J.J. Redick said after the first game of the ACC Tournament that he was adjusting to the rims at the MCI Center.
But by the time the junior slipped his strand out of the net Sunday afternoon, he had clearly made the necessary adjustment. Redick scored 61 points during the final two games, picking up Tournament MVP honors as Duke left Washington, D.C. with its sixth title in seven years.
And Redick, who was tagged with first team All-ACC honors before the tournament, has been scooping up awards and accolades ever since. The Duke co-captain was named ACC Player of the Year Wednesday, easily beating out North Carolina’s Sean Man and Wake Forest’s Chris Paul.
“I was a little surprised that I got it,” said Redick, who was selected on 68 of the 121 ballots cast by the members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. “It’s just a huge honor considering the number of great players in this league who all had great seasons. I think you could take a handful of guys and choose any one of them.”
Ten other Blue Devils have won ACC Player of the Year honors, most recently Shane Battier in 2001.
Redick picked up another honor Sunday when the number of candidates for the Naismith Trophy, given to the nation’s top men’s basketball player, was cut from 30 to four. He made the list along with Utah’s Andrew Bogut, Kansas’s Wayne Simien and Paul. The trophy will be awarded April 3.
“J.J. has become a complete player,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Everyone watches his shooting ability. He’s found different ways to score; he’s become our best off-the-ball perimeter defender; he’s handled the ball; he’s become a leader for us.”
Although Redick’s points still tend to come in bunches, he has diversified his game and is willing to drive the ball much more consistently this season. He almost always draws an opponent’s top defender, but despite the attention, Redick has scored an ACC-leading 22.1 points per game.
Redick stepped up his conditioning in the off-season and has averaged a team-high 37.2 minutes per game, including playing all 80 minutes during Duke’s final two ACC Tournament contests. Redick has played from start to finish 11 times this season and missed just one minute on six other occasions.
“I think it is kind of a badge of honor, the number of minutes I play,” Redick said. “There’s a lot of teams that have a lot of depth, and their star players can afford to play only 30 minutes and play fresh every night. I’ve got to be the best conditioned guy in the league, and I’ve done that this year.”
Redick has gotten off to a slow start in his third NCAA Tournament. He hoisted up just seven shots, six of which were threes, and made just one against Delaware State Friday. Redick scored 16 points on 17 shots from the field Sunday against Mississippi State.
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