It is finally March. The madness and the magic are here. But before we get to that we have to give out some conference awards. Here are my predictions for awards in the ACC.
Nine Predictions for the ACC Awards
Player of the Year
Tyree Appleby – Wake Forest
This would be the second straight year that a Wake Forest player has won this award. But Tyree Appleby has earned it. He leads the ACC in scoring average (18.7 PPG) and assists average (6.2 APG) and is second in steals average (1.7 SPG). No other ACC player has produced as many points as he has this season. The Florida transfer has dominated the league from start to finish this year. This one seems kind of like a no-brainer.
Others considered: Armando Bacot (UNC) & Terquavion Smith (NC State)
Coach of the Year
Jeff Capel III – Pitt
In the preseason coaches poll, Pitt was picked to finish 14th in the ACC this year. That’s next-to-last. Instead, Jeff Capel’s squad entered the final weekend of the regular season tied for first place and in a position to potentially make the NCAA Tournament. Capel was on the hot seat entering this season after 4 straight losing seasons but has done a great job this year.
Others considered: Kevin Keatts (NC State) & Brad Brownell (Clemson)
Freshman of the Year
Kyle Filipowski – Duke
This one was really close between Kyle Filipowski and Judah Mintz. But I will give a slight edge to the former. Filipowski is top 20 in the ACC this year in scoring average (14.8 PPG) and top five in rebounding average (9.1 RPG) and has been good on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Others considered: Judah Mintz (Syracuse)
Defensive Player of the Year
Jesse Edwards – Syracuse
Jesse Edwards has dominated on defense this season. He leads the conference in blocks, his 83 being 18 more than anyone else (An impressive 2.8 per game.). He also leads in block percentage. Edwards is also second in defensive rebounds, one of only two ACC players with over 200, and has nabbed 36 steals.
Others considered: Dereck Lively II (Duke) & Justyn Mutts (Virginia Tech)
Sixth Man of the Year
Ryan Young – Duke
Ryan Young has come off the bench in 21 games this season. Overall he is averaging 7.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, a good stat line for the Northwestern transfer. He has been a valuable asset for Duke all season long and will continue to be one.
Others considered: Nike Sibande (Pitt)
Most Improved Player
Tyree Appleby – Wake Forest
Tyree Appleby was pretty good at Cleveland State and then was solid at Florida. But he has been spectacular this season at Wake Forest. That is really all that needs to be said.
Others considered: Hunter Tyson (Clemson) & El Ellis (Louisville)
Honorable mention to Blake Hinson, who had missed the past two seasons for medical reasons
Jesse Edwards, Armando Bacot, Hunter Tyson, Terquavion Smith, Tyree Appleby
Kyle Filipowski, Norchad Omier, El Ellis, Jarkel Joiner, Judah Mintz
PJ Hall, Justyn Mutts, Blake Hinson, Caleb Love, Isaiah Wong