Item: The case for John Gillon being an All-ACC selection.
We certainly had a lot more than 15 league players that we came up with as we were trying to whittle down the names to finalize the five members of the first, second, and third team all-ACC selections for the ACSMA (Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association) all-conference vote this past weekend.
As we went down our team list alphabetically, when we got to Syracuse there were the obvious three names; Andrew White III, Tyler Lydon, and Gillon. We knew one of those Orange players was going to be among the 15 players we listed, and while White ended up a third team choice and Lydon Honorable Mention, we felt that if not were Gillon’s play at the point, the critical position in college basketball, there’s no way the Orange would be on the cusp of securing a bid to go dancing.
Once Gillon was designated the starter over Frank Howard early in league play, the offense fell into a flow, as he averaged 11 points and 5.5 assists per game, and defensively finished with 46 steals.
It took all of Gillon’s incredible 43 points, including the unlikely three point shot from the left side with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to tie N.C. State Feb. 1, before the Orange won in overtime for their first road win of the season, garnering him player of the week honors. And, of course, we all know how the Duke game ended at the regulation buzzer.
While White provided most of the scoring that the Orange needed with last year’s player losses, and himself was named player of the week Monday for his 40 point performance against Georgia Tech (but after the all-conference voting was concluded), and while there’s no disputing Lydon’s overall talent at each end of the floor after two college seasons, to us it was Gillon that was at the heart of steering Syracuse to the critical 10 conference wins it needed to put itself in line for the NCAA Tournament.