ACC media had their say in voting for the top players in the conference.
An entirely unscientific AJC poll taken Wednesday gave ballots to 18 players. Their selections:
- Virginia Tech guard Erick Green for player of the year. Virginia guard Joe Harris and Duke forward Mason Plumlee received the next most votes. Green's 25.4 points per game average, tops in the country, convinced voters.
“He’s in one of the best conferences in the country,” Florida State guard Ian Miller said. “That’s not easy.”
- A tie between Virginia guard Jontel Evans and Maryland center Alex Len for defensive player of the year. The media's choice, Miami guard Durand Scott, tied for third with teammate Shane Larkin. Georgia Tech center Daniel Miller received one vote.
Said Boston College forward Ryan Anderson of Len, “just for his ability to change plays in the paint.”
- Larkin for best ballhandler, with N.C. State guard Lorenzo Brown in second and Duke guard Quinn Cook third. The son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin also received votes for player of the year.
Said Florida State center Kiel Turpin, “He can pretty much do anything he wants with the ball.”
- Florida State guard Michael Snaer as the opponent you least want taking the last shot, and easily over N.C. State guard Scott Wood. With six buzzer-beating game-winners in the past two seasons, his reputation precedes him.
Said Miami forward Kenny Kadji, “He’s the Kobe Bryant of college basketball.”
Returning to Atlanta? ACC senior associate commissioner Karl Hicks confirmed that Atlanta is a possibility to receive one of the next available ACC tournaments. They probably will be awarded in April or May, beginning with the 2016 tournament, as it will stay in Greensboro through 2015.
N.C. State guard and Centennial High grad Lorenzo Brown prefers Philips Arena to the Greensboro Coliseum. He was a second-teamer on the all-tournament team last year.
“I think Philips, it had more energy,” he said. “Plus, I don’t like these goals out here. They’re stiff.”
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton also voiced his approval for Philips Arena, not too surprising given that the Seminoles won there last year. Principally, Hamilton thought the location was “about as neutral as you can get.”
In seeking a venue that is neutral, “I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m not real sure the answer is for it to be here all the time,” Hamilton said.
“Obviously, we played in the championship game, but from a neutrality standpoint, it’s about as neutral as you can get,” he said.
Supply and demand: By at least one metric, a tournament ticket was more sought after at last year's tournament at Philips Arena than this week's tournament at Greensboro Coliseum, despite Greensboro's location in the heart of Tobacco Road.
According to stubhub.com, the median price for an all-session pass to last year’s tournament was going for $450 on the day before the tournament. On Wednesday, the median price for the same pass was $332.
Two years ago, average attendance for the six sessions at the tournament in Greensboro was 23,381, 99 percent of capacity. Last year, the first year the tournament was held at Philips, average attendance was 19,520, 5.5 percent over capacity.
Rooting for the Jackets: Of the four seeds that have byes Thursday, only Miami and Virginia, which both are on spring break, showed up for Wednesday's practice opportunity at the arena. At noon Friday, Hurricanes will play the winner of the Georgia Tech-Boston College game. Miami guard Rion Brown, who is the son of Tech great Tico Brown and has enjoyed considerable success at the Jackets' expense, made no secret of his preference.
“I definitely want to see (the Jackets) again, not even just because of my recent success, but just because of our last performance against them,” he said, referring to Tech’s upset March 6. “I’d really love to play them again, basically to send a message out to the rest of the ACC that we’re ready.”