March 7, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The All-Atlantic Coast Conference team turned into an all-state squad. The first team released Monday all came from North Carolina schools, including Tar Heels Sean May and Raymond Felton, in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
May and Felton, who helped North Carolina to its first outright ACC title since 1993, were selected along with Duke's J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams and Wake Forest's Chris Paul. Eleven of the 15 players named to the three teams came from the state, as well.
Redick averaged an ACC-best 22.5 points for the Blue Devils and was picked for the first team on all 121 ballots.
He certainly will be one of the favorites for the ACC Player Of The Year award, along with May. The North Carolina center played his best down the stretch, totaling double-doubles in the final eight games of the regular season.
That included an amazing performance in the finale Sunday against Duke, when May finished with 26 points and 24 rebounds in a matchup with Williams.
"He did a real good job shooting the ball and following his shots and also following other people's shots," Williams said after the game. "He was one of the key factors in the game, and it worked well for them."
Williams led the conference in rebounding (11.1 per game) and blocked shots (3.8), and averaged nearly 16 points.
Felton and Paul gave the first team a pair of dominant point guards, even if Paul's selection was a bit tainted by the below-the-belt punch he gave North Carolina State's Julius Hodge in their game Sunday night.
Paul wasn't called for a foul, but he was given a one-game suspension Monday that will force him to miss Wake Forest's ACC tournament game on Friday against Florida State or N.C. State.
He will be allowed to practice Tuesday, and could return to the lineup Saturday if Wake Forest advances to the semifinals.
Demon Deacons coach Skip Prosser declined comment Monday, other than to say he had seen a replay of the punch.
Hodge, the player of the year last season as a junior, slipped to the second team this season, even though his statistics compare favorably to what he did a year ago. His scoring average was down about one point, and his rebounds and assists were slightly up from last season.
But the Wolfpack finished in a tie for sixth in the ACC and might not make the NCAA tournament.
"It's difficult to make comparisons," N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. "We have a different team, and our season has taken some different turns."
Miami's Guillermo Diaz, the second-leading scorer in the conference, also made the second team, as did Wake Forest teammates Eric Williams and Justin Gray, and Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack.
Eric Williams, a junior center who has lost about 50 pounds during his college career, had a big hand in helping the Deacons finish second, one game behind North Carolina. The weight loss also helped him avoid foul trouble that plagued him in the past couple of seasons.
"I think he has stayed out on the floor much longer, and that has really benefited our team," Prosser said. "I also think he's gotten wiser in his years, and he understands his value to the team."
The third team included North Carolina's Rashad McCants, a first-team selection last season. Bothered by an intestinal disorder that forced him to miss the final four games of the regular season, he finished 11th in the ACC in scoring at 15.8 points a game.
Teammate Jawad Williams also was on the third team, along with Clemson's Sharrod Ford, Maryland's Nik Caner-Medley and Duke's Daniel Ewing.
That gave the Tar Heels four players on the three teams, tops among the 11 schools.
"They would sacrifice that for our team winning championships," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I think our players understand what's important."
Guillermo Diaz, Miami (19) 243
Julius Hodge, NCSU (22) 227
Eric Williams, WF (7) 222
Jarrett Jack, GT (9) 200
Justin Gray, WF (2) 184
Honorable Mention (25 or more points)
Zabian Dowdell, VT (0) 64
John Gilchrist, Maryland (0) 50
Robert Hite, Miami (0) 27
Marvin Williams, UNC (0) 25