Why T.J. Warren should be ACC Player of the Year
Posted March 10, 2014
T.J. Warren scored 83 points and hit 30-of-45 from the field in his final two games of the regular season. The only thing missing from NC State's regular season finale at PNC Arena, in which Warren scored 42 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against Boston College, was for the sophomore to go full Maximus Decimus Meridius and ask members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association "are you not entertained?"
"If anybody who has a vote, and they ain't voting for that guy, I got some issues with those people," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said on the Wolfpack Radio Network.
Warren accounted for 35.7 percent of field goals made by the Wolfpack and 33.7 percent of their points scored this season. Even more remarkable, Warren shot 53.2 percent from the floor for the season. He's dropped 745 points this year and his 24.8 points-per-game is nearly six points better than Duke's Jabari Parker, who currently ranks second in the ACC.
"He's not being selfish when he thinks he's the best option," Gottfried said. "His efficiency has been off the charts."
While the numbers are impressive, actually watching Warren perform is jaw-dropping. He's doing the kind of stuff old-timers wax poetically about when they gather in Greensboro for the ACC Tournament.
"I have been in college basketball a long time and what you are watching is not something you see often," Gottfried said.
So how is it that Warren isn't a lock for ACC Player of the Year? How is it possible for Warren to not win a single ACC Player of the Week award?
Blame NC State's struggle in building an NCAA Tournament résumé and other viable candidates playing in higher profile games. It's why Warren's main competition for the award, Parker, is the shiny object for voters. The freshman put up quality numbers as Duke continued their traditional role as a highly visible program in what seemed like a weekly "biggest game ever" on ESPN.
The deadline for ACC Player of the Year came and went on Sunday. No doubt a good chunk of votes went to Parker, who is absolutely deserving of the ACC's top individual honor. However, don't be surprised when others question the logic of using whether or not a team had a successful season as a tiebreaker.
It's the player of the year. It's not about the team or who will go higher in the NBA Draft.
Warren doesn't have Rodney Hood, Rasheed Sulaimon or Andre Dawkins helping him push the Wolfpack into ACC contention. Coaches schemed specifically to stop Warren every night and he still put together an incredible season.
Who had a better year than Warren? It's not an overly complicated question and the answer is simple.