Oct. 29, 2014
Charlotte, N.C. – The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team has been picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the upcoming 2014-15 season, according to a vote of media in attendance at the league’s annual “Operation Basketball.” Fighting Irish senior guard Jerian Grant was selected to the Preseason All-ACC Team for the second consecutive year.
In its inaugural appearance a year ago at this same event, Notre Dame was selected to finish fifth and Grant earned a spot on the Preseason All-ACC squad. Year one in its new conference home proved to be less than an auspicious beginning as Notre Dame ended the 2013-14 campaign with a 15-17 record and 6-12 mark (tied for 11th in ACC play).
“I thought we would be picked around ninth or 10th,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “For us to be selected seventh, considering the year we had a year ago, is an indication of the respect coaches have for our program and the consistency we have shown. Throughout my career here at Notre Dame, we’ve always been able to bounce back and I know that our players want this season to be much different that what we experienced a yeare ago.
Duke was tabbed to win the conference title. The Blue Devils received 41 of 65 first-place votes in Wednesday’s preseason poll. North Carolina (12 first-place votes) finished second in the voting, followed by ACC newcomer Louisville (three first-place votes), defending ACC champion Virginia (seven first-place votes) and Syracuse (two first-place votes). Each of those four teams has joined Duke in most preseason Top 25 national rankings.
ACC preseason voters selected Pittsburgh sixth, followed by Notre Dame, Florida State and NC State. Miami was picked 10th, while Clemson, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Virginia Tech completed the voting.
“We weren’t happy with how we played last season,” senior forward Pat Connaughton said. “It was such a disappointing year for everyone involved with our program. We know how tough the ACC, but we really believe in ourselves and feel like we can contend for one of the top spots in the league. We’re excited for the challenges of the upcoming season.
North Carolina junior guard Marcus Paige, who averaged 17.5 points per game and led the ACC in free-throw percentage (.911) last season, received the nod as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year.
Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell placed second with 16 votes. Duke’s Okafor, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound post player from Chicago, was the overwhelming choice as ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year on 62 of the 65 ballots cast.
Okafor also received 15 ACC Preseason Player of the Year votes, while Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon received one.
Paige, Harrell, Okafor, Brogdon and Grant were selected as the Preseason All-ACC Team. The regular season begins for all 15 ACC teams the weekend of Nov. 14-16. In addition to an 18-game regular-season conference schedule, the 62nd annual ACC Tournament will again consist of 14 games and will be played from Tuesdaythrough Saturday (March 10-14) at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. This season’s ACC Tournament championship game will be the first since 1981 played in prime time on a Saturday night.
ACC Operation Basketball 2014-15 Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parenthesis)
Team & Points
1. Duke (41): 935
2. North Carolina (12): 870
3. Louisville (3): 847
4. Virginia: 824 (7)
5. Syracuse: 706 (2)
6. Pitt: 592
7. Notre Dame: 515
8. Florida State: 506
9. NC State: 478
10. Miami: 442
11. Clemson: 330
12. Wake Forest: 221
13. Georgia Tech: 195
14. Boston College: 184
15. Virginia Tech: 155
2014-15 Preseason All-ACC Team
(votes in parenthesis)
Marcus Paige, North Carolina (63)
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (58)
Jahlil Okafor, Duke (57)
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia (55)
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (24)
ACC Preseason Player of the Year
Marcus Paige, North Carolina
ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year
Jahlil Okafor, Duke