For the first time in 49 years, the writers of the ACC placed 3 players from the same school on the first team All-ACC. In doing so, they overlooked 2 well deserving players in Lonnie Baxter and Darius Songaila. Even the great NC State teams of 1973 and 1974 which won 24 straight ACC games, could not muster enough votes to land 3 on the All-ACC first team. In '74, David Thompson and Monte Towe were on the first team. Tommy Burleson had the Baxter 6th spot that year. If ever there was a team deserving of 3 places on the top team, surely it was '74 squad.
Yet, the voters with the wisdom of Solomon, put the Duke trio amongst the all time greats that have played in the ACC. Never mind they were only good enough to lead their team to second place. What the writers did was just plain wrong.
As soon as their lust for Duke was done, they turned their attention to the All-Freshman team where they suddenly began rationing votes. On Tuesday, the fans of NC State were told that Ilian Evtimov was not amongst the best ten newcomers in the league. Here is how the tally went:
All-ACC Freshman Team
Player Team Votes
Julius Hodge (10.2 ppg) NC State 75
Ed Nelson (8.5 ppg) Georgia Tech 74
B.J. Elder (9.9 ppg) Georgia Tech 56
Jawad Williams ( 9.9 ppg) UNC 33
Josh Powell (7.8 ppg) NC State 33
Honorable Mention: (10 or more votes)
Daniel Ewing (6.5 ppg) Duke 26
Elton Brown (7.6 ppg) Virginia 21
Keith Jenifer (3.9 ppg) Virginia 20
Vytas Danelius (6.6 ppg) Wake Forest 12
Anthony Richardson (7.4 ppg) Florida State 11
I am sure somewhere amongst all the discarded chads there are a few votes for Ilian. I suppose Freudian's ego got the best of the AP writer's id in this case. The voters flinched at putting 3 NC State players in the top 10, not to mention the top 5. Whatever the reason, the resulting voting effort was just plain wrong again. Move over Lonnie Baxter and make room in the proverbial shaft for Ilian Evtimov.
One could argue, that Evtimov, the two time rookie of the week, has had as big of impact on the NC State team as top vote-getter Julius Hodge. Down the stretch, Ilian who is listed at 6'7 215 pounds has been asked to defend all the premier big men in the league. Boozer, Baxter, Lang, Songaila and Watson have all seen Evtimov's toughness firsthand. All freshman things considered, he did a good job.
Ilian averaged 7.0 ppg and 2.9 rpg for the season. In actual conference play, his numbers went up to 9.0 ppg and 3.8 rpg. His passing game is as good as I have seen at the SF/PF position for NC State since Tom Gugliotta. What Ilian were the voters looking at when they considered the rookie awards? Not the same one I saw.
Evtimov's stats were good enough for All-ACC Freshman team. Yet, he did not receive the minimum number of 10 to be even mentioned honorably. The all knowing writers even gave the high scoring (3.9 ppg) Keith Jenifer 20 votes. Are we suppose to take these voters serious?
For me, this year's tally shows when it comes to voting for ACC accolades, the writers left a few votes on the table. They must of been pre-occupied with anticipation of Duke's National Championship for 2002. Perhaps they were perplexed, by not having the usual UNC-CH star to proclaim. Maybe some were pulling a "Rick Majeras", and let some mail clerk punch the ballot. Who knows?
The ACC first started naming an All-Freshman team in 1993. Since that time, no school has ever placed three players on that team. That trend continued this year in spite of NC State's Fab Five. Duke's Super Six will be debuting next year in Durham. The drumbeat has already started. "This could be the greatest recruiting class of all time in the ACC". I wonder if the voters will be able to find a way get all six on the first team?
I'm not sure if there is a Proverbial Shaft Part 3 in all this or not. With this year's group of voters, I'm sure they will do something irrational like vote Duke's Jason Williams for POY over Juan Dixon. As much as I would like to see Herb Sendek be voted for COY, Gary Williams deed of dethroning the Blue Devils seems more worthy. They might even take a stroll down nostalgia lane and vote Jawad Williams for ROY over Julius Hodge. Maybe I have become acclimated to the voting trends of the last two days.
It is probably best I move on and look forward to the NCAA tournament. The voters will be covering every angle of the ACC tournament starting tomorrow. I will be busy reading and linking their stories. More than likely, I will probably wonder if I watched the same game they are writing about.