The Unofficial RTC ACC SuperlativesPosted by Lathan Wells on March 11th, 2014
While the more official hardware is beginning to be handed out, like Player and Coach of the Year and the All-ACC team’s, it’s worth looking at some more under-the-radar superlatives that players and coaches have earned through the course of the regular season on the precipice of ACC Tournament time in Greensboro.
Here are five awards that RTC found to be equally as important as some of their more official brethren:
Most Selfless Upperclassman: Joe Harris, Virginia.
His scoring dipped more than four points a game from a year ago as he watched Malcolm Brogdon become the go-to scorer and clutch player on the team, plummeting from preseason ACC Player of the Year prognostications seemingly from the first game’s opening tip. Nonetheless, Harris’ willingness to play team ball and enlarge his leadership role helped Virginia to their first outright ACC Title in 33 years and a current two-seed projection in the NCAA’s. Harris is a senior, so it’s rare for a player to back off in his final season and allow team success to trump personal statistics. Harris is still a force, but now knows he can operate in the background to help his team’s season become even more special.
Best Coaching Job Outside of Charlottesville: Roy Williams, North Carolina.
Tony Bennett absolutely deserved the COY award for his unbelievable reclamation job with Virginia, but no one dealt with more adversity this year than Williams. Between the PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald saga, the academics issues brought to light by a former adviser, and the up-and-down start to the year with no set rotation and inconsistent effort, Williams had a ton on his plate in trying to get this team into postseason play. The Tar Heels won 12 conference games in a row, including a split with rival Duke, and own possibly the best non-conference wins of any team in the country. It’s arguably Williams’ best coaching job in Chapel Hill to date.Best “Get Off Me” Win of the Season: Maryland.
Through the second tilt of ACC games, no team received more taunts than Maryland, who were dealt “ACC! ACC!” taunts throughout relating to their exit next year for the Big Ten. So in the Terrapins’ final ACC game, all they did was defeat the conference’s best team in Virginia in College Park. While Virginia had already sewn up the conference’s top seed, this was still a major win for Mark Turgeon’s squad to build off of, and a nice little send-off to opposing fan bases that felt betrayed by a longtime member’s exit and constantly let the Terrapins hear about it.
Most Stoic ACC Star:Tie: London Perrantes, Virginia, and Tyler Ennis, Syracuse.
These guys show zero emotion during a game, which translates to frustration for those trying to analyze if they know whether they’re truly invested in winning or losing, but is paramount to their success running two of the best teams in the nation. Both had fantastic assist-to-turnover ratio’s, and both can argue they are the most indispensable player on their team. The cool demeanor each shows on the court is a big reason why both of these teams should be successful come NCAA Tournament time even if games are tight late. Ennis is more heralded, but Perrantes runs the conference’s top team. Two truly remarkable freshman point guards.
Best Reaction To A Benching: Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke.
Talk of Sulaimon’s reduced role and inability to coexist with Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood hit a crescendo when he didn’t log a single minute in the Blue Devils’ matchup with Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Talk quieted shortly thereafter, as not only did Sulaimon reemerge as a threat (hitting the critical three that took Syracuse to overtime in New York and the one that sealed the win over Virginia), but the team has looked better down the stretch with him handling the ball than true point guard Quinn Cook. That’s the way to respond to tough love from your demanding head coach.