Friday, February 08, 2013

Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate

Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty's College Notebook Plus is exclusive to and is posted by 5 p.m. Fridays.

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According to my research, it has been more than 25 years since a team with a losing conference record has laid claim to the ACC men's basketball player of the year.

That was the late Len Bias, who was chosen player of the year off a Maryland that went 6-8 in the conference and 19-14 overall in 1986.

It should be noted that the '86 Maryland team played in the NCAA Tournament, an opportunity that is unlikely to befall Virginia Tech senior Erick Green, whose 25.0-point scoring average to start the week put him atop the ACC by more than seven points per game.

The Hokies dropped to 11-11 overall and 2-7 in ACC play with a 60-55 home loss to Maryland on Thursday night. In ACC history, only Bias has been named MVP off a team with a losing conference record and there has never been an MVP off a team with a losing overall record.

Maryland's Terrell Stoglin, the ACC scoring leader in 2012 by more than three points a game, did not make first-team all-conference before heading off to the Greek Basket League following his sophomore year.

Green is a much better player than Stoglin and would seem to have a good shot at first-team All-ACC, but what about MVP? That question was posed to North Carolina coach Roy Williams on the ACC coaches' teleconference this week.

Green had 16 points last Saturday in a 72-60 overtime loss at Carolina.

"When I was at Kansas, we had Rex Walters, [who] I thought was the best player in the conference and we won the regular season," Williams said, "but Sean Vandiver was player of the year.

"He led the conference in scoring and rebounding for Colorado and they were in the second division. So, not only do I know it can happen. I've seen it happen.

"Most of the time, I think the player of the year should come from [teams] that are first or second in the league, but Erick's stats are up there so high, he has to be in the mix."

Green was 7 of 21 at UNC but was still shooting 48.9 percent from the field entering the week, which was good for eighth in the league (sixth counting league games only). He also ranked fourth in free-throw shooting, fifth in assists and tied for eighth in steals.

Green did not have enough 3-point attempts, surprisingly, to qualify for the NCAA standards. But, he was first in ACC games at 18 of 36. Most impressive is how he can rank among the league assist leaders on a team without a consistent second scorer.

led the ACC in 3-point percentage at the beginning of the week and was the only player to be ranked among the top 10 in the conference in all three shooting categories, including overall field-goal percentage and free throws.

The conversation today at the SEC Roundtable in Roanoke was that Harris' fellow UVa junior, Akil Mitchell, might be the most improved player in the league. Mitchell, who averaged 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds last year, is up 12.5 points and 9.0 rebounds this year.

ONE OF LAST remaining uncommitted players on The Roanoke Times' top 50, 49th-ranked offensive lineman Chasz Wright (6-7, 294 pounds) from Hylton in Woodbridge, signed with Connecticut.

Tony Pittman, a running back from Phoebus High School in  Hampton, signed with Marshall. He rushed for 1,761 yards and scored 22 touchdowns and had offers from Syracuse, Cincinnati, Purdue and Mississippi according to Marshall's wesbsite.

Pittman was the 89th player in The Roanoke Times rankings of the top seniors in Virginia. The 66th-rated player on that list, quarterback Jhalil Mosley from Monticello High School in Charlottesville, had been listed as a James Madison recruit but signed with William and Mary.

AN FBS SIGNEE that I didn't have on my lists was 5-foot-11, 175-pound Travis Phillips, a wide receiver and defensive back from Patrick Henry in Ashland who signed with East Carolina.

Phillips was one of five Virginians to sign with East Carolina, one out of junior college and another from the post-graduate program at Fork Union. Phillips had 34 receptions for 858 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior.


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