Operation BKB: Around the ACC, Part I

GREENSBORO, N.C. --- What if ACC players were given a vote in the preseason polls? Inside Carolina asked the Tar Heels' opponents at the league's Operation Basketball event for their picks ...

Q1: If you could not vote for your own team, which team do you think will win the conference this season?

Q2: Without voting for someone on your team, who would you pick as Conference Player of the Year?

Q3: Where do you think your team should be picked this season?

Sean Singletary, UVa.

A1: I can pick anybody? I don't know. I feel as if North Carolina and North Carolina State will be up there for the simple fact that they have talent and they have experience. I think Florida State will be pretty tough, too.

A2:Player of the Year? That is tough. Wow, you are putting me on the spot here. Can't vote for anybody on my team? I don't want to vote for the competition. (Pause) I'll give it to Tyler. Everybody is going to pick Tyler anyway (grinning).

A3: I won't really say where I think we should be, but since I've been here we've been picked at the back of the ACC, and even if we are picked at the back of the ACC again this year it doesn't matter. It's about the work you put in in practice. People can see what you have on paper, but nobody knows what is going on inside each individual on this team. We'll take it with a grain of salt. Wherever we are picked is fine with us, and we have a lot of work to do. We are hungry, and we want to be successful.

Deron Washington, VT

A1: I would say UNC because they have so much coming back. They have so many players coming back this year that they had last year… The coach that they have and they play so many players, which affects a lot of teams. You can't play that long when they play 12 players. You can't play seven against 12 the whole game when they run the whole time.

A2: That is a tough one. Right now, all I can think of is Hansbrough. But I think it is up for grabs because there are a lot of talented players in the conference right now.

A3: That's tough. I have to say in the lower half because of what we lost last year, but we have a lot of talent coming in this year. I think we can shock some people with (our talent). It's tough to say because we are so young.

Ben McCauley, NCSU

A1: Oh, wow. It's tough to put a number on talent. Every team has their own specialties, and I think you'll see the Carolinas up top, and I think Ga. Tech is going to be up top as well. Obviously, my instinct is to say my team. I would like to see us up top, but you will definitely see some teams up top bringing back seniors. Even Florida State is bringing back four seniors, I think. They will be up top as well. It's tough to put a number on exactly one team. You'll see a lot of teams battling.

A2: Hmmm, I can't vote for my team? Player of the Year, man that's tough. Obviously [Hansbrough] has been playing well since his freshman year, so he will definitely be up top. Sean Singletary will be up there for Virginia.

A3: I think we should be up at the top as well. We really should be, if not #1, close to #1 because we have four returning starters. The post-season play we were in last year gives us a lot of momentum coming into this year. I definitely think we should be at the top. Why not, really?

Cameron Stanley, WFU

A1: Umm, that's a tough question. There are a lot of good teams, a lot of returning players. The ACC is one of the best leagues in the country. That's a tough question. There are a lot teams that will be fighting for that top spot… I'm not just a player at Wake; I'm a sports fan. I'm a fan of a lot of these teams. I like everybody. I have friends that play at NC State, friends at Clemson. I have friends on pretty much all the teams. It's tough for me to say. I'm going to take the safe route and say a lot of teams will be competing for the top spot.

A2: Lot of talented players (laughing). I can't vote for anybody from my team?

A3: All I can say about that is that we are going to be working very, very hard. We have a lot of talented freshmen. They are going to come in and make an impact right away, I'm sure. We have guys like Harvey Hale, L.D. Williams, Ishmael Smith coming back. Our big men, David Weaver, Jamie Skeen, and Chase McFarland have been working very hard, so I think we will be very, very competitive in the ACC, and we are trying to win a lot of games.

Jack McClinton

A1: It could be anybody. The ACC is so crazy that any team could win at any time, so I can't even really pick a team right now. You have your Dukes and North Carolinas that are usually at the top of the conference, but you have other teams this year that are hungry also, so I can't really pick one team to win the conference.

A2: Just look around. Anybody in this room could be Player of the Year in this conference. I can't really point one player out. Anybody could do it. I could see Jeremis Smith, Isaiah Swann, Tyler Hansbrough, Gavin Grant. There are a lot of wonderful players in this conference.

A3: I can't say that we deserve to be picked anywhere because nothing is given to us. We have to work at it, and we are working hard everyday to get to the NCAA Tournament. Where we have to be to get there, that's where we'll be.

Anthony Morrow, GT

A1: I don't know. If I can't pick my team, I don't want to pick anybody… There are so many great teams. I guess Carolina would be up there somewhere, NC State, Duke. Any one of those could win it.

A2: We'll have to see. Maybe, Tyler Hansbrough--he's a great player. He'll probably have another big year.

A3: I feel like we've been making the right strides to finish #1. Everybody on the team has been going hard, everybody is coming into the season with the right mentality. Defensively, that has been our #1 priority. That is going to win games. Offensively, we don't have a problem. Defensively, [improvement] is what is going to win games.

Jason Rich, FSU

A1: If I can't pick my own team? If I had to go with what the media will pick, I would have to say North Carolina… They are a talented team, and they always are very deep. They sub them out quick so their motor is always going.

A2: I can't vote for Isaiah (Swann) or Toney (Douglas)? Player of the Year in the ACC? That's tough. I would say Tyler Hansbrough because if they finish as high as people think they will, he is going to be a big part of that. He will be a big contributor to his team being #1 in the ACC. Look, I'm a competitor, I'm a competitor.

A3: I really feel like we are going to be one of the better teams this year just because we have experience, we have an inside presence. I just really like where our team is right now. Our improvement, our knowledge, we are picking it up a lot faster than we have in the past. We've made plenty of progress… Expect good things from Isaiah and Toney. Expect Uche (Echefu) and Ryan (Reid) to step up and have good years, along with Casaan Breeden and Ralph Mims is an experienced senior guard. When he plays his role he gives us great energy and does a great job.

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