North Carolina's Zeller Secures ACC Player of the Year
March 6, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. (ACSMA) — North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller, who delivered his best performances against the Tar Heels’ toughest ACC competition, is the conference’s Player of the Year for 2012. The 7-foot post player from Washington, Ind., was named on 45 of 62 ballots in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and is the 13th Tar Heel to earn the honor.
Zeller is the first UNC senior to be named Player of the Year since Phil Ford in 1978, but his selection means an ACC senior has claimed the past three awards and five of the past seven. His predecessors in academic standing have been Duke’s J.J. Redick (2006), Jared Dudley of Boston College (2007), Greivis Vasquez of Maryland in 2010 and Duke’s Nolan Smith last year.
Zeller enters this week’s ACC Tournament averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game for North Carolina, which he helped to the league’s outright regular-season championship with a 14-2 record. In five contests against Duke, Florida State and Virginia, the second, third and fourth seeds in the tournament, he delivered 20.2 points and 10 boards. He concluded that run with 19 points and 10 rebounds while making 9-of-11 shots from the floor in this past Saturday’s 88-70 win at Duke.
All told, Zeller has produced double-doubles in seven conference games. He has collected eight or more rebounds 12 times and has contributed 14 or more points on 11 occasions in ACC play.
He outdistanced Virginia forward Mike Scott, named by 14 electors. Two UNC teammates, Harrison Barnes and John Henson, received the other votes.
Zeller’s citation is the 14th by UNC players. Larry Miller won Player of the Year in 1967 and 1968.
“It’s a very special honor, something you dream about when you are a young player,” Zeller said. “I am so proud to know that, as a result, my jersey will go in the rafters (at the Smith Center), which is another great honor. You look up there and see the names of the Tar Heels who came before you and you know that it’s a tremendous honor that my jersey will be up there with them.”
The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association is an organization of journalists dedicated to fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between the news media and the institutions and administration of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The group serves as a liaison to decision-makers.