|(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)|
Zeller is the first UNC senior to be named Player of the Year since Phil Ford in 1978, but his selection means an ACC senior has claimed the past three awards and five of the past seven.
Zeller enters this week’s ACC Tournament averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game for North Carolina, which he helped to the league’s outright regular-season championship with a 14-2 record. In five contests against Duke, Florida State and Virginia, the second, third and fourth seeds in the tournament, he delivered 20.2 points and 10 boards. He concluded that run with 19 points and 10 rebounds while making 9-of-11 shots from the floor in this past Saturday’s 88-70 win at Duke.
All told, Zeller has produced double-doubles in seven conference games. He has collected eight or more rebounds 12 times and has contributed 14 or more points on 11 occasions in ACC play.
He outdistanced Virginia forward Mike Scott, named by 14 electors. Two UNC teammates, Harrison Barnes and John Henson, received the other votes.