An interesting race is shaping up in the ACC Player of the Year race this season. Several players like Duke’s Grayson Allen, UNC’s Brice Johnson, and Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon are in contention come from NCAA Tournament Caliber teams. Other contenders are Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson, and Syracuse’s Michael Gbinije. Every one of these players comes from an upper half ACC team.
There is one more contender and he might be the front-runner. That is Cat Barber of NC State. TodaySU thinks Cat Barber deserves to win the ACC Player of the Year and said so. They make a good argument. Barber is the ACC’s leading scorer averaging more than 24 points a game, and he’s 4th in the ACC in assists while playing over 38 minutes a game. He’s the focus of every ACC Coach’s defensive game plan and he still at times has been unstoppable.
Even CBSSportsline has taken notice of Barber’s great season.
If there is anything that holds Barber back it is that his NC State is just 13-13 and 3-10 in the ACC, or should it hold him back. There is a precedent for an ACC Player of the Year coming from a poor team. Back during the 2012-2013 season Erick Green of Virginia Tech won the POY while being on a team that went 13-19, (4-14). Len Bias of Maryland won the ACC POY on a Maryland team that went 6-8 in the ACC. That team still made the NCAA tournament.
I’m not sure I’d have Barber as the front-runner, especially after a struggling performance against Virginia Monday night, but he is definitely in the mix. I’d have him in my top 4 along with Malcolm Brogdon, Brice Johnson, and Grayson Allen.