Dixon hits latest high as All-ACC

Baxter also 1st team

two from Duke named

March 08, 2000|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

When Steve Francis left Maryland after one season, the Terps were left with a question mark at the shooting guard position. That concern turned out to be another All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, as Juan Dixon rapidly emerged as a premier player in one of the nation's most storied college basketball leagues.

A sophomore guard from Baltimore who prepped at Calvert Hall, Dixon was joined by teammate Lonny Baxter on the All-ACC first team chosen by the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association.

The group that bestowed its preseason Player of the Year honor on Terence Morris denied him a second straight year on the first team, as the junior forward from Frederick was the sixth-leading vote-getter. Duke's Chris Carrawell and Shane Battier were the top vote-getters, and the first team also included Clemson's Will Solomon.

It is the first time in ACC history that Maryland has had two first-team selections in consecutive seasons.

Dixon, who graduated from Calvert Hall in 1997, spent half of the following season at Maryland as a redshirt, then played a reserve role on a team that was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation last season. He was not expected to so quickly fill the void left by Francis, who was the second player selected in the 1999 NBA draft.

"I didn't expect to make first-team all-conference, but things have worked out well for me," Dixon told a school spokesman. "I just expected to come into this season and contribute.

"I'm happy for my teammates, because this honor means we are having a great season. I couldn't have accomplished anything personally without them."

Dixon is the No. 2 scorer in the conference with an 18.1 average; leads the ACC in steals, with 2.9 per game, and is in the top 10 in all three shooting-percentage categories.

He is seventh in the ACC in assists (3.5) and somehow used his 6-foot-3, 152-pound frame to become the Terps' third-leading rebounder, with 5.4 a game.

The Terps (22-8, 11-5) fumbled their way to an 0-3 start in the ACC, but then Dixon and freshman point guard Steve Blake meshed, and Baxter became the ACC's most productive post player.

A sophomore who began his high school career in Montgomery County before seasons at Anacostia High in Washington, D.C., and Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, Baxter is averaging 15.5 points on .536 shooting from the field.

He is second in the ACC in rebounds, with 8.8 per game, and third in blocks, with 2.2.

Morris made All-ACC first team as a sophomore, but his stock dropped when he made 43.6 percent of his shots in conference games this season.

"Terence helped Juan and Lonny," coach Gary Williams said. "He took the pressure early, and allowed them to gradually improve. When they hit their stride, they certainly deserved what they got."

Voters are not instructed to pick by position, but the first team includes a point guard in Solomon; a shooting guard in Dixon; a small forward in Carrawell; a power forward in Battier, and a center in Baxter.

Carrawell was a first-team pick on all 103 ballots. Battier, the second-leading vote-getter, finished among the conference's top five in seven of nine statistical categories.

Solomon made the biggest scoring improvement in ACC history, jumping from a 6.3 average as a freshman to a conference-leading 21.1.

Dixon, Carrawell and Battier were also named to the All-ACC defensive team.

It is the first time since 1994 that North Carolina had no All-ACC first-team player.

Maryland opens the ACC tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Friday at approximately 2: 30 p.m., against Florida State or Georgia Tech. Those two open the tournament at the Charlotte Coliseum tomorrow.

AP All-ACC teams

Voted on by 103 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association. First-place votes in parentheses. Point total based on a 3-2-1 scale.

First team

Player, team .........................................Points

Chris Carrawell, Duke (103) .....................309

Shane Battier, Duke (101) .......................307

Juan Dixon, Maryland (92) .......................290

Will Solomon, Clemson (56) .....................258

Lonny Baxter, Maryland (58) ....................247

Second team

Terence Morris, Maryland (27) ..................216

Ed Cota, North Carolina (34) .....................211

Donald Hand, Virginia (12) ........................167

Jason Collier, Georgia Tech (7) .................156

(tie) Joseph Forte, North Carolina (8) ........137

(tie) Chris Williams, Virginia (6) ..................137

Third team

Jason Williams, Duke (3) ............................113

Darius Songaila, Wake Forest (2) ................91

Brendan Haywood, North Carolina (2) ..........90

Ron Hale, Florida State (2) ..........................88

Damous Anderson, Florida State (2) ............83

Honorable mention: (10 points or more): Anthony Grundy, N.C. State (65); Carlos Boozer, Duke (31); Jason Capel, North Carolina (20); Robert O'Kelley, Wake Forest (18); Steve Blake, Maryland (14); Travis Watson, Virginia (10).

All-ACC freshmen

Voted on by 96 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association.

Joseph Forte, North Carolina ..........................96

Jason Williams, Duke .......................................96

Carlos Boozer, Duke ........................................88

Travis Watson, Virginia ....................................83

Steve Blake, Maryland .....................................66

Honorable mention: (10 or more votes): Damien Wilkins, N.C. State (35); Mike Dunleavy, Duke (18).

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