Even with the early (and expected) departure of Jabari Parker there’s been a high amount of optimism surrounding the Duke Blue Devils during the preseason, thanks in large part to a recruiting class led by center Jahlil Okafor. On Wednesday both the team and Okafor figured prominently in ACC Media Day, with the media picking the Blue Devils to win the conference and Okafor is the ACC’s top freshman.
Duke received 41 of a possible 65 first-place votes, with North Carolina (12 first-place votes), league newcomer Louisville (three), defending champion Virginia (seven) and Syracuse (two) also being picked to win the ACC on media members’ ballots. Syracuse is looking to build on a second-place finish in its first season as a member of the ACC, but they’ve got some key contributors to replace with Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair and Jeremy Grant all moving on.
Also of note with regards to the ACC media poll is that not much is expected of the three programs with new head coaches. Wake Forest, now led by Danny Manning, came in 12th with Boston College (Jim Christian) and Virginia Tech (Buzz Williams) at the bottom of the poll.
The full ACC preseason media poll:
2. North Carolina
7. Notre Dame
8. Florida State
9. NC State
12. Wake Forest
13. Georgia Tech
14. Boston College
15. Virginia Tech
And while Okafor was the media pick for the ACC’s top rookie, North Carolina junior guard Marcus Paige was the choice for ACC Player of the Year. Joining Paige on the preseason all-conference team are Okafor, Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon, Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant and Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell.