The ACC basketball coaches really like N.C. State.
In their first preseason vote ever, the ACC coaches picked the Wolfpack to win the conference this season, voted junior forward C.J. Leslie the preseason player of the year and guard Rodney Purvis the preseason freshman of the year.
N.C. State hasnt won the ACC regular season since 1989 or an ACC title since 1987 and its drought in the preseason media poll is even longer. The ACC media, which will make its annual selections Wednesday in Charlotte, has not picked the Wolfpack to win the league since 1974.
With four starters back from a 24-win team, and three new McDonalds All-Americans, N.C. State received eight first-place votes from the league coaches. Duke and North Carolina, which lost six NBA first-round picks between them, were picked second and third, respectively.
Obviously, this says a lot about the improvement of our program, but Im well aware that its all about how we finish, not how were projected, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said in a statement released by the school. This is new territory for our players and we need to make sure we stay focused on the process of improving.
N.C. State went 9-7 in the ACC last season, Gottfrieds first, and made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006. The Pack reached the Sweet 16 with wins over San Diego State and Georgetown before losing to Kansas, the national runner-up.
The Blue Devils, which return three starters from a 13-3 ACC team, and add a pair of McDonalds All-Americans, received three first-place votes and the Tar Heels, who won the regular season with a 14-2 record, received one. Miami and Florida State rounded out the top five and Wake Forest was picked to finish tied for 10th.
N.C. State junior guard Lorenzo Brown joined Leslie on the preseason All-ACC team with UNC sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo, Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee and Florida State senior guard Michael Snaer.