It’s getting close to the end of the season and time to start thinking about the all-conference teams. With eleven teams in the league now, competition for the fifteen spots on the three teams is especially fierce. At least six teams, more than half the league, are guaranteed to have no players represented on the first team All-ACC. This year, with three teams dominating the league, it’s entirely likely that only players from those teams will take the top spots.
Instead of picking my teams just yet, I’m just going to select nominees team-by-team. Only players that I feel have been truly exceptional will be nominated. It’s entirely subjective of course, but I am perusing the conference stats as I pick these guys. Generally, I only care about stats in conference games as I think that’s the fairest measure against other players in the same league.
BTW, when I pick conference teams, I don’t pay too much attention to position. Yes, I’d generally like to see guards and big men, but I don’t think it makes sense to be rigid with positions on all-conference teams. When you do that you are making two false assumptions. First, it’s very hard and usually inaccurate to place players in one classic position. Is Julius Hodge a shooting guard or a small forward? Some people even call him a point guard! The other problem with slotting players into the classic PG, SG, SF, PF, C lineup is that very few teams actually use that configuration anymore. It went out with short shorts and All-American seniors.
So, now it’s time to list the nominees. After you read the list, head on down to the comments to plead your case for someone or to make your picks for the teams.
I’ll select players from teams in the order of the current standings:
UNC – Sean May, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants
McCants hasn’t been the force he was last year, but he’s still one of the league’s most dangerous players. Also, he’s contributing more (much more) on the defensive end this year. The surprise is that Jawad Williams isn’t worthy. He had a great start to the year, but just like last season, fell off sharply. In conference games, he is listed among the league leaders in only one category (free throw percentage).
Wake Forest – Chris Paul, Eric Williams, Justin Gray
Gray has really disappointed me this year. He just isn’t the killer he was in his first two seasons. Still, he’s third in the league in scoring in conference games, so he makes the cut.
Duke – J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Daniel Ewing
No surprises here. Redick and Williams will both be All-Americans.
Virginia Tech – Zabian Dowdell, Carlos Dixon
Two guys who I admit to having never heard of before this year.
Maryland – John Gilchrist, Nik Caner-Medley
Gilchrist is easily the most disappointing player in the league. He could be a dominant player and at times still is, but he needs to learn to bring it every game. I almost left him off this list.
Miami – Guillermo Diaz, Robert Hite
Diaz has been dazzling. The Duke Basketball Report compared him to Steve Francis, but he reminds me a bit more of Bobby Sura, but with a better jump shot. His motor never stops. The other Miami guards (Hite and Anthony Harris) started off great, but have fallen off a bit against better competition.
Georgia Tech – Jarrett Jack
B.J. Elder missed too many games to make the cut in my opinion. I love Jack though. Look at how many categories he shows up in among the league leaders.
NC State – Julius Hodge
Hodge’s numbers are still pretty good, but he’s just not quite the player he was last year. He may be trying too hard.
Virginia – Nobody
Sean Singletary and Devin Smith have had their moments, but not enough for this level. Singletary could be a star one day with a little seasoning and a better jump shot.
Clemson – Sharrod Ford
Ford single-handedly beat Maryland twice. That got him nominated.
Florida State – Nobody
But Von Wafer did lead the league in looking angry after hitting a shot when down 20.
That’s 18 players for 15 positions. Make your selections.