This ACC player entered his first year on campus with lots of hype and is finishing his freshman year with his name in the history books. Sure, I could be talking about Duke center and future Top 5 pick Jahlil Okafor. But I could just as easily be talking about Wake Forest first singles player Noah Rubin.
Earlier today, the ACC conference announced that Rubin won both ACC Player of the Year and Freshman Player of the Year, the first male tennis player to do so in the conference's 62 year history. Rubin also becomes the first Demon Deacon to be named the ACC's top player.
"It is an incredible honor to be named the first ACC Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in conference history." Rubin said, "It is great to see all my hard work and determination being recognized. I could not have had the year I had without the amazing staff, including the coaches and training staff, and also the incredible team that I am a part of."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>So Noah Rubin had a Jahlil Okafor season for Wake Tennis. ACC Freshman and Player of the Year.</p>— Jake (@BloggerSoDear) <a href="https://twitter.com/BloggerSoDear/status/592717201901236224">April 27, 2015</a></blockquote>
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As our own WakeJake mentioned, Rubin and Okafor are the only two ACC freshmen this year to win the ACC Player of the Year Award. When asked about the comparisons between him the future NBA star, Rubin stated, "I understand how talented Okafor is and to be on the same page as him as an athlete means a lot."
On the court, the Long Island, New York native led the Deacs with a 19-3 record, finishing 10-1 in conference play. In the midst of a 10 match win streak, Rubin won the ACC Player of the Week Award the last three weeks, and a fourth time earlier in the season. On the season, he won 40 total sets and lost only seven.
"Noah puts in the hard work day in and day out and the results show on the court and he certainly should enjoy this moment." assistant coach Jeremy Feldman said, "I think his on court experiences prior to college as well as in school have not only helped him but helped other guys on our team. He's been able to relay advice to his teammates on how to handle the big moments and it's certainly shown in their play."
With Rubin at the top of the lineup, the No. 11 Demon Deacons (22-7, 9-3) finished conference play with arguably their best season in program history. The Deacs broke the school record of eight conference wins in a season and won 20 matches for only the fourth time in program history.
Rubin was joined on All-ACC First Team by junior Romain Bogaerts, who made the First Team for the second straight season. Junior Jon Ho was named to the conference's third team.
The Demon Deacons will learn their NCAA fates tomorrow at 5 p.m. and are expected to host matches in Winston-Salem for the First and Second Round. In the tournament, Wake fans can hope that Rubin and the other starting freshmen- Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim- play like Okafor, Justice Winslow and Tyus Jones in the NCAA Tournament. For that team of talented youngsters carried the Blue Devils to the NCAA Championship.