During the preseason, the Duke coaches told Jahlil Okafor that if he was gathering end-of-the-year accolades, that would mean the team was doing well, too.
Both have proven true.
Okafor became the first freshman to win Player of the Year honors in the 61-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference Sunday, and he won by a landslide. Okafor received 44 of a possible 64 votes for the honor, and Notre Dame senior Jerian Grant finished second with 14 votes. Okafor was also the unanimous choice for ACC freshman of the year.
Okafor ranked second in the league with 17.6 points per game, third with 9.2 rebounds per game, and first in field goal percentage (.668). He has scored 10 or more points in 29 of his 30 games and posted 11 double-doubles. Even when the ball isn’t in his hands, Okafor is a game-changer for Duke, as defenses have to account for him at all times.
A Duke player has taken home ACC player of the year honors in seven of the last 15 years (Elton Brand-1999, Chris Carrawell-2000, Shane Battier-2001, J.J. Redick-2005, J.J. Redick-2006, Nolan Smith-2011, Okafor-2015).
Okafor and Grant were both unanimous fist-team all-ACC selections, and Syracuse senior center Rakeem Christmas, junior Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon and junior Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan rounded out the rest of the team. Duke senior guard Quinn Cook received the fifth-most first-place votes overall, but he was named to the second team with N.C. State guard Trevor Lacey. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson were on the third team with Duke’s Tyus Jones. Duke’s Justise Winslow and UNC’s Kennedy Meeks received honorable mention.
The Duke trio of Jones, Winslow and Okafor made of 3/5 of the all-ACC freshman team as well, along with Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes and UNC’s Justin Jackson.
N.C. State sophomore BeeJay Anya was the ACC’s sixth man of the year.
2014-15 ACSMA All-ACC Teams
(First place votes in parenthesis, followed by total points)
First Team All-ACC
Jahlil Okafor, Fr., Duke (64)* 320
Jerian Grant, Sr., Notre Dame (64)* 320
Rakeem Christmas, Gr. Syracuse (51) 294
Malcolm Brogdon, Jr., Virginia (53) 293
Olivier Hanlan, Jr., Boston College (29) 246
Second Team All-ACC
Montrezl Harrell, Jr., Louisville (21) 220
Quinn Cook, Sr., Duke (23) 219
Terry Rozier, So., Louisville (2) 154
Trevor Lacey, Jr., NC State (2) 123
Justin Anderson, Jr., Virginia (5) 106
Third Team All-ACC
Marcus Paige, Jr., North Carolina (4) 97
Tyus Jones, Fr., Duke (2) 89
Pat Connaughton, Sr., Notre Dame 45
Anthony Gill, Jr., Virginia 42
Brice Johnson, Jr., North Carolina 40
Jamel Artis, So., Pittsburgh 33
Tonye Jekiri, Jr., Miami 32
London Perrantes, So., Virginia 31
Sheldon McClellan, Jr., Miami 31
Justise Winslow, Fr., Duke 29
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Fr., Florida State 24
Michael Young, So., Pittsburgh 14
Angel Rodriguez, Jr., Miami 13
Codi Miller-McIntyre, Jr., Wake Forest 12
Kennedy Meeks, So.,North Carolina 10
ACSMA 2014-15 All-ACC Defensive Team
Rakeem Christmas, Gr., Syracuse, 58
Malcolm Brogdon, Jr., Virginia, 50
Darion Atkins, Sr., Virginia, 38
Tonye Jekiri, Jr., Miami, 38
BeeJay Anya, So., NC State, 29
2014-15 ACSMA All-ACC Freshman Team
Jahlil Okafor, Duke*, 64
Tyus Jones, Duke, 62
Justise Winslow, Duke, 59
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State, 57
Justin Jackson, North Carolina, 22
ACC Player of the Year
Jahlil Okafor, Fr., Duke (44)
ACC Freshman of the Year
Jahlil Okafor, Duke* (64)
ACC Coach of the Year
Tony Bennett, Virginia (52)
Defensive Player of the Year
Darion Atkins, Sr., Virginia (26)
Sixth Man of the Year
BeeJay Anya, So., NC State (26)