Duke picked to win ACC in Coach K's final year, Duke freshman Paolo Banchero named Preseason Player of the Year | Zagsblog
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Thursday / December 9.
  • Duke picked to win ACC in Coach K’s final year, Duke freshman Paolo Banchero named Preseason Player of the Year

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    In Coach K’s final season, the Duke men’s basketball team was selected as the favorite to win the 2021-22 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, as chosen by media members at the ACC Tipoff.

    Picked as the preseason ACC favorite for the seventh time in the last nine years, the Blue Devils received 47 first-place votes and 1,132 points overall in the media poll. Duke leads Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech atop the preseason poll.

    Paolo Banchero swept the individual preseason awards, as the newcomer from Seattle, Wash., was tapped both the Preseason Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year while landing on the Preseason All-ACC First Team. Banchero becomes the conference’s first player to sweep both Preseason Player and Freshman of the Year accolades since at least 2000.

    Junior Wendell Moore Jr., and sophomore Mark Williams each earned a spot on the Preseason All-ACC Second Team, while Trevor Keels was second behind Banchero in Preseason Freshman of the Year voting.

    A 6-10 forward, Banchero enters his freshman season as the No. 3 player in ESPN 100’s rankings for the class of 2021. He averaged 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 blocks per game in his junior campaign at O’Dea High School, winning the Washington Boys Basketball Gatorade Player of the Year award. Banchero participated in the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team minicamp in July of 2019.

    Banchero garnered 28 votes for Preseason Player of the Year, with Virginia Tech’s Keve Aluma second with 16 votes.

    Moore heads into his junior season having started 29 of 49 games at Duke over the past two years. The Charlotte, N.C., native has averaged 8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his career and is a two-time All-ACC Academic Team selection. In the final 19 games of the 2020-21 season, he increased his scoring average to 11.2 points per game while shooting .454 from the field. Moore additionally received three votes on the Preseason Player of the Year ballot.

    Williams tallied two votes for Preseason Player of the Year and looks to carry the momentum from a strong finish to his freshman season. He was a second-team All-ACC Tournament selection after averaging 18.0 points, 10.0 boards and shooting 15-of-21 (.714) over the Blue Devils’ two wins in Greensboro in March. Over the final 14 games of last season, Williams led the team in rebounds (6.1), field goal percentage (.684) and blocked shots (28) while ranking fifth in scoring (10.8) in that stretch.

    Duke opens the 2021-22 season Tuesday, Nov. 9 versus Kentucky at Madison Square Garden in the State Farm Champions Classic.

    ACC Preseason Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
    1. Duke (47), 1132
    2. Florida State (14), 1034
    3. North Carolina (5), 1001
    4. Virginia (9), 949
    5. Virginia Tech (5), 857
    6. Louisville (1), 791
    7. Syracuse, 781
    8. Notre Dame, 599
    9. NC State, 555
    10. Georgia Tech, 524
    11. Clemson, 430
    12. Miami, 428
    13. Wake Forest, 274
    14. Pitt, 253
    15. Boston College, 112

    Preseason All-ACC First Team
    Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse, 68
    Keve Aluma, Virginia Tech, 52
    Paolo Banchero, Duke, 49
    Armando Bacot, North Carolina, 46
    Isaiah Wong, Miami, 37

    Preseason All-ACC Second Team
    Michael Devoe, Georgia Tech, 25
    Kihei Clark, Virginia, 23
    Prentiss Hubb, Notre Dame, 17
    Mark Williams, Duke, 12
    Wendell Moore Jr., Duke, 9
    Malik Williams, Louisville, 9
    Caleb Love, North Carolina, 9

    Preseason ACC Player of the Year
    Paolo Banchero, Duke, 28
    Keve Aluma, Virginia Tech, 16
    Buddy Boeheim, Syracuse, 13
    Armando Bacot, North Carolina, 12
    Kihei Clark, Virginia, 5
    Wendell Moore Jr., Duke, 3
    Caleb Love, North Carolina, 2
    Mark Williams, Duke, 2

    Preseason ACC Freshman of the Year
    Paolo Banchero, Duke, 64
    Trevor Keels, Duke, 5
    Terquavion Smith, NC State, 3
    Dontrez Styles, North Carolina, 3
    Igor Milicic Jr., Virginia, 3
    Wooga Poplar, Miami, 1
    Benny Williams, Syracuse, 1
    Cameron Hildreth, Wake Forest, 1

    (Release via Duke)

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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.