Entering conference play, the Tar Heels were off of a lot of people’s radars outside of their own fanbase. Perhaps due to hindsight more than anything, it’s difficult to understand why, as this team has had more than enough pieces to do a lot of damage in the ACC, and in the NCAA as a whole. The latter (mostly) remains to be seen, but the Heels were able to prove their worth by winning a share of the ACC regular season championship after sweeping their archrival Duke this past Friday. As the team now looks forward to Charlotte on Thursday, the ACC has announced who has won this year’s all-conference honors.
First-team All-ACC: Cameron Johnson
Second-team All-ACC: Luke Maye, Coby White
ACC All-Freshman Team: Coby White
Coby White arrived in Chapel Hill knowing that he would have to earn a starting spot for the Tar Heels over junior point guard Seventh Woods. After succeeding in earning the spot, he gradually became arguably the most dangerous weapon at Roy Williams’ disposal. During the ACC regular season, White averaged 18.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He has shot at a 45.1% clip from the field, and has made 38.5% of his three-pointers. His performance during conference play drew a lot of attention from national analysts as well as NBA scouts, and it is now within the realm of possibility that his performance during tournament could open the door to his name being brought up in NBA lottery pick conversations.
Cameron Johnson entered his second year with the Tar Heels completely rejuvenated after having surgery over the summer. Feeling the healthiest that he’s felt in his entire college career, Johnson has had a tremendous season so far, and did a lot of great things during conference play. During ACC play, Johnson averaged 17.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He shot an incredibly 55% from the field, and made 45.9% of his three-pointers. Alongside Coby White, Johnson was a primary threat shooting the ball from deep. His ability to shoot from NBA range at will has made things extremely difficult for opposing teams, and it’s something that teams across the country will have to figure out how to stop in the NCAA tournament. Johnson is currently projected to be drafted in the second round of this year’s NBA Draft.
Luke Maye’s story is one that we all know, but it is also one that never gets old. Starting his UNC career as a walk-on, Maye became one of the hardest-working players during his four years on and off the court, and it all has most certainly paid off. He is now a three-time regular season champion, an ACC tournament champion, a NCAA national champion, and a back-to-back Skip Prosser award winner, which is an award given to the ACC’s best scholar athlete in college basketball.
This year as far as ACC play goes, Maye averaged 14.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He made 48% of his field goal attempts, and made 27.8% of his three-point attempts. Down the final stretch of conference play, Maye found ways to destroy opposing teams on the boards. The game against Wake Forest was the last game that we saw him finish the game with a single-digit total in rebounds, and his highest total of the season came from a 20-rebound performance against Wake Forest. Maye’s overall contribution to Carolina’s basketball program has been outstanding, and he will be crucial to any success Carolina has down the final stretch of the season.
Now that the ACC awards have been handed out, all eyes turn to the ACC tournament in Charlotte, NC. The first round begins tomorrow at 12:00pm/est when Wake Forest takes on Miami. Carolina’s first game will be Thursday at 7pm/est against the winner of the 7pm/est game Wednesday night.