Basketball

UNC’s Justin Jackson: I should not have been ACC player of the year

Justin Jackson told reporters at a NBA media session Wednesday that he didn’t think he should have won the ACC player of the year award.
Justin Jackson told reporters at a NBA media session Wednesday that he didn’t think he should have won the ACC player of the year award. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Last March, Justin Jackson became the 14th player from North Carolina to win the ACC men’s basketball player of the year. But during an NBA draft media day in New York Wednesday, Jackson told reporters he didn’t think he should’ve been the choice.

Instead, Jackson picked Duke’s Luke Kennard.

NBA media day: Duke's Luke Kennard seemed surprised when asked about UNC's Justin Jackson saying Kennard should have been named ACC player of the year.

Both Jackson and Kennard are expected to be drafted in the first round, when the draft begins Thursday, and both players were in New York for the media day. Last season, Jackson led the Tar Heels in scoring (18.3 points), was third in assists (2.8 per game) and fourth in rebounds (4.7 per). Jackson was fourth player under current Tar Heel coach Roy Williams to win the ACC award -- following Tyler Hansbrough (2008), Ty Lawson (2009) and Tyler Zeller (2012).

Jackson received 24 of a possible 53 votes from ACC coaches and media members to win, well ahead of Wake Forest forward John Collins (15). Kennard was fourth, receiving five votes.

Kennard averaged 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists season. He seemed surprised when informed that Jackson thought that the former Duke star should’ve won the player of the year honor.

“Justin’s a great guy,” he said. “I played against him in high school and I was able to play against him in college, obviously....And he’s a great player. I don’t know if I would take that away from him.”

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