Jim Young offers his All-ACC ballot as of Jan. 16
Every year I make the same mistake.
I wait until the final weekend of the regular season and then am forced to cram like crazy to figure out who’s going to be on my All-ACC ballot.
Now I’m going to take the responsible approach and start doing my prep work well in advance. So I’m starting to put together my ballot, NOW.
Let me be clear, this is all very much subject to change. This is what my ballot would look like if the season ended today, basically.
If you want to just call them “Player Power Rankings,” that’s fine. I’m still partial to the whole “Ballot Snapshot” thing.
1. Lamar Patterson, G/F, Pitt (17.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, 4.8 rpg)
I kept telling folks down on Tobacco Road about Patterson and now that league play has started he’s making believers of them. He does a little bit of everything very well. Oh and did you know he’s leading the ACC in field goal percentage too? (52 percent).
2. C.J. Fair, F, Syracuse (17.21 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
The top player on the top team in the league certainly merits a spot on the first team. I might have him a bit high, though. Ken Pomeroy only has Fair with a 101.3 offensive rating, just 16th-best among ACC players with a usage rating of 24 percent or higher (meaning the percentage of possessions in which the player either takes a shot, shoots free throws, gets an assist or turns the ball over.) Still, Fair passes the eye test for me. Put it this way – I’m not taking 15 other ACC players over him.
3. T.J. Warren, F, N.C. State (22.1 ppg)
Want to know how valuable Warren is to the Wolfpack? Go back and watch State’s offense – or lack thereof – after Warren went to the bench with foul trouble. Yikes. Opponents know Warren is option No. 1, 2 and 3 for State – he leads the league in usage rate at 31.7%, but he still gets his points in an efficient matter. (111.6 offensive rating).
4. Rodney Hood, F, Duke (18.4 ppg, 51.5% FG)
Yes, I have Hood ahead of Jabari Parker. Parker’s overall numbers are still very impressive (don’t worry he’ll get his love in a second) but Hood has carried the load so far in conference play, averaging a league-best 22.0 ppg through Duke’s first four ACC games.
5. Jabari Parker, F Duke (18.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG)
Parker’s slowed down significantly in league play, averaging just 10.5 points in the Blue Devils’ first four ACC games. But it’s hard to imagine this slump lasting too much longer, and we certainly can’t ignore his stellar performance in the non-conference portion of the schedule, either.
6. K.J. McDaniels, F Clemson (16.8 ppg, 2.8 bpg)
My work is done with spreading the word about Lamar Patterson. Now my mission is to make you aware of how good McDaniels is. Previously known more for his highlight reel dunks and blocks, McDaniels has beefed up his offensive game in a big way, upping his scoring average by nearly six points per game. Oh and Jay Bilas likes him as well.
A player deserving of more attention is Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels, averaging 16 pts, 7 rebs, 3 blks. Terrific at LeBron Academy and since.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 16, 2014
7. Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse (11.6 ppg, 5.6 apg)
This is another one of those “eyeball” votes. The cumulative stats don’t jump out at you, but watch a Syracuse game and you’ll see that Ennis is the key to everything the Orange does on offense. Oh, and his offensive rating of 121.5 is third-highest in the ACC among players with a usage rating of 20% or more.
8. Marcus Paige, G, UNC (17.0 ppg, 4.3 apg)
Paige carried the UNC offense through much of the non-conference schedule. For a good chunk of that time he played off-guard, while Nate Britt ran the point. But now that McDonald is back, Paige is back at the point and his numbers have dipped. It’ll be interesting to see if Roy Williams experiments with perhaps a three-guard lineup or with moving Paige back to shooting guard for longer stretches.
9. Olivier Hanlan, G, Boston College (19.1 ppg, 3.1 apg)
Hanlan’s an interesting case. There’s no doubt he’s among the ACC’s top players, but strangely in some ways, he’s slipped since last season. Specifically, his shooting percentage is down from 45.7 to 41.9 and his three-point percentage has dropped from 39.4 to 31.4. Maybe BC’s asking him to do too much?
10. Talib Zanna, F, Pitt (13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
Remember when folks were worried about how Pitt was going to replace all the talented size it lost off last year’s squad. Remember how being forced to play Zanna at center was a worry? Well, worry no more. A big reason why Pitt has surprised many media members (raises hand guiltily) is because Zanna hasn’t just solidified the low post – he’s flourished. And he’s playing his best basketball right now, averaging 16.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg in the Panthers’ four ACC games (all wins, by the way).
11. Quinn Cook, G, Duke (13.2 ppg, 5.9 apg)
Sometimes I think that because Cook usually throws in one head-scratching shot or pass a game, the impressive work he does the rest of the time gets a bit overshadowed. Or maybe it’s because Cook also distracts us by doing those Elaine Benes-like shoves of his own teammates when he gets excited.
Either way, he’s one of the ACC’s top point guards and a pretty efficient one (118.6 offensive rating) at that.
12. Eric Atkins, G, Notre Dame (13.8 ppg, 4.9 apg)
The loss of Jerian Grant because of academics (Grant would have likely been a first-teamer on this ballot if he were still eligible) has put a ton of responsibility on the shoulders of Atkins, who already had a full job description running the Notre Dame offense. The Irish have predictably struggled since losing Grant – they’re 2-3 sans Grant and have lost three in a row – but don’t blame Atkins, who has elevated his game. He’s averaged 16.5 ppg and 6.6 apg since Grant’s departure.
13. Codi Miller-McIntyre, G, Wake Forest (15.8 ppg, 3.8 apg)
With each passing game I buy in a little more to the idea that Wake Forest is finally making strides in Jeff Bzdelik’s fourth season. A big reason why is the massive leap Miller-McIntyre has made since his freshman season (scoring up from 8.1 ppg to 15.8). He’s turned into the go-to guy for the Deacs, as evidenced by his coast-to-coast layup to beat N.C. State on Wednesday night.
14. Dez Wells, G/F, Maryland (14.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
Wells’ shooting percentage is actually down this season from last, from 52.7% to 47.3%, but he’s still playing at an All-ACC level in large part because he’s getting to the line more often (4.2 made FTs a game) and shooting well when he gets there (79.2%)
15. Okaro White, F, (12.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG)
It was tricky figuring out which Seminole to put here, because you could also make a case for Ian Miller (13.7 ppg), as well. I went with White because he plays an important role in FSU’s frontcourt, where the big men are still struggling on the defensive boards, and because White is very efficent on offense. (114.0 offensive rating)
(In alphabetical order)
Ryan Anderson, F, Boston College
Rion Brown, G, Miami
Pat Connaughton, G/F, Notre Dame
Joe Harris, G/F, Virginia
James Michael McAdoo, F, UNC
Ian Miller, G, FSU
Garrick Sherman, C, Notre Dame
Devin Thomas, F, Wake Forest
Cameron Wright, G, Pitt