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Bob Holliday

Difficult choices for the 2014 All-ACC Team

Posted February 27, 2014

Duke's Jabari Parker and UNC's Marcus Paige.

In about ten days, members of ACSMA, the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association will submit ballots for the All-ACC Teams.

Picking the top players in the league, especially the top five players, is always a challenge. With expansion, identifying those top five will become exponentially more difficult.

Here are the candidates as I see them, broken down by school and listed in alphabetical order. Barring a dramatic change in the last ten days (i.e. if Maryland finishes 10-8 and Pitt falls to 9-9), I’m looking primarily at players from seven schools, for reasons that will become evident later in this column. Also, I would note, that the numbers I’m using here come from the ACC’s February 26 stats, involving CONFERENCE GAMES ONLY. These numbers will change slightly between now and “Election Day.”

Clemson 
K. J. McDaniels: 4th in scoring, 10th in rebounding, 6th in free throw percentage, 2nd in blocked shots.

Duke
Rodney Hood: T9th in scoring, 6th in field goal shooting percentage, and 4th in three point shots made.
Jabari Parker: 5th in scoring, 1st in rebounding, 7th in field goal percentage, 1st in offensive rebounds, 6th in blocked shots.

North Carolina
James Michael McAdoo: 13th in scoring, 4th in rebounding, 2nd in field goal percentage. 2nd in offensive rebounds.
Marcus Paige: T9th in scoring, 9th in field goal percentage, 9th in three point shots made, 3rd in free throw percentage, 2nd in assists, 7th in steals.

NC State
T.J. Warren: 1st in scoring, 1st in field goal percentage, 16th in rebounding, 4th in steals, 5th in offensive rebounds.

Pittsburgh
Lamar Patterson: 2nd in scoring, 9th in three point shots made, 7th in steals.
James Robinson: 1st in steals, 3rd in assist-turnover ratio.
Talib Zanna: 20th in scoring, 2nd in rebounding, 3rd in offensive rebounds.

Syracuse
Trevor Cooney: 3rd in steals, 6th in three point field goals made.
Tyler Ennis: 1st in assists, 4th in assist-turnover ratio, 6th in steals.
C.J.Fair: 6th in scoring, 12th in rebounding, 10th in field goal percentage.
Jerami Grant: 6th in rebounding, 8th in offensive rebounds.

Virginia
Malcolm Brogden: 11th in scoring, 4th in field goal percentage, 1st in free throw percentage, 19th in rebounding, 10th in steals.
Joe Harris: 3rd in three point percentage, 7th in three point shots made.
Akil Mitchell: 3rd in rebounding.

Analyze This

ESPN analyst and former Maryland star Len Elmore has come up with a power rating system for evaluating player of the year candidates that awards five points for scoring and lesser amounts for rebounding, assists, steals, and blocked shots. Elmore also awards five points for wins. I think he is on the right track, and you can apply his principles to All-ACC voting, although I suggest voters look at some other factors as well:

Conference Only Stats

Some of what must be considered goes beyond numbers, but I believe statistical evaluations should be made on conference only stats. Does it really matter what somebody did in December against Ball State or William & Mary? In most cases, the good players show well statistically in both full-season and ACC games only stats, but sometimes you see players who excel in the non-conference games, only to disappear in the conference rivalries that matter most.

Multiple Categories

To me, a top player influences the game in more than one area. Top scorers should also be high percentage shooters, or good passers, or rebounders. Players that impact the game on offense and defense deserve close consideration.

Low Possession Adjustments

If you look at pure numbers, the low possession teams are at a disadvantage. For example, to look at the impact of Malcolm Brogden, who is 11th in scoring, you should make allowances for the fact that he posted those numbers in games that typically have 10 to 15 fewer possessions than higher possession teams like UNC or Duke-that’s 10-15 fewer chances to score per game. You can make the same argument for Syracuse players, like C.J. Fair. For them scoring 15 points has the same impact on a game as someone scoring 20 in an up tempo style. This applies to other stats as well. We need to look beyond the raw numbers and measure how players influence games.

Eye Test

It’s critical that All-ACC voters watch the games. Just looking at the stats of Tyler Ennis probably wouldn’t earn him that many votes. But although he is not a top scorer, he is a top passer and defensive player; over the course of the season, he has made critical plays that are a major reason why Syracuse is 26-2.

Winning Matters

Last year I voted Virginia Tech’s Erick Green on the All-ACC first five, even though he played for a losing team. That’s the first time I can remember doing that since voting for Tom Gugliotta on a seventh place NC State team in 1992. There are occasions where a player on a losing team puts together such an extraordinary season, that you have to put his name on the ballot. But that’s rare. This is not fantasy football or baseball rotisserie league play. It’s not a selection of the five flashiest players or the five who would be most fun to watch in an all star game. The All-ACC vote is recognition of the highest level performances over the course of the conference season. To me, individual achievement correlates with team achievement to a large degree. 

ACC analyst Mike Gminski said this week Virginia has had a great season although it probably doesn’t have many All-ACC candidates. He’s right - Virginia could win the ACC regular season title (the Syracuse game looms large) without placing a single player on the All-ACC first five, given the way most voters think. Call me an iconoclast, but if a team goes 17-1 or 16-2 it must have players worthy of strong consideration. No coach is good enough to roar through the ACC with 16 or 17 wins using average players. But all too often we in the media are swayed by scoring, athleticism, pro potential, and pre-season hype.

Who Gets Left Off?

No matter how you approach this, some deserving players will be left off the first team. Following Wednesday night’s UNC-NC State shootout, it would be very hard to leave either Marcus Paige or TJ Warren off the first team. Both are among the ACC’s statistical leaders, both play on winning teams, and I believe anyone who watched the game would say these two players pass the eye test. Many analysts have talked about Duke’s Jabari Parker being the ACC’s best player this year. I don’t know if that’s the case, but he’s right up there.

Who do you put on from Syracuse? C.J. Fair? Tyler Ennis? Both? What if Syracuse winds up tied with Duke for second place in the conference standings? Do you put two Syracuse players on the first team and only one player from Duke? Fair and Ennis instead of Rodney Hood? Really? And what about Virginia? It seems to me Malcolm Brogden has the numbers to make the first team (remember the low possession factor) especially if UVA wins the regular season.

If you scroll back up the page to see some of the others listed, you’ll see some really good players. And yes, there are some really good players not listed here (guys like London Perrantes of Virginia and J.P. Tokoto of UNC who have come on late in the season as well as players from teams in the bottom half of the standings). The competition is close enough that voting should not take place until all of the key games have been played. I’ve given some of my thinking today, but that could change next week.

Impact of the Voting

Back to Len Elmore - he understands as well as anyone the impact of the All-ACC voting. In 1974, NC State’s Tom Burleson was left off the All-ACC first team, announced as always, just a few days before the start of the ACC Tournament. Burleson played tournament games in Greensboro like a man possessed, pouring in 38 points against one of the greatest interior defenders in the history of the conference - Len Elmore.

To my fellow ACSMA voters, I would say this - there are nine or ten really good choices and only five spots on that first team. Who are we going to fire up this year?

18 Comments

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  • vt94hokies Mar 5, 2014

    I still like the format of selecting 5 on the 1st team, 2nd, and 3rd teams. Plus Honorable Mention.

  • JACKSON SAWYER REVENGE Mar 1, 2014

    View quoted thread

    fact #1 unc is a journalism school fact 2 a few years ago when Duke got beat in early ncaa match the media in Charlotte covering unc all cheered
    fact 3 the media in this area all disdain DUKE AND STATE.
    l would love the area to have a triangle of good football and basketball teams but some want state to be down in BB and Duke to be down in FB - seeing Duke FB starting to rise up and STATE make strides in BB has got you concerned- the more you try to tear the PACK & DUKE
    down THE sweeter it will be when they come back! these comments were brought to you by THE DEVIL WOLF

  • lisastolar Feb 28, 2014

    Ken D.; if you are happy good for you! Never said everyone out to get me; just answered the question the way I felt. Don't want to argue with you; more important things in the world...

  • Ken D. Feb 28, 2014

    I answered Warren because of history.

    It must be hard to live in a world where everybody is out to get you 24/7.

  • lisastolar Feb 28, 2014

    "RaleighNCGuy": I did not mean that media was unfair to only NC State. The question was asked who would get left out of the POY and all ACC team. I answered Warren because of history. Unfortunately, most other ACC teams are left out, unless they wear some shade of blue. And now you can add Syracuse to the list of "never" overlooked.........

  • jhilfiker2001 Feb 28, 2014

    Ennis, McDaneils, Parker, Warren, and whoever they put at C. I can't name one that is any good. They could go with Grant, as he actually played the position, or have another forward like Harris, after-all someone from Virginia deserves to be on this list. Looking at stats is a bad idea, because some teams play no D and some players (Jabari) play no defense, and they should not be looked at only on offensive numbers. Teams like Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburg are Defensive teams, so of course the stats of those players will look weak.

    ROY- Ennis No player in college had a bigger impact on the teams success. He plays on both sides of the ball, and Jabari doesn't.

  • RaleighNCGuy Feb 28, 2014

    View quoted thread

    So are you saying that Va Tech basketball does get respect? Green won last year. There are many deserving players, including Warren. If he doesn't win, then it is because another deserving player won, not because of a media bias or conspiracy. So tired of hearing this.

  • Hammerhead Feb 28, 2014

    Just thought I'd mention that Roy is on the Dan Patrick show right now.

  • Ken D. Feb 28, 2014

    View quoted thread



    I would have said 10 players instead of 12, but I agree there should only be one team - no second or third.

    My ten (in alphabetical order) are:
    Ennis
    Fair
    Harris
    Hood
    McDaniels
    Paige Parker Patterson Warren Wells

    POY Warren ROY Parker COY Bennett

  • JACKSON SAWYER REVENGE Feb 28, 2014

    2nd team
    Ennis
    Patterson
    McDaniels
    Harris
    Cooney
    3rd team Robinson-Pitt Brogden- Vir. McAdoo- nc Sulaimon duke Mitchell va.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
HOU 4
BAL 1
Final
KAN 1
NYY 5
Final
MIA 1
PIT 5
Final
WAS 2
CHC 3
Final
CWS 9
TOR 10
Final
COL 1
CIN 2
Final
PHI 4
NYM 5
Final
SEA 7
TAM 6
Final
TEX 4
CLE 3
Final
BOS 1
MIN 2
Final
SFG 6
MIL 3
Final
ARI 4
STL 6
8th
DET 1
OAK 0
 
8th
SDP 0
ANA 0
 
7th
ATL 0
LOS 8
 
12:10pm Today
TEX
CLE
 
12:35pm Today
COL
CIN
 
12:35pm Today
MIA
PIT
 
12:37pm Today
CWS
TOR
 
1:05pm Today
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
BOS
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
PHI
NYM
 
1:10pm Today
SEA
TAM
 
1:40pm Today
SFG
MIL
 
3:35pm Today
DET
OAK
 
4:35pm Today
HOU
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
WAS
CHC
 
8:15pm Tonight
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
Final
ATL 88
CLE 118
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
GSW
 
8:30pm Thursday
CLE
ATL
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
8:30pm Saturday
ATL
CLE
 
9:00pm Sunday
HOU
GSW
 
Final
NYR 7
TAM 3
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI
 
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR