After I heard that the Winchester Rifle had won the ACC POTY on Tuesday I was extremely excited for him and our program, as it is a great recruiting tool to say you CAN be the ACC POTY at Virginia Tech. But after those giddy moments, I started to think, “Would I have voted for Erick as ACC POTY if I was a real member of the media and not just running some 2-bit VT hoops blog?”
At first, my answer was “No”. I’ve said since the second VT/miami meeting that I thought Shane Larkin was the MVP of the ACC. Larkin finished 13th in the league in scoring, 4th in assists, 2nd in steals and 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio. But more importantly, his team won the ACC regular season title. And this isn’t duke or unc we are talking about, this is the c-a-n-e-s canes, a school that hadn’t finished above .500 in league play until this year. A team that averaged less than 4,000 fans per home game last year!
And Shane was clearly the straw that stirs the drink for this team. If this was baseball, his WAR would be tops in the league, even better than Erick’s (I mean, where would VT have finished without Mr. Green? 1-17? We know we would have beaten wake at home regardless since they have Coach “Can’t Win on the Road” Bzdelik — 1-24 all time in ACC road games). If we give Erick a WAR of +3, you’d have to put Shane around +6 since they had never finished over .500 but were 15-3 this year with largely the same loveable losers as in past years, but with a more mature Larkin as a sophomore.
But, the award isn’t called ACC Most Valuable Player, it is the Player of the Year. And based on that, I would have voted for Erick. It doesn’t take orange & maroon glasses to appreciate what he did. Despite being Tech’s only scoring threat in ACC play, he went for 20+ points in all but two ACC games (3 overall), scored 30+ three times in league action (4 overall), led the league and nation in scoring (something done just once before in ACC history), finished 8th in FG% (2nd among guards behind just Reggie Bullock of unc), 6th in assists, 3rd in FT%, 7th in steals, 6th in assisst-to-turnover ratio, 1st in minutes, and he would have been 5th in 3-Pt% if he had shot just 7 more 3s on the year (he didn’t shoot enough to qualify).
While Larkin meant more to his team, Erick was the best player in the league… by far. To shoot for that high of a percentage as a guard with every team putting their best defender on you, score that much (he accomplished a Tech single season record for points), and still finish in the top 6 in assists, you are the player of the year. Period. Upon further review, there is no debate, and clearly the media agreed with 50% of them casting their vote for the Winchester Rifle (heck, Obama calls 50% a resounding win so Mr. Green can, too… and Larkin finished 2nd with just 30%). Again, congrats to him for all he accomplished and here’s looking forward to seeing him represent Virginia Tech in the NBA, which is currently void of Hokies.