Parker, Ennis Set for Showdown, Battle for ACC Rookie of Year Honors | Zagsblog
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Monday / August 15.
  • Parker, Ennis Set for Showdown, Battle for ACC Rookie of Year Honors

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    Parker-EnnisEarly this season it appeared as if Duke’s Jabari Parker might be the runaway favorite for ACC Freshman of the Year honors — maybe even conference and/or National Player of the Year.

    But with the way Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis has been running his team, he nows present a legitimate challenge to Parker for Freshman of the Year honors.

    Although one is a small forward and one is a point guard, the two players will face off for the first of two regular-season meetings on Saturday when No. 2 Syracuse hosts No. 17 Duke at a sold-out Carrier Dome.

    It will actually be the first time the two heralded freshman have ever met in any game, Ennis’ father, Tony McIntyre, told

    These meetings — as well as how the two teams perform down the stretch — should go a long way toward determining who wins ACC Freshman of the Year honors.

    “I guess that’s little bit of a horse race right now,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “There’s no question, I think that’s a great point.

    “I think Ennis is every bit a candidate as Parker and certainly down the stretch in February, a lot of times that’s when Player of the Year and Rookie of the Years are won, when what is done down the stretch.”

    The 6-foot-8 Parker has been named ACC Freshman of the Week five times, including this week, and is averaging 18.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He is the second-leading scorer and the third-leading rebounder in the ACC

    Duke is 17-4, 6-2 in the ACC.

    The 6-2 Ennis has won three Freshman of the Week honors, including last week, and is averaging 12.3 points, 5.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals. He ranks second in the league in assists and first in steals.

    The Orange are 20-0, 7-0 in the league.

    “Obviously, Parker’s gotten a lot of attention from day one and rightfully so and I think he’s done a heck of a job [in] our game and a couple afterwards,” Brey said. “He was young and he was adjusting to league play.

    “And now I think he’s really adjusted . You got to give him a lot of credit. They’ve kind of coached him through maybe some tough road games early in his freshman year in league play.

    “Ennis, I’m really impresed with, watching him more and more. He has just really taken over running the team.

    “You’re asked to do a lot as a point guard, we all know that. But when you’re  a freshman in that program at Syracuse and you kind of just become the quarterback very quickly, that’s extremely impressive to watch what he’s doing.”

    Said Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose team lost to Syracuse and has yet to play Duke: “I know those two kids have had sensational years up to date and meant a great deal to those teams.”

    Both Parker and Ennis face questions about their futures, too. projects Parker as the No. 3 pick in the Draft (to the Philadelphia 76ers) and Ennis as No. 13 (to the Orlando Magic).

    While a report surfaced recently that Parker would return to school and play with McDonald’s All-American and fellow Chicagoan Jahlil Okafor, Sonny Parker told no decision had been made.

    McIntyre, Ennis’ father, also told it was possible Tyler could return to Syracuse for his sophomore year.

    If, in some unlikely universe, both players return to campus, they would meet again in 2014-15.

    For now, this upcoming meeting and the remaining weeks of the season should well determine who wins Freshman of the Year in the ACC.

    Photo: Post-Standard

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.