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.

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

Brian Gregory
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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.