Today, the ACC held its annual media day, aka ‘Operation Basketball’, and the festivities included the media partaking in their annual preseason polls. After all the votes were tallied, it was clear that the group viewed the Duke Blue Devils as clear-cut favorites to reign supreme in the conference, both as a team and individually.
Coach K’s squad was picked to win the conference in a landslide, taking home 50 of the 54 first-place votes, with Syracuse (3) and North Carolina (1…seriously?) taking home the other four.
Here is the entire poll:
1) Duke (50)
2) Syracuse (3)
3) UNC (1)
5) Notre Dame
8) Boston College
9) Florida State
10) NC State
11) Georgia Tech
13) Wake Forest
15) Virginia Tech
The Blue Devils also grabbed a few individual acknowledgements. Freshman Jabari Parker and redshirt-sophomore Rodney Hood were both named to the Preseason All-ACC team, joining C.J. Fair (Cuse), Joe Harris (Virginia) and Jerian Grant (Notre Dame). Parker – a 6’8″, 235 lb forward – is a top recruit out of Chicago who is expected to not only be an immediate contributor, but an immediate force. These expectations are just one of the many reasons why Parker was also named the Preseason ACC Rookie of the Year, capturing 52 of the 54 votes.
Hood – a 6’8″, 215 lb forward – is a Mississippi State transfer who sat out the 2012-13 season. Known for his work ethic and superior athleticism, Hood has already earned the title of team captain, and will be looked upon to perform at an elite level for Duke in the 2013-14 campaign.
While Syracuse’s C.J. Fair was named the Preseason ACC Player of the Year – grabbing 17 of the 54 votes – Parker (5) and Hood (7) both received numerous nods for the title.
I’m not one to get too worked up over preseason malarkey; some teams/players will perform well above expectations, while others will crash and burn into a fire of average-ness (See: NCSU last season). Regardless, you can’t help but get a little excited when you consider the possibilities of this team. In addition to Hood and Parker, Duke boasts a strong cast that features PG Quinn Cook, SG Rasheed Sulaimon, and the much-welcomed return of sharpshooter Andre Dawkins, who sat out last season.
We’re getting closer to tip-off, Duke fans.