ACC Basketball: Zeller, Rivers, Henson win awards
GREENSBORO — North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller is the Atlantic Coast Conference’s player of the year, and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton has won the coach of the year award for the second time in four years.
The league on Tuesday also announced that Duke’s Austin Rivers was a unanimous choice for freshman of the year and North Carolina’s John Henson is the defensive player of the year for the second straight year.
Zeller received 45 votes to 14 for Virginia’s Mike Scott. Hamilton had 21 votes for the coaching award — one more than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. Henson received 56 votes for the defensive honor.
Zeller ranked fifth in the league in scoring and second in rebounding, averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds for the champion Tar Heels. He became UNC’s 14th player of the year winner — tying Duke for the most in league history, and first since Ty Lawson won it in 2009.
“It’s always a great honor to be able to say, ‘I did this, I did this,’ but it is a team sport,” Zeller said Monday about the possibility of being named player of the year. “But being able to say we won Saturday (against Duke) is something I think I’ll talk about for longer.”
Rivers won the league’s weekly award for rookies nine times and leads the Blue Devils in scoring, averaging 15.3 points.
Henson averages 10.3 rebounds per game and leads the conference by blocking three shots per game. He’s the second two-time winner, after Duke’s Shelden Williams.