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Tudor: Zeller a good bet for tourney MVP, too

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Caulton Tudor • staff columnist

If you have Tyler Zeller in the Everett Case Award pool, party on.

History makes the UNC senior center a healthy favorite to emerge as the top player during the weekend’s ACC basketball tournament in Atlanta’s Philips Arena.

Eight of the past 16 conference player of the year winners have gone on to annex the Case Award as the league tournament’s most outstanding player.

The trend began in the league’s first season, 1953-54, when Wake Forest center Dick Hemric won both awards even though his team lost to N.C. State in overtime (in the Wolfpack’s Reynolds Coliseum) in the tourney championship game.

On three occasions, the same player won both awards in successive seasons _ Wake center Len Chappell (1960-61 and ’61-’62), UNC forward Larry Miller (‘66-’67 and ’67-’68) and Duke guard J.J. Redick (2004-05 and ’05-’06).

Ironically, two of the league’s most famous players _ State’s David Thompson and UNC’s Michael Jordan _ never won the Case award.

Thompson began his college career (’71-’72 season) during a period when freshmen weren’t allowed to play varsity games. That changed in the ‘73’-’74 season. Thompson was upstaged in the ’73 and ’74 tournaments by center teammate Tommy Burleson. As a senior in ’75, Thompson saw UNC freshman guard Phil Ford win the Case.

The strangest awards sequence in ACC history occurred the 1965-66 season, when Duke guard Steve Vacendak won the player of the year and Case awards, but failed to get enough votes to land a spot on first-team all-conference.

Zeller, who won the 2012 player of the year award by a wide margin over Virginia’s Mike Scott, made first-team all-tournament last season, when Duke won its third straight league championship in Greensboro.

Case Award winner Nolan Smith of Duke was joined on first-team all-tourney by teammate Kyle Singler, Zeller, UNC’s Harrison Barnes and Clemson’s Demontez Stith.

On the second-team were Duke’s Miles Plumlee and Seth Curry, UNC’s John Henson and Kendall Marshall and Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney.

Following is a list of recent player of the year and Case winners:



POY _ Nolan Smith, Duke

Case _ Nolan Smith, Duke


POY _ Greivis Vasquez, Md.

Case _ Kyle Singler, Duke


POY _ Ty Lawson, UNC

Case _ Jon Scheyer, Duke


POY _ Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

Case _ Tyler Hansbrough, UNC


POY _ Jared Dudley, BC

Case _ Brandan Wright, UNC


POY _ J.J. Redick, Duke

Case _ J.J. Redick, Duke


POY _ J.J. Redick, Duke

Case _ J.J. Redick, Duke


POY _ Julius Hodge, NCSU

Case _ John Gilchrist, Md.


POY _ Josh Howard, WF

Case _ Daniel Ewing, Duke


POY _ Juan Dixon, Md.

Case _ Carlos Boozer, Duke


POY _ Shane Battier, Duke & Joseph Forte, UNC

Case _ Shane Battier, Duke


POY _ Chris Carrawell, Duke

Case _ Jason Williams, Duke


POY _ Elton Brand, Duke

Case _ Elton Brand, Duke


POY _ Antawn Jamison, UNC

Case _ Antawn Jamison, UNC


POY _ Tim Duncan, WF

Case _ Shammond Williams, UNC


POY _ Tim Duncan, WF

Case _ Tim Duncan, WF

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About the blogger

Columnist Caulton Tudor has worked for The News & Observer or The Raleigh Times for more than 30 years. Follow him on Twitter @CaultonTudor