Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor named ACC Player of the Year

dukelogoDuke’s Jahlil Okafor has been named both the ACC Player of the Year and the conference’s Freshman of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA), the league office announced today. Okafor becomes the first freshman in ACC history to earn player of the year honors.

Okafor is also the eighth Duke freshman to garner league rookie of the year honors, and the second in as many years after former Blue Devil Jabari Parker earned the same accolade last season.

Duke is represented on the All-ACC First Team by Okafor, while senior Quinn Cook received second team all-conference recognition. Freshman Tyus Jones appears among those named to the conference’s third team, while fellow freshman Justise Winslow is an honorable mention.

The All-ACC Freshman Team is comprised of three Duke freshmen, Okafor, Jones and Winslow. The trio of Blue Devils received a combined 185 of a possible 264 votes. Duke is the only team in the NCAA with three freshman averaging double-digit points.

Okafor, an eight-time ACC Rookie of the Week honoree, ranks among the conference leaders in a number of categories, including field goal percentage (.668) and offensive rebounds (4.00 orpg), and owns the second highest point per game average (17.6) and the third most rebounds per game (9.2 rpg.) in the ACC. Okafor has registered 11 double-doubles this season, the fourth most in the conference, and has posted double-digit points in 29 of his 30 appearances.

On the ACSMA ballots, Okafor received 44 of a possible 64 votes for the player of the year honor, and he was a unanimous selection for the freshman of the year award. A Blue Devil has been named ACC Player of the Year in seven of the last 16 years (Elton Brand-1999, Chris Carrawell-2000, Shane Battier-2001, J.J. Redick-2005, J.J. Redick-2006, Nolan Smith-2011, Jahlil Okafor-2015).

Cook has posted a strong senior campaign that has seen him rate as one of the most proficient three-point shooters in the ACC this year. Cook’s 2.84 made threes per game ranks as the best in the conference, while his 40.4 percent three-point field goal percentage is fourth in the league. Cook has also been nearly automatic from the charity stripe, shooting 88.5 percent from the free throw line. A two-time ACC Player of the Week, Cook heads into tournament play averaging 16.0 ppg. and 2.8 apg., while owning a 2.12:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Jones has excelled at the point guard position this season, ranking second in the conference in assists per game (5.7) and leading the ACC in free throw percentage (.882). Jones’ assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.81:1 not only ranks fourth in the ACC, but is also the second best by a Duke freshman in program history.

Winslow has seen resurgence in his offensive output over the team’s last 12 games and is averaging 12.4 ppg. and 5.8 rpg. this season. Winslow’s 1.4 spg. and 6.7 rpg. in ACC contests ranks among the top 10 in the conference.

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