Virginia Tech v Duke

Erick Green: ACC Player of the Year candidate?

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Given the success that Miami and Duke have enjoyed this season, it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which a player from another team will win ACC Player of the Year. Shane Larkin’s been the leader for a veteran Hurricane squad that won the program’s first ACC title, and Duke big man Mason Plumlee was a part of the national Player of the Year discussion for much of the season.

But there are players worthy of consideration, including Virginia’s Joe Harris and Virginia Tech’s Erick Green. In Green’s case, is there any way a player whose team finished 4-14 in conference play can win the ACC’s top individual honor?

Many will scoff, citing the Hokies’ poor record as the biggest reason as to why the senior point guard shouldn’t even be considered. But a look at Green’s production and the other weapons around him reveals a player whose outstanding year should not be overlooked.

Green scored 35 points in Virginia Tech’s regular season finale on Sunday, a 90-79 loss at Wake Forest in which he shot 50% from the field (9-of-18), made 14 of 18 from the foul line and also contributed five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Just one other Virginia Tech player reached double figures (Jarell Eddie finished with 13 points) in what was essentially a microcosm of the Hokies’ season in their first year under James Johnson. Virginia Tech simply did not have the depth needed to compete successfully in the ACC, which left Green to shoulder the burden on many nights.

Yet Green was still productive, as his 25.0 points per game leads the country and he shot 48.1% from the field. Green also averaged 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, and per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers he’s fifth in offensive rating (a measurement of a player’s efficiency) among players who have a usage rate of 28% or higher.

The four players ahead of him: Trey Burke, Kelly Olynyk, Nate Wolters and Doug McDermott.

Will Green win ACC Player of the Year? Probably not due in large part to Virginia Tech’s lack of success. But that doesn’t mean Green’s accomplishments should be overlooked.

Essentially Green is “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” of this college basketball season, and hopefully his work is acknowledged with a first team All-ACC selection.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.