“Justin has been really good from day one,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “To have the kind of success shooting the ball and making big plays in key situations like he did against Duke is a credit to him and the amount of work he put in to improve his game. We went through a very difficult ACC schedule and Justin gave our players a lot of confidence knowing that he would consistently be putting up 18-20 points, about five rebounds and some key assists each game. He listened to our coaching staff last spring about how to improve as a player and was determined to get better and stronger, which through his hard work and sweat, he is now reaping the benefits.
“To come to Carolina as a home-schooled youngster and earn ACC Player of the Year honors in the best conference in the country in one of the ACC’s most competitive seasons ever is a tremendous achievement.”The voting panel selected NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr. as the ACC Freshman of the Year. Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner was voted the ACC Coach of the Year, while Virginia Tech’s Seth Allen earned recognition as Sixth Man of the Year. Wake Forest’s Collins was voted the ACC’s Most Improved Player, and Georgia Tech junior Ben Lammers received the nod as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson and Collins are joined on the All-ACC first team by Duke sophomore Luke Kennard, Notre Dame junior Bonzie Colson and Louisville sophomore Donovan Mitchell. Jackson, Kennard and Colson are also among the 15 college players that were named to the John R. Wooden Award national ballot on Saturday.