Home My All-ACC Basketball Ballot: Armando Bacot is my choice for Player of the Year

My All-ACC Basketball Ballot: Armando Bacot is my choice for Player of the Year


acc basketballI don’t actually have a vote, because I’m not near cool enough, but if I did, North Carolina forward Armando Bacot would be my ACC Player of the Year.

Bacot (16.6 ppg, 12.5 rebounds/g, 1.7 blocks/g, 59.5% FG) takes over games, like he did in Saturday’s upset win at Duke, in which he scored 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting.

He had two 20-20 games (29 points, 22 rebounds in a win over Virginia, 26 points, 22 rebounds in a win at Louisville).

Another 28-18 game (in a win at NC State).

He had 17 points and 18 boards in a win over Syracuse, 17 and 14 in a blowout win over FSU, 21 and 17 in a narrow loss at Notre Dame.

Wake Forest point guard Alondes Williams (19.3 ppg, 6.6 rebounds/g, 5.3 assists/g, 1.2 steals/g, 51.8% FG, 30.0% 3FG) might very well end up the voters’ choice.

I have Williams second on my nonexistent ballot because of his issue with turnovers (3.7 per game), which really stood out in several Wake losses (seven in losses at Duke and at home to Miami, six in a loss at Syracuse, five in a neutral-court loss to LSU).

The rest of my All-ACC team:

Miami guard Kameron McGusty (17.5 ppg, 4.8 rebounds/g, 2.5 assists/g, 47.4% FG, 36.8% 3FG)

Duke center Mark Williams (11.0 ppg, 7.1 rebounds/g, 2.8 blocks/g, 71.5% FG)

Virginia guard Reece Beekman (8.1 ppg, 4.9 assists/g, 2.1 steals/g, 44.7% FG, 34.5% 3FG)


Beekman is my Defensive Player of the Year, beating out Duke’s Williams, and I expect it will be a tight race among the people who actually have votes.

Beekman is second in the ACC in defensive box plus/minus (4.6) to Duke center Mark Williams (5.4), whose key stats are block percentage (12.4, second in the ACC) and defensive rebound percentage (20.6, ranking ninth).

Beekman actually shows up at 20th in block percentage (2.6 percent), and second among guards (Louisville’s Dre Davis is 16th overall, at 2.8 percent), and first in steal percentage (3.8 percent).

According to Synergy Sports, Beekman holds opponents to .715 points per possession – 171 points on 239 usages – on 33.7 percent shooting (56-of-166), a 21.8 percent turnover rate, a 10.5 percent free-throw shots rate and a 7.5 percent shooting foul rate.

The Synergy numbers for Williams: .732 PPP – 123 points on 168 usages – on 34 percent shooting (50-of-147), a 7.1 percent turnover rate, a 6 percent free-throw rate and a 5.4 percent shooting foul rate.

It’ll be a close vote.

Coach of the Year

Another tight race, and it could go any of a number of ways.

I’m going to go with Notre Dame coach Mike Brey (22-9, 15-5 ACC), who hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament since 2017, and guided his team to the second seed in next week’s ACC Tournament.

I can see the case for Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes (23-8, 13-7 ACC), whose Demon Deacs were 6-16 in his first season in Winston-Salem, in 2020-2021, and Miami’s Jim Larranaga, who guided the ‘Canes to a 22-9/14-6 ACC regular season after three consecutive losing seasons.

These guys won’t get votes, but Virginia coach Tony Bennett (18-12, 12-8 ACC) and FSU coach Leonard Hamilton (17-13, 10-10 ACC) had to work magic with rosters depleted by defections to the NBA, and in Hamilton’s case, a rash of late-season injuries.

Why I left Banchero off my All-ACC team

This question will come up, so I might as well answer it.

Paolo Banchero (17.1 ppg, 7.7 rebounds/g, 3.1 assists/g, 46.3% FG, 32.4% 3FG) will almost certainly be voted first-team All-ACC, and I’d peg him for probably a close third in the Player of the Year voting.

I saw Banchero up close and personal twice against Virginia, and in those games, he was awful – 8.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, 5-of-22 FG (22.7 percent), eight total assists, seven total turnovers.

His primary assignment on defense was Jayden Gardner, who averaged 16.5 points and 6.0 boards in the two games.

It’s been my thing for years to base my vote on the eye test. It’s why I have Brey as my Coach of the Year (and Forbes second, with Larranaga third), because Brey and Forbes beat Virginia head-to-head, and Larranaga was 0-2.

Banchero has good counting numbers, great PR, but he doesn’t have my vote, which as I’ve detailed several times here, doesn’t count anyway.

Story by Chris Graham



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