Jim Hawkins, Inside Carolina

Team Banquet Celebrates UNC's 2015-16 Season

Brice Johnson, Marcus Paige claim top honors at Carolina's year-end basketball awards ceremony.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior forward Brice Johnson won the Dean Smith Most Valuable Player Award and senior guard Marcus Paige became the first Tar Heel men’s basketball player to earn defensive player-of-the-year honors four times as the University of North Carolina celebrated its Final Four season at the end-of-year awards ceremony Tuesday evening at the Carolina Inn.

The Tar Heels went 33-7 and won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and Tournament championships and the NCAA East Regional, and advanced to the national championship game.

Paige became the first player in UNC history to be named a permanent team captain in three seasons. The Marion, Iowa, native also won the Tyler Zeller Award as the team’s top scholar-athlete and the Marvin Williams Carolina Way Award for playing hard, unselfishly and putting the team first.

Johnson led Carolina with 17.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and led the ACC in field goal percentage (61.4 percent) and double-doubles (23). The Orangeburg, S.C., native was a consensus first-team All-America, unanimous first-team All-ACC, Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Regional and All-ACC and All-Final Four Tournament selection.

Johnson and Joel James joined Paige as recipients of the John Lotz Award as the team’s permanent captains.

Statistical award winners included: Johnson and Isaiah Hicks won the Brad Daugherty Award for highest field goal percentage (.614); Joel Berry won the Hubert Davis Award for highest three-point percentage (.382), the Shammond Williams Award for highest free throw percentage (.867) and the Kendall Marshall Award for most assists (151); Johnson won the Tyler Hansbrough Award as the leading scorer, the Brendan Haywood Award for most blocked shots (59) and the Billy Cunningham Award for most rebounds (a UNC record 416).

Berry won the Danny Green Award as the team’s most improved player. He was the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game and led the Tar Heels in three-point percentage, free throw percentage, assists and steals, was the Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament and an All-Final Four selection.

James, Johnson, Paige, Justin Coleman, Spenser Dalton and Toby Egbuna received the Richard A. Baddour Award as the team’s seniors.

Paige won the George Lynch Award as the team’s best defensive player, the fourth time he has won that award. Derrick Phelps (1992-94), Brendan Haywood (1999-2001) and Marcus Ginyard (2007-08, 2010) were three-time winners of the defensive player-of-the-year award.


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