Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas
By LAUREN BROWNLOW  |  Last updated 10/16/13
CHARLOTTE, N.C. There was no rookie hazing for the new members of the ACC at media day. Syracuse's C.J. Fair was voted Preseason Player of the Year, while Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant joined him on the projected All-ACC team. Fair had 17 votes for POY, finishing one vote ahead of Virginia's Joe Harris. Duke's Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker each received votes, and both made the projected all-conference team, as well. The freshman Parker was the runaway choice for Rookie of the Year, getting 52 of 54 votes. As far as the projected preseason finish, the media picked Duke to win the league with 50 first-place votes, followed by Syracuse (three) and North Carolina (one). The projected fourth-place club, Virginia, seems primed for a big season. The Cavaliers barely missed the NCAA tournament last year and return most of their roster. Harris, on the verge of a breakout, as well, says it has greater meaning, considering he and fellow senior Akil Mitchell are the last remaining recruits of head coach Tony Bennett's first class at Virginia. "I think about Akil and I coming in with the recruiting class that we came in with, the fact that we stuck it out. We came in because we wanted to be the start of something special for Coach Bennett's program, start to leave a foundation and kind of resurrect Virginia's basketball program and leave it in a better place when we left it than when we came in." For the Virginia Tech Hokies, things are ... not so good. Reigning ACC Player of the Year Erick Green, who won last season's honor on a last-place team, has moved on. There's not much left. Virginia Tech was was picked to finish last by 43 of 54 media voters. It's so bad, in fact, that head coach James Johnson sent a true freshman, Ben Emelogu, to media day instead of an upperclassman. And he recently named Emelogu a team captain. Emelogy admitted he wasn't really expecting to be thrust into the spotlight so early in his career. "Not at all, but when Coach Johnson recruited me, he said that he was looking for a captain and he didnt care if it was a freshman, a senior or a walk-on," Emelogu said. "I took that into account and I played the game I played, and it worked out for itself." And Emelogu doesnt mind the Hokies are picked to finsih last. If he had a say in how things shake out, that won't happen. I like to win. I feel I'm a winner," Emelogu said. "I told my team every drill and before every practice that they picked us last, and we've got to change that. We've got to prove people wrong. I think they gave us a chip on our shoulder and that makes us very dangerous." Leonard Hamilton's Florida State teams are almost always competitive, particularly on defense. That wasn't the case last year with a very young squad, and senior Okaro White. But Hamilton is definitely high on the future of his team, if sophomore point guard Devon Bookert keeps progressing at a rapid rate. "I really like (Bookert). He might be the truest point guard I've ever played with. I've been telling people, 'I think he will be the best point guard to come through Florida State since Sam Cassell and Charlie Ward when they were back here,'" White said. Wait. Really? Bookert, who was dealing with scar tissue in his knee last year from a scooter accident, had 80 assists and 50 turnovers in 34 games and just 11 starts nothing spectacular, though he shot 52 percent from beyond the arc. Duke junior transfer Rodney Hood hasn't officially suited up for the Blue Devils yet, but hes already a team captain. Still, he's not getting a big head. He's just soaking in the experience, including a team fall break trip to New York City. The Blue Devils toured the city, of course. But they also toured head coach Mike Krzyzewski's old stomping grounds at Army. "It was great, just being around coach. It wasn't just us bonding, we bonded with him. We got to go to West Point, where he went to college, and got to see some of his old pictures, which was fun. We got to see why he acts the way he acts, why he wants precision, unity, some of the stuff he instills in us that he learned from the army. And Hood, a native of Meridian, Miss., was admittedly in awe of the big city. It was just his second-ever trip, and its as far north as hes ever traveled. "It's a different place. Being from Mississippi, not a lot of traffic down there, not a lot of people down there. Millions and millions of people just walking down the street was an adjustment for me," Hood said. The coolest part of the trip, per Hood, was visiting the new World Trade Center. "If I had to pick one, itd be going to the 105th floor," Hood said. "When we got up there, he said this is the highest point of anybody in the western hemisphere. Me coming from Mississippi, the shortest building in New York was bigger than any building down there."
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