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Caulton Tudor

Hoops culture shock on the way for ACC fans?

Posted October 30, 2013
Updated October 31, 2013

Jabari Parker (1) during Countdown to Craziness (Blue-White Scrimmage) on October 18, 2013 in Durham, NC.

If the Oct. 16 preseason All-ACC basketball team media predictions turn out to be reasonably on target, expansion repercussions on the individual talent front could leave many fans in culture shock.

The five players picked by the media folks who gathered in Charlotte for Operation ACC Basketball included only one – Virginia guard Joe Harris – who is readily familiar to mainstream league fans.

Harris, a 6-6 senior from Chelan, Wash., was voted first-team all-league in 2012-13 after averaging 16.3 points per game on a team that finished 11-7 in the ACC and 23-12 overall.

The remaining four preseason all-league picks included two former Big East stars – C.J. Fair of Syracuse (6-8, senior) and Jerian Grant of Notre Dame (6-5, senior) – along with Duke newcomers Jabari Parker (6-8, freshman) and Rodney Hood, a 6-8 transfer from Mississippi State.

Fair edged Harris in the voting for preseason player of the year.

Among those who failed to land enough votes to crack the top five were:

  • North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston (6-6, junior, 14.6 ppg last season) and James Michael McAdoo (6-9, junior, 14.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg).
  • N.C. State’s T.J. Warren (6-8, soph, 12.1 pgg, 4.2 rpg).
  • Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan (6-4, sophomore, 15.4 ppg, ’12-’13 rookie of the year) and Ryan Anderson (6-9, junior, 14.9 pgg).
  • Florida State’s Okaro White (6-8, senior, 12.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
  • Maryland’s Dez Wells (6-5, junior, 13.1 ppg, 4.8 rpb).
  • Virginia’s Akil Mitchell (6-8, senior, 13.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg).
  • Wake Forest’s Travis McKie (6-7, senior, 13.5 ppg, 7 rpg) and Devin Thomas (6-9, sophomore, 9.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

Hairston’s uncertain status with the NCAA no doubt contributed to his omission from the top five, but McAdoo was a second-team all-conference selection last season by both the coaches and media.

At almost any other point during the past 60 seasons, McAdoo would have been a lock for a preseason first-team spot. Among the top 10 vote-getters in both polls last season, the lone returnees are Harris and McAdoo.

PUSH WILL COME FOR 10-MAN ‘1ST TEAM’

Obviously, Fair (14.5, 7 rpg last season on a 30-10, 11-7 Big East team) and Grant (13.3 ppg, 5.5 assists on a 25-10, 11-7 Big East team) deserve the recognition. For that matter, Pitt senior forward Lamar Patterson (10 pgg, 4.3 rpg) deserved some consideration.

But the move from 12 to 15 teams – with powerful Louisville en route – has changed the individual awards dynamic to the extent that the coaches almost certainly will push for a 10-player all-league “first team” soon.

Even among the most traditionally powerful teams, landing preseason and post-season all-conference berths can be powerful recruiting lures. Fans may put little emphasis on the teams – especially so on preseason teams – but many high school prospects pay close attention to any and all things related to exposure.

Miami’s Shane Larkin, last season’s ACC player of the year, was not a voting factor in the preseason and said it provided him with season-long incentive.

“Players don’t make a big deal about it, but they do follow those votes. You want to see that the media and coaches put some stock in your game,” he said late in the schedule.

Larkin’s emergence as the top-player winner was as much a case of a long shot delivering as the ACC had seen in years.

The all-time stunners probably hit way back in 1969, four seasons before freshman were eligible for varsity play.

That season, then-ACC member South Carolina was expected to be a cellar contender simply because Frank McGuire was relying on a group of sophomores – John Roche, Billy Walsh, Tom Owens and John Ribock. The newcomers, along with junior Bobby Cremins, were placing some of the best and most experienced players in the program’s history – Skip Harlicka, Gary Gregor, Frank Standard and Jack Thompson.

“We’ll stink this year, but we should be better next season when the guys have learned the ropes,” McGuire said during preseason interviews.

The Gamecocks promptly went 21-7 (11-3 conference) and Roche won the top-player award over UNC’s Charles Scott and Owens (2nd team all-league) led the league in rebounding.

Similar stunners are likely on the way.

21 Comments

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  • QC Oct 31, 2013

    View quoted thread


    NC State = FOX/Tea Party of the ACC

  • StunGunn Oct 31, 2013

    I don't like the expansion either. I was happy when the ACC had nine teams, and those teams WERE on the Atlantic coast. Adding BC, Miami, and VT wasn't bad, but BC didn't make sense geographically, as the ACC was a southern-centric conference.

    I think Swofford did what he had to do to keep the ACC viable. That said, I agree that the divisions need to be realigned as the Atlantic is much more difficult than the Coastal in football, but teams do have their ups and downs, so what is fair and equitable today may not be fair and equitable down the road.

    Swofford was in a tough situation, and I think he did the best he could. I do think he should have kept the Big Four playing football games EVERY year, and home and home in basketball. The tradition and history among these schools is more important than TV $$$$.

  • StunGunn Oct 31, 2013

    View quoted thread



    And don't forget Ron Cherry. Different sport, I know, but don't want to leave him out.

    @ ACC22: Have to admit, you got me on your post as well.

  • Objective Scientist Oct 30, 2013

    Pre-season picks for ANYTHING... I completely ignore as meaningless. I would not waste 1/1000th of a calorie of energy on engaging in such. At best, it gives sportswriters, talking heads on ESPN, etc. "somethin' to talk about.

    Conference expansion... while I understand that is "money driven" more than anything else, I don't like it. From a "fan's perspective" - this fan - I don't like the way expansion is "messing with" traditional rivalries!

    No doubt... conference expansion has made the competition "fierce" for athletes hoping to make 1st team all-conference at the end of the season. The number of players competing to be among the 1st 5, and the 2nd 5 as well, is doubled! Nevertheless, to me it makes not sense to have a 10 man 1st team - stick with the 5 even if is more difficult to determine who is most deserving.

    I realize I am likely in the "minority" but I would vote to give up the extra millions and go back to, ideally, an 8 team ACC that is truly an ATLANTIC COAST conference. Anybody that calls a conference Atlantic Coast when one team is in Indiana - surely failed their geography class! I'm sure the accounting folks have crunched the numbers and that even with the additional travel expenses mandated by expansion there is additional net revenue.

    More and more intercollegiate athletic programs seemingly operate as if they are INDEPENDENT entities not part of the Universities whose name they bear on their uniforms... and conferences - with expansion and TV deals - seemingly operate as if they are completely independent of the schools that make up their membership. It is as if the athletic teams are NOT part of institutions of higher education.

    I've said it before...but once again - it will take some strong leaders from the ranks of higher education CEOs - the Chancellors/Presidents of our Universities - to step up and say "enough is enough" and put the every growing genie of intercollegiate athletics back in the bottle! Anyone?

  • 4tarheels Oct 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    You left out Swofford and Karl Hess, but good job.

  • NOT sorry for being caucasian Oct 30, 2013

    Picking who's going to win an award at the end of a season BEFORE the season starts is just plain stupid.
    Does the media go back and point fingers at one another at the end of the season if they missed one? How absurd.

  • ABCers burning jerseys Oct 30, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Yes, Carolina is to blame for everything. They control everything.

  • Got Peart Oct 30, 2013

    I heard the next round of expansion for the ACC will include top teams from Italy, China, Lithuania, and Australia!

    John Swofford - taking the ACC Global! The new name will be : All Continent Conference!

    All kinds of untapped media markets in Europe, Asia, and Australia!

  • ACC22 Oct 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Not bad huh. Look at how much crazy NC State obsessions I was able to put in there. The media hatred, 1983, Wal Mart, begging for rankings that aren't deserved. Calling players first team all acc just because they play for state. Blaming failure on injury.

  • 75Tarheel Oct 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Dang....you got me with that one. lmao

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