Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 12:00 pm

Conference Catch-ups: The ACC

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It may still feel like the Final Four just ended, but for most schools, the offseason is now more than two months old. With that in mind, all of us at the blog are going to take this week to give you what we’re calling “Conference Catch-Ups.” The motive is to recap the biggest storylines in college basketball’s offseason so far, plus keep your appetite whetted in what is the longest offseason in major American sports.

Previous Conference Catch-ups: Big East, Pac-12 

The Big Stories

New faces on the sidelines: The ACC took more turns in the coaching carousel than any major conference in the country. It started before the season ended, when Georgia Tech and Paul Hewitt parted ways after 11 seasons. Dayton’s Brian Gregory was hired to replace him. Frank Haith left Miami (Fl.) for the Missouri job, with the Hurricanes reaching into the CAA for George Mason’s Jim Larranaga. North Carolina State wasn’t lucky with their search, getting turned down by multiple coaches before going with former Alabama head man Mark Gottfried to replace Sidney Lowe. Obviously the most high-profile of the changes came at Maryland, where Gary Williams abruptly retired after 22 seasons in College Park. Mark Turgeon came over from Texas A&M to replace Williams. Overall, one-third of the programs in the conference will have a new face at the helm.

North Carolina is preseason No. 1: With Kentucky losing Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins to the NBA, the clear-cut favorite going into the preseason should be North Carolina. The Tar Heels return Harrison Barnes, who came on strong in the latter half of the season. John Henson and Tyler Zeller also come back in the frontcourt, while Kendall Marshall will get a chance to run the show for a full season. Five-star recruits James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston will get a chance to make an impact off the bench.

Duke loses top three players, needs to reload: When Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith were healthy and hitting on all cylinders, Duke was the best team in the country. Now, all three are gone and Mike Krzyzewski is left with . . . well, a pretty good team. Coach K brings in a tremendous recruiting class, led by top-three prospect Austin Rivers, McDonald’s All-Americans Quinn Cook and Marshall Plumlee, as well as top-30 recruit Michael Gbinije. Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins will still snipe from 3-point range, while Ryan Kelly and Mason and Miles Plumlee return down low. Don’t cry for the Dukies.

Where did everyone go? Despite North Carolina’s frontcourt trio all returning, the ACC was hit hard by graduation and the NBA draft. All five players on the all-ACC first team will be gone, as well as two players on the second team and three players on the third team. Including the top five honorable mention vote-getters, only seven of the top 20 players in the conference are returning next season.

The Great Unknown

What does the future hold for Maryland? Under Gary Williams, the Terrapins were widely-regarded as one of the top programs in college basketball but never consistently made deep runs in the NCAA tournament. They had not reached the Sweet 16 since 2003 after winning a national championship in 2002. With Williams retiring and Mark Turgeon taking over, it will be interesting to see what happens in College Park. Maryland is considered one of the best jobs in the country due to its fertile recruiting base. Turgeon has already made a splash in that regard, hiring Kansas State assistant Dalonte Hill for Washington D.C. and keeping Bino Ransom for Baltimore. 

NBA Draft report

The ACC had its wins and losses when it came to early-entries and the NBA draft. It did take some serious hits, with Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Florida State’s Chris Singleton and Boston College’s Reggie Jackson all leaving early with near-guarantees that they will each be drafted in the first round. Moreover, Maryland’s Jordan Williams and Georgia Tech’s Iman Shumpert also made the leap to the NBA draft.

While the conference certainly had headline departures, plenty of talent also made the decision to return. As mentioned earlier, North Carolina’s frontcourt trio of Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller are all coming back to college despite being projected as first-round picks. Reggie Johnson of Miami (Fl.) entered his name into the draft pool without an agent, but pulled out at the last minute to return to South Beach.



- Alex Johnson (from Cal State Bakersfield) to North Carolina State


- Dallas Elmore (from Boston College)

- Ryan Harrow (from North Carolina State)

- Will Regan (from Virginia)

- Ari Stewart (from Wake Forest) to USC

- Manny Atkins (from Virginia Tech) to Georgia State

My commentary in 20 words or less

Boston College: Steve Donahue will have his hands full next season, as he brings back just 7.9 points and three returnees.

Clemson: Brad Brownell surprised many in his first season, but Milton Jennings and Devin Booker have to take a step forward.

Duke: The Blue Devils lose plenty, but freshman Austin Rivers will immediately be one of the top scorers in the country.

Florida State: When a team as bad offensively as FSU loses its top two scorers, returning to the Sweet 16 seems ambitious.

Georgia Tech: Brian Gregory could hit speed bumps in his first year; the Jackets are going to get dominated in the paint.

Maryland: The Terrapins will be fun to watch as a program in the next few years; next season’s a stepping stone.

Miami: The move by Jim Larranaga to Miami raised some eyebrows, but Durand Scott and Reggie Johnson are a formidable duo.

North Carolina: The preseason No. 1 team in the country, the Tar Heels will make headlines for the right reasons next season.

North Carolina State: Another program that will be fun to keep an eye on – Mark Gottfried is making his mark on Tobacco Road.

Virginia: Tony Bennett has this team on the precipice of a big year, but it’s still unclear when exactly that’s happening.

Virginia Tech: Next season, the Hokies won’t be good enough to be disappointed on Selection Sunday yet again.

Wake Forest: Coming off a one-win ACC season, there’s nowhere to go but up. We think.

Photos: US Presswire

Posted on: May 19, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 10:09 am

Is Roy Williams afraid to play in Madison?

"We don't need no stinking Badgers," Roy Williams never said.

Posted by Eric Angevine

When the ACC/Big Ten matchups came out, the announcement stuck in one man's craw. Wedged itself in there sideways, apparently.

Not that having a glottal obstruction stopped former Wisconsin AD Pat Richter from speaking. Oh no, he spoke.

Annoyed that the game between Wisconsin and UNC will not be played in Madison, Richter told WTLX-FM exactly what he thinks of Carolina's head coach. "I know darn well that you'll never get Roy Williams here. He won't come to Wisconsin; he's afraid the people are going to boo him and everything else. I think that's all bogus," Richter said.

Website Madison.com further expounded on Richter's agita:

In comments taped for his weekly radio show on WTLX-FM/100.5 and made public in advance of air time, Richter takes the Challenge's scheduling process to task. And he asserts that Williams, who remains an unpopular character locally a decade after ripping the Badgers' style of play in their 2000 Final Four appearance, "won't come to Madison" and ensures that aim by unduly influencing the decision-makers at ESPN and the respective conferences.

Richter notes that after the UW-UNC matchup was bypassed in the first 12 editions of the Challenge, it finally comes to pass at a time when a loaded North Carolina team will open the season in the Top 5.

If Williams is concerned about the possibility of being booed, he is right to be. His comments about the slow-down style preferred by the Badgers in 2000 have stayed under the skin of several Wisconsinites. Williams was booed in 2002 when Kansas played at the Kohl Center for the Midwest Regional. That wasn't even a direct matchup of the two teams.

Big-time basketball coaches know how to showcase their teams. Whether Williams was able to turn things his way or not, that's the way it looks to fans in Madison. Ol' Roy's going to take some heat, whether he likes it or not.

The trick, for the UNC athletic department, is going to be keeping Williams from firing back. The UNC coach has a reputation for being thin-skinned and publicly combative with those who say things he doesn't like to hear. There may yet be more fireworks in the offing.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 16, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 3:07 pm

Duke apparently can't spell P.J. Hairston

Posted by Jeff Borzello

North Carolina and Duke have a lot of things in common. They are both national basketball powers in the ACC, coached by legendary coaches and located within eight miles of each other on Tobacco Road.

According to incoming North Carolina freshman P.J. Hairston, though, one thing separated the two schools during his recruitment.

One school was able to spell his name correctly. One, well, wasn’t.

“The thing about Duke was, every time they sent me a letter, they wouldn’t spell my name right,” Hairston told Jason Wolf of the Greensboro News-Record. “They would have ‘T.J. Harrison’ or something like that.”

Not surprisingly, the 6-foot-4 Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) prospect from Greensboro, N.C. chose the lighter shade of blue when it came time to make a college decision.

“I’m like, ‘OK. How can I go here? You can’t even spell my name right,’” Hairston said about Duke. “It’s only two letters and HAIR and STON. I’m trying to figure out how that’s so hard.”

Of course, there were other things that factored into Hairston’s decision, but I can’t imagine it helped Duke’s case that they misspelled his name more than once.

It’s a good cautionary tale for college programs: when recruiting a top-25 prospect, spell his name right.

Photo: Kelly Kline/NIKE

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 13, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 3:17 pm

2013 prospect Isaiah Hicks has UNC at the top


Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – There’s Isaiah Hicks dunking the ball three times in a row. There’s Isaiah Hicks running the floor and beating everyone for a transition basket. There’s Isaiah Hicks blocking shots at will.

And there’s Isaiah Hicks  . . . disappointed with his performance?

“I didn’t play my best,” Hicks said at the Southern Jam Fest last weekend. “It just wasn’t my day. I could’ve done everything better.”

According to everyone else, though, Hicks is one of the top players in the class of 2013. The 6-foot-8 forward from Body of Christ Academy (N.C.) is extremely long and athletic, creating mismatches with his leaping ability and speed. He can beat bigger players down the court and score on smaller defenders around the rim.

“I just gotta bring it every game,” Hicks said.

In terms of recruiting, the sophomore has offers from Xavier, North Carolina State and Clemson, along with interest from North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Despite not getting an offer from the Tar Heels, they seem to be ahead of the pack.

“I liked everything,” Hicks said.

Posted on: May 10, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: May 10, 2011 6:37 pm

Capel follows familiar path back to basketball

Posted by Eric Angevine

Will it be strange for Jeff Capel to go back to taking orders after nine years of calling his own shots, first at VCU and then at Oklahoma?

It might be, but then again, he'll be listening to his mentor, Mike Krzyzewski, the man who coached him when he was wearing the Blue Devil uniform. Taking pointers from a legend probably doesn't sting too much. Regardless of how he feels about it, Capel is not alone. Deposed head coaches often begin their comebacks as assistants; there are plenty of examples in the sport today.

One of the more prominent return-to-the-sidelines stories of the past season involved Steve Lavin's decision to return from broadcasting. Not content to put an end to his own time away from coaching, Lavin also talked his mentor, legendary former Purdue coach Gene Keady, out of retirement. Keady's return is certainly not predicated on the notion of getting back to head coaching - it comes across as almost a favor to Lavin, who has been criticized for a perceived lack of strategic knowledge of the game. Keady seemingly serves in that capacity, as well as playing senior advisor and best buddy to his former protege.

Capel almost certainly expects to end up back in charge of a program again, though it won't likely be Duke. With Chris Collins and Wojo ahead of him, and Coach K not looking to depart any time soon, it's much more likely that some school out there will put him back in charge within the next couple of seasons, once the stink of his departure from Oklahoma has a chance to die down.

It's tough to say whether Capel is making the right move, but it's the best move available to him right now. He doesn't seem like the TV analyst type, with his permanent glower in place. Looking at the other former head coaches in the ACC, it's obvious that attempting to get back into the limelight by taking a second or third seat on the bench is a strategy that yields mixed results.

Look at North Carolina. After leaving Roy Williams' Kansas staff for two years as head man at Tulsa and another five in charge of Florida State, Steve Robinson came back to Williams' side in 2002. In seven years as a Tar Heels assistant, the coaching carousel has never come back around for Robinson, who is nevertheless known as one of the game's top recruiters.

Just down the road in Raleigh, new head coach Mark Gottfried has shored up his staff with a couple of guys who are likely on different paths. Orlando Early spent five seasons as head coach at Louisiana-Monroe, going 60-92 in the Sun Belt. He spent one season as an assistant at South Carolina after that before Gottfried came calling. Bobby Lutz, on the other hand, had a pretty nice 218-158 record in 12 years at UNC-Charlotte, and was Early's boss for much of that time. Many feel Lutz was unjustly let go by Charlotte, and expect him to find another head job sooner rather than later.

The most experienced former head coach on an ACC roster might come as a surprise, however. Look to Charlottesville, where the youthful Tony Bennett was able to lure Ritchie McKay to be his right-hand man. McKay has a long history of short hops, spending two years each at Portland State, Colorado State and Oregon State before taking a rather leisurely five years at New Mexico. Then it was two years at Liberty (he couldn't follow Seth Curry out the door fast enough) before he joined Bennett. McKay only made the NCAA tournament once in all those years, and his 204-186 overall record seems pretty indicative of what he's capable of. Still, McKay is only 46, so a decent mid-major job might yet again tempt him into the coach's box somewhere else.

Even Boston College is in on the act. Former Cornell coach Steve Donahue snapped up Joe Jones, who spent seven years rowing against the tide at Columbia before his 86-108 record did him in.

Capel is known as a good recruiter. His inability to keep some of his star players in line thereafter was a big part of what led him to this pretty pass. If he learns how to overcome that weakness under Coach K's tutelage, there might yet be another program willing to take a chance on the fiery young coach. He's still 36, has a reasonable 61 percent winning mark, and even served an undefeated stint as the head coach of the FIBA U18 team for USA Basketball last year.

While his exit from Oklahoma was hardly a positive move, the future may yet be very bright for Jeff Capel.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:03 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 11:04 am

Aircraft carrier game will be an exclusive affair

Posted by Matt Norlander

This have-a-game-on-an-aircraft-carrier thing is looking pretty cool -- for everyone except the fans.

If you need a refresher: Michigan State and North Carolina have agreed to play basketball on a safe-and-secure, docked-and-retired Naval ship in the waters of San Diego next season.  Appropriately, the game will happen on Nov. 11, Veterans Day. It's an awesome idea, one that should be put into action each year. This is unique to college basketball and can and will bring more attention to the early portion of the regular season.

But it turns out, there are no intentions on printing out public, for-sale tickets. Instead, the on-ship spectators will be military personnel and hand-picked folk by the United States Navy/other distinguished decision-makers, as well as North Carolina and Michigan State administrators. Each team will be allotted 750 tickets, most of which will go to school employees, as well as players' and coaches' families and friends. The picture above is one of three artist renderings; you can view the other two here alongside the AP's story, which includes this explanation for the exclusive affair:
"It makes sure that the right people are going to the game and that there's no aftermarket," [Event organizer Mike] Whalen said Monday. "It's an added measure of security. Again, this is a United States warship. We've got to make sure we know who's coming onboard the ship. [Michael] Jordan and [Magic] Johnson are expected to be the honorary captains.
The mini-stadium setup you see depicted above, that's for nearly 7,000 people. (How great does that look? I want a toy model of it to build in my pathetic spare time.) The majority of those seats will be filled by men and women in uniform, very similar to the Army-Navy game that's held each year in football.

It's understandable ... to a degree. But, in the grand scheme, is having this game on a warship any different from putting 80,000 people in Reliant Stadium and playing a game there? Security measures are no doubt just as, if not even more, drastic. But make it special the first time and let our armed forces watch the game. I'm totally down with that, as it should make for great TV, too.

The most incredible thing about this entire game/experience: there's apparently a back-up court, bleachers surrounding it and all, in the bowels of the ship, should rain interfere with playing the game on the deck. I love the notion of having a backup plan like this. Just have a janitor flip on the lights, flood (bad word?) everyone in to the lower levels and run the game, sort of like what would happen in grade school, when rain canceled outdoor recess.

By the way, organizers are also planning a postgame concert on the ship, according to the story. Who'd be a good pick? I've got my list, but will save that for another time. Anything but Cher, of course.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 25, 2011 2:37 pm

Which schools are most overvalued in NBA draft?

Posted by Matt Jones

This is not a new story, but with the NBA draft deadline having just passed and little happening in the post-Easter weekend sports world, I found it interesting. Two years ago, the blog 82games.com sought to determine which schools were most overvalued and undervalued by the NBA in the draft process. The process for making the determination was by no means scientific. The author utilized only the past 20 years and by starting in 2009, the older players' careers and their longer careers were ultimately given more weight. Still, the methodology, while not perfect, was adequate for determining whether players from certain schools are more consistently over or under valued by NBA teams. 

The blog compared a players' career per-game average in points/rebounds/assists versus the average totals for other players who were also picked in the same slot in those 20 NBA drafts. A per-game comparison (as opposed to a per-minute method) is not a good way to evaluate an individual player, but it is a decent method for an enterprise such as this, which is seeking to make a macro judgment about a larger pool of players. After determining the difference from the average person selected at the same pick, a particular player would be categorized as either a star, role player, etc and then rated versus the other colleges. Only schools with five or more players were ranked in the total school comparison.

Amongst all teams, these ten schools were ranked as the most consistently undervalued by NBA teams (number of NBA picks during selected period in parentheses):

1. Wake Forest  (7)

2. UTEP   (5)

3. Marquette (7)

4. Xavier  (8)

5. Clemson (6)

6. Kentucky (15)

7. Alabama (13)

8. Depaul (6)

9. Purdue (6)

10. Pittsburgh (6)

In a bit of a surprise, Wake Forest took the top spot, thanks in large part to the three superstars it has produced, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Josh Howard (who is a superstar relative to his No. 29 overall draft status). Spots 2 and 3 are taken by UTEP and Marquette, both of which are helped in large part by having produced Tim Hardaway and Dwayne Wade. What is most striking is that, with the exception of Kentucky, none of the top 10 are traditional powerhouse schools, showcasing that the NBA is very likely to undervalue many second-tier programs, just as most fans do as well.

Here is the list of the most overvalued programs in the NBA draft:

1. Louisville (11)

2. Vanderbilt (5)

3. Colorado (5)

4. Gonzaga (5)

5. Indiana (13)

6. Mississippi State (6)

7. NC State (9)

8. Missouri (9)

9. Iowa  (10)

10. Texas Tech (5)

During the 20 year period studied, Louisville had the most players consistently overvalued by the NBA. Pervis Ellison, Samaki Walker, Reece Gaines, Felton Spencer and Cliff Rozier were all picked in the lottery during this period and none averaged more points than the average player picked at their position. Also disappointing is Indiana, which produced few top players during the end of the Bob Knight era and has seen its overall status as a program drop during the same period.

Finally, the blog ranked the top powerhouse programs based upon NBA draft performance as well. Because a school that produces only five players in 20 years can have its status changed by one high profile star or bust (see Marquette with Wade or Gonzaga with Adam Morrison), the higher sample size makes this a bit of a better comparison. Here was the ranking of top programs with 15 or more players selected during the 20 year period:

1. Kentucky (15)

2. Michigan  (16)

3. Connecticut  (21)

4. Arizona  (28)

5. UCLA  (26)

6. Syracuse (15)

7. Georgia Tech (19)

8. Michigan State (16)

9. North Carolina (22)

10. Maryland (16)

11. Texas (16)

12. Kansas (22)

13. Duke (28)

Amongst the programs with the most picks in the draft, Kentucky players have been the most consistently undervalued. The production by players such as Jamaal Magloire, Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes and Rajon Rondo from low draft spots, places Kentucky at the top of the list. The biggest surprise of the list (with the exception of Georgia Tech having 19 players drafted during that period) is the school at the bottom of the list, Duke. The Blue Devils are the most overvalued group of players in the NBA draft by a substantial margin, with the greatest number of players performing below the average player at their position. Also interestingly, North Carolina's players are valued exactly at the correct point according to the scale. With the 22 players the Tar Heels have produced for the NBA during that period, their final NBA production has been exactly average for any player picked at their positions.

What does all this mean? Probably not much. Potentially NBA teams should consider Brandon Knight or Deandre Liggins a few picks higher or Kyrie Irving a couple of picks lower. But probably what it does mostly is give college basketball fans something to argue about during the offseason. And that in and of itself is productive.
Posted on: April 21, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 12:09 pm

Here's why Barnes, Zeller, Henson came back

Posted by Matt Norlander

This video's well into the viral stage now, but it's too good not to keep on spreading.

You want to know why Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and John Henson -- all first-round draft picks -- decided to forgo that opportunity in 2011 and choose instead to return to school? Look no further than the video below, which brings evidence of a team that's entirely too loving of each other.

Reesenews, a digital news publication that operates under the umbrella of North Carolina's J school, wanted a behind-the-scenes experience of the conduct, camaraderie and candor from Carolina's players during the weekend of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. So they gave walk-on D.J. Johnston a hand-held Flipcam and let him go to work. Johnston is part of the five-man walk-on crew that glossed itself Blue Steel.

Throughout the season, Blue Steel and the stars of the Heels had prank wars, wars that are probably still going on as we speak. I covered the nature of the team's relationship and said pranks in this column while in Newark.   It only makes sense that UNC would further prove their goofiness and constant ribbing on camera. A well-done job by Reesenews to put this into motion.

The video's more than 12 minutes long. The best part, in my opinion, is the final 90 seconds, when the team has a freestyle chant on the bus ride back to the hotel after walloping Marquette in the Sweet 16. There's also the goofy side of the stern-faced Barnes, a lot of hamming from Henson, as well as a tuberculosis discussion that's managed to be made into something funny.

I'd love to say that video makes me miss college, but I can hardly identify with what those players went through or what they're doing. I'll say this: It definitely does not make me miss Newark.

Beyond wanting to complete the dream and goal -- a highly realistic one -- of winning a national title, who could deny that what's shown above is as much a reason as any other for the triumvirate coming back? Strong relationships can be one of the most influential forces in the world. Carolina seems to have something special here.
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com