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ACC Analytics: Jay Huff edges out Moses Wright for 2021 Player of the Year, Plus other year-end honors and All-ACC Rosters

The decision to pick the 2021 ACC Player of the Year is an arduous task, relatively speaking. Following the most bizarre, challenging season college hoops has ever seen, quality cases can made for at least a handful of deserving candidates.

The imbalanced nature of this season’s schedule leads to some clunkiness — not just in the ACC’s standings, but also in these types of year-end honors. This already a challenging process; the league’s overall talent pool is so deep, and now a new variable is thrown into the decision-making process. Some guys will be left off or just miss making the cut, which is a bummer.

With that in mind, let’s dive in — starting with Jay Huff, the ACC Sports Journal’s Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season.

 

Player of the Year: Jay Huff, Virginia

During the first weekend of Aug. 2020, significant ACC news broke: Jay Huff planned to withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft, after testing the waters, and return to Virginia for his redshirt senior season. Huff was the last ACC player with his name in the 2020 draft to pull out and return to school. This was significant.

It was official: Huff would play with Sam Hauser, now eligible, as Virginia set its sights on yet another ACC championship. Fast forward seven months, and here we are: stretch-5 Jay Huff just led Virginia to the 2021 ACC regular season title.

The Hoo-nicorn was fully actualized this season. At the conclusion of Virginia’s conference slate, Huff ranked inside the top 25 nationally in effective shooting (66.2 eFG%), true shooting (68.2 TS%), block rate (11.4%) and 2-point shooting (69 2P%). That’s such a rare blend of statistical indicators — a center that can protect the rim, finish in the paint (46 dunks) and space the floor (40.6 3P%).

Huff has a chance to become just the second player since the 2007-08 season to post a block rate of 10 percent while shooting above 40 percent on at least four 3-point attempts per 100 possessions. (Austin Daye of Gonzaga is the only player to hit these benchmarks in that timespan.)

Virginia cycled through a variety of offenses this season: 5-out, blocker-mover (old tried and true), inside motion and spread pick-and-roll. In each of these looks, regardless of what Virginia was running, Huff’s gravity as a freakishly efficient finisher — at the rim or above the arc — was central to its success.

This type of activity warps opposing defenses — forcing help-side rotation, which can in turn open pockets of space elsewhere around the court.

Later in the season, starting with the loss at Florida State, opponents started switching these actions more, including NC State and Louisville, two teams that don’t often switch with their centers. If possible, opponents wanted to avoid getting into rotations around Huff; keep everything in front. UVA struggled at times with these new arraignments; however, Huff still played well in those games, even if some meat was left on the bone.

(Huff shot just under 53 percent on post-up attempts this season. He really does have a nice right-handed jump hook.)

Of course, Huff shook loose for 3-point opportunities in a variety of ways. The Cavaliers put opponents in a bind when they chose to involve Huff and Sam Hauser together in off-ball screening actions. It’s just hard to ask a college center to properly defend a 7-footer coming off a down screen.

Huff posted an effective shooting rate of 60.7 percent on catch-and-shoot attempts, while scoring 1.09 points per spot-up possession, according to Synergy.

Going off the numbers, Huff may have been the best pick-and-roll finisher in the country this season. He finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the ACC in both pick-and-pop efficiency (1.2 PPP) and pick-and-roll efficiency (1.69 PPP).

With Huff on the floor, Virginia outscored opponents by a whooping 184 points in 617 minutes, according to Pivot Analysis. The ‘Hoos posted a net rating of +20.5 points per 100 possessions in minutes with Huff on the court.

During those minutes, UVA scored 120.6 points per 100 possessions, while allowing 100.1 points per 100 possessions on defense. These are elite numbers.

With Huff on the bench, Virginia’s net rating was just +1.4 points per 100 possessions. So far this season, UVA is about 10 points per 100 possessions worse on both offense and defense when Huff is out, according to Pivot Analysis.

In many ways, this hasn’t been a vintage Tony Bennett defense; however, Virginia is still pretty strong on that end, which is a huge credit to Huff. Opponents shot just 50.4 percent at the rim against Virginia, per Synergy Sports, as Huff blocked 3.8 shots per 40 minutes.

(NC State’s Manny Bates is the only ACC player with a higher block rate: 12%)

Huff will never be a perfect pick-and-roll defender, but he’s made real strides in this capacity during his time in Charlottesville. He gave Bennett some optionality in these coverages as well — showing hard or dropping into the paint with a more flat approach.

Moses Wright was amazing this season for Georgia Tech; he’s a deserving Player of the Year candidate, too. However, even along tight margins, the numbers routinely favored Huff, who led the ACC in box plus-minus (11.2) and Evan Miya’s BPR.

 

Runner-up: Player of the Year

  • Moses Wright, Georgia Tech

 

2021 All ACC team

First Team

Jay Huff, Virginia

  • See above: Huff was so good this season

Moses Wright, Georgia Tech

    • One of the best stories in college basketball, Wright evolved from a rotation piece into a two-way monster and one of the better frontcourt playmakers in Division I
    • Wright is one of only two players in the country this season to register 50+ dunks and have an assist rate above 10 percent. The other player is USC’s Evan Mobley, the No. 2 overall prospect for the 2021 NBA Draft
    • Wright: 76.6 FG% at the rim, 60 dunks (most in the ACC), 0.95 points per post-up possession

 

Sam Hauser, Virginia

    • Sam Hauser was my vote for Preseason Player of the Year in the ACC; he certainly didn’t disappoint, and reaffirmed his credentials as one of the top movement shooters in the country
    • At 6-foot-8, Hauser is a load to cover, especially when he’s coming off down screens, relocating around the perimeter or facing up in the midrange
    • Hauser shot efficiently from every location on the floor; he’s a true four-level scorer

 

Jose Alvarado, Georgia Tech

    • Alvarado: 21.8% assist rate, 4.4% steal rate, 40.6 3P%
    • 60.1 eFG%, 63.8% true shooting (88.1 FT%)
    • 56 eFG% on catch-and-shoots, 50 eFG% on off-dribble jumpers
    • Alvarado: one of five players in the country this season with 4% steal rate, 40 3P% — along with Jared Butler of Baylor

 

Carlik Jones, Louisville

    • It took no time for Carlik Jones, following his arrival at Louisville, to re-announce himself as one of top guards in college basketball — he wasn’t afraid of the bigger stage: 26.5 USG%, 26.4% assist rate, 12.9 TOV%
    • Jones is a power guard and a master manipulator in the pick-and-roll; he blends a loopy crossover handle with the ability to mix speeds, stop on a dime and change directions
    • 56.5 eFG% on catch-and-shoots, 0.87 points per pick-and-roll possession

Second Team

Matthew Hurt, Duke

    • Matthew Hurt was the most impactful and efficient scorer in the ACC this season. With Hurt leading the way, and scoring from every level of the court, Duke’s offense — even in a tough season — landed top 15 nationally in efficiency
    • So much of what Duke ran offensively this season — Horns, continuity ball screen, wheel, floppy — was centered around getting Hurt to his spot for jumpers
      • If he was open, great, shoot the ball; if he was covered, fine, shoot over the defender
    • The Nowitzki-style post fadeaway jumper became his signature move, but Hurt shot well coming off movement as well — pick-and-pops or pindowns in floppy action
    • Hurt: 1.4 points per post-up possession — No. 1 nationally among players with 50+ post-up possessions
    • 71 eFG% on spot-up jumpers — No. 2 in the ACC among players with 50+ possession

 

Justin Champagnie, Pittsburgh

    • Less than two months ago, it would’ve been very easy to build a case for Justin Champagnie as the league’s top player; in fact, he was the frontrunner for POY honors in mid-January, which is exactly what I wrote about at the time
    • If you still have Champagnie as the ACC Player of the Year or on first team all-conference, that’s totally cool; he was so freaking good this season, while showcasing himself for NBA teams (Champagnie is very young for a sophomore; he’s an interesting prospect)
    • As Pitt’s season slowly unraveled, though, Champagnie’s numbers slipped some, especially in the month of February
    • During ACC play, Champangie still finished top 15 in the league in a plethora of categories: offensive rating, usage rate, offensive rebound rate, defensive rebound rate, block rate and fouls drawn per 40 minutes

 

Aamir Simms, Clemson

    • As a senior, Aamir Simms brought more of the same from one season ago — efficient finishing around the basket (72.2 FG%), production on the offensive glass (10.4%) and some 3-point shooting (19-of-49 3PA, 38.8 3P%), 1.12 points per pick-and-pop possession
    • What truly makes Simms unique, though, is his ability to facilitate offense from the high post and off pick-and-pop action
      • Clemson’s offense scored nearly 13 points per 100 possessions more with Simms on the floor this season, according to Pivot Analysis
    • During the regular season, Simms led Clemson in both usage rate (25.1%) and assist rate (22.1%)
    • Along with Alabama’s Herbert Jones, Simms was one of only five players in the country this season to finish with 20% assist rate, 3% block rate and 35 3P%

 

Keve Aluma, Virginia Tech

    • Keve Aluma emerged from his redshirt season like a butterfly exiting its cocoon. After being mostly a low-usage rebounder for two seasons at Wofford, Aluma ran roughshod over the ACC as a menace on the low block: 15.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game
    • Mike Young is one of the best at tailoring his offense to fit the strengths of its personnel. With Aluma, this meant more post-ups so the 6-foot-9, 235-pound center could punish opponents on the low block
    • Aluma drew 5.5 fouls per 40 minutes, while scoring 4.3 points per game on post-ups (47.5 FG%), second most in the ACC, according to Synergy

 

MJ Walker, Florida State

    • One of the talented vets on Florida State’s roster, MJ Walker finished the regular season with career-bests in 3-point shooting (44.2 3P%), 2-point shooting (42.9 2P%), effective shooting (55.1 eFG%, well above his career average) and assist rate (15.1%)
    • Walker is strong movement shooter with good range, capable of attacking the rim on a straight line; he’s been the catalyst for a lot of Florida State’s offense this season

Third Team

Isaiah Wong, Miami

    • Isaiah Wong is one of the best one-and-one and pick-and-roll scorers in the country
      • 1.02 points per pick-and-roll possession, which ranks top 10 nationally (100+ possessions)
      • In terms of pick-and-roll points per game, Wong ranked third in the ACC — behind only Devon Daniels and Carlik Jones
    • After a strong conclusion to his freshman season, Wong continued to roll as a sophomore — while pushing a depleted roster to the finish line

 

Trey Murphy III, Virginia

    • It’s not totally unfair to refer to Trey Murphy as a bit of specialist on offense, but what he does best on that end is super important: 3-point shooting
      • (Should note: Murphy worked as a screener in a lot of Virginia’s blocker-mover concepts this season, which is an integral component of that offense)
    • With nearly 60 percent of his field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc, Murphy morphed into an elite catch-and-shoot bomber in Virginia’s offense — Murphy ranks No. 1 in the ACC and top 25 nationally in effective shooting (66.7 eFG%) on catch-and-shoot looks
      • Murphy is so long (6-foot-9); it can be a challenge to really bother his shot on a closeout
    • The one other thing Murphy does at an elite level: cut without the basketball
      • Murphy finished the regular season with 23 dunks, several of which came off of baseline cuts, usually in Virginia’s spread pick-and-roll or 5-out sets
      • Murphy shot 86.4 percent on cut FGA this season, No. 1 in the ACC (20+ possessions)

 

RaiQuan Gray, Florida State

    • RaiQuan Gray is as eccentric of a player as you’ll find in college basketball: a 6-foot-8, 260-pound point forward that can handle, pass and defend all five positions
    • Now in the best shape of his career, Gray is a far more efficient offensive player; his usage is up (23%) and his turnovers are down (21.6 TOV%)
    • Another reason why Gray found increased efficiency on offense: finishing around the rim. After shooting in the mid-50s across his first two seasons at the basket, Gray has connected on 66.7 percent of his close 2PA in the 2020-21 season

 

Scottie Barnes, Florida State

    • See below: more on Scottie Barnes later in these honors and awards

 

Nate Laszewski, Notre Dame

    • Huff, Hurt, Hauser and Murphy grabbed most of the attention in terms of tall, rangy, frontcourt shooters in the ACC — but Nate Laszewski was incredible this season, too
    • Laszewski is a legit catch-and-shoot sniper; the 6-foot-10 junior discovered a groove early this season and never looked back
      • 46.2 3P%, 70.3 2P%
      • Laszewski finished the regular season ranked top five nationally in effective shooting (69.8 eFG%) and true shooting (70.9 TS%)
    • Laszewski led the ACC in pick-and-pop efficiency: 1.25 points per possession (61.5 eFG%)

Honorable Mention

Alan Griffin, Syracuse

Tyrece Radford, Virginia Tech

Armando Bacot, North Carolina

Manny Bates, NC State

Hunter Cattoor, Virginia Tech

Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse

DJ Funderburk, NC State

Quincy Guerrier, Syracuse

 

Devon Daniels: Special Shoutout

Unfortunately, one of the defining moments of this bizarre ACC basketball season is the ACL tear suffered by NC State’s Devon Daniels. The injury altered the course of NC State’s season and robbed Daniels of what should’ve been an All-ACC senior campaign.

Daniels was excellent this year: one of the top offensive engines in the country. Following the injury, I put together a deep dive on what Daniels accomplished in the first 12 games this season. Check that out if you’d like more numbers and film on Daniels.

If Daniels remained healthy and continued his strong play, the NC State guard certainly would’ve landed on my All-ACC roster. With that in mind, just a quick tip of the cap to Daniels.

 

Freshman of the Year: Scottie Barnes, Florida State

Holy moly, Scottie Barnes is a fun basketball player. At 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, Barnes emerged as one of the league’s premier playmakers. Barnes thrived in a super-sub role for Florida State this season — à la Patrick Williams — while working as the primary creator for the top spot-up offense in the country.

(FSU: 63.7 eFG% on catch-and-shoot FGA, No. 1 nationally, according to Synergy Sports.)

During the preseason, this award seemed like a two-man race; Duke’s Jalen Johnson and Barnes were the top incoming ACC rookies. However, with Johnson declaring for the draft in February, the lane cleared for the ubiquitous Barnes.

In under 25 minutes per game, Barnes finished the regular season with averages of 10.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals. (He’s a wonderful defensive rebounder, too.)

Barnes finished the season third in the ACC in Evan Miya’s BPR metric. According to Miya’s numbers, FSU also outscored opponents by 20.8 points per 100 possessions with Barnes on the floor this season, one of the top net ratings in the ACC. (Individual net rating can be a bit noisy; context is important, but this is just one more number that speaks to the impact of Barnes.)

Due to his power and 7-foot-2 wingspan, Barnes was a matchup concern for most opponents. At this stage, Barnes isn’t much of a shooter outside the paint, though he’s unafraid to launch from deep. Using this as a weakness, some teams tried to sag off Barnes in order to gum up FSU’s half-court offense.

However, Barnes plays with tremendous vision and feel for the game; he can see over the top of defenders, while moving the pieces around on the chessboard to exactly where he wants.

Barnes has a few more weeks in Tallahassee. After that, he’s off to the NBA as one of the more intriguing lottery talents in the 2021 draft.

Runner-up

  • Jae’Lyn Withers, Louisville
    • 11.6% offensive rebound rate, 22.8% defensive rebound rate, 66 FG% at the rim

Defensive Player of the Year: Manny Bates, NC State

Manny Bates followed up a promising freshman season with another masterful performance on the defensive end of the floor. While anchoring the best NC State defense ever under Kevin Keatts, Bates posted an ACC-leading 12.1 percent block rate, according to KenPom, which is a top 15 number nationally.

 

Opponents shot just under 55 percent at the rim in the half court against the Wolfpack. NC State’s defense allowed just 0.77 points per post-up possession, too, which ranks in the 91st percentile nationally. Bates, one of 12 ACC players with a defensive BPM of 3.0, is a big reason for these developments.

Bates really is an incredible rim protector: quick off his feet, excellent timing and excellent reach. The 6-foot-11 Bates doesn’t just sit in the paint, either. Bates moves around, looking to influence as much action as possible. He can close space so quickly — turning seemingly open, high-percentage looks into transition opportunities going the other way.

In terms of pick-and-roll defense, well, Bates continues to improve there, too. While primarily deployed as a drop center in screen-roll coverage, NC State used Bates on some 1-5 switches late in the season vs. Virginia and Notre Dame.

 

Runner-up

  • Jose Alvarado, Georgia Tech
    • Obviously, Alvarado’s steals number are incredible, but I loved when Georgia Tech would turn him loose as a Kyle Lowry-esque pest to guard bigger offensive threats, like Sam Hauser and Matthew Hurt

All-Defensive Team

Manny Bates, NC State

Jose Alvarado, Georgia Tech

Leaky Black, North Carolina

Justin Champagnie, Pittsburgh

Reece Beekman, Virginia

 

Toughest Omissions: All-Defensive Team

Jay Huff, Virginia

Kadary Richmond, Syracuse

Moses Wright, Georgia Tech

Aamir Simms, Clemson

Anthony Polite, Florida State

Day’Ron Sharpe, North Carolina

Shakeel Moore, NC State

All-Freshman Team

I’m drunk with power and changing some of the rules here: seven players — that’s right, SEVEN — have been named to my All-Freshman roster. If this displeases you, well, too bad!

 

Scottie Barnes, Florida State

    • Florida State scored 1.54 points per pick-and-roll possession when Barnes passed to a teammate who used/finished the possession, which ranks No. 1 nationally (50+ possessions). Of course, a lot of this success has to do with FSU’s spot-up shooting

 

Jae’Lyn Withers, Louisville

    • One of five ACC rookies to post a box plus-minus of 5.0 or better
      • Withers is the first Louisville freshman with a BPM of 5+ since Donovan Mitchell and Ray Spalding in the 2015-16 season
      • Terry Rozier is the only other Louisville rookie since the 2007-08 season with a 5+ BPM
    • One of 12 Division I players with 10% offensive rebound rate, 20% defensive rebound rate, 55 2P%, 20 3PA — along with Charles Bassey (WKU), Kobe Brown (Missouri), Justin Bean (Utah State) and Efe Abogidi (Washington State)
    • Withers excelled while forced into a full-time small-ball 5 role due to the Malik Williams injuries; he can do a little bit of everything, including switching 1-5 defensively, handling the ball in space and finishing in traffic at the rim

Kadary Richmond, Syracuse

    • On the sneak, Richmond really had a sensational freshman season; he’s a legit NBA prospect, who factors into a variety of year-end honors for the ACC
    • Richmond per 40 minutes: 6.1 assists (26 AST%), 3.5 steals, 4.8 FTA
    • At 6-foot-5, Richmond is a big guard with wonderful court vision. However, he can score on his own, too: 48 FG% on isolation attempts, 90% of his 2PM were unassisted

 

Day’Ron Sharpe, North Carolina

    • Finished the regular season ranked 6th in the ACC in Evan Miya’s BPR metric
    • Sharpe is an incredibly powerful and strong player, capable of attack the offensive glass like 2020 first round pick Isaiah Stewart, now with the Detroit Pistons. But there’s more to his game than brute strength and a good motor
    • Sharpe has a great feel for the game; he makes quick decisions, with little processing delay. Sharpe can throw teammates open with heady passes on offense, while also blowing up opponent offensive actions as a rampaging team defender
    • Along with Trevion Williams of Purdue, Sharpe is one of only two high-major players with 15% offensive rebound rate, 22% defensive rebound rate and 10% assist rate

 

Kerwin Walton, North Carolina

    • I wrote a larger story on Walton recently. The upshot: Walton’s perimeter shooting saved North Carolina’s season. Check that out for more numbers, analysis and film
      • UNC’s offense with Walton on the floor
        • 114.6 points per 100 possessions, account to Pivot Analysis
      • UNC’s offense with Walton on the bench
        • 103.9 points per 100 possessions — nearly 11 points per 100 possessions fewer
    • After an 18-point performance in the finale over Duke (4-of-7 3PA), Walton concluded the regular season 51-of-121 from deep (42.1 3P%)
    • Walton is one of only three freshman in the country this season shooting above 42 percent on his 3-point attempts; Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), the top prospect for the 2021 NBA Draft, is another

 

DJ Steward, Duke

    • After a scintillating start — 24 points in a win over Coppin State — Steward’s rookie season at Duke was a little uneven. Steward’s decision-making and overall feel were were a little hit-or-miss, just like his jumper (He’s a streaky shooter)
    • That said, Steward is wickedly talented and a highly-combustible scorer. Steward is physical, unafraid of contact, while also functioning as a productive off-ball mover
    • Steward led all ACC freshmen in scoring: 13.0 points per game. He’s one of four ACC rookies to average 10 points and 2.0 assists per game
    • There’s a lot of talent here with Steward, who can create on the ball (41.3 eFG% off-dribble jumpers) and score as a gifted second-side weapon (0.94 points per spot-up possession). Sophomore Year Steward could be a monster to deal with if he returns

 

Shakeel Moore, NC State

    • The defensive side of the floor is where Moore truly shines, but he can utilizes his ridiculous athletic talents on offense, too
    • Moore may not be the smooth pick-and-roll operator that Cam Hayes is, but he’s strong and plays with good burst. Moore (0.82 points per pick-and-roll possession) has a real knack for splitting ball screen coverages and getting into the paint

Toughest Omissions: All-Freshman Team

Cam Hayes, NC State

    • 26.1% assist rate, 3.4% steal rate, 0.90 points per pick-and-roll possession (45.8 FG%)

 

Reece Beekman, Virginia

    • Beekman is so obviously set to be a star and The Next Big Thing for Virginia basketball
    • It’ll be interesting to see what Beekman looks like offensively next season — without Hauser and Huff (possibly Trey Murphy, too). He helped move the ball along in various half-court sets (I really like Beekman as a pindown playmaker in blocker-mover/Sides), but he was mostly a non-factor in terms of finishing (13.6 USG%). He’s so quick with the basketball; it’d be nice to see more pick-and-roll creation

Mark Williams, Duke

    • Williams kept getting better and better over the final few weeks. Over the last seven games of Duke’s season, Williams threw down 20 dunks
    • The 7-footer finished his freshman regular season with 28 dunks (74 FG% at the rim) and a block rate of 10.6%

Most Improved Player: Moses Wright, Georgia Tech

So many talented players in the ACC made a very real jump this season, but Moses Wright stands out just a little more. Obviously, we can all take a look at Wright’s stats — both basic and advanced — and see that he improved dramatically. Plenty of these improvements center on his finishing, which was tremendous. Despite a career-high usage rate, Wright was an efficient scorer from every level of the floor.

However, this wasn’t a simple plug-and-chug equation for Wright; Georgia Tech is unique. This is more than just giving a player increased time on the court while dialing up the usage. A great deal of Josh Pastner’s offense is run through the high post — Chin and Point Series.

This means, when you’re the man in the middle for Georgia Tech, you must be able to handle the ball and pass, without making too many mistakes.

After dishing out 68 total assists across his first three seasons at Tech, Wright kicked out 58 assists this season; while on the floor, Wright assisted on nearly 14 percent of his teammates’ field goals.

As a team, the Yellow Jackets assisted on 58.4 percent of their field goals this season, which ranks No. 37 nationally.

To be clear, this isn’t a role Wright held prior to this season. Over the last few years, James Banks commanded this spot; Ben Lammers was the man before Banks. In these scenarios, Wright was spaced further from the rim and forced to drive from the wing against a set defense.

Those offenses, to put it mildly, were middling, though. Thanks to Wright’s work as a passing hub/facilitator, Georgia Tech is now a top 25-offense. Prior to the start of the season, that development would’ve seem wholly unlikely. This is easily the best unit Pastner has coached in nearly a decade — going back to his time at Memphis.

 

With Wright on the floor this season, Georgia Tech scored better than 115 points per 100 possession, according to Pivot Analysis. Tech’s offensive efficiency plummeted to 103 points per 100 possessions with Wright sitting.

 

Toughest Omissions: Most Improved Player

Matthew Hurt, Duke

    • Hurt became arguably the best all-around jump shooter in the country — right up there with Sam Hauser. Hurt, Hauser and Chris Duarte were the only high-major players this season to shoot 55 FG% on long 2PA and 43 3P%
    • Long live the midrange fadeaway — it’s legitimately incredible how many of these he made this season

 

David Johnson, Louisville

    • After a superb start, Johnson’s number sort of fell off, which kept him off some year-end balloting. However, he showed enough this season — team defense, post game, passing, spot-up shooting (38 3P%) — to solidify his NBA status

6th Man of the Year: Hunter Cattoor, Virginia Tech

Hunter Cattoor built upon a strong freshman season; as only a sophomore, the Virginia Tech shooting guard emerged as one of the top two-way playmakers in the ACC. Not bad for a guy who was initially set to play for Mike Young at Wofford.

A proper evaluation of Cattoor goes beyond simple per game averages, though there were steady improvements there as well: 8.5 points (usage up to 17.5%) and 1.5 assists. Those are perfectly fine stats (he played just over 22 minutes per game); however, there are better metrics to detail Cattoor’s impact.

Cattoor combines elite jump shooting with gorgeous off-ball movement to free himself up for looks. Young is one of the best in business at offensive design, but all of those beautiful schemes require talent. Cattoor splashed 44.9 percent of his 3-point attempts this season, a top-60 number nationally.

Watch here as Cattoor puts Trey Murphy into the blender.

According to Synergy Sports, Cattoor posted an effective shooting rate of 68.2 percent on catch-and-shoot attempts this season; that ranks second in the ACC.

Cattoor scored 1.07 points per possession (No. 7 in the ACC) after coming off a screen — a critical skill in Young’s motion offense.

The jumper is a given, but his defense is frisky, too. Cattoor posted a 3.0% block rate and a 2.3% steal rate — strong numbers for a 6-foot-3 guard. Along with Oregon’s Chris Duarte, Cattoor was one of only three players in the country with 2.0% block rate, 2.0% steal rate and 40 3P% (10+ 3PA per 40 minutes).

The Hokies outscored opponents by a wide margin with Cattoor on the floor: +151 in 442 minutes, good for a net rating of +21.4 points per 100 possessions. These are monster numbers.

Virginia Tech was -4 in 368 minutes with Cattoor on the bench, per Pivot Analysis.

 

Toughest Omissions: 6th Man of the Year

Scottie Barnes, Florida State

    • During league play, Barnes ranked top five in usage (26.2 USG%), assist rate (31.7 AST%) and steal rate (3.6%).

 

Day’Ron Sharpe, North Carolina

    • Sharpe per 40 minutes: 20.2 points, 16.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.8 steals
    • 57.7 FG% on put-backs
    • 45.1 FG% on post-ups
    • UNC with Sharpe on the floor this season, per Pivot Analysis
      • +63 in 482 minutes
      • net rating: +7.5 points per 100 possessions

 

Kadary Richmond, Syracuse

    • Syracuse with Richmond on the floor this season:
      • +106 in 511 minutes, per Pivot Analysis
      • net rating: +12.4 points per 100 possessions
    • Syracuse with Richmond off the floor this season:
      • +4 in 413 minutes
      • net rating: +0.6 points per 100 possessions
    • Yeah, Syracuse should’ve played Richmond more this season

 

Coach of the Year: Leonard Hamilton, Florida State

Despite losing three players from last season’s magical ACC title team, including two lottery picks, Florida State continued to chug along: 15-5 overall, 11-4 in the ACC. It’s not easy to replace stars like Devin Vassell, Patrick Williams and Trent Forrest; however, FSU performed at an elite level this season.

Rolling with an 11-man rotation, Hamilton and FSU came this close to a second straight regular season ACC title. With a more egalitarian scoring approach, Florida State produced its most efficient offense ever under Hamilton: top 15 nationally in adjusted efficiency and 3-point shooting (38.5 3P%).

On the defensive side, FSU experienced some slippage; that’s to be expected, though. Forrest, Vassell and Williams were three of the best defenders in the country last season. Vassell, a special team defender, entered the 2020 NBA Draft as the event’s top 3-and-D prospect.

FSU’s 1-5 switch scheme generated fewer steals this season (10.8% steal rate), while allowing more 3-point volume (41% opponent FGA) and assisted field goals (50%). But Hamilton’s defense still finished the regular season as a top-50 unit; and on the right night, it can play like the toughest defense in the country. (Just ask Virginia.)

Amidst several key departures, and a pandemic that disrupted last offseason and parts of this season, Hamilton and his staff were able to run this switch-heavy defense with success, which requires strong communication and team-wide connectivity.

Florida State also reaffirmed its status as one of the top player development programs in the country. RaiQuan Gray, Balsa Koprivica (28 dunks, 71 FG% rim), Anthony Polite (45 3P%), MJ Walker all made leaps from a season ago.

 

Runner-up

  • Mike Young, Virginia Tech