Thursday, February 12, 2009

Could Ty Lawson be ACC player of the year?

North Carolina's Ty Lawson blew past Duke with 21 of his 25 points in the second half Wednesday. Could he blow past bigger players and win ACC player of the year as a point guard?

North Carolina's Ty Lawson, after that performance Wednesday night at Duke, probably played his way into the lead for the ACC basketball player of the year award.

The junior playmaker has struggled at times this season on defense, but his offensive intensity level has been at a lights-out level through most of the schedule. There's Boston College’s Tyrese Rice and Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, but neither has consistently outplayed Lawson over the course of the league schedule to date.

Entering his weekend’s games, J.P. Giglio and I ranked our leading five candidates for player of the year. Here's the outcome:

1. Ty Lawson, UNC
2. Gerald Henderson, Duke
3. Trevor Booker, Clemson
4. Tony Douglas, Florida State
5. Jack McClinton, Miami

1. Ty Lawson, UNC
2. Jack McClinton, Miami
3. Gerald Henderson, Duke
4. Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
5. Tyrese Rice, Boston College

Many ACC fans probably would be surprised to know that the last pure point-guard to win the league player of the year award was Carolina’s Phil Ford in 1978.

Here’s the list since Ford that season:
1979: Mike Gminski, Duke, C
1980: Albert King, Maryland, F
1981: Ralph Sampson, Virginia, C
1982: Ralph Sampson, Virginia, C
1983: Ralph Sampson, Virginia, C
1984: Michael Jordan, UNC, W
1985: Len Bias, Maryland, F
1986: Len Bias, Maryland, F
1987: Horace Grant, Clemson, F
1988: Danny Ferry, Duke, F
1989: Danny Ferry, Duke, F
1990: Dennis Scott, G. Tech, F
1991: Rodney Monroe, N.C. State, W
1992: Christian Laettner, Duke, F-C
1993: Rodney Rogers, Wake, F
1994: Grant Hill, Duke, W
1995: Joe Smith, Maryland, F-C
1996: Tim Duncan, Wake, C
1997: Tim Duncan, Wake, C
1998: Antawn Jamison, UNC, F
1999: Elton Brand, Duke, C
2000: Chris Carawell, Duke, F
2001: Shane Battier, Duke F, and Joseph Forte, UNC, W
2002: Juan Dixon, Maryland, W
2003: Josh Howard, Wake, W
2004: Julius Hodge, N.C. State, W
2005: J.J. Redick, Duke, W
2006: J.J. Redick, Duke, W
2007: Jared Dudley, Boston College, F
2008: Tyler Hansbrough, UNC, C

Pure point-guard winners:
1959: Lou Pucillo, N.C. State
1966: Steve Vacendak, Duke
1970: John Roche, South Carolina
1971: Charlie Davis, Wake
1972: Barry Parkhill, Virginia
1978: Phil Ford, UNC

For the record, South Carolina’s John Roche was the conference player of the year in 1969 in addition to 1970. But during the '69 season, Roche was used primarily as a wing guard. The playmaker that season for the Gamecocks was Billy Walsh.
— Caulton Tudor