Virginia Basketball: Joe Harris Is the Most Underrated Player in the ACC

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2013

February 7, 2013; Charlottesville, VA USA;  Virginia Cavaliers guard Joe Harris (12) shoots the ball as Clemson Tigers guard Adonis Filer (3) defends in the second half at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers won 78-41. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When the preseason ACC poll and team was announced, the voters didn't think too highly of the Virginia Cavaliers.

The Virginia basketball team was picked to finish seventh in the league and no one from the team was mentioned on the preseason All-ACC team.

Now, the Cavaliers have a 6-3 conference record and are in the third place in the league standings. And Joe Harris, a 6'6" junior guard, has performed like a first-team all conference player.

The way Harris is leading this team - he has shown he is the most underrated player in the ACC.

Harris is leading the Cavaliers in scoring with 15.6 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and nearly 46 percent from behind the three-point line, which leads the league.

According to Whitey Reid of The Daily Progress, Harris is the only player in the ACC to be ranked in the top ten in field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free-throw percentage.

His offensive game is efficient and it's also consistent. The junior from Chelan, Wa., has scored in double-figures in 20 of Virginia's 23 games this season.

To go along with his scoring, Harris also provides 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Most impressively, he elevates his game when the Cavaliers are playing against their toughest opponents. He scored 23 points in a win on the road against Wisconsin, 19 at home in a win over North Carolina, and 22 in a victory over NC State.

Also, Harris provides quality defense and is a big part of a unit that is only allowing 51.5 points per game, which is by far the best in the ACC.

Yet, most people around the country and even some around the conference have never heard of Joe Harris. He didn't make the preseason All-ACC team and you don't hear his name mentioned in the conversation of the ACC's best players.

But the fact is, Joe Harris is the best player on one of the ACC's best teams. He is leading a team that many had low expectations of and he's got them in position to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

He flies under the radar as the most underrated player in the ACC while the Cavaliers continue to remain near the top in the conference standings.