Duke and UNC Will Square Off In An Alumni Game on November 17Posted by KCarpenter on November 8th, 2011
Even though real, meaningful basketball has started, indulge me for a bit more while we talk about one more meaningless game. Nolan Smith hinted at it on Twitter a couple of weeks ago and it turns out that the rumors are true: There will be a Duke–North Carolina alumni game featuring some of the very best players in each program’s respective histories. To return to one of the more tragic themes of this fall — the sadness of NBA fans is transmuted into joy for college basketball fans. Due to the NBA lockout, this alumni game is expected to include a sizable number of current NBA players. For Duke, last year’s stars in Smith and Kyrie Irving will team up with some of last decade’s stars, namely Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, and Chris Duhon. For the Tar Heels, the lineup is headlined by a number of stars from the 1990s: Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, and Brendan Haywood.
Notably lacking from either lineup is the presence of many players from the mid-2000s. While Raymond Felton is expected to play for UNC, and Gerald Henderson will suit up for the Blue Devils, some young blood might add a little more spice to the game. Some accounts, notably this one by Duke Basketball Report, suggest J. J. Redick will play, which would certainly be a welcome addition. The most conspicuous missing name, though, is Tyler Hansbrough. In the Kentucky Villains game, Hansbrough showed that he wasn’t absent from the exhibition circuit. That combined with his continued presence in Chapel Hill during the lockout would seem to make him a prime candidate for taking part in this game.
Coming up with other names for viable candidates is a bit tricky, however, with lots of the chief suspects currently under contract in Europe. Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Deon Thompson, Sean May, Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer are all playing overseas, seriously depleting the pool of available talent. Likewise, current coaching jobs eliminate several other candidates like Greg Paulus and Wes Miller. Still, there are a number of other potential players who I’d like to see in this game. For North Carolina, Wayne Ellington, Ed Cota and Rashad McCants would be fun to see on the court. For Duke, Carlos Boozer (who may already be in talks to participate), Shane Battier and Shelden Williams would be a treat for fans. It would also be amazing if Grant Hill would make an appearance, but that seems kind of unlikely. Still if the ‘elderly’ Wallace and Stackhouse are playing, who’s to say that Hill is a definite no? With a week and a half before the game and the rosters in an admitted state of flux, I’m optimistic for some pleasant surprise and last-minute additions to both teams’ rosters.
The game will take place Thursday, November 17, at 8:30pm on the campus of North Carolina Central, the site of the summer NC Pro-Am league that Stackhouse organizes in Durham. The game is for charity and it’s outcome will affect nothing but which side will have the more annoying fans the next morning. Still, it should be a lot of fun.