Virginia's Landesberg Named ACC Rookie of the Year
March 10, 2009
Raleigh (AP) -- Sylven Landesberg rarely looked like a rookie during his freshman season at Virginia.
That's why the Cavaliers' young star was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's Rookie of the Year Tuesday.
Landesberg received 55 of a possible 76 votes cast by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who had 20 votes, was the only other player to appear on multiple ballots.
"Coming in as a freshman, I wanted to make an impact as big as I could," Landesberg said. "I wasn't expecting it, and I don't think anybody else expected it to be this big."
Landesberg led all ACC rookies - and the Cavaliers - in scoring with a 16.8-point average while seemingly becoming the focus of opposing defenses from the day the highly regarded high school star from New York City set foot in Charlottesville, Va.
"I think I prepared myself very well for this," Landesberg said. "After my high school season ended, I went through numerous workouts, day in and day out, just to get ready to play ACC basketball. I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, so I tried to put myself through the toughest workouts I could find, and that helped me out a lot to get to this position."
Of course, no amount of practice can prepare any player for the day-in, day-out grind of the ACC.
Only five teams held him to single-digit scoring, he had at least 20 points in his first three college games, and hit that scoring mark 12 times during his first season - including a season high of 32 against Boston College.
But in a common phenomenon for the freshmen in the ACC, the grueling season may have worn him down, one reason why he scored 20 just once in his final 10 games.
"Coming into the ACC, I guess I had a target on my back," he said. "It felt like it for most of the games, and it kept getting tougher as it was going along, so every game was a new adjustment. I thought my first year, I was going to be able to just get by without too much attention being put on me, but that was pretty much the big surprise."
Naturally, his favorite accomplishments came as a result of team success. His most meaningful games this season were the Cavaliers' 85-81 upset of then-No. 12 Clemson on Feb. 15 and an 88-84 victory over Georgia Tech in his ACC debut.
"I came into the (Georgia Tech) game amped up, hyped up, ready to play," he said. "It's what I came to this school for, to play ACC basketball."
Now he's trying to get comfortable taking his place among some big-named Virginia stars of the past.
He's the fourth Cavaliers player to win the ACC's rookie honor, and first since Chris Williams did it in 1999. Also on the list are Bryant Stith in 1989 and eventual No. 1 draft pick Ralph Sampson in 1980.
"Just to be able to be in a class with them, with me getting the same awards as them, it's just a great feeling," Landesberg said.
Voting results for the 2008-09 Atlantic Coast Conference individual awards, as voted on by 76 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR