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Virginia guard Ryan Dunn is the clear early favorite for ACC Defensive Player of the Year

Chris Graham
ryan dunn block
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Virginia sophomore Ryan Dunn said before the season that his goal was to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

He’s on his way.

The 6’8” swiss army knife sophomore leads the ACC in points per possession on defense, allowing opponents 0.439 points per possession, according to data from Synergy Sports – 18 points on 41 possessions across the first seven games of the 2023-2024 season.

Here’s the stat that will get your eyes to widen: opponents are shooting 4-of-33 against Dunn this season, 12.1 percent.

That figure also leads the ACC and is 10th nationally.

You might be interested to know who ranks 1 and 2 in that data subset – former UVA players Jabri Abdur-Rahim (2-of-30 FG, 6.7%, at Georgia) and Kadin Shedrick (2-of-27, 7.4%, at Texas).

Dunn also leads the ACC in defensive rating (69.9; Reece Beekman is second, at 81.7), defensive box plus/minus (11.0; Beekman is second, at 8.8), steal percentage (6.8; Beekman is second, at 6.1) and block percentage (12.5; Pitt’s Federiko Federiko is second, at 11.9).

The counting numbers have Dunn tied for first in the ACC with Beekman with 2.9 steals per game, tied for first with Naheem McLeod of Syracuse with 2.9 blocks per game, and ninth in defensive rebounds with 5.1 per game.

Beekman is the reigning, defending ACC Defensive Player of the Year, but Dunn would be the clear favorite at this early stage, a month into the season.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].