Caulton Tudor

New process will determine ACC hoops awards

Posted February 20

It hasn’t been a hot talking point – yet – but the voting for the seasonal ACC basketball awards has been changed drastically during the past few weeks.

The conference’s 15 schools voted unanimously to take the official awards voting responsibilities away from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACMSA) and internalize the process.

When the all-conference teams and various individual awards are announced in a couple of weeks, the voting will have been done by a panel that gives each school four votes – its coach, a member of its radio network crew and two other people who cover the team.

In a letter to ACSMA members, executive director Dave Goren explained that the changes were made by league schools to combat what some schools felt was a geographical bias concentrated in North Carolina and Virginia.

ACSMA members had determined the official ACC all-conference teams since the league’s formation in 1953-54. ACSMA will still hold its annual vote and announce the results, but it’ll no longer be recognized by the conference.

In 2015-16, the 1st-team consisted of Grayson Allen (Duke), Cat Barber (NC State), Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), and Brice Johnson (UNC). Brodgon was voted player of the year, Duke’s Brandon Ingram top rookie and Miami’s Jim Larranaga coach of the year.

UNC, which won the regular season race, did not place a player on the 2nd and 3rd all-conference teams.

The 15 head coaches voted exactly the same as ACSMA on 1st-team, the top three awards and even defensive (Brogdon), most improved (Blossomgame) and 6th-man (UNC’s Isaiah Hicks) awards.

In 2014-15, the only 1st-team vote-getters from North Carolina and Virginia were Brogdon and Jahlil Okafor (Duke). The coaches and ACMSA 1st-team picks were identical with Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse), Jerian Grant (Notre Dame) and Olivier Hanlan (Boston College) joining Brogdon and Oakfor.

That same pattern held except for one spot in 2013-14. Both the coaches and ACSMA 1st-teams included C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Marcus Paige (UNC), Jabari Parker (Duke) and T.J. Warren (State). The media vote had Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels on 1st-team. The coaches instead elected Brodgon.

As a former president and frequent member of the ACSMA board of directors, I’m disappointed that the official awards voting procedure has changed. But I do understand, and embrace, the decision if the schools outside Virginia and North Carolina seriously believed they were the victims of voting discrimination.

Whether the same policy will be used in football has not been determined.

The only players from North Carolina and Virginia on the football 1st-team were Woody Baron (Virginia Tech, down lineman), Quin Blanding (Virginia, safety), Nicholas Conte (Virginia, punter), Michael Kiser (Virginia, linebacker), Ryan Switzer (UNC, wide-out) and Mike Weaver (Wake Fores, place kicker).

Nine Clemson players were voted 1st-team in football.

Regardless of how that plays out, one thing is certain for now. The 60 hand-picked basketball voters will have a difficult time sorting through the player of the year field.

With two weeks remaining in regular season, strong cases can be made for up to a dozen players, including at least four from inside North Carolina – John Collins (Wake), Luke Kennard (Duke) and UNC’s Justin Jackson and Joel Berry.

But two of the league’s top three scorers play for Pitt – Michael Young (20.2 ppg) and James Artis (19.6 ppg) – and the Panthers (15-12, 4-10 ACC) may yet finish last in the standings.

The last player who led the league’s scoring and did not land a 1st-team all-conference spot was Terrell Stoglin of Maryland, who averaged 21.6 in 2011-12 and wound up on the 2nd team. The Terps went 17-15 (6-10) that season.

There’s no decreed pattern for voting on awards. Some voters put more weight on statistics than others. Some voters tend to give the victors the spoils.

It’ll be interesting to see who the new ACC official voters are and even more interesting to see the results they reach.

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