Saturday, December 15, 2012

N.C. State leads Norfolk State 38-25 at halftime

RALEIGH—After a week-long break for finals, the Wolfpack showed definite signs of rust in the first half against Norfolk State. Despite their struggles, the No. 25 Wolfpack went into the break with a 38-25 lead.

Lorenzo Brown was a prefect 5-for-5 from the field for a team-high 12 points. Brown also added four assists and three steals. Richard Howell was close to notching his fourth double-double in five games, finishing the half with eight points and nine rebounds.

N.C. State opened the game with a 14-4 lead, as Norfolk State shot 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) from the floor. Slowly, though, the Spartans found their stroke. At the same time, the Wolfpack’s offense suffered breakdown after breakdown.

In the middle of the first half, N.C. State had this offensive stat line, in order: turnover, C.J. Leslie air ball, Leslie offensive foul, turnover, two missed free throws by Leslie, turnover, turnover.

The Spartans climbed to within one at 23-22 with 7:00 remaining in the half. N.C. State closed the half on a 15-3 run.

- Laura Keeley

Saturday, December 1, 2012

UNC 102, UAB 84: The look back

CHAPEL HILL - It wasn't often pretty, especially on the defensive end, but North Carolina's 102-84 victory against UAB here on Saturday night left Tar Heels coach Roy Williams in a better mood than he was in earlier this week, after that ugly loss at Indiana.

Not that that's saying a lot. A look back at the Heels' tougher-than-the-score-makes-it-seem victory:

Three things to take away from UNC 102, UAB 84:

1. A small lineup might be the Tar Heels' best lineup.

I'm sure I'll be writing something more in-depth on this at some point soon, but you could make a case that UNC has been at its best this season when it has gone small. That was the case during the second-half rally against Butler in Maui, and again during the second half tonight against UAB. When the Heels went small tonight, they had Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston on the court at the same time. That created opportunities to run, and opportunities to create open looks on the perimeter.
2. Defense continues to be an issue for this team.

You'd think that the Heels would have learned a valuable lesson from that 83-59 loss at Indiana on Tuesday. And you'd think that that valuable lesson would have been this: Getting back on defense is important. Yet there the Heels were tonight, again failing to play transition defense. UNC's failure to get back made Williams irate. During a timeout with 13:16 to play, he ripped off his jacket and slammed his clipboard into the court, sending a marker flying. His team seemed to get the point after that but the defensive woes remain troubling, especially against a team of UAB's caliber.
3. The fifth starting spot remains in flux.

McDonald started tonight in the backcourt because Marcus Paige, the freshman point guard, sat out with a shoulder injury. But for the third time in eight games, UNC used a different frontcourt lineup. This time, Joel James started over Desmond Hubert and Brice Johnson. James and Johnson seem the most equipped to earn the starting position full time, but Williams doesn't seem all that comfortable with starting any of those three players. That's telling and indicative of where the Heels are at this point. They haven't received consistent production in the post from anyone, though Johnson played one of his best games and finished with 11 points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
By the numbers:

14 - Second-chance points for UNC, which outscored UAB 14-2 in that category.

16 - Points for Hairston, who scored all of them during the second half.

20 - Turnovers for UNC, which led to 16 UAB points.

33 - Bench points for UNC, which outscored UAB 33-11 in that category.

37 - Minutes played for Bullock, a career-high for him in a non-overtime game.

46 - Times UNC has scored at least 100 points during Williams' head coaching tenure.

67 - UNC's second-half points, its most since scoring 67 in a half against Chaminade in 2008.

71.9 - UNC's second-half shooting percentage, its best shooting percentage in a half since 2008.
UNC player of the game:

Come on down, Leslie McDonald. He made the most of his first career start and finished with 24 points, a career high. He also had a career-high five assists.
Observations and notes:

--Both Jerod Haase and Bobby Frasor received loud ovations before the game began on Saturday. Haase became the UAB coach in March, after spending nine seasons on Williams' staff at North Carolina. Frasor is a former UNC point guard who now serves as the Blazers' director of basketball operations. Haase described coaching against Williams as "odd" and "awkward." Haase, Frasor, Williams and the rest of the Tar Heels' coaching staff spent several minutes together before the game began.

--Don't be surprised if we see more of the small lineup that Williams employed during the second half. During that stretch, he often had Strickland, McDonald, Bullock and Hairston on the court together. That gives UNC the ability to run like Williams prefers, and it also presents mismatches for opposing defenses, which might find it difficult to defend so many capable shooters at once. The Heels began to extend their lead by making perimeter shots, which in turn opened up driving lanes.

--Williams' outburst during a timeout with about 13 minutes to play might have been his most animated of the season. But at least his clipboard survived. Hairston said Williams broke a clipboard in half during the second half of the Heels' loss against Butler last week in the Maui Invitational. This time, the clipboard didn't break - but a marker flew off of it and rose about 30 feet in the air.

--Williams said he wasn't sure how long Paige might be out with a shoulder injury. Paige dressed out on Saturday, but he didn't participate in any of the pregame warm-ups. He suffered the injury during a non-contact part of practice on Friday. Paige will have some time to heal. The Heels don't play against until Saturday, when East Tennessee State visits the Smith Center.

--Williams described this game as "weird" and it was. For example: The Heels had 20 turnovers, but they also had assists on 28 of their 37 field goals. That's a good ratio. So the Heels were making good passes that led to good shots ... except when they were turning it over.


"If I say pick up the other team's point guard at the 10-second line, that's what I mean. It's an easy deal. If I tell my 3-year-old grandson to pick that cup up, my guess is he'll probably pick it up. And that's all the crap it is, just what I tell you to do. And besides, I was really hot. I needed to get my coat off." -Roy Williams, on his outburst during a timeout with about 13 minutes to play

"Basically told us to pick it up on defense - that we need to talk better. And when he slammed the clipboard, I saw the marker go in the air. So I kind of like looked up for five seconds and it was still going up ... the marker was in the air for at least five seconds." -P.J. Hairston, on his reaction to Williams' outburst

"He was just mad because we just can't let a player just come up the court with him not passing it to no other teammate and just pull up in our face. So that's one thing that he stresses in practice, that we shouldn't do. ... Dex just happened to catch the wrath, but it's everybody's part." -Reggie Bullock, on why Williams was upset

Up next:

After a pretty hectic early-season schedule, the Heels can take a bit of a breather - on the court, at least. They don't play again until next Saturday against East Tennessee State.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Indiana closes 1st half on strong run, leads UNC 46-37

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - North Carolina played Indiana even for most of the first half but the top-ranked Hoosiers closed on a strong run that gave them a 46-37 halftime lead at Assembly Hall.

Cody Zeller, the younger brother of former Tar Heels' forward Tyler Zeller, made a shot as time expired to give Indiana its nine-point lead, which is tied for the Hoosiers' largest of the game.

As expected, Zeller has been a force inside. Both he and Victor Oladipo, the junior guard, lead Indiana with 13 points. James Michael McAdoo leads the Heels with 10 points.

UNC kept it close throughout the first half, but it wasn't pretty. The Heels shot 48.5 percent during the half, but had assists on just six of their 16 field goals - a sign that UNC improvised often.

The game was tied at 31 with about four minutes to play in the half before Indiana closed the half on a 15-6 run. Dexter Strickland, the UNC senior guard, helped start that run with an intentional foul on Oladipo, who made both of his free throws. Indiana didn't take full advantage of the foul, but Zeller had three dunks in the final two-and-a-half minutes.

Those plays, as well as UNC's ineffectiveness on the other end, ignited a loud home crowd.

Indiana is shooting just 46.3 percent, but the Hoosiers have scored 16 points of UNC's eight turnovers, and Indiana has also outscored the Heels 8-4 on fast-break points.

- Andrew Carter

Monday, November 26, 2012

UNC guard P.J. Hairston to miss game against Indiana

CHAPEL HILL -- P.J. Hairston, the North Carolina sophomore guard who suffered a knee injury during practice on Sunday, will not play in the Tar Heels' game at top-ranked Indiana on Tuesday.

Hairston is not traveling with the team to Indiana, and there is no timetable for his return, UNC announced in a statement on Monday night.

Hairston, UNC's third-leading scorer, suffered his injury during a dribbling drill on Sunday, teammate Dexter Strickland said. Doctors diagnosed Hairston with a mild sprain in his left knee.

Hairston's injury was especially disappointing to coach Roy Williams, who found success using a small lineup during the Maui Invitational. Hairston in that small lineup played as a power forward, though offensively he remained on the perimeter and created mismatches against larger, slower defenders.

"And so that takes out part of our opportunity to go small because he's the only guy that's worked at the four," Williams said. "And nobody else has."

Hairston's absence on Tuesday night will likely translate into more playing time for Leslie McDonald, who has averaged 8.8 points in about 15 minutes of playing time per game.

- Andrew Carter

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Duke leads Louisville 36-28 at halftime in Battle 4 Atlantis final

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - The first meeting of Duke and Louisville since the 1986 National Title game has not disappointed, and after one half 36-28.

No. 2 Louisville has alternated between man-to-man and zone defense. So far, the Blue Devils shooters have been able to hit their shots, as No. 5 Duke is shooting 45.5 percent from the field. The Cardinals are hitting their shots at a 39.3 clip.

Mason Plumlee picked up his second foul with 8:34 remaining in the game, and he went to the bench. A few seconds later, Seth Curry crashed to the ground as he was attempting to drive the lane, and the senior sat up wincing in obvious pain. He stretched out his legs before standing, and he made his two ensuing free throws. After the second, though, he was replaced by Alex Murphy.

Both Plumlee and Curry were back on the floor two minutes later. While Plumlee played the last five minutes without picking up another fouls, Kelly was whistled for his third with 1:57 left in the half. Duke was called for nine first-half fouls, while Louisville was whistled four times.

Louisville is playing without starting center Gorgui Dieng, who injured his wrist Friday against Missouri. His replacement, Zach Price, has scored four points in his first career start, matching his season-high.

Seth Curry hit an off-balance 3-pointer just before the buzzer to extend Duke's lead to eight points. Rasheed Sulaimon leads Duke with 11 points.

- Laura Keeley

Friday, November 23, 2012

Duke holds narrow 29-28 lead over VCU at half

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - Duke has handled VCU's trademark "havoc" defense well, and the Blue Devils have a 29-28 lead going into halftime.

The Rams, who have the word HAVOC printed across the back of their warmup shirts, pride themselves on their full-court pressure and heavy ball pressure, which has led them to force an average of 20 turnovers per game.

The Blue Devils, though, haven't been rattled by the pressure and turned the ball over just three times in the first half. Mason Plumlee was used to help bring the ball up the floor (VCU's big men don't guard on the ball well), and Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton have used long passes to push the tempo and break the press. As a team, Duke has seven assists.

The shots aren't falling regularly for Duke, though. After shooting 8-of-10 from beyond the arc in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis against Minnesota, the Blue Devils are just x-of-xx from 3-point range tonight. Duke is shooting 39.3 percent from the floor. VCU, though, is shooting worse, at a 32.3 percent clip.

VCU jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and outhustled Duke to long rebounds, prompting Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to take an early timeout. Duke used a 14-2 run midway through the half to take its first lead. Rasheed Sulaimon leads Duke with nine points, and the three seniors--Ryan Kelly, Plumlee and Seth Curry--have 13 points combined.

- Laura Keeley

Monday, November 19, 2012

UNC's Roy Williams on Maryland leaving ACC: If they feel that is best then see you

LAHAINA, Hawaii - North Carolina coach Roy Williams said on Monday that he was "stunned" and "shocked" by the news that Maryland would be leaving the ACC to join the Big Ten.

"I'm an old ACC guy," Williams said after his team's 95-49 victory against Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the Maui Invitational. "I've been around a long time. I've been around probably longer than the league has, I don't know. So I was shocked by it and didn't see it coming whatsoever."

Williams referenced the ACC's $50 million exit fee and said, "It will be interesting to see what happens there."

"If they have that extra money, maybe they could pass it around to some other people kind of thing," Williams said. "But it's strange to me. What's going on with college athletics is strange to me. I mean, give me a break - the Big East goes all the way to freaking Hawaii. Or close, anyway."

Williams throughout his coaching career has competed extensively against Maryland. He graduated from UNC in 1972 and then was a Tar Heels assistant coach under Dean Smith from 1978-88.

"I'm one of those guys that if somebody doesn't think that my house is the right place to be, then go ahead and leave," Williams said. "I've got no problem with that. So for me, it's a shock. That'd be the biggest thing. I hate to see them go but if they feel like that's what best for them then, see you."

- Andrew Carter

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Duke closes first half on a big run for a 52-30 lead over Florida Gulf Coast

DURHAM - Duke struggled to find its offensive rhythm initially, but in the final six minutes the Blue Devils went on a 23-0 run to close the half with a 52-30 lead.

Florida Gulf Coast was done in thanks in large part to 19 first-half turnovers, which resulted in 27 Duke points. Mason Plumlee led Duke with 14 points, including a 6-of-7 clip from the free throw line, and Rasheed Sulaimon also reached double figures with 13 points as well.

After back-to-back 3-pointers from Quinn Cook, who started for the first time this season, Kelly converted two free throws to make it 34-30 Duke. Plumlee went to the line on the next possession after corralling his own offensive rebound. He made the first shot and missed the second, but Kelly grabbed the rebound and converted the lay-in, drawing his own foul in the process. He completed the three-point play to make it 38-30 Duke with 4:08 remaining.

Another offensive rebound converted by Kelly, followed by back-to-back 3s from Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton, gave Duke a 46-30 lead.

While Duke entered the season aiming to center the offense around Mason Plumlee in the low post, old habits can be hard to break.

The Blue Devils attempted 20 3-pointers--or 59 percent of their first-half shots from the field. Duke made seven of those 3s, with Sulaimon leading the team with 9 points from behind the arc.

Alex Murphy, a preseason starter, was the only healthy scholarship player not to see action for Duke.

- Laura Keeley

Friday, November 16, 2012

W. Charlotte's Kennedy Meeks picks UNC: Thoughts, reaction

CHAPEL HILL — Big news from a big recruit (both figuratively and literally): Kennedy Meeks, the West Charlotte High center who is considered one of the best prospects in the class of 2013, announced on ESPNU tonight that he would play at North Carolina.

Meeks chose the Tar Heels over Georgetown. You can read the story about it here.

Some reaction …

--Meeks, whom ESPN ranks as the 20th-best prospect in the nation – and the No. 2 center – joins a UNC recruiting class that already includes power forward Isaiah Hicks and point guard Nate Britt. Hicks, from Webb High in Oxford, is ranked the 18th-best prospect in the country, according to ESPN. Britt, a Washington, D.C., native who is playing this season at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., is the No. 52 prospect in the country, according to ESPN’s rankings.

--Obviously, landing Meeks is huge for the Tar Heels, whose 2013-14 frontcourt looks quite formidable – even if James Michael McAdoo decides to leave school for the NBA. Assuming McAdoo goes – and that’s a reasonable assumption – UNC would still have Joel James and Brice Johnson, both of whom are off to promising starts in their freshman seasons, and Hicks and Meeks. The James/Johnson dynamic is similar to that of Hicks and Meeks. James and Meeks are the larger, more imposing players, while Johnson and Hicks are quicker and more agile. All four guys should complement one another well.

--Had a chance earlier today to speak with Dave Telep, the ESPN national recruiting analyst who was on the set tonight with Meeks announced his decision. Telep was kind enough to share his opinion on Meeks and on what his commitment would mean to UNC.

Telep on Meeks: “He’s one of those guys that if you’re going to play a center, a true center, then you want to have this guy because he absolutely owns his area. He rebounds the ball with authority and is a terrific passer. And he’s got an incredibly good touch around the bucket. I just think Kennedy Meeks is one of those guys that’s almost disappearing in college basketball. You can throw him the ball in the lane and with his back to the basket he’s just a really good player.”

Telep on what Meeks’ commitment would mean to the Tar Heels: “If you really look at that, start look at who has better frontcourts in the country than that. You’d have Isaiah Hicks, who can be a prototypical frontcourt player for Roy Williams … and then you’d have two guys are different than each other, can play off of each other – and Hicks would be that slender, shot-blocking floor-runner. And Meeks would be that anchor on the inside.”

--Meeks won a state championship at the Smith Center during his sophomore year of high school, and he has ties to North Carolina simply because he grew up here. Still, his commitment to UNC might have come as a bit of a surprise given how hard Georgetown recruited him. Said Telep: “I think that Georgetown showed they saw the value in him early, and just really dropped the hammer on him, and went all in on him. I think that they recruited him exceptionally hard. So it’s not easy to get a top 20 player out of the state of North Carolina, and I think they knew that going in. But they just saw a fit that was so good for their offense.” So credit Tar Heels coach Roy Williams and his staff with the job they did recruiting Meeks. It was never going to be easy beating out Georgetown.

--Last but not least, the Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. did an admirable job with this story on Meeks. Be sure to check that out.

- Andrew Carter

Sunday, November 11, 2012

UNC 80, Florida Atlantic 56: The look back

CHAPEL HILL — Things are about to become more difficult for North Carolina. But the Tar Heels are 2-0 after their 80-56 victory against Florida Atlantic on Sunday. Let’s get to it … the look back:

Three things to take away from UNC’s victory:

1. There’s Reggie.

Those UNC fans who might have been concerned after Reggie Bullock’s five-point performance in the season-opener can relax. Bullock scored seven of the Heels’ first nine points on Sunday, and his 3-pointer in with about seven minutes to play put UNC ahead by 21. The Tar Heels are going to need Bullock to be a consistent scorer, and he was that against the Owls. He finished with 16 points and made six of his seven attempts from the field. His only miss came from behind the 3-point line, where he was 3-for-4.

2. The free-throw shooting was bad – but it’s not time to panic (yet).

Yes, the Heels were ugly from the free-throw line today, where they made just 12 of 27 attempts (and only 4 of 14 in the first half). But sometimes teams go through weird shooting slumps at the line, and maybe this was just one of those games for UNC. Better to get out of the system now then suffer through these kinds of issues in February at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Of course, it’s possible UNC might just be a bad free throw shooting team. Roy Williams says that’s not the case. We’ll see.

3. This is a good start – but now we’ll learn a lot more about this team.

Seems like UNC’s first two games went about as expected. Some good things, some bad things, some sloppiness, some highlights, some ugly play mixed with some pretty play and it all added up to a couple of lopsided victories against overmatched competition. The Tar Heels didn’t play particularly well on Sunday, nor did they on Friday. But you get the sense they needed to grind through these kinds of games as part of their learning process. Now, during the next week and a half, we’ll start to learn what kind of team this really is. First up is a tough game at Long Beach State on Friday, followed by the trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. Followed by … yes, the game at No. 1 Indiana. This should be a fun stretch.

By the numbers:

6 – assists for freshman point guard Marcus Paige, who didn’t have an assist on Friday.

16 – points UNC scored off of offensive rebounds.

17 – shots attempted by James Michael McAdoo. No other UNC player attempted more than nine.

23 – assists for the Tar Heels, who moved the ball better.

24 – offensive rebounds for UNC.

39 – points UNC received from its bench.

41 – points UNC received from its starters.

42 – points for the Heels in the paint, where they outscored Florida Atlantic 42-12.

UNC player of the game: McAdoo. He finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Good chance that Williams can get used to the whole double-double thing. McAdoo had 26 points and 14 rebounds against Gardner-Webb.

Observations and thoughts:

--After finishing his first game without an assist, Paige had a game-high six assists on Sunday. Paige said there was a “big, big difference” in how comfortable  he felt on Sunday compared to Friday.

--Desmond Hubert, the sophomore forward, remained in the Tar Heels’ starting lineup on Sunday. But as was the case on Friday, freshman Joel James started the second half in place of Hubert. Williams said he hadn’t planned to start James for the second half of either game, but that it worked out that way because of James’ production in both first halves. Williams said that starting position is still up for grabs.

--The Heels did a nice job defensively against Florida Atlantic freshman guard Stefan Moody, a Parade All-American who arrived on campus as perhaps the Owls’ most heralded freshman in school history. Moody finished with eight points, but was 3-for-12 from the field, with six turnovers.

--McAdoo, who attempted 20 shots on Friday night, again attempted more shots – by far – than any of his teammates. McAdoo was 7-for-17 from the field. No other UNC player attempted more than nine shots.

--I understand the sponsorship and the money involved, but does anyone else think it’s a bit silly that today’s game was branded as part of the Maui Invitational? Regardless of the outcome today, UNC was already bound for Maui next week. FAU never had any path to play for the Maui championship. So why make this a part of the invitational? What’s the point?


“I did lose it a couple of times out there today because of just silly mistakes. But the two guys I was yelling at, it was their second college game. But I think if you just allow freshmen to make mistakes and don’t correct them, [or don’t] sometimes correct them in a very vigorous manner, they don’t remember it.” –Roy Williams

“That’s one of those silly questions and I don’t mean that the way it sounds but if I knew what the crap the problem was I would have already fixed it.” – Roy Williams, on what went wrong at the free-throw line.

“I believe I wasn’t looking for my shot enough. I wasn’t being aggressive enough [against Gardner-Webb]. I had a couple of open looks but the ball, like if I catch it [and it doesn’t] feel right, I just swing it to the next player. But today, the threads came to me and I just shot the ball.” –Reggie Bullock

Up next:

The Tar Heels travel to California to play Long Beach State on Friday at 11 p.m.

- Andrew Carter

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ten questions surrounding UNC at the start of basketball season

CHAPEL HILL — It’s here. Basketball season is here. Finally. It never really goes away in Chapel Hill, but it returns tonight when North Carolina begins the season at the Smith Center against Gardner-Webb.

Around this time a year ago, the Tar Heels began the 2011-12 season with national championship aspirations. Entering this season, though, who knows what to expect? I wrote some about that in a story we ran earlier in the week, which you can read right here.

The headline tells the story: “More questions than answers” for UNC.

I found insightful Roy Williams’ quote at the bottom of the story. Williams said:

“The easiest way to say it is this team has got to play as close to their potential as they possibly can to be successful. We’re not going to be like last year – well, if this don’t work then (Tyler Zeller) will score anyway or Harrison (Barnes) will get a shot or John (Henson) will block a shot and then Kendall (Marshall) will find somebody on a break. This team’s got to play as close to their potential as they possibly can.”

In a piece that ran today, we examined several questions that will face Duke, UNC and N.C. State in their season-openers and, likely, beyond. Here are those questions, and others, that surround the Tar Heels at the start of the season. At the end of the season, we’ll take a look back and see how UNC answered each of these:

--With an abundance of perimeter players and shooters, can North Carolina (finally) become a good shooting team?

UNC coach Roy Williams thought he had a capable shooting team a season ago and, he said after the Tar Heels’ exhibition victory against Shaw, “I think this is a team that’s going to be even better than that.” Problem was, UNC rarely proved it was a good shooting team last season. The Tar Heels made just 33.4 percent of their 3-point attempts, which ranked eighth in the ACC. In conference games, UNC was second-to-last in the league in 3-point shooting. Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston, Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland all believe they are good shooters, and now is the time to prove it.

--How prepared is freshman Marcus Paige to run the offense at point guard?

Williams has been in this position plenty of times before, starting a freshman point guard. He did at Kansas, with Jacque Vaughn and others. He’s done it at UNC, with Bobby Frasor and Ty Lawson and Kendall Marshall. And now, Williams is confident that Paige is ready to run his offense. Paige isn’t as pure of a passing point guard as Marshall was, but few are. Paige will provide more of a consistent scoring threat, but it’s a given he’ll struggle at times as he adjusts to the college game. The most important question might be how well he responds to those challenges.

--How does UNC go about generating offense in the post?

Williams’ best offenses at UNC have benefited from productive post players. Sean May. Tyler Hansbrough. Tyler Zeller. Outside of sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo, UNC enters the season without a proven presence in interior. And McAdoo, for all his positives, isn’t a traditional back-to-the-basket player. Williams said on Thursday that his starting lineup still hadn’t been set, outside of McAdoo, Paige, Strickland and Bullock. If the 6-foot-10, 260-pound freshman Joel James doesn’t start tonight, it’s likely only a matter of time before he does. His size and skills offer UNC its best chance for offense in the interior.

And more questions:

--Can James Michael McAdoo take the next step and become a consistently productive offensive player? We all remember McAdoo’s impressive play in the ACC and NCAA tournaments last March. But now McAdoo will be the focus of opposing defenses, as well as a focal point of the Tar Heels’ offense. Is he ready?

--Will Reggie Bullock prove he’s more than a shooter – and can he emerge as an aggressive scorer that the Tar Heels need? Bullock effectively played his role – first as a sixth man, then as a starter – last season. Now he’ll be asked to penetrate and score far more often than he has in the past.

--How will Dexter Strickland handle added responsibility in the offense? Strickland’s defensive prowess has been well documented but he enters the season with a desire to prove that he’s more than just an outstanding perimeter defender. He wants to prove he can score, too. Can he do that while playing in the confines of the offense?

--Down by a point in the final seconds, who takes the last shot? Is it Bullock? McAdoo? Someone else? The Tar Heels don’t enter the season with a clear candidate to take the last shot in critical late-game situations. Who becomes that player?

--After sitting out a year, what can we expect from Leslie McDonald? McDonald believed he was poised for a breakout junior season until suffering a knee injury in the summer of 2011. Finally, he’s back. Like Bullock and Strickland, McDonald has an opportunity to play a larger role in the Tar Heels’ offense.

--Will P.J. Hairston rediscover his shooting stroke – and keep it? Hairston arrived on campus with the reputation as a dangerous shooter, and he was at the start of last season. A confidence-sapping slump, though, lasted most of the second half of last season. Hairston says he solved his mechanical problems during the summer.

--Which under-the-radar player emerges to become a key contributor? To reach its potential, UNC will likely need someone we’re not immediately thinking about to play a significant role this season. Will it be sophomore forward Desmond Hubert? Sophomore forward Jackson Simmons? Freshmen Brice Johnson or J.P. Tokoto?

Answers start coming tonight …

--Andrew Carter

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Roy Williams recovering after surgery

CHAPEL HILL — Roy Williams continues to recover from the surgery he underwent in September to remove a tumor from his kidney but, he said on Thursday, “I don’t think I’m 100 percent.”
Then again, Williams said, “I don’t have to be.”

“I’m not jumping and running and rebounding and blocking out and things like that,” he said. “But I’m trying to be very cautious, because we have six games in a 13-day period. And [doctors] want to make sure that I don’t get run down and do something crazy and all of a sudden have a setback.”

After experiencing discomfort in early September, Williams made an appointment with a doctor. Tests discovered tumors on both of his kidneys, and he had the one on his right kidney removed during a procedure at UNC Hospitals.

Doctors determined the tumor to be benign, and a biopsy determined the tumor on his left kidney to be the same. When UNC began practice last month, Williams experienced discomfort at times – especially when he became more animated while during teaching moments.

But these days, Williams said, “Even when I’ve gone wacko it hasn’t been something that’s hurt me.”
Williams said doctors last Wednesday cleared him to resume exercising. They told him to “take it easy for quite a while,” Williams said. And so he has been trying.

“Those are the kind of things that they’re more concerned about,” Williams said of strenuously exercising. “I haven’t taken my jacket off in practice and thrown it or anything like that, either. So hopefully I don’t have to do something like that.”

--Andrew Carter

UNC coach Roy Williams still deciding starting lineup

CHAPEL HILL — One day before North Carolina begins the season here on Friday night against Gardner-Webb, four-fifths of the Tar Heels’ starting lineup appears set.
“I feel fairly comfortable about Marcus [Paige] and Dexter [Strickland] and Reggie [Bullock] and James Michael [McAdoo],” UNC coach Roy Williams said earlier today. “But that fifth spot, from one day to the next, I change quite a bit.”
That fifth spot, of course, represents a post position – and perhaps the Tar Heels’ only true post position. Paige, the freshman, will start his first collegiate game at point guard. Strickland and Bullock are both guards who will play on the wings. And while McAdoo is UNC’s most proven post player, he’s more of an inside-outside type who isn’t exactly a typical back-to-the-basket power forward.
So that leaves a wide opening – literally and figuratively – in the middle.
Desmond Hubert, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward who played sparingly a season ago, started in UNC’s exhibition victory against Shaw. But Joel James, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound freshman, gave perhaps the most impressive performance of the Heels’ otherwise sluggish effort in the exhibition. James has only been playing organized basketball since his sophomore year of high school, but he already has developed an effective repertoire of moves, and his footwork is sound for his size.
Still, James apparently hasn’t earned the starting job. At least not yet.
“As we’re sitting here right now, I still do not who I’m going to start,” Williams said. “And I really don’t. And the staff, we talked about it in a staff meeting this morning … I really don’t [know who will start]. I’m waiting for somebody to step up and say, ‘I’m going to deserve that.’ But it may be OK if it’s not.
“You know, we may change the lineup throughout the course of the pre-conference season, too.”
Few would be surprised if Hubert, the more experienced player, starts the season-opener before giving way to James at some point later on. James arrived on campus just a few months ago and instantly became the most physically imposing member on the team. Whether his size and presence translates into a starting position from day one, though, remains to be seen.

Read more here:

Friday, October 26, 2012

N.C. State opens ahead of Duke, UNC in AP Top 25 basketball poll

N.C. State has not opened a basketball season ranked ahead of both North Carolina and Duke in 37 years.

That changed Friday.

The Wolfpack is ranked No. 6 in the preseason AP Top 25, two spots ahead of Duke (No. 8) and five spots ahead of the Tar Heels (No. 11). The 1974-75 preseason poll is the last time State was voted ahead of both of its Triangle rivals to start the season.

N.C. State returns four starters from a 24-win team which reached the Sweet 16. Coach Mark Gottfried's second team was also picked to win the ACC for the first time since '75 and is ranked No. 6 in the country by the coaches in the USA Today poll.

It's the first time N.C. State has opened the season in the top 25 since the 2007-08 season. That season, former coach Sidney Lowe's second team, ended in disaster with nine straight losses and a 15-16 record.

The Pack had not been ranked higher than UNC in the preseason top 25 since 1984-85.

It's the 10th time N.C. State has been ranked in the preseason top 10 since the ACC was formed in 1953 but first time since 1975. All three teams with David Thompson in the 1970s opened the season in the top 10, with the 1974-75 team as the preseason No. 1.

It's the 17th straight season Duke, which is coming off of a 27-7 season, has been ranked in the preseason top 15. The Tar Heels, 32-6 a season ago, have been ranked in the preseason top 15 in nine of coach Roy Williams' 10 seasons with eight times in the top 10.


The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' preseason college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2011-12 final records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and 2011-12 final ranking:

  Record  Pts  Prv

1. Indiana (43)  27-9  1,592  16

2. Louisville (20)  30-10  1,568  17

3. Kentucky (2)  38-2  1,453  1

4. Ohio St.  31-8  1,292  7

5. Michigan  24-10  1,290  13

6. NC State  24-13  1,270  —

7. Kansas  32-7  1,210  6

8. Duke  27-7  1,094  8

9. Syracuse  34-3  1,062  2

10. Florida  26-11  936  25

11. North Carolina  32-6  904  4

12. Arizona  23-12  902  —

13. UCLA  19-14  840  —

14. Michigan St.  29-8  789  5

15. Missouri  30-5  664  3

16. Creighton  29-6  622  19

17. Memphis  26-9  539  —

18. UNLV  26-9  488  23

19. Baylor  30-8  486  9

20. San Diego St.  26-8  463  22

21. Gonzaga  26-7  384  —

22. Notre Dame  22-12  297  —

23. Wisconsin  26-10  285  14

24. Cincinnati  26-11  120  —

25. Florida St.  25-10  101  10

Others receiving votes: Murray St. 59, VCU 58, Saint Louis 46, Texas 46, Minnesota 40, Butler 33, Pittsburgh 32, Saint Joseph's 25, Marquette 23, Tennessee 15, Oklahoma St. 14, Kansas St. 12, Georgetown 9, New Mexico 9, Ohio 9, Miami 8, Saint Mary's (Cal) 6, West Virginia 6, Davidson 5, Drexel 5, N. Iowa 5, Valparaiso 3, Lehigh 2, Stanford 2, Colorado St. 1, Oral Roberts 1.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Davidson's Red/Black scrimmage is Saturday

The Davidson Wildcats will hold their annual Red/Black scrimmage Saturday at 2 p.m. in Belk Arena.

The scrimmage is open to the public. Admission is free.

Monday, October 8, 2012

South Carolina recruits son of all-time leading scorer

- South Carolina will soon have another McKie on the basketball court as the son of all-time leading scorer BJ McKie has committed to the program.

BJ McKie said on Twitter his son Justin chose the Gamecocks and new coach Frank Martin starting next fall. BJ McKie played at South Carolina from 1995 through 1999 and finished with 2,119 points, first on the school's career list. He is the Gamecocks only player in history to surpass 2,000 points.

Justin McKie is a 6-foot-4 guard who plays at Irmo High. He also received college interest from Memphis, Murray State and Winthrop among others.

BJ McKie is an assistant coach at Charleston Southern. He helped the Gamecocks to two NCAA tournaments and their only Southeastern Conference regular-season championship in 1997.

- Associated Press

Carrier Classic to be televised nationally

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. - NBC Sports Network will televise nationally the Carrier Classic preseason college basketball event being held next month on the South Carolina coast.

The event is being played on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant.

Organizers said Monday the men's game between Ohio State and Marquette will be aired live on the network at 7 p.m. Nov. 9.

The women's game between Ohio State and last year's national runner-up Notre Dame will be shown in a delayed telecast at 11 p.m.

Event organizers said earlier this year they would like to make the classic a permanent event in South Carolina.

- Associated Press

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Easiest college class? Twitter has answers

Monday, September 24, 2012

Late Night with Roy details set

CHAPEL HILL -- Doesn't seem like all that long ago that I was in a locker room in St. Louis, conducting interviews after North Carolina's final game of the 2011-12 season. And now the 2012-13 season is upon us. That's especially clear now, after UNC announced the details of Late Night With Roy.

As I'm sure you know, Late Night is the Tar Heels' annual celebration of the start of basketball practice. It's also an excuse, I'm told, to watch Roy Williams partake in some skits and a bit of fun.

Here's hoping his recent surgery won't hamper any of that.

The details for the 2012 version of Late Night With Roy:

When: Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Dean E. Smith Center

Admission: Free

TV: Streamed live on ESPN3

Parking: $10 per automobile. No parking for Late Night will be available prior to 4 p.m. Approximately 300 spaces will become available 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the Rams Head Deck. Parking will then be on a first-come, first-served basis in the Rams Head Deck as spaces become available toward the end of the work day. The Craige Deck will open at 4 p.m. Parking will become available at 5 p.m. in the Manning and Bowles Lots and in the Jackson Deck. Disability parking will be in the Williamson Lot.

Follow @LateNightwRoy on Twitter for behind-the-scenes planning and the official countdown to the start of the UNC basketball season. Be a part of the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #LNWR2012.

So there you have it ...

-- Andrew Carter

Friday, September 21, 2012

N.C. State approves raises for Mark Gottfried, Elliott Avent

Mark Gottfried's contract got an automatic two-year extension when N.C. State made the NCAA tournament last March. The second-year basketball coach got a $750,000 raise on Friday for the Wolfpack's 24-win season which ended in the Sweet 16.

Gottfried will make $1.95 million annually, which ranks third among ACC coaches, behind Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams.

The N.C. State Board of Trustees approved raises for both Gottfried and baseball coach Elliott Avent, who led his team into the final 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Gottfried's supplemental income went from $450,000 per year to $1.2 million under the new deal, which runs through the 2017-18 season. His base salary of $750,000 per year remains the same.

N.C. State went 24-13 in Gottfried's first season reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006 and the Sweet 16 for only the second time since 1989. His original contract, signed in April 2011, called for an automatic two-year extension if he made the NCAA tournament in either of his first two seasons.

Avent led N.C. State's baseball team to a 43-20 finish and a spot in the Super Regional round in the NCAA tournament. Avent received a $25,713 raise which brings his annual guaranteed compensation to $219,125 and his contract was extended one year, through the 2015 season.

- Joe Giglio

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

UNC's Roy Williams uses jewelry to impress recruit Julius Randle

John Calipari is a difficult man to beat these days on the college basketball recruiting trail. If the Kentucky coach seems to be able to land any prospect he wants, well, there’s a reason for that. He usually does.

Which is maybe why North Carolina coach Roy Williams traveled to Texas with a bunch of jewelry.

According to USA Today, Calipari on Tuesday traveled to Plano, Texas to visit Julius Randle, a 6-foot-9 forward who some recruiting analysts believe is the best prospect in the class of 2013. During the visit, the newspaper reported, Calipari showed off the ring he won when Kentucky won the national championship back in April.

And yes, Randle was impressed, USA Today reported.

Not to be outdone, though, Williams packed 30 rings when he visited with Randle. There were the national championship rings, presumably, that he and the Tar Heels won in 2005 and 2009, and various rings from Final Fours and conference championships over the years.

About all the jewelry, Randle told USA Today this:

“When coach Williams opened the case you almost couldn't look directly in it for fear of going blind. It was crazy.”

Carolyn Kyles, Randle’s mother, was also apparently impressed by Williams’ hardware.

She told USA Today, “Yeah, coach Williams was ready for coach Cal with those rings. He got him there.”

But will Williams get Randle? Stay tuned …

- Andrew Carter

2012-13 UNC basketball schedule: First impressions

North Carolina on Monday released its 2012-13 basketball schedule. It includes, of course, trips to Maui, Indiana and Texas and, for the first time, 18 ACC games.

After taking some time to evaluate the schedule, here are some initial thoughts:

First impression: Good schedule. Any fan of any ACC school has to like the new 18-game schedule, which is arriving a season early in anticipation of the arrival of Pitt and Syracuse. But for now, it means that UNC will play a home-and-home with all three of the in-state ACC schools, which is the way it should be. The non-conference schedule is attractive, with trips to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and to Indiana and Texas.

Revenge factor: The Jan. 12 game at Florida State is the obvious one that coach Roy Williams and his players might have circled on their calendars. It comes almost exactly one year to the day that UNC suffered that 33-point loss at Florida State last season. The Tar Heels will also have a chance to enact some payback against UNLV, which provided the Heels with their first loss last season. The Rebels visit the Smith Center on Dec. 29.

Toughest stretch: During the non-conference portion of the schedule, UNC will face its toughest stretch in mid-to-late November. Just a week into the season, the team will travel cross country to play at Long Beach State on Nov. 16, which has won at least 22 games in each of the past two seasons. Then the Heels go to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and when they return from that they go back on the road for a game at Indiana on Nov. 27.

In the conference, the final five games aren’t likely to be easy. Three of them are against N.C. State, Florida State and Duke – though UNC will play all of those games at the Smith Center. The Heels also go on the road to Clemson and Maryland. Both those teams have a lot of question marks, but Clemson and Maryland can be difficult places to play even when the home team isn’t all that great.

Make up ground: An ACC schedule never offers all that much room for make-up ground, but UNC has a good chance to get off to a solid start, at least. After that game at Florida State on Jan. 12, UNC hosts Maryland and Georgia Tech. As it stands now, the Heels should be favored by double-digits in both of those games. The next game, at N.C. State, will be difficult but UNC follows that with perhaps its “easiest” road game of the conference schedule, at Boston College.

Lucky, or unlucky, break: Let’s go unlucky. Not only does UNC have to play N.C. State and Duke twice, but the Heels also play Miami and Florida State twice, and both of those teams should factor into the conference race. Virginia Tech, Clemson and Boston College could all serve to boost UNC’s conference win total, but the Heels play each of those teams only once.

By the way: UNC's "Late Night with Roy Williams" is set for Oct. 12, a Friday. An official time has yet to be determined, but it will probably be around 8ish, I'm told. Stay tuned for further details.

- Andrew Carter

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012-13 schedule analysis: N.C. State Wolfpack hoops

Nonconference: Miami (Ohio), Penn State, Providence or UMass, UNC-Asheville, at Michigan, Connecticut, Cleveland State, Norfolk State, Stanford, St. Bonaventure, Western Michigan, UNC-Greensboro

ACC home-and-away: UNC, Duke, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State

ACC home only: Virginia Tech, Miami

ACC road only: Maryland, Virginia

Highlights: The nonconference matchups with Michigan (Nov. 27) and UConn (Dec. 4), and the ACC games against UNC at home (Jan. 26) for ESPN's GameDay, and at Duke (Feb. 7).

Lowlights: The ACC wheel spun and landed again on two games each with Georgia Tech and Boston College.

Bottom line: N.C. State made the NCAA tournament last season on the strength of its nonconference schedule. There won't be as many big games outside the ACC this season, but the schedule is loaded with RPI-helpers and experienced tournament teams.

The ACC schedule will be tougher, with two games each against Duke and FSU (after only one last season) but it's also spread out more evenly.

Last year, N.C. State went through lulls with seemingly meaningless games (BC-GT-Wake) and then had a Duke-FSU-UNC stretch. This year, the games that will be of interest — Duke, UNC, FSU — have more space to them which should add up to a better rhythm to the season.

2012-13 schedule

Nov. 9    Miami (Ohio)
Nov. 15    x-Penn State
Nov. 16    x-Providence/UMass
Nov. 18    x-San Juan Tip-Off
Nov. 23    UNC-Asheville
Nov. 27    @ Michigan
Dec. 4    y-UConn
Dec. 8    z-Cleveland State
Dec. 15     Norfolk State
Dec. 18    Stanford
Dec. 22    St. Bonaventure
Dec. 29    Western Michigan
Dec. 31    UNC-Greensboro
Jan. 5    @ Boston College
Jan. 9    Georgia Tech
Jan. 12    Duke
Jan. 16    @ Maryland
Jan. 20    Clemson
Jan. 22    @ Wake Forest
Jan. 26    UNC
Jan. 29    @ Virginia
Fe. 2    Miami
Feb. 7    @ Duke
Fe. 10    @ Clemson
Feb. 16    Virginia Tech
Feb. 19    Florida State
Fe. 23    @ UNC
Feb. 27    Boston College
March 3    @ Atlanta
March 6     Wake Forest
March 9    @ Florida State

Notes: x-Puerto Rico Tip-Off, San Juan, Puerto Rico; y-Madison Square Garden, New York; z-Reynolds Coliseum

Duke Blue Devils release full 2012-13 basketball schedule

Finally, after months of releasing it in pieces, Duke has revealed the final version of its 2012-13 mens basketball schedule. Not much new here, but there are a few dates and opponents that hadn't previously been announced:

Fri., Nov. 9: Georgia State at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Tues., Nov. 13: Duke vs. Kentucky (Georgia Dome, Atlanta), TBD

Sun., Nov. 18: Florida Gulf Coast at Duke, 8 p.m., ESPNU

Tues., Nov. 22: Duke vs. Minnesota (Nassau. Bahamas), 3:30 p.m., AXS

Wed., Nov. 23: Duke vs. VCU/Memphis, (Nassau. Bahamas), 7 p.m., NBCS

Thurs., Nov. 24: Battle 4 Atlantis championship, 9:30 p.m., NBCS

Wed., Nov. 28: Ohio State at Duke, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Sat., Dec. 1: Delaware at Duke, TBD

Sat., Dec. 8: Duke vs. Temple (Izoid Center, New Jersey), 3:15 p.m., ESPN

Wed., Dec. 19: Cornell at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Thurs., Dec. 20: Elon at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Sat., Dec. 29: Santa Clara at Duke, noon, ESPN2

Wed., Jan. 2: Duke vs. Davidson (Charlotte), 7 p.m., ESPN2

Sat., Jan. 5: Wake Forest at Duke, 12 p.m., ESPNU

Tues., Jan. 8: Clemson at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Sat., Jan. 12: Duke at N.C. State, 12 p.m., ESPN

Thurs., Jan. 17: Georgia Tech at Duke, 9 p.m., ESPN/ESPN 2

Wed. Jan. 23: Duke at Miami, 7 p.m., ESPN

Sat., Jan. 26: Maryland at Duke, 1 p.m., CBS

Wed. Jan. 30: Duke at Wake Forest: 8 p.m., ACC Network

Sat., Feb. 2: Duke at Florida State, 2 p.m., ESPN

Thurs., Feb. 7: N.C. State at Duke, 9 p.m., ESPN

Sun., Feb 10: Duke at Boston College, 6 p.m., ESPNU

Wed., Feb. 13: North Carolina at Duke, 9 p.m., ESPN

Sat., Feb 16: Duke at Maryland, 6 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2

Thurs., Feb. 21: Duke at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2

Sun. Feb. 24: Boston College at Duke, 2 p.m., ACC Network

Thurs., Feb. 28: Duke at Virginia, 9 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2

Sat., March 2: Miami at Duke, 6 p.m., ESPN

Tues., March 5: Virginia Tech at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Sat., March 9, Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m., ESPN

First impressions: Duke will be tested right out of the gate. With November matchups against Kentucky and Ohio State, and a potential date with Louisville looming in the Battle 4 Atlantis final, the Blue Devils will get an early season test against several programs expected to start the year in the top 10.

The five December games will provide a nice change-of-pace in between the tough beginning and conference play, and the rematch with Temple is intriguing. When No. 5 Duke lost 78-73 to unranked Temple Jan. 4, it ended several notable Blue Devils streaks, including 18 consecutive wins against Atlantic 10 opponents (dating back to 1996) and 49 straight wins against teams outside the traditional six power conferences. It also marked the fourth consecutive season that Duke had lost to an unranked nonconference opponent.

Toughest stretch: It could be that early season trio mentioned above. Looking at the ACC schedule, though, Duke was dealt a pretty favorable hand. There's just one Thursday-Saturday, three-day turnaround, and one instead of two dates with last year's ACC champion, Florida State.

That said, the Feb. 2 trip down to Tallahassee followed by a Feb. 7 home date against N.C. Central will probably be the toughest back-to-back conference challenge. The Feb. 10 trip up to Boston College is well-timed, giving Duke a tune-up before the first matchup against North Carolina.

Make up ground: Hosting Wake Forest and Clemson to open conference play should get the Blue Devils off on the right stretch. And the three games immediately following the Feb. 13 game with North Carolina—at Maryland, at Virginia Tech and against Boston College—is Duke's only three-game stretch against teams with losing conference records last year.

Lucky break: There will not be another Michael Snaer buzzer-beater this year in Cameron. Just one matchup with Florida State is a scheduling gift. The other one-game opponents—Georgia Tech, Clemson—are teams Duke probably wouldn't mind playing twice. Especially the Yellow Jackets.

Biggest quirk: The Feb. 13 game against the Tar Heels is the latest ever date for the first meeting between the two teams. That's right, going back all the way to 1920, Duke and UNC have never waited that long to play.

- Laura Keeley

UNC releases 2012-13 basketball schedule

CHAPEL HILL — And at long last, we have a North Carolina basketball schedule. UNC moment ago released its 2012-13 schedule.
Here it is:
Fri. Oct. 26 vs. Shaw (exhibition), 7:30 p.m.,
Fri. Nov. 9 vs. Gardner-Webb, TBA, TBA
EA Sports Maui Invitational Hosted by Chaminade University
Sun. Nov. 11 vs. Florida Atlantic, 2:30 p.m., ESPNU
Fri. Nov. 16 at Long Beach State, 11 p.m., ESPNU
EA Sports Maui Invitational Hosted by Chaminade University, Lahaina Civic Center, Maui, Hawaii
Mon. Nov. 19 vs. Mississippi State, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Tue. Nov. 20 vs. Butler or Marquette, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, 2:30 or 8 p.m., TBA
Wed. Nov. 21 vs. Chaminade, Illinois, Southern California  or Texas, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, TBA, TBA
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Tue. Nov. 27 at Indiana, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Sat. Dec. 1 vs. UAB, 6 p.m., ESPNU
Sat. Dec. 8 vs. East Tennessee State, TBA, TBA
Sat. Dec. 15 vs. East Carolina, Noon, ESPNU
Wed. Dec. 19 at Texas, 9 p.m., ESPN2
Sat. Dec. 22 vs. McNeese State, 1 p.m., ESPNU
Sat. Dec. 29 vs. UNLV, 2 p.m., ESPN2
Sun. Jan. 6 at Virginia, 8 p.m., ESPNU
Thu. Jan. 10 vs. Miami, 7 p.m. ESPN or ESPN2
Sat. Jan. 12 at Florida State, 2 p.m., ESPN
Sat. Jan. 19 vs. Maryland, Noon, ESPN
Wed. Jan. 23 vs. Georgia Tech, 9 p.m., ESPN
Sat. Jan. 26 at N.C. State, 7 p.m., ESPN
Tue. Jan. 29 at Boston College, 9 p.m., ESPNU
Sat. Feb. 2 vs. Virginia Tech, Noon, ACC Network
Tue. Feb. 5 vs. Wake Forest, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Sat. Feb. 9 at Miami, 2 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2
Wed. Feb. 13 at Duke, 9 p.m., ESPN/ACC Network
Sat. Feb. 16 vs. Virginia, Noon, ACC Network
Tue. Feb. 19 at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m., ACC Network
Sat. Feb. 23 vs. N.C. State, 4 p.m. ESPN or ESPN2
Thu. Feb. 28 at Clemson, 7 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2
Sun. March 3 vs. Florida State, 2 p.m., CBS
Wed. March 6 at Maryland, 7 p.m. ESPN or ESPN2
Sat. March 9 vs. Duke, 9 p.m., ESPN
So there you have it. Stay tuned for some initial thoughts on the schedule.
-Andrew Carter

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Davidson basketball chooses captains

Basketball coach Bob McKillop said seniors Nik Cochran, Jake Cohen, JP Kuhlman and Clint Mann were named team captains for the 2012-13 season.

They were selected in a vote by the team and coaching staff.

- Observer News Services

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Former Duke guard Jon Scheyer to play in Spain

Former Duke guard Jon Scheyer will play the 2012-2013 season with CB Gran Canaria, a club located in Spain's Canary Islands, according to a release from the team.

CB Gran Canaria plays in la Liga Endesa, Spain's first-tier leagues, which includes FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Scheyer, who is Jewish, played sparingly last season in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He left the team in March, telling the New York Times that his time overseas had been "frustrating."

Scheyer appeared in three games this summer for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA summer league, averaging 3.1 points and 1.2 rebounds.

-- Laura Keeley

Monday, August 13, 2012

N.C. State exhibition in Canary Islands called at half

In Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, concern for player safety led to N.C. State's exhibition against Gran Canaria Select being called at halftime because of a slippery playing surface with the Wolfpack leading 55-41.

Scott Wood led N.C. State with 21 points, including 5-of-7 3-pointers. T.J Warren added 16 and Tyler Lewis had 10.

N.C. State's final exhibition will be Monday against CB Gran Canaria U20 at 2 p.m. EDT.

- News Services

Friday, August 10, 2012

T.J. Warren leads N.C. State to 85-70 win in Canary Islands

T.J. Warren is making the most of his chances on N.C. State's preseason trip to Spain. Warren, a freshman from Durham, led the Wolfpack with 26 points in its 85-70 win over CB Gran Canaria on Friday at the Grand Canary Islands.

Warren, a McDonald's All-American, is expected to help State with perimeter scoring and as a post defender. He has been an explosive scorer in the first three games, getting extra minutes on the perimeter with guard Rodney Purvis back in Raleigh still waiting for clearance from the NCAA. Warren had 20 in the Pack's win on Tuesday over CB Torrejon.

“T.J. did a really good job for us today scoring a lot of points,” coach Mark Gottfried said in a statement released by the team.

Warren did more than score on Friday with 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Warren made 13 of his 16 shots.

Senior guard Scott Wood added 23 points, with seven 3-pointers, for the Wolfpack, which improved to 3-0 on its European trip.

Junior guard Lorenzo Brown continued his strong play, showing no ill effects from recent knee surgery, with 13 points and eight assists.

Junior forward C.J. Leslie added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

-- News Services

UNC - N.C. State, Duke- UNC slated for ESPN's GameDay

UNC will appear twice on ESPN's College GameDay during the 2012-13 college basketball season, the school announced Friday.

The Tar Heels' game at N.C. State on Jan. 26 (7 p.m., ESPN) will be preceded by a 6 p.m. College GameDay broadcast from Raleigh. Also, GameDay will be in Chapel Hill on March 9 for the regular-season finale between UNC and Duke (9 p.m., ESPN).

UNC will be appearing at a GameDay site for the ninth and 10th times in school history. By the end of this season, no team will have played in more GameDay games than the Tar Heels.

By the way, Hubert Davis' replacement on GameDay will be Jalen Rose. Davis, of course, joined coach Roy Williams’ staff at UNC after Jerod Haase became the head coach at UAB.

-- Andrew Carter

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wolfpack wins 1st game in Spain

N.C. State beat CB Torrejon 83-76 on Tuesday to win the first of its five games in Spain.

The Wolfpack led by six at the half, and by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, before the Spanish pro club cut the score to 80-74 in the final minute.

Statistics from the game are not yet available. Second-year coach Mark Gottfried talked about the game on the team's radio broadcast after win.

"It was a good game for our guys," Gottfried said. "I thought early in the game, we weren't moving our feet real well and got ourselves into trouble defensively."

Gottfried said a zone defense helped the Pack take control of the game after trailing 23-21 at the end of the first quarter.

"I liked our defense a little bit more in the second and third quarters," Gottfried said. "That was probably the key to us tonight."

Gottfried praised the play of freshmen Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren, who both started -- along with Scott Wood, Thomas de Thaey and Jordan Vandenberg. A surprise for the Pack was the return of junior point guard Lorenzo Brown, who had minor knee surgery on June 26.

Gottfried also commented on the absence of freshman guard Rodney Purvis, who has not been cleared academically by the NCAA.

"I hate that he's not here, I just feel terrible for him because he's a young guy that I think has worked really hard," Gottfried said. "Academically, he has done everything that he has been asked to do."

Purvis' high school, the Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh, is under an extended review by the NCAA. Gottfried said the decision was in the hands of the NCAA.

"Our staff at N.C. State has done a great job, I think the high school is doing a great job," Gottfried said. "I think now, you're just at a point where they have to sort through everything and make a determination."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

UNC, UAB to play 3-year basketball series beginning with 2012 season

North Carolina and UAB have agreed to play a three-year basketball series, beginning with a game this season at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

Larry Gallo, UNC's senior associate athletic director who handles the men's basketball schedule, said on Tuesday that dates have not been finalized and that the two schools are still completing contractual details of the series.

Jerod Haase, who spent nine years on Roy Williams' staff at UNC, left the school in March to become the head coach at UAB. The Blazers will meet the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill during the 2012-13 season. The Tar Heels will travel to Birmingham, Ala., during the 2013-14 season.

The teams will return to Chapel Hill in the 2014-15 season. Gallo said he expects UNC's full 2012-13 schedule to be released in early August.

- Andrew Carter

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kendall Marshall, nearly recovered from broken wrist, also suffered elbow fracture

Former North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall is training for the NBA draft at the IMG Basketball Academy in Florida, and he has some good news: He has nearly fully recovered from the broken wrist he suffered during the Tar Heels’ victory against Creighton in the NCAA tournament.
In an interview posted on the academy’s website earlier today, Marshall said, “My wrist is almost 100 percent.”

And then came this revelation: “What people didn’t know is that I also fractured my elbow. That’s been the toughest thing for me to deal with, still not being able to go full contact. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to go by the [NBA scouting] combine.”

You can read the full interview right here on the IMG site.

Among other things of interest, Marshall said he began to think about his professional career when people started asking him at the end of his freshman season whether he was considering leaving. The thought of leaving early for the NBA had never occurred to Marshall before then, he said.
Marshall, who has a large following on Twitter (@kbutter5), also spoke of some of the social-media hate that he sometimes receives.

He said:

“In season, I get anywhere from 15-25 Tweets per day of just pure recklessness. Keeping it PG, it’s stuff like, ‘You suck,’ and, ‘You can’t shoot.’ Now, it’s, ‘You’re overrated,’ and, ‘You’re not going to get drafted high.’ Even some Carolina fans come at me sideways now because I left school early. Maybe one every couple days I’ll give them a sarcastic response.

“You have to be able to laugh because these people don’t understand that you’re human and not on a pedestal.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

LSU guard Ralston Turner to transfer to N.C. State

LSU guard Ralston Turner will transfer to N.C. State, he said Monday. Turner, a 6-6 shooting guard, averaged 10.5 points per game in two seasons at LSU.

Under NCAA rules, he will have to sit out the 2012-13 season but will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried recruited Turner out of Muscle Shoals, Ala. when he was the coach at Alabama.

"I felt like I knew coach Gottfried and I was comfortable with him," Turner said.

Turner gives the Wolfpack some experience and outside shooting for the 2013-14 season. He started 59 games in two seasons with LSU and made 99 of 286 of his 3-pointers. With four available scholarships, and seniors Richard Howell and Scott Wood leaving the program after this season, Gottfried needed to get to work on the '13-14 roster. After taking a visit this past weekend, Turner realized the opportunity to make an impact.

"I saw where I could fit in," Turner said. "I want to come in and help the team any way that I can, that's what me and coach talked about."

Turner said Gottfried's success in his first season with the Wolfpack, 24 wins and a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, also helped his decision.

Turner said Gottfried orginally recruited him to Alabama, when Turner was a junior in high school. Turner ended up choosing LSU over Alabama and Notre Dame. He averaged 12.3 points per game for coach Trent Johnson in 2010-11 and 9.1 last season. Johnson left LSU for Texas Christian after the season, which left Turner exploring his options.

LSU hired Johnny Jones, a one-time assistant of Gottfried's at Alabama, to replace Johnson. Turner said the coaching change wasn't the reason he left the SEC school.

"It wasn't the coaching change that ran me off," Turner said. "I just had a change of heart about LSU."

- J.P. Giglio

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roy Williams on new hire, officiating and competing for recruits with Coach K

CHARLOTTE — North Carolina coach Roy Williams said on Wednesday night during a Rams Club Tar Heel Tour stop in Charlotte that he plans to spend next week focusing on hiring a new assistant coach. Williams will be filling a void on his staff left by the departed Jerod Haase, who left UNC to become the head coach at UAB.

Williams recently has been devoting his attention to recruiting, and he said he’d be doing the same this weekend. After this weekend, though, he will come closer to naming a new assistant.

“Really the meat of the work is going to be done after this weekend’s recruiting period,” Williams said. “I feel pretty good about it.”

The opening on the Tar Heels’ staff has created plenty of interest. Williams said 14 former North Carolina players have contacted him about the job. He also said three players he coached at Kansas showed an interest in joining the Tar Heels’ staff.

“I love them,” Williams said of the former Kansas players who had contacted him. “[I] told them I love them, but this next hire is going to be somebody from the University of North Carolina.”

Some other points of interest from Williams’ talk at the McGlohon Theater in Charlotte:

--During a question-and-answer session with those in attendance, a UNC supporter expressed frustration about the state of officiating during the past season, and he asked Williams how best he could voice his concerns. Williams said he empathized with the fan.

“It’s hard,” Williams said. “I don’t mind telling you. I mean, this year I called [the ACC director of men’s basketball officiating] John Clougherty [for] the first time in three years … but it’s frustrating to me.”

Williams indicated that he called Clougherty to discuss the play when Tyler Zeller was pushed in the back late in the Tar Heels’ 85-84 defeat against Duke at the Smith Center in February. After the push, Zeller inadvertently tipped in Ryan Kelly’s missed shot, and the moment played a key role in the Blue Devils’ comeback.

“He got shoved like crazy in the back,” Williams said. “And the TV cameras didn’t show it as much as one of the cameras that we use for coaching purposes. And I mean, it was just a huge play, four feet in front of the official. So I called about it. And there’s not anything that happens, because it is a very difficult game to officiate. Understand that. You know, it’s snap decisions and we understand that. But I share with you some of that frustration.

“And there’s not a lot you can do. You know, you can call call-in shows, or something like that, and voice your frustrations if that makes you feel better, go ahead. I wish I could do that, too … it’s frustrating, there’s no question. It’s frustrating. Even the NCAA tournament game, against Kansas. We’ve got fouls to waste. I mean, poor Stilman’s trying to tackle the guy. He wouldn’t have been a very good defensive back. He’s trying to tackle a guy from the center line all the way in, and they finally call a foul when the ball’s laid up.

“Because we had fouls to waste at that time … if I get fined for that, that’s all right, too.”

--Another interesting moment of Williams’ talk also involved Duke. And, in particular, Mason Plumlee. During the q-and-a session, a man asked Williams why he stopped recruiting Plumlee, who will be a senior forward for the Blue Devils next season. The person who asked the question, in perhaps an error of phrasing, implied that Williams might be shy about going head-to-head against Mike Krzyzewski in a recruiting battle.

“I went to freakin’ Ames, Iowa [to recruit Harrison Barnes] 11 times and his [butt] went twice,” Williams said of Krzyzewski. “… Don’t tell me I ain’t going to go head-to-head.”

And then Williams described what happened while he was recruiting Plumlee.

“It was pretty simple, and if you want to put it this way, which I do, it was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done. Because I needed two post players. And all of a sudden I get a phone call from the Wear family in California … and all of a sudden we had two post players. We did not have a scholarship for a third.

“And we had been recruiting Mason, we had been recruiting the Wears longer. … So that was what it was right there. I love Mason Plumlee. He’s one of the neatest kids. His family’s great. I loved him. But at that point, we didn’t call and say we’ll stop recruiting you. It was sort of like, you know, there’s already two post players in that class. And we had already got John Henson before that.”
So there you have it.

--Williams broke down UNC’s incoming recruiting class at one point on Wednesday night:

“Marcus Paige, the little point guard from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is really good. And coach Smith would never say something like that … Marcus has a chance to be special. He broke his foot in the McDonald’s All-American game – that’s why he wasn’t here [in Charlotte] for the Jordan [Brand Classic] game. But he’s left-handed, similar to Kendall [Marshall], a little better athletically, not as good a passer. But Kendall’s probably the best passer I’ve ever seen.

“J.P. Tokoto, a 6-6 small forward, Vince Carter type athleticism. Has to shoot it better, has to handle it better. And then the two big kids – Brice Johnson from down the road right outside of Orangeburg, South Carolina – 6-9 athlete, quick muscle fiber, those quick twitches everybody likes to talk about. Blocks a shot, can rebound the ball. Really has to work harder to get much more physical. He’s 6-9, probably 200, 205. But that’s like Schwarzenegger compared to what John Henson was.

“And then the biggest one was Joel James – 6-10. The first time I saw him a year and a half ago, [he] was 6-10, 310. Now he’s 6-10, 260. And if he were to walk in this room you would say, ‘Oh, my.’ So he passes the look test. We’ve got to get him passing the playing test, too.”

--In describing the season that ended about a month ago, Williams said it was “a great, great year with a very sad ending.” He said what upset him the most was that “this team really didn’t have a chance to celebrate.” …

But, Williams said, “I will tell you, this is more of a private thing, but on [a] Saturday night in Durham, at Cameron Indoor Stadium, we celebrated our [butts] off.”

Williams told the story about how Oklahoma one year won the Big 8 regular season championship with a victory at Kansas. And so the Sooners cut down the nets at Allen Fieldhouse. Williams told himself that he’d never be part of such a thing, whether he was on one end or the other – winner or loser. No team was going to cut down the nets in his building. And he wouldn’t be doing that on the road, either.

Still, part of Williams thought about cutting down the nets that early-March night in Durham.
“I did have that thought in Cameron,” he said. “Decided that would probably cause a scene.”

--Williams spent some time trying to evaluate what kind of team the Tar Heels will be next season. But he said that’s difficult to do. Still, he’s looking forward to learning what kind of team this will become.

“We’ve always said it’s the name on the front of the jersey, not just the name on the back,” Williams said. “And James Michael McAdoo and Reggie Bullock got more playing time than anybody else. We’re going to ask them to step up. Dexter [Strickland] and Leslie [McDonald] will hopefully get healthy – we’re going to ask them to step up.

“Those other guys that didn’t get as many minutes, they’ve got to step up and be better players for us. And then the four incoming freshmen. It’ll be an exciting year. And I really believe that. I think it’ll be a year that we’ll really band together and try to have everything and care about their team.”

One thing is clear: Williams doesn’t expect UNC’s playing style to change.

“I want to run the ball up and down the floor,” Williams said. “If you see us walking the ball down the court, playing a 2-3 zone, it means that I saw somebody an important position doing something, and I’m in the witness protection program.”

--One last thing: Williams and UNC football coach Larry Fedora will be paired up together in the upcoming Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament. Fedora isn’t much of a golfer. Williams, if you know anything about him, is.

So naturally, Williams is intrigued to see what Fedora might look like on the course.

“I’m excited about playing in the golf tournament with him,” Williams said. “Now he says he doesn’t play at all, and all that kind of stuff. I guarantee-dadgum-tee you one thing: I’m going to laugh more than anybody else out there. So we’ll have some fun with him.”

And there you have it.

-Andrew Carter

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Childress has new basketball role at Wake Forest

   Randolph Childress, who provided one of the most memorable performances in the Deacons' long basketball history, has rejoined the program as director of player development.

   Childress has held an administrative role within the Wake Forest athletic department since August after retiring from professional basketball last year.

  “My family and I are excited about this opportunity,” Childress said in a statement from the school. “I love Wake Forest, and to have a chance to work with the basketball program on a daily basis is a dream come true. I look forward to helping build a program that Wake Forest fans and the Wake Forest community can be proud of. I’m ready to go to work.”

  Childress played an off-the-court mentorship role with the basketball student-athletes last season and will see those duties increase as he joins the staff full-time.

   In 1995, Childress was spectacular in earning ACC Tournament MVP honors as the Deacons won their first conference championship in 33 years.  Childress played two NBA seasons and played professionally overseas for more than a decade.

-- Ron Green Jr.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

McKillop: No contact from Virginia Tech

   Davidson basketball coach Bob McKillop's name is one of many that have been mentioned in conjunction with the opening at Virginia Tech in the aftermath of coach Seth Greenberg's dismissal Monday.
   McKillop, who has been head coach at Davidson since 1989, said Tuesday he has not been contacted about the Virginia Tech job.
  "No one has talked to me," McKillop said. "It's an intriguing situation. It's in the ACC and it's a great school."
   Speculation at Virginia Tech immediately focused on three in-state college coaches, Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth, Chris Mooney of Richmond and Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor.
   McKillop has been busy since the Wildcats' season ended with a first-round loss to eventual Final Four participant Louisville. He said the Wildcats' 2012-13 schedule is nearing completion and includes a Jan. 2 game against Duke in Time Warner Cable Arena, a Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Orlando, Fla., with Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Clemson and others, as well as road games at Richmond and Penn.
   McKillop said no date has been set for Davidson's annual game against the Charlotte 49ers. He is also trying to line up a game for the Wildcats in New York's Madison Square Garden.
-- Ron Green Jr.