I’m not a voter for the All-ACC teams that will soon be released. Part of the reason is because a few years ago, the ACC announced that Tyler Hansbrough was a unanimous first-team selection when, in fact, he wasn’t unanimous. A voter who did not include Hansbrough on his first team learned that, in essence, his vote had been massaged.
Another reason I don’t vote: The voting system is inequitable. The majority of the ACC media resides in North Carolina. That’s to be expected, given this state is home to one-third of the schools in the conference. But it creates a natural bias in the voting that can’t be ignored. Players from North Carolina schools have an edge in the all-conference voting because there are more media members in this state who more consistently pay attention to North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest. It’s not nefarious. It’s not a conspiracy. But it is reality.
If the voting is going to be up to media members, I’d be in favor of a delegate-type system in which 36 votes would come from three beat writers who regularly cover each school in the conference. An additional 12 votes would come from columnists who regularly cover the league, and those votes would ideally be spread geographically throughout the footprint of the conference.
Better yet, I’d most favor the league’s assistant coaches deciding these teams. They spend more time watching film than anyone, and they’d have the best idea of which players are most deserving. All that said – if I did have a vote, here’s what it would look like (in alphabetical order):
John Henson, North Carolina
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Austin Rivers, Duke
Mike Scott, Virginia
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Erick Green, Virginia Tech
C.J. Leslie, N.C. State
Michael Snaer, Florida State
Terrell Stoglin, Maryland
Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State
Seth Curry, Duke
C.J. Harris, Wake Forest
Bernard James, Florida State
Mason Plumlee, Duke
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Zeller, North Carolina
COACH OF THE YEAR
Leonard Hamilton, Florida State
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
A few thoughts:
--The top eight or so players in the league have become pretty clear: In that group I’d include the first five I listed above and then Barnes, Snaer and Leslie, who has closed the season strong (at least 18 points in his past five games, along with three double-doubles). After the top eight it gets debatable. Stoglin leads the conference in scoring but takes a lot of shots and doesn’t seem to make his teammates better. Difficult to ignore his scoring, though. Guys like Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott from Miami are deserving to make the third team, but who do you bounce off? Clemson’s Andre Young is another.
--The player of the year debate isn’t all that debatable to me. I think Zeller is the clear choice. Proponents of Scott point to the fact that Zeller benefits from a considerably stronger supporting cast, and that Scott is the defensive focus of every team he plays against. And both of those are true. But how much more dominant might Zeller seem if he wasn’t sharing so much with the likes of Henson and Barnes? And would Scott look as good as he has looked if he had to share the load the way Zeller has? Who knows. These questions are impossible to answer. All I know is that Zeller has been the more consistently good player, game-to-game. Scott closed the season with two monster scoring games, and that helps his case for player of the year. But as dominant as Scott has been at times, he has also been average more often than Zeller has been.
-Hamilton as coach of the year also doesn’t seem all that debatable to me. Yes, Florida State finished third in the ACC, right where the Seminoles were picked to finish in the preseason. But Florida State appeared destined for doom as recently as early January. FSU was already 0-2 against the Ivy League by then, and the Seminoles began ACC play with a 20-point loss at Clemson. Just when it appeared the Noles might unravel, they grinded out a victory at Virginia Tech and then beat UNC by 33 points. Then, later, came a victory against Duke. After Florida State began league play with that embarrassing defeat at Clemson, no one could have foreseen a 12-4 finish. Yet here the Seminoles are, 12-4 in the ACC for just the second time in school history.
So there you have it. Stay tuned for the actual release of the all-conference teams in the very near future …