WakeBasketball

Duke sophomore guard Tre Jones shoots over Wake Forest's Torry Johnson during a game earlier this season. 

Well, this was a relaxing Saturday after a midnight drive from Raleigh to Kernersville.

God bless the ACC Network for a laid-back Saturday, which dictated that Wake Forest played at N.C. State on Friday night. That gave me a full day to sort out, and probably mess up, my All-ACC ballot.

Here’s my ballot and thoughts:

First-team All-ACC

John Mooney, ND

Vernon Carey Jr., Duke

Mamadi Diakite, UVa.

Elijah Hughes, Syr.

Tre Jones, Duke

My take: This kinda worked itself out without needing too much consternation. Hughes is the league’s top scorer and Syracuse would be at the bottom of the ACC without him. Diakite is the league’s best defensive player — regardless of who we were actually allowed to vote for in the award designated for that.

Mooney is the only player in the league averaging a double-double.

If there’s an issue with two Duke players on the team, well, there shouldn’t be.

Second team All-ACC

Jordan Nwora, Lou.

Trent Forrest, FSU

Garrison Brooks, UNC

Michael Devoe, GT

Aamir Simms, Clemson

My take: Nwora was the closest on the second-team to make my first-team. But his late-season fade cost Louisville, in part, the regular-season crown.

This is quite the wings/forwards grouping — Brooks has developed nicely for the Tar Heels, while Simms is another one who’s integral to team success (offensively and defensively).

Third team All-ACC

Olivier Sarr, WF

Landers Nolley II, VT

Devin Vassell, FSU

Markell Johnson, N.C. State

Kihei Clark, UVa.

My take: A center who was the Deacons’ most-consistent player this season, a couple of point guards and a couple of wings — I swear, I wasn’t trying to adhere to positions for this.

Nolley looked like a first-teamer through the first month, but his fade was more elongated and detrimental than Nwora’s was. On the flip side, if Vassell was on nearly any other ACC team, he’d be the featured offensive player and would average about 20 points.

Johnson is the offense-first point guard, Clark the defense-first one, both of them with more than a few clutch shots this season.

ACC All Defensive team

Mamadi Diakite, UVa.

James Banks III, GT

Tre Jones, Duke

Steffon Mitchell, BC

Devin Vassell, FSU

My take: My least-confident selections, I’d say.

I mean, I know Diakite, Jones and Vassell were the three best defensive players I saw. I think the other two are deserving.

ACC All Rookie team

Vernon Carey Jr., Duke

Landers Nolley II, VT

Patrick Williams, FSU

Justin Champagnie, Pitt

Tyrece Radford, VT

My take: Mike Young has some pieces to work with, huh? (given Nolley returns).

Champagnie quietly had a strong year — he was 12th in the league in rebounding, but that rank goes to eighth in ACC-only games. Williams isn’t just another cog in the Seminoles’ machinery; I’d put money on him being an All-ACC player next season (if you’re into that sort of thing).

ACC player of the year

John Mooney, ND

My take: Came down to Mooney or Hughes, with Tre Jones a not-too-distant third.

Mooney gets the nod because — well, aside from averaging a grown-man’s 16.5 points and 12.8 rebounds — he was the most consistent among the league’s top players. The only game since November that he didn’t score in double figures was yesterday’s win over Virginia Tech, in which he still had 13 rebounds and three steals.

This wasn’t an easy choice, and there will likely be at least five players who receive votes. I’m probably more interested to see how this unfolds more than any other individual award.

ACC coach of the year

Leonard Hamilton, FSU

My take: This was a two-man race and a really tough call between Hamilton and Tony Bennett of Virginia.

Hamilton gets my nod because it’s a wash, I think, of what each had to replace from last season. Virginia’s three-headed monster of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and DeAndre Hunter got more headlines is making more waves in the NBA, but Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann, PJ Savoy, David Nichols and Christ Koumadje.

OK fine, so that’s only like 40% of the Seminoles’ roster. Still: The Seminoles won the ACC’s regular season crown after losing four of their top six scorers and had arguably one “bad loss” all season.

ACC freshman of the year

Vernon Carey Jr., Duke

My take: This might be the only superlative that’s easy to pick. Carey is a bit of a throwback in that he’s a back-to-the-basket post player, and I don’t know what that means for his draft status.

What I do know is that he’s third in the ACC in scoring and rebounding and first in field goal percentage. Remove the thought that he’s not Zion Williamson or Marvin Bagley III, he’s still clearly the best freshman in the league.

ACC defensive player of the year

Tre Jones, Duke

My take: This should be Diakite. My guess is Virginia nominated him for player of the year and couldn’t nominate him for defensive player of the year also — similar to last season, when Zion Williamson was player of the year but didn’t appear on the ballot here (he would’ve been my vote).

So the pick becomes Jones, the league’s best on-ball defender.

ACC most improved player

Olivier Sarr, WF

My take: Sarr’s three-year development is a fascinating one — stay tuned for a deeper story on that this week.

ACC sixth man of the year

Patrick Williams, FSU

My take: There were four guys nominated. There are 15 teams in the league.

Honestly, if there was one award to eliminate …

You get the gist.

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