UNC's Jackson: For us, this is an unbelievable feeling
North Carolina junior Justin Jackson received the Dean Smith Most Valuable Player Award during the Tar Heels' annual awards ceremony on Tuesday night at the Carolina Inn, adding another honor in a season full of them.
Jackson was a consensus first-team All-American, the 18th in school history, and he became UNC's third player to win ACC Player of the Year honors and a national championship in the same season. Jackson, the 6-foot-8 wing forward, announced last week that he is entering the NBA draft.
Joel Berry, the junior point guard who earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four, was named UNC's permanent team captain (the John Lotz Award). Berry is UNC's first non-senior to receive that honor during a national championship season.
Other players who were honored include Nate Britt and Luke Maye. Britt, a reserve senior guard, received the Carolina Way Award and the George Lynch Award, which goes to the team's best defensive player. Maye received the Tyler Zeller Scholar-Athlete Award and the Danny Green Most Improved Player Award.
Britt, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Stilman White and Kanler Coker received recognition for being the team's seniors. Meeks, the 6-foot-10 forward, was so instrumental during the Final Four that he became the subject of a social media push for him to be named the team's MVP.
Had he received the honor, which is voted upon by the team, his No. 3 jersey would have been honored in the Smith Center rafters. One of the requirements for a player to have his jersey honored in the rafters is to be named of a national championship team.
Jackson's No. 44 will hang in the rafters because he received ACC Player of the Year honors. The consensus All-American honors he received also qualified him to have his jersey honored. Berry's No. 2 jersey will be honored, too, because was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Meeks, along with UNC's other statistical leaders, received recognition for leading the team in blocked shots (47) and rebounds (378).