Forward Reggie Bullock led the University of North Carolina in three-point percentage, was second in rebounding and third in scoring and assists and was named the first-ever recipient of the Dean Smith Most Valuable Player Award at UNC's men's basketball awards ceremony held Tuesday night.
Bullock, a junior from Kinston, led the Tar Heels to a 25-11 record, a berth in the ACC Tournament championship game and the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bullock also was named a permanent team captain with senior guard Dexter Strickland (Rahway, N.J.) and sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo (Norfolk, Va.). They each received the John Lotz Team Captain Award.
Freshman point guard Marcus Paige (Marion, Iowa) received the Athletic Director's Burgess McSwain Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and the George Lynch Award as the team's best defensive player.
Sophomore forward Jackson Simmons (Webster) was presented a new award, the Marvin Williams Carolina Way Award, which is given to the player who best exemplifies playing hard, being unselfish and thinking of the team first.
Strickland and Frank Tanner (Charlotte) received the Dick Baddour Senior Awards. Strickland played in 128 games and finished his career with 899 points, 342 assists and 146 steals. He was part of UNC teams in 2010-11 and 2011-12 that won ACC regular-season titles and reached the NCAA regional finals and won 106 games. As a senior, Strickland led the nation in assist-turnover ratio with 150 assists and only 47 turnovers. He also received the Kendall Marshall Award for the best assist-error ratio (3.2).
Other statistical award winners included:
- Tyler Hansbrough Award for Highest Scorer - P.J. Hairston
- Brad Daugherty Award for Highest Field Goal Percentage - Brice Johnson (freshman, Orangeburg, S.C.)
- Hubert Davis Award for Highest Three-Point Percentage - Reggie Bullock
- Shammond Williams Award for Highest Free Throw Percentage - Marcus Paige
- Billy Cunningham Award for Most Rebounds - James Michael McAdoo
- Brendan Haywood Award for Most Blocked Shots - Desmond Hubert (sophomore, New Egypt, N.J.)
The renaming of the awards is a nice touch, especially putting Dean Smith's name on the MVP award. The new names also give these honors a sense of relevance since they are attached to players whose names show up in the record book as being the leader in certain categories. As an aside, I do think if UNC is going to have an award named after Danny Green it should be called the Danny Freaking Green Award.
By and large, there is nothing surprising here with the exception of Marcus Paige being named the team's best defensive player. While you could argue Paige had issues in certain on-ball match-ups, he did a great job understanding team defense and being in the right place to draw a charge or get a steal. In fact, UNC has the personnel to be a pretty good defensive team next season which will be an aspect worth watching.