Miami's Jim Larranaga was my pick for National Coach of the Year. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
There aren't nearly as many people interested in this as there are people interested in my opinions on the all-ACC teams, I know (even if people are interested in the latter just to disagree with me). But, I'm a firm believer in transparency, so, as a voter for the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association awards, I feel compelled to disclose my ballot.
Oscar Robertson Trophy (Player of the year): Victor Oladipo, Indiana
••• Best player on the best team in the best conference. The Hoosiers also had the target of being the preseason No. 1 on their backs all year. Good enough in my mind to give Oladipo the nod over Michigan's Trey Burke.
All-America Team: Victor Oladipo (Indiana), Trey Burke (Michigan), Otto Porter, Jr. (Georgetown), Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), Jeff Withey (Kansas), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Mason Plumlee (Duke), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Ben McLemore (Kansas).
••• The first five are the ones I would have on my first team. I tend to view numbers put up against weak competition with a grain of salt (as evidenced by some of my ACC picks), but there's no questioning Olynk's talent.
••• And yes, I do think Plumlee is a worthy second-team All-American. I made my case for him as ACC Player of the Year here. So, no need to repeat that. I will add just one more thought: I'm not sure what more people wanted Plumlee to do. He was the best player of the nonconference season—with the toughest nonconference schedule in the country—and averaged a double-double for the regular season. Of major conference players, only Notre Dame's Jack Cooley averaged more double-doubles (19) than Plumlee (16). There are just five major-conference players (N.C. State's Richard Howell, Notre Dame's Cooley, Louisville's Gorgui Dieng , Colorado's Andre Roberson and Plumlee) who averaged double-doubles for the year.
But enough on that topic. I've presented my case.
••• The voting instructions are to select "up to 10" players for the All-America team. Obviously, I submitted nine. There are cases to be made for other players, most notably Miami's Shane Larkin and Indiana's Cody Zeller, but I just went with the nine I felt strongest about.
Henry Iba Award (Coach of the Year): Jim Larranaga, Miami
••• No one could have envisioned a year in which Miami would rise to the No. 2 spot in the country, embarrass the class of the ACC (Duke and UNC) in Coral Gables and win the ACC outright. Especially after losing to Division-II Saint Leo and Florida Gulf Coast. It could have gone south right away for the Hurricanes, but they regroup and were the best team of the ACC regular season. So it's Larranaga over Saint Louis's Jim Crews and Georgetown's John Thompson III .
Wayman Tisdale Award (Freshman of the Year): Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
••• As the point guard, he literally does it all for the Cowboys—scoring (15.1 points per game), rebounding (5.7 boards per game as a 6-foot-4 guard), assisting (4.3 per game), stealing (3.0 per game) and even blocking (21 total). The unquestioned leader of the team.
The district I vote for, district III, is composed of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. Conveniently, I had 10 players from those states on my all-ACC teams. (with all due respect to the Gamecocks, no one from that team was jumping anyone from the ACC). So no surprises here:
Mason Plumlee (Duke), Erick Green (Virginia Tech), Richard Howell (N.C. State), Seth Curry (Duke), Joe Harris (Virginia), Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), Lorenzo Brown (N.C. State), P.J. Hairston (North Carolina), Alex Len (Maryland) and Quinn Cook (Duke)