ACC Basketball: Five “Guys Eyeing the Prize” For POY in the Conference


Player of the Year in the ACC will be won between now and Tourney time.

Now that Conference play is in full effect, several individual players are continuing to dominate the field. Not too many teams can say the same. Most would consider this season an off year or a rebuilding time for several teams within the ACC. Other than UNC and Duke, picked by many to finish 1-2, it’s a tossup rounding out the rest in how they will fare. Then you add the fact that several below average teams still have playmakers and an athlete who can win a game all by his lonesome. This can be the cause of any ranked team to fall any day of the week if they don’t stop the opposing teams #1 player and are unprepared as a team.

That has also shown me that it may not be too shocking if and when another ACC contender gets pummeled by 30+ points at the hands of an inferior opponent who has a go-to guy. Well……….. Maybe not by that much, but you get my drift!
There are 5 guys who are beginning to pull away and put their names at the top of the ACC Player of the Year ballots. Though it may be a down year overall, like I mentioned before, that does not mean there are not still future NBA draft picks laced throughout the Conference leading their respective teams.

Page 2: I reveal my“Guys Eyeing the Prize”

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Here is my “Guys Eyeing the Prize” List in the ACC. One of these 5 will walk away with the ACC POY award at the end of the season. Although without a doubt in my mind, the one who does win POY will have to contribute in many ways and potentially lead their teams to the Big Dance in March! They are in no specific order or rank.

1.)    Mike Scott  Senior F      Virginia     16.9 PPG 8.9 RPG 1.6 APG
Double-Double machine Mike Scott has been an architect in the recent success of the Virginia Cavaliers basketball team. Under head coach Tony Bennett, Virginia has the number 1 ranked scoring defense in the ACC allowing only 51 PPG and holding opponents to a measly 26% from long range (3-PT FG). If the Cavaliers continue to play great defense and can win some tough games, Mike Scott will have to play a big part in that success. Most likely becoming a household name, Scott would then get plenty of POY talk that would be well deserved. Along with Scott’s senior leadership and the talent at their Guard positions, Virginia will have an opportunity to contend not only in the ACC, but also nationally.

2.)    Terrell Stoglin    Sophomore G    Maryland    20.9 PPG 3.4 RPG 2 APG
The top scorer in the ACC has continued to lead his Terrapin team to a respectable record thus far. To the surprise of many, Maryland is still playing competitive games within the conference. At only 6”1’, Stoglin isn’t the biggest guy on the court normally but with 30+ points in two big non-conference wins early vs. ND and Colorado, he has showed he can at least score BIG.  Yes it is still early to determine the entire conference outcome but with the scoring ability of Stoglin, Maryland fans may be excited if the winning continues into March. No matter the case though, to win, the Terrapins will need Stoglin to continue having a POY type of season.

3.)    John Henson Junior F  North Carolina    14.4 PPG 9.7 RPG 3 BPG
Overall, Henson may be winning as of now in some eyes, even over his superstar teammate Harrison Barnes. Each year we have seen him get better on both ends of the court. At 6’11, 220 pounds, and with the wingspan of a Pterodactyl, Henson has a lot of NBA scouts drooling at his potential. On defense he sets the tone with his shot blocking, and on offense he is a consistent double digit scorer. With both of those things said, in my eyes there is no reason he can’t dominate ACC play for the remainder of the season (even after that nightmare in Tallahassee). Yet like in seasons past, I believe when it’s all said and done Henson and Barnes will undoubtedly take votes away from each other for the conference POY award.

4.)    Harrison Barnes Sophomore F North Carolina     16.8 PPG 4.8 RPG 1.1 APG
Barnes has all the talent and tools to be the Number 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, but will ha have something by then he has yet to show. Like my colleague Matt has pointed out, Barnes so far has lacked that consistent fire you want to see from your teams star. He doesn’t seem to be the loud-vocal type, but he will need to be a more hands-on vocal leader if he wants to go farther than the Sweet 16. UNC has a plethora of talent, playmakers, and role playing guys. Yet one thing they don’t appear to have is that guy while down at the half, calls a players meeting, motivates teammates by raising his voice in the locker room, rallies, then leads his team to a comeback victory. Barnes will sometimes have to do all of those things to win the rest of the season. When he does, because I don’t doubt he will, the ACC accolades won’t be the only ones he receives.

5.)    Travis McKie Sophomore F Wake Forest         17.1 PPG 6.4 RPG 1.0 APG
Though it may be a long shot for the Demon Deacons to do much come March, don’t be surprised if McKie is a name you continue to hear a lot. The 6’7 athletic forward has shown he can score consistently at a high level on a high level in the ACC. Just a sophomore, he also received a few votes for last season’s conference Rookie of the Year award. With the duo of McKie and C.J. Harris both averaging over 17 PPG, I wouldn’t be surprised if either is leading the conference in scoring at season’s end. Although the same can’t be said for the success of their overall team, already losing 7 games and 5 before entering conference play.

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