CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller earlier today became the 13th player in school history to be named ACC Player of the Year. He’ll enter the ACC tournament averaging 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the No. 4 Tar Heels.
Zeller leads UNC in field goal percentage (.549), is second in scoring, rebounding, free throw percentage (.803) and blocks (44). In ACC play, he averaged 18.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Overall, he has finished 11 games with double-digit performances in points and rebounds, and Zeller’s 11 double-doubles are second-most in the ACC behind UNC junior forward John Henson.
And oh, yes: Zeller was also recently named the academic all-American of the year for men’s basketball by the College Sports Information Directors of America. UNC earlier today released a statement with Zeller’s reaction to being named ACC Player of the Year.
Here’s what he said:
“It’s a very special honor, something you dream about when you are a young player. I am so proud to know that as a result my jersey will go in the rafters (at the Smith Center), which is another great honor. You look up there and see the names of the Tar Heels who came before you and you know that it’s a tremendous honor that my jersey will be up there with them.
“My first two years were rough because of the injuries, but I learned a lot, I gained weight and got stronger. These last two years have been great and to be part of the team we’ve had is extraordinarily fun. I am proud to be part of the Carolina basketball program and I thank my teammates and coaches, because this award goes to all of them, as well.
“My parents were extremely proud when the Academic All-America of the Year was announced because they always raised my brothers and me to understand that academics came first. But they also gave me the support and guidance to excel in basketball, too, so I want to thank them for all that they have given me.
“I know this means a lot to our family.”