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ACC Player Power Poll: Mild-mannered melees

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Wake Forest fans participated in an all-too common occurrence lately, when they stormed the court after a victory against NC State. (Source: ACC Digital Network) Wake Forest fans participated in an all-too common occurrence lately, when they stormed the court after a victory against NC State. (Source: ACC Digital Network)

(RNN) – A quick public service announcement from Player Power Poll to the Atlantic Coast Conference fan base: Stay off the court. This ACC PPP PSA is brought to you by common sense.

The message comes after three different home crowds rushed the court following "major" victories by their respective teams in the last 10 days – NC State over Duke, Maryland over NC State and Wake Forest over NC State.

That's right, the same team involved in three impromptu block parties on the hardwood. That has to be some kind of record.

It also awoke PPP's resident cranky old man, and he still can't get those pesky kids off his lawn, either.

A good "court stormin'" should only happen on rare occasions where the home team gets a huge upset against a Goliath-like opponent. When one of those moments happens, the crowd doesn't so much run to the midcourt as get levitated off its feet Criss Angel-style.

For future reference, here are some hints of when you should not make yourself an honorary cheerleader:

You are a Top-25 team. Offender: NC State.

Yes, it was a big win against the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils. But the Wolfpack was the favorite to win the ACC this season and the team was ranked 20th in the country. Act like you're supposed to be there.

You have won a national championship recently. Offender: Maryland.

The Terrapins won the title game in 2002. This has been a good basketball program for a while, and the team came into the contest with a 13-3 record. Act like you've been there before.

Someone stormed the court on them already. Offender: Wake Forest.

If any one of the three groups deserves a moment of exultant joy, it's the Wake fans. Their team has battled to get its 10-8 record this year, plus their mascot looks like a demented Mr. Peanut. Scary.

However, when somebody has already "upset" the same team six days prior, it takes a lot of the shine off. Act like you've been paying attention.

OK, the old man's down for his nap. To the list!

ACC Player Power Poll – Jan. 16 to 22:

1. Devin Thomas, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Last game: 25 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four blocks, three steals vs. NC State (W 86-84).

The freshman has shown that he could become a true all-around interior star for Wake. Thomas had already taken on more of a scoring role for the young Demon Deacons recently, scoring in double figures in the two games prior to Tuesday.

He scored at will against the Wolfpack defense and helped get his defenders in early foul trouble, keeping them off the court for much longer than usual. And his howling, fist-pumping romps across the court at nearly every game stoppage kept the crowd at a mouth-frothing energy level in the second half.

2a. Akil Mitchell, Virginia Cavaliers

Last game: 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals vs. Florida State (W 56-36).

The Wahoos defensive machine was set to "lockdown" Saturday against Florida State. Mitchell did not have the prettiest stat sheet on the team (see Harris, Joe) but scored high on the eyeball test by staying in the center of the action all game.

He clogged passing lanes, helped his fellow defenders and used his height and speed to affect several shots. On the other end of the court, he chipped 13 points on a hyper-efficient 6 for 7 shooting day.

Mitchell basically did everything but help the ball boys wipe up the floor. Then, during a stoppage for free throws in the second half, he did that too.

2b. Joe Harris, Virginia Cavaliers

Last game: 17 points, four rebounds, four steals, three 3-pointers vs. Florida State (W 56-36).

Harris had 17 points, four steals and three 3's – all good for team-bests – while helping UVA get a comfortable lead early.

He also helped himself to some sloppy passing by the Seminoles, grabbing turnovers and getting transition buckets, something the offense-depleted Cavaliers needed after two straight losses.

4. Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils

Last game: 24 points, six 3-pointers vs. Georgia Tech (W 73-57).

The Dukies got back on track after their first loss of the season, with a 73-57 win against the Yellow Jackets on Thursday. Curry showed no ill effects after hurting his ankle in the previous game and missing the final minutes.

He shot 50 percent from the field, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range, to lead the Blue Devils in scoring.

5. Alex Len, Maryland Terrapins

Last game: 16 points, 13 rebounds vs. Boston College (W 64-59).

The 7-footer made up for a subpar statistical game against NC State on Jan. 16 by hitting the game winner with .9 seconds left. Another down game against North Carolina did not end nearly as well (L 62-52), but Len and the Terps came back nicely at home against BC.

6a. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Tar Heels

Last game: 19 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks, two steals vs. Maryland (W 62-52).

McAdoo showed off the type of performance many expected from him on a nightly basis in the win against Maryland. The sophomore with an NBA-level skill set took the ball aggressively to the basket and leapt over defenders to grab five offensive rebounds.

6b. Reggie Bullock, North Carolina Tar Heels

Last game: 24 points, five rebounds, four 3-pointers vs. Maryland (W 62-52).

Bullock, the only returning starter from last year's team, set a career mark for points in a game, with 24. His 21 points in the first half gave the Terps a massive 22-point deficit they couldn't come back from.

8. Jarell Eddie, Virginia Tech Hokies

Last game: 18 points, nine rebounds, three 3-pointers vs. Wake Forest (W 66-65).

The junior kept the team close in the first half while his teammate, national scoring leader Erick Green, was held to four points. Eddie also hit a game-tying 3-pointer with little more than a minute remaining, helping his team pull out the narrow victory.

9. Durand Scott, Miami Hurricanes

Last game: 15 points, three rebounds, two steals at Boston College (W 60-59).

Scott and teammate Shane Larkin have developed into the top thieves of the ACC, each averaging around two per game. The senior led the team with 15 points and would have been placed higher in the rankings if not for a bad foul at the end of the game.

With one second left, he smacked the Eagles' Olivier Hanlan's hand as he shot a desperation 3. Down by three points, Hanlan made his first two free throws but missed the last, giving the 'Canes the one-point win.

10a. Richard Howell, NC State Wolfpack

Last game: 13 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks at Wake Forest (L 86-84).

The High Priest of Hustle. Captain Windex. The man with more boards than Home Depot. These are the nicknames we just made up for Howell.

While his NC State teammates struggled, the One-Man Wolfpack (last nickname, we promise) continued his outstanding play. He scored his team's next six points after Clemson tied the game at 54 apiece Saturday, and he kept the Pack within striking distance in the losses to Maryland and Wake.

10b. Devin Booker, Clemson Tigers

Last game: 27 points, six rebounds at NC State (L 66-62).

Booker outworked the Wolfpack big men, even Howell, for most of the game on his way to a career high in points.

The 6'8" senior banged for positioning near the basket, which led to several dunks and layups. He even hit a few jumpers from right inside the 3-point arc to really confound the opposition.

Honorable mention: C.J. Leslie, NC State Wolfpack

It was a bad week for Leslie, with arguably the worst performances of his season. However, a couple of weeks ago he made the biggest rebound of his career.

Among the Pack fans that rushed the court in the Duke game was Will Privette, a wheelchair bound student at the school. Privette fell out of his wheelchair in the scramble, and might have stayed there a while had it not been for Leslie.

The standout senior saw the man lying on the ground, grabbed him up and kept him from getting trampled. What could have been a really bad outcome became a nice moment, as Privette got to hang out with the team's star as they celebrated at center court.

Stay safe out there, kids.

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