The Rearview Mirror: Introducing the 2002 Wuffies

Yes, that's right! TSW's Rearview Mirror is unveiling the 2002 NCSU Athletic Awards for Basketball. The Wuffies will be an annual award issued for basketball and football. From Player of the Year to Game of the Year, we have sat back and tabulated the votes. Now, we're ready to announce who has won the 2002 Wuffies!

Freshman of the Year

This category may have been the hardest for us to choose. Never before have we had three solid candidates for Freshmen of the Year.

The nominees are Ilian Evtimov, Julius Hodge, and Josh Powell. At the beginning of the season, Julius Hodge looked like the clear runaway for this award. But, boy, did Powell and Evtimov step up in their rookie campaigns.

Ilian Evtimov averaged 6.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in his rookie season. He made some great plays and is perhaps the most improved player from the beginning of the season to now.

Julius Hodge averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He also shut down Lynn Greer, the high scoring guard from Temple. His passion for the game is amazing.

Josh Powell averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds for game. For awhile, he was a clear runaway for this award by his stellar play in the first half of the season, but foul trouble hurt his confidence and his playing time decreased as the year progressed.

And the winner is: Julius Hodge

Most Improved Player

The nominees are Ilian Evtimov, Scooter Sherrill, and Marcus Melvin.

Scooter Sherrill seemed like he was lost in the depths of the bench for most of the beginning of the season. Fans complained and whined that he wasn't getting the playing time he deserved. Well, he got his chance against Clemson as he scored 19 points to help us take one at Little John. He scored a career high 20 points against Virginia as we swept them for the first time in 13 years.

Ilian Evtimov's improvement was amazing. He went from someone who looked lost on the court to a player that would drive to the hole and make incredible passes. He court savvy and all-around game will continue to improve into the next year.

Marcus Melvin showed signs of brilliance last year, but was regulated to a back up in favor of seniors with questionable attitudes. This year, he's been given the chance to play and we haven't regretted it one bit. He is an atypical post player as he has a passion for the three point shot, and can bury it in the most unlikely situations. His miracle three to win the game at Houston brought flashbacks of the 'pass' from Whittenberg to Charles as time expired in the '83 Championship game.

And the winner is: Ilian Evtimov

Play of the Year

The nominees are Marcus Melvin, Josh Powell, and Coach Sendek.

Marcus Melvin hit the three point shot heard round the state of Texas as The Wolfpack stole one in Houston 67-66. Melvin heaved up the loose ball from more than 30 feet away from the basket.

Josh Powell was in the right spot at the right time as he had an easy putback off an Anthony Grundy miss as time expired to beat Clemson at Littlejohn 80-79.

Coach Sendek benched Anthony Grundy for the start of the Clemson game in a disciplinary move that ignited Grundy for the rest of the season as he broke out to become the star all the Pack faithful hoped he'd be.

And the winner is: Marcus Melvin

Game of the Year

The nominees are Houston, at Clemson, and at Virginia.

The Pack looked flat against Houston for most of the game, but they turned it on when it counted most, and marcus melvin's prayer from 30 feet saved the Pack from a certain loss.

The Pack came out strong at Littlejohn and led by 11 at the half, but Clemson turned it on in the second half and led by a point with seconds left. Anthony Grundy's missed shot was put back in by Josh Powell as time expired, sealing the Pack's come-from-behind 80-79 win in Clemson.

The Pack entered Charlottesville having lost the previous 12 games at University Hall, and had to face unbeaten, 4th ranked Virginia. The Pack opened an 11 point halftime ead and never looked back as they snapped a long losing streak 81-74.

And the winner is: The game at Houston

Player of the Year

The nominees are Anthony Grundy, Julius Hodge, and Archie Miller.

Anthony Grundy was the go-to guy all year. After being benched for disciplinary action at the Clemson game, Grundy exploded to lead the team with 17.4 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists per game. He also led the team with 62 steals.

Julius Hodge brought a spark to the team that it hasn't seen in years. His emotional style of play led to his averaging 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He also was a tremendous defensive presence, and shut down Syracuse's Preston Shumpert and Temple's Lynn Greer.

What Archie Miller lacks in size and speed, he more than makes up in leadership and heart. Miller was clutch at several times this season, scoring a career high 22 points in a tough home loss to Wake Forest. Miller led the team in 3 point field goals and free throw percentage this season.

And the winner is: Anthony Grundy

Tough Loss

The Pack suffered a tough 83-71 loss at Wake Forest on Saturday to finish the regular season at 20-9, 9-7, and tie Wake for 3rd place in the ACC. Up next for the WolfPack, who are the #4 seed in the ACC Tournament will be 5th seeded Virginia, a team the Pack has owned this year. Julius Hodge led all scorers with 21 points on 7-11 shooting from the field and 6-6 from the line. Marcus Melvin added 18 points, and Anthony Grundy struggled from the field, but still scored 16. There was an obvious difference in the fouls called as Wake was whistled for 19, compared to the Pack's 30. This foul difference led to a decided advantage at the foul line for Wake as they shot 22 more free throws than the Pack.

WolfPack Highlights

The WolfPack Women advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Women's tournament with a 61-52 triumph over the Lady Clemson Tigers. The Pack next face North Carolina Sunday afternoon.

The WolfPack Women's tennis team swept a rescheduled match against UNCW on Friday in Raleigh, 7-0. Kristen Nicholls led the way for the Lady pack.

The WolfPack Gymnastics team placed second in the WolfPack Invitational on Friday evening. The Pack finished second to UNC-CH, Kelli Brown tied a school record by posting an all around score of 39.550.

The WolfPack baseball team swept a doubleheader from George Mason on Friday, taking the first game 8-3 and the second 9-0. The Pack moved to 10-3 on the season.

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