Off-night for Malcolm Brogdon? Still the best player on the court

Brogdon_Malcolm_12MMalcolm Brogdon had four points in the first half, and never seemed to get on track Saturday night, even as #4 Virginia was rolling to a blowout win over #11 Louisville.

And then you look at the box score.

Brogdon had 17 points, which was a game-high. He was just 4-for-11 from the field, but he connected on 9-of-11 at the foul line.

And then there’s the matter of his shutdown defense on Louisville guard Damion Lee, who scored nine on 3-of-13 shooting.

It’s the mark of a great player that he can still be the best player on the court on an off-night.

“I think it speaks to us finding our identity at the right time and us peaking as a team defensively at the right time. Going into the postseason, I think we’re playing the best basketball of our season. I think that’s an example of how we played tonight,” Brogdon said, characteristically deflecting attention from himself to the team.

Brogdon has always defined himself by the team metric, which makes the push for him to be named ACC player of the year all the more interesting.

He has the numbers – 18.4 points per game, 47.4 percent shooting from the field, 41.1 percent from three-point range.

But Brogdon is more than numbers. You can’t quantify his defense: he has stopped the conference’s leading scorer, NC State’s Anthony Barber, the likely freshman of the year, Duke’s Brandon Ingram, Clemson power forward Jaron Blossomgame, Louisville’s Lee, twice.

That, and he can put the ball in the hole – scoring 20+ 15 times this season.

Brogdon is the total package – and your 2016 ACC player of the year.

– Column by Chris Graham

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