North Carolina’s Joel Berry and NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr. are among the 10 players selected as semifinalists for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top college point guard. They are the only two ACC players still in contention for the honor given annually by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Smith, a 6-foot-3 freshman, has lived up to the preseason hype that saw him selected as the ACC’s preseason Rookie of the Year. He currently ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring at 19.0 points per game and leagues the league in both assists (6.5) and steals (2.3) and is on pace to become only the second freshmen in ACC history to lead the conference in assists and steals. Berry, a 6-0 junior, has been the Tar Heels’ catalyst on both ends of the floor while averaging 14.8 points, 4.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. Ironically, both players are coming off their worst games of the season with Smith going 3 for 12 from the floor with five turnovers in a loss to Louisville while Berry missed all eight of his field goal attempts in Saturday’s loss at Miami. The other eight finalists are Nigel Williams-Goss of Gonzaga, Monte Morris of Iowa State, Frank Mason of Kansas, De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky, Melo Trimble of Maryland, Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Jalen Brunson of Villanova and Markelle Fultz of Washington. Five finalists for the Cousy Award will be selected in March with the winner named at a made for television awards ceremony on April 7. UNC’s Kendall Marshall (2012), Ty Lawson (2009) and Raymond Felton (2005) are all former Cousy winners.
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