, I will vote for a guy with no shot at winning. But I was waiting for one of four guys (two Canes, two Devils) to put his thumb on the scale…and Seth Curry did so by burying the Holes early and often Saturday night. It’s extra impressive when you factor in incredible defensive improvement, and the fact that he hasn’t practiced for months due to injury. Tough kid. Rightful POY.
Rookie of the Year: TJ “Buckets” Warren, NC State
In a down year for impact freshmen, our man Buckets impressed the most. I liken him to the Rain Man (counting cards in Vegas, with my brother Charlie Babbitt) of offensive basketball. He hit the wall, then crashed right through it. Defended very well for a freshman, too. Let’s hope that his initial run isn’t his high point (ala Ernie Myers).
All-ACC (First Team):
Seth Curry, Duke
Shane Larkin, Miami
Erick Green, Virginia Tech
Mason Plumlee, Duke
Kenny Kadji, Miami
Erick Green is a one-man band, and unlike Stoglin last year…it’s not a matter of selfishness. The Hokies really, really suck (except when they play State). Shane Larkin is the best player on the best team, but was uneven down the stretch. On any other team, Plumlee would get double teamed constantly. He’s in the perfect situation. Good player, but not great. Kadji gets slot five by default, with Talibeard playing two bad games in the last week of the season.
All-ACC (Second Team):
Reggie Bullock, UNC
Richard “Talibeard” Howell, NC State
Joe Harris, Virginia
Quinn Cook, Duke
Lorenzo Brown, NC State
Bullock had a very solid year, and provided a surprising amount of leadership for the Holes. Talibeard led the league in rebounding by a wide margin, ditto Zo in assists (ACC play only, which is all I take into account). They just picked an awful time to have a wretched game. A Duke friend pointed out that Quinn Cook was their unsung hero, and the stats bear that out. He does it quietly, but he produces. I find Joe Harris extremely overrated. I suspect nobody will agree with my assessment.
All-ACC (Third Team):
Michael Snaer, Florida State
PJ Hairston (revised pick), UNC
Durand Scott, Miami
Akil Mitchell, Virginia
Ryan Anderson, Boston College
There’s a HUGE dropoff between the first two teams and this one. But all of these guys were at least steady, and played good defense. Gotta pick somebody. McAdoo and Calvin were expected to battle for POY honors, but each had too many games where they flat-out sucked. In the end, I wouldn’t give either honorable mention. Maybe a dishonorable shake of the head. Talent doesn’t always equal production.