College Sports

UNC’s Justin Jackson named ACC Player of the Year

North Carolina’s Justin Jackson (44) drives to the basket past Duke’s Jason Tatum (0) during the second half on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. Jackson lead North Carolina with 21 points.
North Carolina’s Justin Jackson (44) drives to the basket past Duke’s Jason Tatum (0) during the second half on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. Jackson lead North Carolina with 21 points. rwillett@newsobserver.com

After leading North Carolina to its second consecutive ACC regular-season championship, one the Tar Heels won by two games, junior forward Justin Jackson on Sunday was named the ACC Player of the Year.

Jackson earned the honor, decided upon by the ACC’s 15 coaches and by media members covering the league, after receiving 24 of a possible 53 votes for the award. Wake Forest forward John Collins (15 votes) and Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson (8) finished second and third in the voting.

Duke sophomore forward Luke Kennard, who received five player of the year votes, finished fourth in the ACC Player of the Year voting. Jackson, Collins, Kennard and Colson all are received first-team All-ACC honors. Donovan Mitchell, the Louisville sophomore guard, joined them on the first team.

Jackson became the 14th UNC player to be named ACC Player of the Year, and the first since Tyler Zeller in 2012. Jackson is the fourth UNC player to win the award under coach Roy Williams, joining Ty Lawson (2009) and Tyler Hansbrough (2008) among recent Tar Heels to be conference player of the year.

Jackson, a native of Tomball, Texas, leads UNC in scoring with 18.3 points per game. He’s second on the team in assists (84) and fourth in rebounds (4.7 per game). He has made 85 3-pointers, and is on pace to become the most prolific 3-pointer shooter in a single season in school history.

“Justin has been really good from day one,” Williams said in a statement. “To have the kind of success shooting the ball and making big plays in key situations like he did against Duke is a credit to him and the amount of work he put in to improve his game.

“We went through a very difficult ACC schedule and Justin gave our players a lot of confidence knowing that he would consistently be putting up 18-20 points, about five rebounds and some key assists each game.

“He listened to our coaching staff last spring about how to improve as a player and was determined to get better and stronger, which through his hard work and sweat, he is now reaping the benefits.”

Here are the rest of the league’s all-conference honors:

Second team All-ACC:

Dwayne Bacon, Florida State

Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State

Ben Lammers, Georgia Tech

Joel Berry, UNC

London Perrantes, Virginia

Third team All-ACC:

Michael Young, Pittsburgh

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson

Andrew White III, Syracuse

Davon Reed, Miami

Jayson Tatum, Duke

All-Defensive team:

Ben Lammers, Georgia Tech

Isaiah Wilkins, Virginia

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville

Davon Reed, Miami

Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State

Matt Jones, Duke

All-Freshman team

Dennis Smith, N.C. State

Jonathan Isaac, Florida State

Jayson Tatum, Duke

Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech

Ky Bowman, Boston College

Freshman of the Year:

Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State

Coach of the Year:

Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech

Defensive Player of the Year:

Ben Lammers, Georgia Tech

ACC Most Improved:

John Collins, Wake Forest

Sixth Man of the Year:

Seth Allen, Virginia Tech

Andrew Carter: 919-829-8944, @_andrewcarter

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