He was already a first team all-ACC player, but after North Carolina star Marcus Paige‘s 35-point performance against North Carolina State Wednesday that came with a game-winning layup in OT, he is now a serious Player of the Year candidate.
Paige is averaging 18.9 PPG during the Tar Heels’ 10-game win streak and has done so with a bevy of it coming in second-half comeback efforts. Paige allows his teammates to score early, but when it becomes desperation time, Paige wants the ball in his hands. He has become such a go-to player that when he shoots, it is shocking when he misses.
Paige can do this in so many ways that he has become nearly impossible to guard. He is a great ball handler and has no problem pulling up off the dribble. He also moves beautifully without the ball and comes off screens as well as anyone. He curls off screens, catches the ball and sets himself so quickly that defenses have little chance to get their hands up. Paige has also added a floater to his arsenal.
Paige’s talent has also transferred over to the rest of the team. North Carolina is shooting 47 percent from the field in the streak, and Paige’s feistiness on defense has clearly rubbed off. Carolina is a team built on both sides of the ball playing at a high level. Even some of the higher-ranked teams in the country cannot say that.
It is definitely a three-player race between Duke‘s Jabari Parker, NC State’s T.J. Warren and Paige, but as of right now and because of the impact he has made in turning around the North Carolina season, Paige is the ACC Player of the Year.
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