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March 12, 2013

Green Collects ACC POY

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Last night, on the eve of the announcement of the ACC player of the year, Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green said a prayer before he fell asleep.

That might have been the final step, but Green's play all season got him to this point. Today, the ACC announced Green as the conference's player of the year, the first for the Hokies as a member of the ACC.

Green received 38 of the 76 votes cast. Miami's Shane Larkin was second with 23 votes and Duke's Mason Plumlee was third with 12 votes.

Green was also one of the last to know today, with the announcement made during Virginia Tech's practice. But he had a good feeling last night when he said his prayer.

"I was gonna keep my head high, regardless of if I won or lose," Green said. "My thing was just, before I went to bed, I just wanted to say, hopefully, I'd won, hopefully I'd win it. That would be a dream come true for me and I could cross that thing off on my wall I put up, to win ACC palyer of the year. It's just a great accomplishment, but I couldn't do this without my teammates and a wonderful coaching staff."

Green has led the country in scoring since December and still sits atop the leaders with 25.4 points per game. He's also shooting at a 48.2 percent clip from the field.

Only two other Virginia Tech players have earned a conference's Player of the Year award, as Green joins Bimbo Coles in 1988 and Dell Curry in 1986, who won the Metro Conference Player of the Year Award. Green joins Len Bias of Maryland in 1986 as the only ACC Player of the Year honorees to play on a team in the bottom half of the league standings.

"I know Erick would give all this up to have more wins and an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament," coach James Johnson said. "But to see his hard work pay off and to go from a kid that averaged two points a game and people doubting whether he could play at this level, to be the player of the year in what I think is the toughest conference in the country, it says a lot for the kid. It says a lot for our program and what we're trying to do."

Johnson was one of the first to offer Green a scholarship in high school, as a then-assistant coach at George Mason. Johnson helped persuade former Hokies coach Seth Greenberg to offer as well and Green stuck with Johnson when he was named Virginia Tech's coach last spring.

"Definitely doing this with JJ, it doesn't get any better because that's the guy who recruited me and stuck with me and even when he left George Mason and Penn State and came here, he still got coach to come recruit me and he believed in me," Green said. "I remember from day one, he always told me I was gonna be a special player and man, he was right."

Despite a tough season for the Hokies, Green set a school record with 786 points scored, breaking the old mark of 785 by Coles in the 1989-90 season. In the regular season finale at Wake Forest on Sunday, he scored his 1,700th career point and moved past Ace Custis into 10th place in career scoring at Virginia Tech.

The Hokies are still the 12th and final seed in the ACC Tournament, which begins Thursday as they play NC State. But Green is still confident he can continue his college career. He talked yesterday to media about nearby Liberty winning the Big South Conference despite a 15-20 record and the motivation that he can accomplish it too.

"I don't want my season to end. I still would like to be an all-American, but I would also like to win this ACC championship," Green said. "I still have a goal. It's still possible to make a run at the tournament. Liberty did it. I know we play in the ACC, it's a different conference, but it's still possible. I just wanna get these guys ready to make a run at this thing."





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