Posted: 11:34 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, 2013
This is certainly a year for making the argument there’s a North Carolina bias reflected in voting for all-conference honors. Of the top 10 players in the balloting, two each came from Duke, North Carolina, and N.C. State.
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You could make that argument, but we won’t. Not this year, anyway.
After all, those three teams finished among the league’s top five during the regular season. No more than one player from each school made the first team, and they were outnumbered by players from outside the state.
What’s more, and this is perhaps most persuasive, the voting by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association very closely mirrored the ballot choices you see below. There was a single significant divergence, which we’ll get to in a moment.
ACSMA has about 120 members. Of that number, 77 voted for the All-ACC squads. That proportional turnout by eligible voters is higher than the U.S. just experienced in the 2012 presidential election.
Just about half the voters hailed from North Carolina (38). If our math is correct, that means about half did not.
Three players on the first team are seniors. Voters went with Green, the nation’s leading scorer, for 2013 ACC player of the year. It’s a strongly defensible choice. So was Larkin, who played for the surprise ACC champions. Plumlee was the apparent leader for much of the season, but stumbled down the stretch.
The only unfortunate note struck in the ACSMA all-conference voting was overlooking Harris, who made neither second nor third team. The senior finished fifth in scoring in the ACC (15.3 points per game), led in official free throw accuracy (.852), and tied for seventh with Green at 1.9 threes made per game.
True, Harris played on an also-ran team – as did Green — but was the steady hand upon whom all others depended at Wake Forest. He was remarkably consistent, worked hard at both ends, and is the sort of unassuming hard-worker who deserves recognition.
Including Harris on the second team meant bumping several other deserving candidates – sophomores Duke’s Quinn Cook and Maryland’s Alex Len – because there simply wasn’t sufficient room on the third.
Ballots allowed only five choices for the third team, a generally superfluous catch-all grouping. Due to a three-way tie for fourth place the official squad had six members. Included were Cook and C.J. Leslie, hands-down the most disappointing player in the conference.
Leslie fell far; he was the preseason choice for ACC player of the year among those who should have known better.