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Full-Court Press

The Good, the Bad And All the Rest

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page D12

As the ACC tournament visits the Washington area for the first time since 1987, it's a good time to take a look back at the season that was, with some highlights and lowlights.

Best player: J.J. Redick, Duke. College basketball hasn't seen a better shooter since Indiana's Steve Alford. North Carolina's Sean May might have played better down the stretch, but no player was as valuable to his team as Redick.


Best performance: Sean May, North Carolina. His 26-point, 24-rebound effort in a 75-73 win over Duke in the regular season finale was one of the greatest single-game performances in ACC history. Grabbing 24 rebounds against lesser teams is impressive, but doing it in college basketball's greatest rivalry -- and against Duke's Shelden Williams nonetheless -- was remarkable.

Worst performance: Elton Brown, Virginia. His 3-for-13 performance at the foul line in the Cavaliers' 92-89, double-overtime loss to Maryland on Feb. 19 was almost laughable.

Best finish: Clemson vs. Virginia Tech. The Tigers trailed, 64-61, with less than 10 seconds left on March 1 but tied the score when Olu Babalola made a three-pointer with 9.4 seconds to play. The Hokies drove for the game-winning shot, but Jamon Gordon's bounce pass in the lane was intercepted by Shawan Robinson, who frantically fired a half-court pass to Sharrod Ford, who dunked with two-tenths of a second left to give Clemson an improbable 66-64 win.

Best coaching job: Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech. The Hokies were picked to finish next to last in their first season in the ACC, but went 8-8 in league play and earned a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. Greenberg and his staff have done a remarkable job in recruiting, landing two starters from Florida, one from Georgia and one from Louisiana.

Worst coaching job: Pete Gillen, Virginia. No one ever questioned Gillen's coaching ability when he led Xavier and Providence to the NCAA tournament eight times in 13 seasons. But for whatever reason, Gillen and Virginia just haven't been a good fit. The Cavaliers had the talent to compete in the ACC this season, but they never seemed to mesh on the court.

Scariest moment: Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski collapsing on the sideline. Krzyzewski fell during a first-half timeout in the Blue Devils' 82-65 win over Georgia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 5. Krzyzewski said was dizzy after rising to his feet too fast; opposing fans claimed he was shocked officials called a foul on one of his players in his building.

Best offseason plans: More than a few ACC underclassmen -- North Carolina's Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants and May; Duke's Williams and Redick; Wake Forest's Eric Williams and Chris Paul; Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack; and Maryland's John Gilchrist -- all could become instant millionaires after entering the NBA draft.

Worst offseason plans: Clemson has qualified to play in the National Invitation Tournament, which might not necessarily be a good thing for the Tigers. Nine Clemson players have until May 15 to complete 100 hours of community service or they'll be dismissed from the team. That was the school-mandated punishment for their roles in a fight that involved 23 students Sept. 6.

Best arena: RBC Center, Raleigh, N.C. For a program such as N.C. State's, the RBC Center is a Taj Mahal.

Worst arena: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C. Obviously, architecture isn't a major field of study offered at Clemson. How else to explain a court on the first floor and locker rooms on the third? Nothing like an elevator ride at halftime.

-- Mark Schlabach


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