Hamilton tops Bennett for ACC Coach of the Year

tony bennett fsu
Tony Bennett. Photo by Dan Grogan.

Tony Bennett isn’t the ACC Coach of the Year, and the bigger shock: the vote wasn’t even close.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton won the honor, receiving 62 votes from the 75-person selection panel consisting of the league’s 15 head coaches and 60 members of the media.

Note: They don’t let people like me vote in these kinds of things.

Meaning: I’m at best the 61st-best sportswriter covering the ACC.

Back to the lede: I guess a big factor in the vote for Hamilton is that he led his team to the ACC regular-season championship after the ‘Noles were picked to finish fifth in the preseason.


Bennett led his team to a second-place finish after his ‘Hoos were picked fourth.

Another big factor for Hamilton: he lost five guys from his rotation from last year, a group that produced 60.1 percent of the team’s scoring in 2018-2019.

Um, Bennett lost four guys that produced 69.0 percent of his team’s scoring from a year ago.

Both came in with decent expectations despite having lost chunks of production and minutes (FSU lost 117.5 minutes per game from 2018-2019; UVA lost 118.4).

At best, this one is a toss-up.

Biased view here, because I watch the Cavaliers every night, but Bennett had more work to do to get 15-5 in the ACC out of his group than Hamilton had to do to go 16-4.

Tre Jones, Vernon Carey take Player, Freshman honors

I thought Duke’s Tre Jones as ACC Player of the Year was easy. Jones, a sophomore, is averaging 16.2 points and 8.4 assists per game, and he has been his team’s best player on the floor in the biggest moments.

Teammate Vernon Carey put up the bigger numbers (17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 57.7 percent shooting), but he can be taken out of games a bit too easily.

Still, Carey is the best freshman, head and shoulders so.

Jordan Nwora (18.0 ppg, 7.7 rebs/g) was the mid-season pick for Player of the Year, but he faded down the stretch (13.0 ppg as Louisville closed out 3-4 in its last seven).

No quibbles with the rest of the All-ACC first team: Notre Dame’s John Mooney (NCAA-high 25 double-doubles; 16.5 ppg, 12.8 rpg) and Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes (league-high 18.8 ppg).

A case could definitely be made for Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite (13.7 ppg, 6.8 rebs/g), who does a little bit of everything, leading his team in scoring, anchoring the nation’s best scoring defense, but the voters who don’t know enough to vote for Tony Bennett for coach of the year aren’t going to be impressed by Diakite’s numbers.

At least those same dolts had enough sense to put UVA point guard Kihei Clark (10.8 ppg, 5.9 assists/g) on the third team. I didn’t assume that was going to be the case.

2020 All-ACC Men’s Basketball Honors

First Team
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke, 367
Jordan Nwora, Louisville, 359
John Mooney, Notre Dame, 351
Tre Jones, Duke, 348
Elijah Hughes, Syracuse, 305

Second Team
Mamadi Diakite, Virginia, 234
Devin Vassell, Florida State, 212
Garrison Brooks, North Carolina, 209
Trent Forrest, Florida State, 200
Markell Johnson, NC State, 101

Third Team
Kihei Clark, Virginia, 98
Jose Alvarado, Georgia Tech, 87
Aamir Simms, Clemson, 79
Cole Anthony, North Carolina, 69
Olivier Sarr, Wake Forest, 63

Honorable Mention
Landers Nolley II, Virginia Tech, 58
Michael Devoe, Georgia Tech, 48
Brandon Childress, Wake Forest 44
Chris Lykes, Miami, 32
M.J. Walker, Florida State, 22
Braxton Key, Virginia, 16
Dwayne Sutton, Louisville 15
Steffon Mitchell, Boston College, 11

Coach of the Year
Leonard Hamilton, Florida State, 62
Tony Bennett, Virginia, 12
Chris Mack, Louisville, 1

ACC Player of the Year
Tre Jones, Duke, 34
Jordan Nwora, Louisville, 17
John Mooney, Notre Dame, 11
Elijah Hughes, Syracuse, 7
Trent Forrest, Florida State, 4
Mamadi Diakite, Virginia 2

Rookie of the Year
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke, 70
Landers Nolley II, Virginia Tech, 2
Cole Anthony, North Carolina, 2
Patrick Williams, Florida State, 1

ACC Defensive Player of the Year
Tre Jones, Duke, 45
Trent Forrest, Florida State, 18
Steffon Mitchell, Boston College, 8
Kihei Clark, Virginia, 3
Manny Bates, NC State, 1

All-Defensive Team
Tre Jones, Duke, 64
Mamadi Diakite, Virginia, 55
Trent Forrest, Florida State, 55
James Banks III, Georgia Tech, 34
Steffon Mitchell, Boston College, 30

All-Freshman Team
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke, 75
Cole Anthony, North Carolina, 55
Landers Nolley II, Virginia Tech, 54
Cassius Stanley, Duke, 36
Patrick Williams, Florida State, 29

Most Improved Player
Garrison Brooks, North Carolina, 17
Olivier Sarr, Wake Forest, 16
Devin Vassell, Florida State, 16
Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse, 10
Aamir Simms, Clemson, 6
Moses Wright, Georgia Tech, 6
Prentiss Hubb, Notre Dame, 2
DJ Funderburk, NC State, 1
Jay Huff, Virginia, 1

6th Man of the Year
Patrick Williams, Florida State, 35
Malik Williams, Louisville, 28
Dane Goodwin, Notre Dame, 9
Isaiah Wong, Miami, 3

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press news