Introducing the ACC’s Preseason AwardsPosted by mpatton on November 8th, 2012
With play starting around the nation tomorrow, it’s time for the ACC microsite’s 2012-13 preseason awards.
Player of the Year
The player of the year vote was split between Michael Snaer and Lorenzo Brown. Both guys need their respective teams to do very well to be in the running for the award. Brown probably needs success a little more, as the NC State roster has a lot of talent already on it. If the team does poorly, it will reflect on its floor general. His numbers probably won’t be that flashy, but if he improves even half of what he did from his freshman season to last season, he’ll be one of the most well-rounded players in the league. One struggle Brown may have is in terms of the “most talented” versus “most important” argument that plagued Kendall Marshall at North Carolina last season. Marshall didn’t have the best numbers, but he was more critical to his team’s success than any of his teammates. Brown could face similar questions (or just a split of the vote) if CJ Leslie has a monster year. But Brown has the advantage over Marshall in that he’s much more complete as a basketball player.
Snaer is a known quantity: he’s a supremely talented two-guard with a competitiveness and motor unrivaled around the conference. He’s so competitive that Leonard Hamilton has to pull him out a few minutes into important games to make sure he doesn’t go over the top. He’s one of the best defensive players in the country, but he doesn’t get many steals. He just shuts down passing lanes and makes every shot difficult. Watching some of the ACC Tournament last year, he looked like he was running circles around very good opponents. It’s not like he was putting up ludicrous numbers, but there was no question who the best player on both ends of the floor was for much of his games against North Carolina and Duke. Unlike Brown, Snaer may be able to still win if Florida State falters a little. The key for him (and Hamilton) is keeping his drive to a usable level and not letting it suffocate him.
In the end Snaer is more of a proven commodity. He’s also the reason we ranked the Seminoles so high despite losing major pieces from last year’s team. So our preseason ACC Player of the Year award goes to Michael Snaer.
Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year after the jump.
Rookie of the Year
The votes were split between three players, all of whom are from the Triangle. Rodney Purvis, Rasheed Sulaimon and Alex Murphy all received votes with an honorable mention going to North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige.
Sulaimon may start on the best team in the conference by the end of the year. If Seth Curry’s injury is worse than Duke originally thought, he may start right off the bat. Sulaimon has the potential to be a real on-ball terror, something Duke really missed last year defensively. He’s also a perfect foil to Curry in the backcourt thanks to his strength as a slasher. Sulaimon’s biggest struggle will be standing out on an already elite offensive team. Redshirt freshman Alex Murphy also got a nod. Sulaimon’s game may be a little flashier than Murphy’s, but Murphy may be more important defensively (and potentially overall, as no one had qualms with Duke’s offense last season). Murphy is built in the mold of successful wings under Mike Krzyzewski: He should be able guard multiple positions, which was a major hole in Duke’s defense last season.
Still, Purvis came away with our preseason Rookie of the Year crown. He’s a pure scorer joining a team that will need a high-volume producer at the two-guard position. There’s definitely still the danger that Purvis is overshadowed by the talented upperclassmen surrounding him, but he should fit in very quickly. Don’t be surprised if he averages just under 20 points a game — especially if the Wolfpack decide to run this season.
Coach of the Year
The votes were split between three candidates. Leonard Hamilton and Mark Gottfried both ended up falling short for similar reasons. Essentially, they have created unreasonable expectations based on their strong finishes last season. Gottfried needs to finish first (or second) in the ACC to win this award. He very well may, but if the Wolfpack finish somewhere else in the standings, that lofty preseason ranking may come back to haunt him. The fact is, he coached a 9-7 conference team to the Sweet Sixteen last season. That’s a commendable job right there. Hamilton has a slightly better chance, especially considering his teams’ tendencies to start the season very slow and mature as the season progresses. However, ask Krzyzewski and Roy Williams how hard it is to win Coach of the Year when you’re at the top.
In the end Jim Larranaga gets the nod. His proven track record (how many other ACC coaches have ever coached in the Final Four) combined with a talented roster makes his Miami team a prime dark horse contender. If the Hurricanes finish fourth or better, Larranaga should have a very good shot at winning this award, barring a remarkable turnaround from one of the league’s cellar-dwellers.