Miami Hurricanes Top FSU: Why Kenny Kadji Is an ACC Player of the Year Candidate

Ely SussmanCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2012

With a 78-62 victory over the Florida Seminoles, the Miami Hurricanes (17-10) have increased their odds of appearing in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

The feat also puts forward/center Kenny Kadji in the discussion for ACC Player of the Year.

Kadji is in his third collegiate season, but first as a 'Cane. He spent two nondescript years as a Florida Gator and sat out the 2010-11 campaign after transferring.

Just a few months ago, he was battling for a spot in the starting lineup. He was relegated to the bench for several weeks after struggling in a road loss to the Ole Miss Rebels on November 25th.

Kadji's overall 2011-12 stats don't leap off the page: 13.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG.

However, let's focus on his accomplishments against ACC competition.

He has played in 13 conference matchups and tallied double-digit points in each. ACC leading scorer Terrell Stoglin (Maryland) is the only other player who has done the same.

His averages since January 7th are:

32.7 MPG, 15.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 53.7 FG%, 48.9 3PT%.

You're reading that last figure correctly—the 6'11" Kadji has drained nearly half his three-point attempts in the Canes' most important games! That percentage leads the ACC!

Kadji has essentially been Miami's replacement for Julian Gamble, whose season ended before it began when the senior tore his ACL in August.

In comparison, Kadji is more athletic and versatile, and the offense has been run more efficiently as a result of this substitution.

Perhaps Kadji's value is most evident in the Canes' rise in the standings.

Miami has already bested last year's total of six ACC wins. The U stands at 8-6 in the conference with remaining games against the North Carolina State Wolfpack and Boston College Eagles.

Kadji was integral in resume-building upsets over highly-ranked Duke and Florida State. He delivered 15 points in the latter contest and added three rebounds, five blocks and four steals while playing a game-high 37 minutes.

No Miami Hurricane has ever been named ACC Player of the Year, but Kenny Kadji is certainly in contention for the 2011-12 award.