Shumpert the ACC player of the year?

Iman Shumpert goes up for two points in his triple-double performance. AJC

Iman Shumpert goes up for two points in his triple-double performance. AJC

Fresh off his triple-double against Virginia Tech, should Iman Shumpert receive early consideration as the ACC’s player of the year?

Debating his importance to Georgia Tech is pointless. It’s obvious that without the junior point guard the Yellow Jackets wouldn’t be where they are, even if were they are is just one game above .500 overall and 3-3 in conference play. With their recent play at home, in which they’ve hammered North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, they could still go on a run and earn at-large consideration for the NCAA tournament with 10 conference games remaining, as well as a non-conference home game against Chattanooga. As shallow as the conference is this season, there’s no reason to think Tech can’t win the ACC tournament and get an automatic berth. The issues Tech has on the road (0-for-6 this season) don’t extend to neutral-court games, where the Jackets are 2-1 this season.

But back to the debate.

Who is the ACC's player of the year?

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 Shumpert is one of the ACC’s best defenders. In addition to crushing the Hokies on offense, he shut down Malcolm Delaney on Tuesday, holding him to 10.9 points under his season average. Colleague Mark Bradley called it the most dominating performance from a Tech point guard that he’s ever seen, and he’s seen most of the Jackets’ greats.

And Shumpert has worked hard to improve his game. A knock on him before the season, call it a personal observation that may not be fair, is that he would often shoot the Yellow Jackets out of games.  There would be sequences in the past, and some early this season, where Shumpert would come down the court and take an ill-advised shot before the offense could get going. That hasn’t happened often recently. He is getting his teammates involved, while also expanding his offensive game. He’s using his left-hand more on drives, including a poster dunk against Virginia Tech. His shooting percentage isn’t good (40.7), but he has had to take on more of the burden of the scoring because of some of his teammates’ shooting woes (42.1 team percentage), which has also reduced his assists (career-low 3.8 assists per game). Notice, there’s a difference between leading the team in shots taken (39 more than Brian Oliver) and taking bad shots, which is what I basically said he was doing in the past.

David Teel, a columnist at the Daily Press who has been covering the ACC for more than 20 years, said in an e-mail, “After watching Shumpert last night, how could you not consider him a worthy candidate at this early stage? But it’s a crowded field.

“Nolan Smith and Reggie Jackson are positioned to become the first player to ever lead the ACC in scoring and assists in the same season; Jordan Williams leads in rebounding and shooting percentage, and is No. 5 in scoring; Chris Singleton is the linchpin of what is arguably the country’s best defense, and Kyle Singler is, well, Kyle Singler.”

Teel said the Player of the Year could hinge on the final standings. Only once has an ACC PoY played for a team with a losing conference record. Maryland’s Len Bias in 1986.

So, who is Shumpert’s competition?

There are three obvious competitors: As Teel noted, Duke’s Nolan Smith, Boston College’s Reggie Jackson and Maryland’s Jordan Williams.

To sum up their candidacies in one spot:

As of Wednesday, Smith leads the ACC in scoring (20.1 points per game) and assists (5.6) and is sixth in steals (1.5). Jackson is second in both categories (19.1 and 9.8).

Williams is fifth in scoring (17.6) and first in rebounding (12.1) and field-goal percentage (55.3).

Shumpert is sixth in scoring (16.8), sixth in assists (3.8) and first in steals (2.7).

But there’s the intangible. I get the vibe that opposing point guards fear playing Shumpert. They would never admit to that, but you could see Delaney hurrying shots last night. He was visibly frustrated in the game, often talking to the refs about perceived missed calls.

Now, Virginia’s Mustapha Farrakhan ate up Shumpert in last week’s loss at Charlottesville. Shumpert had to play somewhat tentatively after he picked up a quick foul. It will be interesting to see their rematch on Feb. 23. Jackson put up 25 on him on 8-of-9 shooting in the Jackets’ ACC opener. Shumpert had 15 on 6-of-19 shooting in that game. Tech will play at Duke on Feb. 20, which may decide the debate between Shumpert and Smith.

It should be fun to watch.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

37 comments Add your comment

Jeff

January 27th, 2011
4:14 am

Jeff

January 27th, 2011
4:14 am

Iman shumpert is really good. If he could play the point guard position really well he would be in the NBA.

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DeepDiver

January 27th, 2011
4:32 am

Indeed. Grab some coffee.

GT Letterman

January 27th, 2011
6:42 am

Best point guard performance ever at Tech? Stephon Marbury during the snowstorm at Duke in January of 1996.

Who cares if I'm

January 27th, 2011
7:33 am

@ GT Letterman. That was the best overall performance. Marbury, couldn’t come close to having the defensive impact that Shumpert has right now

Paul in RDU

January 27th, 2011
8:41 am

Shumpert is having a great season but I just can’t see him being POY in the ACC. Duke will win the league (no team is close) and Smith has been their key player after making the adjustment to take over the point after Irving went out. Couple that with the fact that there are plenty of voters in NC and it just isn’t going to happen for Iman.

Paul in RDU

January 27th, 2011
8:51 am

“Tech will play at Duke on Feb. 20, which may decide the debate between Shumpert and Smith.”

That would be great if they were playing one on one but the overall match up is Duke (coached by Krzyzewski) against GT (coached by Hewitt). I know who I would bet on.

gt

January 27th, 2011
8:58 am

Shumpert had some spot performances last year like the North Carolina game where he looked like a player. But who would you recruit and take on your team if all three of those candidates were able to come to Tech? I dealt at this stage Shumpert, he just now is looking like a candidate, the rest looked like it the day they came in the conference. If he can keep it up and carry this dead bird hanging around his neck to a NCAA bid he may deserve the national player of the year. Let’s see what happens.

Tyler

January 27th, 2011
9:07 am

Nolan smith easy. I laugh when one player has a great game and out of nowhere this kind of crap comes out. What did he do against Uva? Let’s watch his play over the next 3 games. He always stinks it up.

William Casey

January 27th, 2011
9:16 am

Can you imagine the accolades Shumpert would be receiving if he played for Duke? His offensive performance against VT was the best I’ve actually seen by a GT guard since Kenny Anderson’s coming-out party against Pitt in 1989. His defense rivals Bruce Dalrympal’s best games from the 1980’s. Alas, he’ll be POY only if he can carry GT to the ACC championship and maybe not then. First team All-ACC is a reasonable goal, though. Hope he returns for 2011-12. GT could have a solid team. Somewhat lost in the Shumpert-fest is the solid development of Daniel Miller, reminiscent of Malcomb Mackey on the “Lethal Weapon Three” team.

Steve T

January 27th, 2011
9:21 am

Doug, good observation on Shumpert’s “ill-advised shots”. He was beginning to make me cringe every time he brought the ball up court until he passed it. This is something that he does less and less. I think when he occasionally does it now, it’s because the team has fallen behind and he feels that he has to do something to get them back in the game. Now he is definitely GT’s MVP.

yellarjacket

January 27th, 2011
9:36 am

Nolan Smith or Kyle Singler would win ACC POY over Shumpert because of the media’s love affair with Duke. Duke will win the ACC regular season and the ACC tourney, so other players such as Shumpert, Reggie Jackson, or Chris Singleton don’t have a chance.

Shumpert should make 1st team All ACC and has an even better chance of being named ACC Defensive POY.

GTfan

January 27th, 2011
9:40 am

The kid had a great night and is one of 5 for MVP of ACC. Will he be another “one and done player” for Paul Bewitt and GT? Hope not.
Fire Paul Bewitt……….

Paul in RDU

January 27th, 2011
9:49 am

GTfan

January 27th, 2011
9:40 am
The kid had a great night and is one of 5 for MVP of ACC. Will he be another “one and done player” for Paul Bewitt and GT? Hope not.
Fire Paul Bewitt……….
______________________________________________________

Shumpert is a JR – methinks that “GTfan” is a misnomer

5150 P.O.A.D.

January 27th, 2011
10:09 am

NO
If he is he is gone for sure. It would be nice if these college players would play for 4 years, but any good press and they all run for the NBA.

yellarjacket

January 27th, 2011
10:21 am

Mark Bradley said NBADraft.net did not even have Shumpert listed in the first or second round of this year’s draft. I think if he continues to play like he did against Va Tech, then someone will draft this kid. I’m very surprised he’s not being mentioned to leave early considering he’s very good at creating his own shot and has very good size to play the 2 in the NBA.

I’d love for him to stay for his senior season. I think we could actually make the NCAA tourney next year if he stays. We only have two seniors on the roster Mo Miller and Lance Storrs. We’d return most of our scoring and Daniel Miller/Holsey would be much improved/experienced in the post. The addition of Julian Royal and have Jason Morris come off the bench, this team could be real good.

GT Fan...

January 27th, 2011
10:25 am

I can’t see him winning POY unless he blows away the competition in all statistical categories b/c his coach will guide the team to another .500 or worse record.

Nothing against I.S., but IMO, I just can’t see the POY coming from that kind of squad.

juvenal

January 27th, 2011
11:19 am

but Mark said he’s not on the boards…

Ramblin Man

January 27th, 2011
11:22 am

It would be nice for him but I would much rather see the whole team play better as a whole. I guess Hewitt decided the kids do actually have to practice.

Born2Buzz

January 27th, 2011
11:29 am

Shumpert is maturing into a solid player. POY in the ACC? It won’t happen, unless he leads them to #2 in the league and even then maybe not because of the Duke bias (for good reason-they are the defending champs and have been in the top 5 nationally all year).

And only 3 anti-Hewitt comments out of 16 posts. Nice to discuss GT bball without going down that path constantly.

2HLLWGA

January 27th, 2011
11:33 am

I like the way he ahs been playiong this month, but he reminds me of Duane Ferrell.

GT Dude

January 27th, 2011
11:44 am

Not sure what to think because up until recently he has always been a “ME” player that is worried about his individual stats,
let’s see if he continues to play team ball and get double digit assist each night that will be the real indicator

GTBob

January 27th, 2011
12:07 pm

Shumpert’s talent level is high enough but GT isn’t quite good enough for him to win such an honor. Although if he puts up a few more triple doubles then maybe that could change.

Skeezix

January 27th, 2011
12:24 pm

The history of consistent performance is not there; however, if he continues perfoming at such a high level and if Tech finishes high in the ACC, he has a shot. He is very good, one of the ACC’s best–but the honor will go (and should go) to a great player on team that finishes high in the ACC standings.

Sarah Palin

January 27th, 2011
12:28 pm

Guys: Gee Wilikers! How about me? Don’t you want to blog about me? I deserve more attention than some basketball player. By the way, I know about baskeball because from my house I can see a basketball net.

Skeezix

January 27th, 2011
12:46 pm

Here’s some competition for Shumpert: Nolan Smith leads the ACC in scoring (20.1 points) and assists (5.6) per game.

If he continues at that pace for rest of the season, he will win it because no ACC player has ever produced those stats for a season–and he plays for a pretty good team.

Paul Hewitt

January 27th, 2011
12:48 pm

How about me for NCAA coach of year?

Gatorman

January 27th, 2011
1:13 pm

It’s not going to happen because the ACC press won’t left it happen.

MarkPriceGhost

January 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

Won’t happen. Singler will win the award, hands down. Not even close. He’s easily the best player in the league. Smith is 2nd best. Shumpert may be top 5- maybe. He benefits from playing in a conference that is really down this year.

Voice of Reason

January 27th, 2011
2:43 pm

Get real. He’s not in the same league with Anderson or Price, who both could take over a game. Guy has a few good games and its like he’s taken over the world. Quit getting athletes and go after basketball players like Singler and Jimmer. Guys who play with their brains as much as their bodies. Seems to work at Duke and other places as well.

SuperB

January 27th, 2011
4:18 pm

Unfortunately for Shumpert, the ACC writers won’t pick a player from a team without a good record.

Ryan

January 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

He’ll be benched shortly…..isn’t that Hewitt’s game? Wait until a player gets hot and then bench him?

Amazing, you mean a player..no matter how good initially…is actually getting better under Hewitt???

As a 20+yr season ticket holder (10tix the last 7yrs) I will not attend a game. Mine are sold to opposing fans or unused. I dropped down to 4 tix last year of course because of the ‘fund’ pricing…but also because I’m not taking my nights and gas money to see his teams any longer.

ben

January 27th, 2011
6:36 pm

He’s had the talent since he set foot on campus, but the lack of control and coaching have let him run wild with his ball-hogging and lack of game awareness. As with all mega-talents, he goes off like gangbusters now and then, then returns to the erratic player that has become his trademark. He has become more stable this year and if he continues to play under control, maybe he’ll get drafted. But, ACC-MVP? Not unless this squad has a remarkable turnaround.

Wolley Stekcaj

January 27th, 2011
9:22 pm

Doug, A bit of a stretch, I think you are just happy that Tech has had some success and you have a chance to be positive. It will not last . Tech will fall quickly, if not I promise to come back and say I was wrong.

doobiedoo

January 28th, 2011
11:35 am

Sarah – Thank you for playing. I know you are expert at all things you see. If you say you can see a basketball net from your house, then you should be All-ACC. Heck whillikers, let’s make it All-American…

Zebraman

January 30th, 2011
9:41 pm

You keep smoking your Atlanta-centric crack pipe !