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FSU picked to win ACC title; Duke chosen 2nd in Coastal

accfootballDefending national champion Florida State is the consensus choice to repeat as Atlantic Division champion and defeat Miami in the 10th annual Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship Game, according to a poll of media members in attendance at the 2014 ACC Football Kickoff at Grandover Resort.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner and Walter Camp National Player of the Year Jameis Winston, who led the Seminoles to an unbeaten season and their third national title as a redshirt freshman in 2013, was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year.

Florida State was picked as the likely overall ACC winner on 104 of 112 ballots cast. The Seminoles were picked to finish atop the Atlantic Division by 109 voters and amassed 780 total points. Clemson received the remaining three-first-place votes and placed second with 660. ACC newcomer Louisville placed third at 564, followed by Syracuse (368), NC State (326), Boston College (301) and Wake Forest (136).

Miami’s 26 first-place votes placed third among Coastal Division teams, but the Hurricanes’ 614 total points led overall. Defending division champion Duke received 33 first-place votes and finished with 597 points, followed by Virginia Tech with 571 points and 23 first-place votes. North Carolina was just behind in fourth place with 570 points and 27 first-place votes, followed by Georgia Tech (322 with one first place vote), Pitt (319 with two first-place votes) and Virginia (142).

Winston is one of 15 returning starters for Florida State, which seeks its third straight ACC title. The Seminoles own 14 ACC football championships in 23 seasons as a conference member, tying Clemson for most league titles all-time.

This marks the third time in four years that the Seminoles have led the ACC media preseason voting. Florida State was also voted first in 2011 and 2012, and in each of its first 14 seasons after joining the ACC (1992 through 2005).

Winston led the preseason ACC Player of the Year balloting with 99 votes, followed by Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley with six. Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder, Miami running back Duke Johnson and Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley received one vote apiece.

Last season saw Winston, of Bessemer, Alabama, become the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy (19 years, 342 days) and just the second freshman to receive the honor. A dazzling playmaker, he led the Seminoles to a 14-0 record and engineered the game-winning drive in a 34-31 win over Auburn in the 2013 VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.

Named the offensive MVP of the national title game, Winston also received the Davey O’Brien Award and the Manning Award as the nation’s best quarterback after setting national freshman records for passing yards (4,057) and touchdown passed (40) in 2013. His pass efficiency rating of 184.8 set an ACC record and led the nation.

ACC Championship Votes

1. Florida State – 104

2. Clemson – 2

3. Virginia Tech – 2

(4 voters made no selection)

Atlantic Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)

1. Florida State (109) – 780

2. Clemson (3) – 660

3. Louisville – 564

4. Syracuse – 368

5. NC State – 326

6. Boston College – 301

7. Wake Forest – 136

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)

1. Miami (26) – 614

2. Duke (33) – 597

3. Virginia Tech (23) – 571

4. North Carolina (27) – 570

5. Georgia Tech (1) – 322

6. Pitt (2) -319

7. Virginia -142

ACC Player of the Year

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State – 99

2. Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson – 6

3. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami – 1

4. Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke – 1

5. Brenden Motley, QB, Virginia Tech -1

(4 voters made no selection)

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ACC official says replay, rule changes working well

Doug Rhoads.

Doug Rhoads.

Speaking at the ACC Football Kickoff media event in Greensboro, ACC Coordinator of Officials Doug Rhoads gave statistical backup that goes against conventional wisdom of the average fan.

For one, he says, replays don’t take very long, and two, officials are ultimately getting it right.

Only a little more than one in five replays resulted in an overturned call last season. The game was stopped 210 times in ACC games with the average wait time just a minute and four seconds. “That’s less than any commercial break,” he said.

Rule changes are always a big topic but in even years only changes are made that are considered safety measures. This year there will be an emphasis on hitting with force on or below the knee. There will be a 15-yard penalty but there won’t be any ejections as there were last year for launching head first into a player or hitting above the shoulders.

Last season, nationally, 92 players were initially ejected but 32 of those were reversed on replay. So, 60 players in more than 800 games isn’t excessive. Rhoads credits that to the players being taught differently by coaches and players adjusting.

Four years ago the league put an emphasis on excessive celebrations and as a result, Rhoads says that has almost totally been “coached out of the game.” There were only six players called with excessive celebration nationally last season.

But hitting above the shoulders is a lot harder to coach out of the game. As reported above, it turned out that a lot of those calls weren’t offenses after all – the players did not hit above the shoulders. In a game that moves as fast as football with bang-bang plays, I’m not sure how you coach that call out of football.

Certainly coaches can advise against launching into players, especially head first, and hitting players with a forceful upward thrust. But those hits are inches one way or another. One’s an exciting pop and the other is a 15 yard penalty and an ejection.

Last season, if one of those plays was overruled on replay, the player was re-admitted to the game but the 15-yard penalty stood. After an outcry from coaches, this season if the play is overruled, not only is the player re-admitted but the 15-yard penalty goes away. Makes sense.

One thing you’ll see different this year is another official in the offensive backfield. The ACC will add an 8th official called the center judge. Among other duties, he will spot the ball and be another set of eyes for the referee looking at the offensive line. This gives the ref more time to make sure the QB remains safe, for instance, rather than focusing on a holding on the other side of the line.

Not sure how much this will help and how much it will just make the field more crowded. There are already concerns about the officials getting in the way.

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ACC commissioner Swofford gives state of the conference address

John Swofford.

John Swofford.

Commissioner John Swofford looked ahead with excitement and anticipation on Sunday as he met with a record media contingent at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 43rd annual Football Kickoff.

“The combination of the league’s 15 member institutions is remarkable, and this conference has never been stronger and better positioned,” Swofford said.

A three-year period of growth culminated with Louisville’s official entry into the conference on July 1. The ACC Football Kickoff represents a friendly initiation of sorts, and Swofford expects the Cardinals to make a strong first and lasting impression as they begin full-scale league athletic competition.

“As I’ve said previously, Louisville brings to the ACC an institution and athletic program on a tremendous upward trajectory,” Swofford said. “It brings a dynamic city and a rabid, large and passionate fan base. Frankly speaking, I know of no other athletic program that has progressed as much as Louisville has in the last 15 years.”

Louisville will join an ACC that saw five teams win NCAA Championships during the 2013-14 academic year and placed at least one team among the top five in 14 of its sponsored sports. Nine ACC student-athletes claimed individual NCAA titles.

But Swofford made equal note of the conference’s collective academic accomplishments.

ACC football programs led all conferences for the eighth-straight year in the NCAA’s Academic Performance Rates (APR) and for the eighth time in nine years in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rates (GSR). Overall, ACC member schools continue to lead the way among the Power 5 conferences in the latest US News and World Report Rankings of ‘Best Colleges,’ with over half of its membership among the Top 50 and five among the Top 30.

“Academically, I continue to be inspired by the student-athletes that attend our conference’s unique mix of public and private institutions,” Swofford said.

While applauding the successes of the past year and looking ahead to a promising ACC future, Swofford acknowledged that “there’s no overlooking the national discussions during this period of restructuring within college athletics.”

“I applaud the great efforts by Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, who also serves as the chair of the NCAA Board of Directors in leading the membership throughout this process,” Swofford said. “The change that continues to be called for is key to ensuring that the model reflects the needs of the 21st century student-athlete, while also recognizing how special the collegiate model is to the educational system within our country.”

Swofford said the ACC, along with the Big Ten, Big XII, PAC-12 and SEC, will continue to prioritize the discussions surrounding the enhancement of the athletic scholarship, ensuring that student-athletes have every opportunity to earn a degree (even if they return to school following the completion of a professional career) and ensure that they have their health and safety needs met by the institutions they represent.

The issues of health and safety were addressed earlier Sunday, when the ACC announced an endorsement of the USA Football “Heads Up Program.” The partnership will entail league coaches participating in a public relations campaign to increase awareness at the youth football level.

The endorsement follows a meeting of ACC medical personnel last March to update and refine player safety policies. Consensus from those discussions was shared and discussed with the league’s football coaches at the ACC Spring Meetings.

“I think the work done by our membership this past year was terrific,” Swofford said. “There’s always an emphasis on prioritizing player safety, and this year allowed the ACC the opportunity to take a leadership role within the NCAA by taking an active role and officially endorsing the new guidelines just recently announced.”

Swofford said the ACC also put forward three requests to the NCAA rules committee asking for the ability to expand the use of technology in practices and games for player-safety data collection purposes. The NCAA approved a player monitoring system for ACC games this fall. The ACC’s two other requests – experimentation with a helmet camera during completion and the use of a coach-quarterback communication – will be discussed by the NCAA Football Rules Committee next February.

Many media on Sunday were focused on the upcoming football season. Swofford was more than happy to take part in that discussion, particularly with the ACC coming off a 2013 season that featured Florida State’s national championship, an NCAA-record 11 ACC teams in bowl games and 11 league teams with winning record.

Led by Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and Pitt senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the ACC became the first conference to see its players win the Heisman, Nagurski, Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik, Doak Walker, Lou Groza, Rimington and Davey O’Brien Awards in the same season.

The ACC’s 14 football programs seek similar success in 2014, but Swofford noted that it will be hard-earned.

“No ACC team will face fewer than six opponents that participated in bowl games last year, while 11 of the 14 ACC teams will play at least eight bowl teams from 2013, with both Miami and Virginia each facing 10 teams that were in postseason play a year ago,” he pointed out. “Our teams will also play 24 nonconference games against teams that participated in bowl games in 2013, which ties for most of any Power 5 Conference.”

As has been the case in recent years, there will be no shortage of fan access to those matchups.

“We are extremely pleased that every ACC controlled football game will be available to our fans nationwide,” Swofford said. “Our relationship with ESPN allows us to maximize our reach and bring ACC football and content to fans whenever they are across a multitude of devices. Whether traditional television or national digital and mobile platforms like ESPN3 and Watch ESPN, ACC content is truly available everywhere.

“In addition to ESPN, the ACC Network through Raycom continues to be broader than ever before, with a reach of over 90 million households and no geographic parameters on the distribution. The ACC Network is available in each of the top ten television markets within the US, and in 21 of the Top 25.”

Following this year’s regular season, the ACC Football Championship Game will return to Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium for the fifth consecutive year, and is set to remain at that venue through 2019. The ACC will be represented as one of the Power 5 conferences in the new College Football Playoff while continuing its long-time partnership with the Orange Bowl as part of the new postseason format.

The ACC’s other postseason partnerships include agreements with the Orlando’s New Year’s Day Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Hyundai Sun Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Belk Bowl, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, TaxSlayer Bowl, Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, Duck Commander Independence Bowl, the Detroit Lions Bowl, the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl and the Birmingham Bowl.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the future line up of bowl games including many long-time partners and some new ones too,” Swofford said. “Overall, these outstanding partners provide more postseason opportunities, selection flexibility, improved financials, marquee matchups and attractive destinations for the ACC’s teams, fans and alums.”

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14 Triangle-area players make All-ACC Academic baseball team

Duke's Aaron Cohn.

Duke’s Aaron Cohn.

Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year Gage Smith of Florida State leads the sport’s All-ACC Academic Baseball Team, as announced today by Commissioner John Swofford.

A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Smith graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in business marketing and management following the spring semester. He was selected to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team for 2014 and earned FSU Dean’s List honors in the fall of 2013. He has been named the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year the past two seasons.

On the field, Smith was voted to the All-ACC Third Team, finished the season with a 5-2 record and ranked 10th in the league with a 2.39 ERA in 64.0 innings pitched. He led the ACC in appearances with 40, marking the third consecutive year that he has led the league.

Fifteen players were selected to the All-ACC Academic Team after being named to the All-ACC Team: Clemson’s Steven Duggar, Tyler Krieger, and Matthew Crownover; Duke’s Aaron Cohn, Florida State’s Josh Delph, Luke Weaver, and Smith; Georgia Tech’s Daniel Spingola, Miami’s Bryan Garcia, North Carolina’s Trent Thornton, NC State’s Andrew Knizner, and Virginia’s Mike Papi, Daniel Pinero, and Brandon Waddell; and Virginia Tech’s Mark Zagunis.

Three players – Weaver, Garcia, and Papi – also collected All-America accolades, while Knizner and Pinero are Freshman All-Americans on the All-ACC Academic Team. Maryland’s Kyle Convissar, Wake Forest’s Evan Stephens, and Florida State’s Smith were previously named Capital One Academic All-Americans.

Duke and Florida State lead all ACC programs with eight players recognized, followed by Wake Forest with five and Clemson and Virginia with four apiece.

Maryland’s Convissar earned his fourth career selection to the ACC All-Academic Team. Eight other players were recognized for the third time.

The ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award was established in September 2007 to be awarded annually to the top junior or senior student-athlete in their respective sports. Candidates for the award must have maintained a 3.0 grade point average for their career as well as a 3.0 for each of the last two semesters.

To be eligible for consideration for the All-ACC Academic team, a student-athlete, regardless of classification, must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career.

Aaron Cohn, Sr., Duke History
Ryan Deitrich, GS, Duke Master of Management Studies
Robert Huber, Sr., Duke*** Computer Science
Mark Lumpa, Sr., Duke Economics
Michael Matuella, So., Duke Economics
Andy Perez, Jr., Duke Psychology
Michael Rosenfeld, Sr., Duke** Psychology
Trent Swart, Jr., Duke*** Public Policy Studies
Andrew Knizner, Fr., NC State Industrial Engineering
Eric Peterson, Jr., NC State Sport Management
Dale Thomas, Sr., NC State** Park/Natural Resources
Benton Moss, Jr., North Carolina*** Business Administration
Tyler Ramirez, Fr., North Carolina Undecided
Trent Thornton, So., North Carolina** Undecided

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UNC AD responds to news of NCAA reopening investigation

Bubba Cunningham.

Bubba Cunningham.

In light of the news that the NCAA is reopening its investigation of UNC, athletic director Bubba Cunningham has made this statement:

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA that it will reopen its 2011 examination of academic irregularities. The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff.

“Since 2011, the University has conducted and commissioned numerous reviews of this matter and provided the NCAA with updates. In February, the University retained former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein to conduct an independent investigation and instructed him to share relevant information directly and confidentially with the NCAA.

“The University has instituted numerous academic reforms based on findings from earlier reports that can be found at http://carolinacommitment.unc.edu/ We remain committed to learning from our past so that we can move forward to building a stronger University.

“Consistent with NCAA protocols, we will have no further comment on this matter until the process is complete.”

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Hurricanes select Fleury, a defenseman, in NHL first round

Haydn Fleury.

Haydn Fleury.

Though the 2014 NHL Draft wasn’t as stacked as others with top-end defensive talent, there were two blue-liners that caught scouts’ attention, and one was taken first overall.

The other was Haydn Fleury, selected seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes.

“I really don’t have many words to say,” Fleury said in his first media scrum as a member of the Canes. “It’s an unreal experience, and I’m very excited to be in Carolina.”

As the team’s first selection of a defenseman in the first round since Ryan Murphy was picked 12th overall in 2011, the Canes are happy to have Fleury.

“He’s a big, mobile defenseman who has a lot of upside to his game because of the way he skates,” said Canes Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis. “He can skate the puck out of traffic and move it out of trouble. In the U-18 tournament in Finland, he was quarterbacking the power play. There are a lot of parts of his game that we like.”

“We did have our eye on him,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes head amateur scout. “He’s a guy with that kind of size, and he skates extremely well. He’s got a lot of poise with the puck, and he moves the puck.”

The 2013-14 season was Fleury’s second full season with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. As an alternate captain, he led his team in defensive scoring with 46 points (8g, 38a) in 70 games. That output was more than double the 19 points (4g, 15a) he recorded in 66 games as a WHL rookie, still be for third among team defensemen.

Additionally, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound defenseman finished at a team-high plus-15 on a Red Deer squad that had a minus-10 goal differential and failed to qualify for the postseason.

“Brent [Sutter] has treated me like a pro,” Fleury said. “He’s had high expectations for me and has given me a great opportunity in Red Deer.”

“The thing that we like about this guy is that his upside is significant,” MacDonald said. “His offensive game is still evolving. He’s still developing. He’s still getting better in that regard, and we expect that he’ll continue to get better. He’s a very coachable kid and eager to learn.”

Typically, the development process for a defenseman can be more extended than others. But Fleury, 17, will attend Prospects Development Camp in a month before going to Traverse City for the annual rookie prospects tournament and then training camp. A decision on his status for the 2014-15 season – whether he remains with the big club or returns to Red Deer – will be made then.

“You always want to be careful with young defensemen. They do take a little longer [to develop]. A lot of times you don’t know what you have until they are about 22 or 23, quite frankly,” Francis said. “Ultimately, you want to do what’s best for Haydn and our franchise in the long-term, not the short term.”

“It’s a steeper learning curve for the defensemen. At the NHL level, it’s tough for these guys to come in and make an impact right away. It takes them a little longer,” MacDonald said. “It’s a challenging position to play, and there are a lot of things to learn. But when a player has the signs and the tools … you can do a lot with that kind of player.”

Fleury is that kind of player with a varied and skilled toolbox. He compares his game to that of Jay Bouwmeester.

“He’s a solid, two-way defenseman who plays in all situations of the game,” Fleury said. “He plays big minutes, generates offense and is very strong defensively, as well.”

And Fleury’s self-described game?

“I consider myself a two-way defenseman who can play in all situations of the game,” he said. “I can play on the power play, I can play on the penalty kill and play against other teams’ top lines.”

After over a year’s worth of scouting work and long days and weeks of compiling lists, the Canes had Fleury, who projects as a rock-solid two-way NHL defenseman, pegged as their guy.

“We talked about trying to get a little bit bigger. He’s 6-foot-3 and 200-plus pounds, but he skates extremely well. It’s not like he’s a big, slow guy,” Francis said. “This guy is very mobile, and in today’s game, you need D that can skate it and move it out of trouble, and this kid can do that.

“At the end of the day, you’re just trying to get a comfort level that you think he’s a good kid, which he did. And we felt that he was a good player,” Francis said of the process. “We’re glad to have him.”

- Hurricanes news release, Michael Smith

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FSU’s Winston, Maryland’s Thomas voted ACC Athletes of the Year

Duke's Celine Boutier.

Duke’s Celine Boutier.

Florida State football Heisman Trophy winner and baseball pitcher Jameis Winston joins Maryland women’s basketball All-American Alyssa Thomas as the top male and female ACC athletes for the 2013-14 academic year, as voted upon the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).

Duke golf All-American Celine Boutier, who got my vote, came in third for top female ACC athlete. She won two national player of the year awards. Basketball is a higher profile sport so it was going to be hard to unseat Thomas.

Winston, who quarterbacked Florida State to the 2013 national football championship and played a key role as a reliever on the Seminoles’ nationally-ranked baseball team, earned the 61st Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference’s premier male athlete.

Thomas claimed the 24th Mary Garber Award as the conference’s finest female athlete after becoming the second player in conference history to be voted the ACC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year for a third straight season and leading the Terrapins to the 2014 NCAA Final Four.

The awards are given in memory of distinguished journalists from the region. McKevlin was a sports editor in Raleigh, N.C., and Garber, of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, was a pioneer as one of the first female sports journalists in the nation.

Winston, of Bessmer, Alabama, became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy (19 years, 342 days) and just the second freshman to receive the honor. A dazzling playmaker, he led the Seminoles to a 14-0 record and engineered the game-winning drive in a 34-31 win over Auburn in the 2013 VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.

Named the offensive MVP of the national title game, Winston also received the Davey O’Brien Award and the Manning Award as the nation’s best quarterback. The overall ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year, Winston shattered the ACC record, Florida State record and national freshman record for touchdown passes (40) and broke the national freshman record for passing yards (4,057). He led the nation and set the ACC record for pass efficiency rating at 184.8.

Winston was a consensus All-America selection, the 2013 Walter Camp Player of the Year and an All-ACC Academic Team member.

On the baseball diamond, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Winston made 24 relief appearances and led the Seminoles in saves with seven while posting a 1-0 record and 1.08 ERA. He struck out 31 batters while walking just seven allowing 18 hits in 33.1 innings pitched.

Winston was the choice of 22 of the 41 ACSMA voters casting ballots for the McKevlin Award. Pitt football All-America tackle Aaron Donald placed second with four votes.

Maryland’s Thomas led her team in scoring with 19.0 points per game and in rebounding with 10.9 per contest as the Terrapins posted a 28-7 record. In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Thomas passed Juan Dixon as Maryland’s all-time leading basketball scorer (male or female). She ended her career with 2,356 career points and as the school’s leading career rebounder with 1,235.

A consensus All-American, the 6-foot 2 Thomas led the ACC with 28 double-doubles in 35 games played in 2013-14 and led the nation with four triple-doubles. She is one of just three players in NCAA history with six or more triple-doubles in her career. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, native also ranked fifth among ACC players in assists (4.1 per game) and shot 51.3 percent from the floor.

In April, Thomas was selected fourth overall by the New York Liberty in the WNBA draft and traded to the Connecticut Sun minutes later in a blockbuster deal.

Thomas received 15 votes in the Garber Award balloting. Virginia soccer All-American Morgan Brian placed second with 10 votes, and Duke golf All-American Celine Boutier was named on eight ballots.

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Nine ACC players, including four from the Triangle, selected in NBA draft

Led by Duke’s Jabari Parker, the second overall selection by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlantic Coast Conference had nine players chosen in the 2014 NBA draft, including five first-round selections. The ACC and the Pac-12 tied for the most players selected, while the Big Ten was third with seven players, followed by the SEC (6) and the Big 12 (5). For the third time in five years, seven ACC schools […]

Led by Duke’s Jabari Parker, the second overall selection by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlantic Coast Conference had nine players chosen in the 2014 NBA draft, including five first-round selections. The ACC and the Pac-12 tied for the most players selected, while the Big Ten was third with seven players, followed by the SEC (6) and the Big 12 (5).

For the third time in five years, seven ACC schools had at least one player drafted, with Duke and Syracuse leading the way with two selections apiece. Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Pittsburgh and Virginia each had one player drafted.

The nine selections are the most by the ACC since 2010, when they also had nine players drafted.

With its five first-round selections, the ACC is the only conference to have had at least four first-round picks in each of the past six NBA drafts (2009-2014). The ACC also extended its streak of having at least one first-round selection to 26 consecutive years (1989-2014).

Over the past six years (2009-2014), the ACC leads all conferences with 32 first round drafts picks; the Pac-12 and the Big 12 are tied for second with 22 first round selections, followed by the Big East (21), SEC (20) and the Big Ten (14).

Over the past nine years (2006-2014), the ACC has accounted for 18 percent (52 of 294) of the college players selected in the first round.

With Milwaukee’s pick of Parker as the second overall selection, the ACC has had at least one lottery pick in six straight drafts. The ACC has had 12 lottery picks over the last six years.


1st Round

Jabari Parker, forward Duke

1st Round/2nd overall by Milwaukee Bucks

The first Duke player ever selected by Milwaukee, Parker is the sixth Blue Devil over the past four years to be selected in the first round, and 34th overall … the 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year is the eighth ACC player selected in the first round by the Bucks and the first since North Carolina’s John Henson in 2012 …the USBWA National Freshman of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-America selection, Parker became the 12th freshman in ACC history to lead his team in both scoring (19.1) and rebounding (8.7) … a first-team All-ACC selection, his 19.1 points per game were the fourth-highest by a freshman in league annals, while his 18 20-point games were second.

T.J. Warren, forward, NC State

1st Round/14th overall by the Phoenix Suns

The 2014 ACC Player of the Year, Warren is the 16th NC State player to be selected in the first round and the first since J.J. Hickson was picked 19th overall by Cleveland in 2008 … Phoenix has selected an ACC player in the first round in each of the past three years (Alex Len, Maryland, 2013; Kendall Marshall, North Carolina, 2012) and 12 times overall … Warren is the highest NC State player selected (14th overall) since Todd Fuller was the 11th overall pick by Golden State in 1996 … as a sophomore in 2014, Warren set an ACC single-season record with 31 games of 20 or more points en route to leading the ACC and finishing fourth nationally in scoring (24.9) … Warren became only the third player in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and field goal percentage (.525) in the same season.


Tyler Ennis, guard, Syracuse

1st Round/18th overall by the Phoenix Suns

Ennis is the fourth Syracuse player over the past three years to selected in the first round, and the 21st overall … Ennis is the second ACC player (T.J. Warren, NC State) selected by the Suns in the first round of the 2014 draft … the Suns have now drafted four ACC players in the first round over the past three years, and 13 times overall … the selections of Warren and Ennis mark the first time an NBA team has selected two ACC players in the first round since Minnesota drafted North Carolina’s Ty Lawson (18th) and Wayne Ellington (28th) in 2009 … a consensus first-team Freshman All-American after averaging 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game … averaged 17.6 points over his last seven games … a five-time ACC Freshman of the Week selection, Ennis was the first freshman to lead the ACC in both assists (5.5) and steals (2.1).


Rodney Hood, forward, Duke

1st Round/23rd overall by the Utah Jazz

Hood is the seventh Blue Devil over the past four years to be selected in the first round, and 35th overall … the selection of Parker and Hood marks the third time in the past four years and seventh time overall that Duke has had at least two players selected in the first round … Hood is the first ACC player drafted in the first round by Utah since NC State’s Cedric Simmons (18th) in 2006 … a second-team All-ACC selection this past season as a sophomore after averaging 16.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game … led the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage (.420), was fourth in field goal percentage (.464) and ninth in free throw accuracy (.807).


P.J. Hairston, guard, North Carolina

1st Round/26th overall by the Miami Heat

Miami’s selection of Hairston marks the third-straight year that North Carolina has had a first-round selection … the Tar Heels have at least one player selected in seven of the last nine years and lead all ACC schools with 46 first round draft picks … Hairston is the 15th Tar Heel to play for head coach Roy Williams and be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft … only the second ACC player ever drafted by the Heat (Matt Geiger, Georgia Tech, 1992), Hairston did not play at North Carolina during the 2014 season … led the Tar Heels in scoring (14.6) and was third rebounding (4.3) as a sophomore in 2013 … averaged 21.8 points and 3.5 rebounds for the NBA D-League’s Texas Legends last season.

2nd Round


K.J. McDaniels, forward, Clemson

2nd Round/32nd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers

The 2014 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, McDaniels is the first Clemson player drafted since Trevor Booker (Minnesota) in 2010, and the 27th overall … McDaniels is the first Clemson player selected by the 76ers since Sharon Wright in 1994 … a first-team All-ACC selection in 2014 after leading the team in scoring (17.1), rebounding (7.1), blocks (100), steals (41) and 3-pointers (42) … only the second player to lead the ACC in all five of those categories since Wake Forest’s Josh Howard did so in 2003.

Joe Harris, guard, Virginia

2nd Round/33rd overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers

The seventh ACC player selected in the 2014 NBA Draft … Harris is Virginia’s second NBA draft pick in the past three years (Mike Scott, Atlanta, 2012) … a second-team All-ACC selection by the coaches after earning first-team honors in 2013 … started all 37 games for the Cavaliers in 2014 and was second on the team in scoring (12.0) and third in assists (2.3) … named the ACC Tournament MVP honors after scoring 47 points in three games and leading Virginia to their first ACC title since 1976.


Jerami Grant, forward, Syracuse

2nd Round/39th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers

The eighth ACC player selected in the 2014 NBA draft … Grant is the 10th Syracuse player to be drafted over the past eight years … the Orange have had at least two players drafted in three of the last five years … led Syracuse and was 12th in the ACC in rebounding (6.8) … averaged 12.1 points per game and shot .496 from the floor.


Lamar Patterson, guard, Pittsburgh

2nd Round/48th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks

With Patterson’s selection, Pittsburgh has now had players chosen in the NBA draft in back-to-back years for the first time since 1980-1981 … earned second-team All-ACC honors as a senior, leading the Panthers to 26-10 record and an NCAA Tournament berth … was the only player to finish in the top 5 in the ACC in both scoring (17.1) and assists (4.3) … was also eighth in field goal percentage (.441), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.388) and ninth in steals (1.4).

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Duke’s Wolf leads 12 area players on All-ACC lacrosse academic team

Jordan Wolf.

Jordan Wolf.

Duke senior Jordan Wolf has been named the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and headlines the All-ACC Academic Men’s Lacrosse Team, as announced Tuesday by Commissioner John Swofford.

A history major, Wolf was named the Most Outstanding Player of NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship after involving himself in Duke’s final five goals of the national championship game against Notre Dame to give the Blue Devils its second consecutive NCAA title and third in the last five years. Wolf also garnered ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors, and led the league in scoring with 103 points on 64 goals and 39 assists. The Wynnewood, Pa., native was a Tewaaraton Award finalist and named a first team All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Wolf, who earned his fourth career ACC academic honor, is the third straight Blue Devil to be named the ACC men’s lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and fourth overall. He is preceded by Blue Devils Brendan Fowler in 2013, CJ Constabile in 2012 and Max Quinzani in 2010.

All six of the league’s men’s lacrosse programs are represented on the All-ACC Academic Team, led by Duke with seven selections. Notre Dame followed with six student-athletes on team, while North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia each placed five on the team and Maryland with four.

Duke’s Christian Walsh joined Wolf as a four-time All-ACC Academic honoree, while teammate Chris Hipps, North Carolina’s Jake Bailey and Joey Sankey, and Virginia’s Robert Emery and Owen Van Arsdale are all three-time selections.

The ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards were established in September 2007 to be awarded annually to the top junior or senior student-athlete in their respective sports. Candidates for the awards must have maintained a 3.0 grade point average for their career as well as a 3.0 for each of the last two semesters.

To be eligible for consideration for the All-ACC Academic Team, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career.

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jordan Wolf, Duke

2014 All-ACC Academic Men’s Lacrosse Team

Jordan Wolf (4) Sr. Duke
Deemer Class (2) So. Duke
Brendan Fowler (2) Sr. Duke
Casey Carroll GS Duke
Christian Walsh (4) Sr. Duke
Will Haus Jr. Duke
Chris Hipps (3) Sr. Duke
Connor Cannizzaro Fr. Maryland
Matthew Dunn (2) So. Maryland
Michael Ikeda Jr. Maryland
Henry West So. Maryland
Jake Bailey (3) Jr. North Carolina
Jimmy Bitter (2) Jr. North Carolina
Ryan Creighton (2) Sr. North Carolina
Joey Sankey (3) Jr. North Carolina
Shane Simpson Fr. North Carolina
Douglas Hopkins Sr. Notre Dame
James Marlatt Sr. Notre Dame
Liam O’Connor Sr. Notre Dame
Stephen O’Hara Sr. Notre Dame
Sergio Perkovic Fr. Notre Dame
John Scioscia Sr. Notre Dame
Peter Macartney R-Jr. Syracuse
Derek Maltz Sr. Syracuse
Brandon Mullins R-So. Syracuse
Kevin Rice Jr. Syracuse
Billy Ward Sr. Syracuse
Robert Emery (3) Sr. Virginia
Chris LaPierre GS Virginia
Joseph Lisicky GS Virginia
Ryan Tucker (2) Jr. Virginia
Owen Van Arsdale (3) Sr. Virginia

(#) – Career All-ACC Academic Honors

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Suiter, a good guy, inducted into the NC Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Tom Suiter.

Tom Suiter.

Long-time WRAL sports reporter and anchor Tom Suiter has been inducted into the NC Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Suiter, originally from Rocky Mount (his dad was a well-respected local doctor), made a name for himself at WRAL as a sports reporter, working his way up to anchor. After retirement, he continued his popular Football Friday high school highlights show.

Suiter, who was elected to the NC High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, shows just as much interest in and enthusiasm for high school sports, maybe more so, than he does ACC and professional sports. He mentored many aspiring journalists over the years and has been helpful to many fellow journalists.

I’ve always found him to be good-humored, appreciative of his upbringing and respectful to every one.

To read more about his induction, please click here.

To read more about his commitment to high school sports, please click here.