ACC Weekly Five: 09.04.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on September 4th, 2012

  1. Durham Herald-Sun: In some sad news, Duke basketball legend Art Heyman died this past week at the age of  71. An all-time ACC great, Heyman led Duke to its first Final Four and, in that same season, was the national player of the year along with many other honors. His infamous brawl with North Carolina’s Larry Brown may have been the climactic spark that really ignited the best rivalry in basketball.
  2. Tallahassee Democrat: Michael Snaer‘s swagger seems to have gained a few endorsements as the Blue Ribbon Yearbook named the senior as a first team preseason all-American. The Florida State guard’s big summer that followed his strong junior year seems to be leading into a big autumn. Seminole fans can’t help but hope that Snaer’s hot streak stretches on into the actual basketball season.
  3. CBS Sports: For the time being, it doesn’t appear that North Carolina has committed any NCAA violations in the scandal surrounding the dubious grading practices of a pair of departments. While a series of probes are ongoing and it appears that the investigation may not be concluded for some time, the Tar Heel basketball program, so far, seems to be rule-abiding and compliant. Still, this preliminary finding will surely only fuel the angry fires already burning on NC State fan message boards, who are drafting new conspiracy theories at this very instant.
  4.  Charlotte Observer: In more news that will likely enrage some Wolfpack fans, Karl Hess will be returning to the ranks of ACC officials after sitting out this past year’s ACC Tournament. Hess was reprimanded by the conference due to an incident where he mishandled an off-court situation that resulted in the ejections of former NC State legends Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta because of some overzealous heckling. While it hasn’t yet been determined whether Hess will referee any games in Raleigh this season, it’s probably safe to say that he could very well be in for even more heckling this season.
  5. Terrapin Station: Another homecoming is in the works as former Maryland basketball player Eric Hayes is set to join coach Mark Turgeon’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Hayes had a four-year career with the Terrapins, playing in 133 games and averaging 29.1 MPG during his time in College Park.  While Hayes’ per game stats were not overwhelming, tempo-free stats rightfully recognize that his excellent shooting and efficient all-around play made him one of the more consistently potent aspects of Maryland’s offense for several years. It will be good to see him back on the sideline as a Terp.
Share this story

Morning Five: 08.29.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 29th, 2012

  1. North Carolina’s title hopes were quite clearly derailed last season when point guard Kendall Marshall broke his wrist on a drive during the Heels’ Round of 32 game against Creighton. Not many people remember, though, that Marshall’s injury was actually the second devastating injury among UNC guards last year. Shooting guard (and, most importantly, the backup point to Marshall) Dexter Strickland went down with an ACL injury in a mid-January game against Virginia Tech, leaving Roy Williams’ team particularly vulnerable when its All-American lead guard suffered another season-ending injury two months later. Enough about the bad memories for Tar Heel fans, though — the good news is that the rising senior Strickland announced on Twitter Monday that he has been physically cleared to play basketball again. It will certainly take the talented and experienced shooter some time to get his game legs and on-court confidence back, but with six weeks left until Midnight Madness, he’ll have sufficient time to do so.
  2. Last week we mentioned that Xavier’s Dez Wells was expelled from school for some unnamed violation of university rules. Speculation was rampant as to Wells’ alleged transgression at the time, but news released on Tuesday cleared up that matter while also offering an astonishing contrast in information. Local prosecutors in Cincinnati presented information to a grand jury involving allegations of sexual assault against Wells, but — keeping in mind the old adage that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich — the group of citizens hearing the evidence refused to charge the former Xavier star with any criminal offense. The burden of proof on a grand jury to bring an indictment is much, much lower than on a criminal jury to convict someone, so the fact that XU was so quick and final in its decision to expel Wells is somewhat surprising. So surprising, in fact, that the Hamilton County (OH) prosecutor Joe Deters suggested that the university would do well for itself to “revisit the situation.” A Xavier spokesperson reiterated that the school’s decision is final, but as we alluded to last week, short of a criminal charge, much less a conviction, there will be a number of high-major schools lining up for a shot to woo the all-A-10 rookie — it appears that Louisville, Texas, and Memphis currently top his list.
  3. For some reason or another, a debate about the 35-second college shot clock was ignited on Tuesday because of’s back-and-forth post between writers Eamonn Brennan and Myron Medcalf. While we’re not going to lose any sleep over this particular issue, we see the merits on both sides of the debate (proponents of the change want a quicker paced game, while supporters of the current clock enjoy the diversity of styles that it engenders). From our point of view, the 24-second clock at the professional level has always seemed a bit too fast — if a team’s initial offensive set doesn’t work, then there’s barely enough time for a simple reset to find another good shot. All too often in the pro game, the 24-second shot clock conspires to eliminate good ball movement in favor of just getting something up on the rim. That additional 11 seconds afforded teams in the college game — largely filled with less talented and less athletic players than in the NBA, mind you — grants players a better chance to work the ball into a good situation that can result in a score. Our biggest fear of a 24-second clock in college is that the game would become incredibly sloppy as teams regularly scramble to find a single halfway-reasonable shot before time expires. Our take is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — let’s keep the 35-second clock and work on some of the more pressing problems facing the game today.
  4. We don’t officially allow ourselves to get excited about the coming season until after Labor Day, but one of the fundamental truths about this dry period bridging the start of school and the beginning of practice is the annual release of a number of team profile pieces. They’re somewhat formulaic in content, but they’re always informative and worth your time if you’re starving like we are for meaningful basketball.‘s Dan Greene took a recent look at the much-maligned Connecticut program, concluding that the remaining talent in Storrs is not likely to stand by and watch the program go down the tubes without a fight. Meanwhile, over at, Matt Norlander writes that Arkansas’ Mike Anderson is busily putting his own stamp on the Program That Nolan Built. Anderson clearly believes that his Hawgs should be considerably better than last year’s 18-14 squad that crumbled to a 2-9 finish down the stretch.
  5. Finally, we mentioned in yesterday’s M5 that former Duke NPOY Art Heyman passed away. Our description of his contributions to Duke basketball couldn’t do the man justice, so we thought it would be worthwhile to link to a couple of the best obituaries about the man. The Charlotte Observer dug deeper into the notorious fight in which Heyman and Larry Brown engaged during a 1961 ACC game between Duke and North Carolina that, as Andrew Carter argues, “ignited what became college basketball’s greatest rivalry.” The story also delves into a period in the 90s when Heyman claimed to have cut all ties from his alma mater, but that feud appears to have cooled in recent years. Meanwhile, the Fayetteville Observer took the time to patch together a number of good quotes and memories about one of the greatest collegians that the ACC has ever seen.
Share this story

Morning Five: 08.28.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 28th, 2012

  1. Long before Coach K, JJ Redick, Christian Laettner, or Johnny Dawkins, Duke basketball was defined by one name only: Art Heyman. One of only 13 Blue Devils to have his number retired and perhaps more influential in creating Duke basketball than any other single player in its illustrious history, the three-time All-American and 1963 NPOY died yesterday at his home in Florida at the age of 71 years old. Prior to Heyman’s arrival on the Durham campus, Duke had been a plucky third fiddle in the Triangle region to the much more powerful programs down the road in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Consider this fact: When Heyman arrived at Duke (after the New Yorker reneged on a commitment to UNC, incidentally), the Blue Devils had only been a grand total of two NCAA Tournaments in its history with one Elite Eight appearance to show for it in 1960. Heyman took Vic Bubas’ Blue Devils to its first-ever Final Four during his senior season, setting in motion the blossoming of a legitimate Tobacco Road basketball program over the next half-century that would go on to 32 more NCAA Tournament appearances, 16 more Elite Eights, and 14 more Final Fours (not to mention Coach K’s four national titles). Heyman is one of the all-time ACC greats, bearing the shared distinction of one of only three players in conference history to receive first team all-ACC accolades three years in a row (NC State’s David Thompson and UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough were the others). Anybody who traded punches with Larry Brown is OK in our book, and hopefully Heyman is resting in peace secure in the knowledge of his eternal influence at Duke and in the ACC.
  2. Coming into the season Indiana will be at or near the top of every preseason poll you will see, but one Hoosier who will not be along for the ride is Matt Roth. Who is Matt Roth? That’s a good question, but you will probably hear more about him over the next few days than you did in his previous four years in Bloomington. Roth has been a Hoosier since the 2008-09 season but only completed three seasons of his eligibility after redshirting his sophomore year with a foot injury early that year. Roth was hoping to be a member of a Hoosier team that appears to be a legitimate national title contender next season, but he appears to have been caught in a numbers game as the odd man out with too many players on scholarship. While some may view this as a harsh outcome for a loyal Hoosier, it is worth noting that Roth received a four-year scholarship to Indiana, where picked up both a bachelor’s and master’s degree during his time on campus. Still, the entire situation and the way it went down (Tom Crean basically told him that he could use him as a job reference) might rub some people the wrong way.
  3. While most writers are focused on the hotbeds of the AAU circuit, Jeff Eisenberg has decided to take a look at the other end of the spectrum — Wyoming, the only state in the Lower 48 that does not have an AAU program and all the hardships that players and their families endure trying to earn a Division I scholarship. With no in-state AAU program available, players are forced to travel enormous distances on a regular basis over the summer to try to catch the wandering eyes of recruiters. As Eisenberg notes, all this effort very rarely results in Wyoming players achieving the desired result — a Division I scholarship. With all the money that these families have to spend, you have to wonder if these players might be better off staying at home working on their games and then using that extra money to pay for college if they don’t land that elusive scholarship.
  4. The concept of painting thematic murals onto a school’s basketball court appears to be continuing in earnest, as Long Beach State is the latest school to get in on the act by renovating its home court to look like just another afternoon on the courts down at Venice Beach. Unlike the Oregon tall firs floor — which we still think looks like a toddler upchucked all over the joint — the look at the Walter Pyramid Arena is considerably more subtle, with a couple of iconic palm trees painted on each side of the court. Truthfully, reaction to this new look has been mixed, but we don’t mind it — the colors and images seem to fit the floor without dominating it, and The Beach is the sort of irreverent place where an alternative-look like this works well.
  5. As most high school seniors around the country have already returned to school or are about to do so, the top recruits in the Class of 2013 are starting to narrow down their options. One of the top five players in the class, Julius Randle, announced his list of final 10 schools on Twitter yesterday: Texas, Kansas, Baylor, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, NC State, Florida, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The heavy Big 12 influence is no doubt a product of his location in the Dallas area, as five of those schools along with the usual national recruiting suspects show up on his list. With Jabari Parker also having narrowed his list to 10 schools and the Harrison twins setting a date for their announcement in late October, Jeff Borzello says that this year’s group is only now starting to come into focus.
Share this story

Morning Five: Christmas Eve Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 24th, 2009

  1. Great, great news about Texas A&M’s Derrick Roland about his broken leg suffered in A&M’s game at Washington two nights ago.  His surgery was successful and he will likely head home today or tomorrow for Christmas, and even better, according to the surgeon, he should be able to play basketball again at some point in the future.
  2. Jeff Goodman is one national writer who agrees with our assessment that Texas should be the #1 team in the polls right now.  The fact is that they’ve just got a better resume than Kansas at this point in the season AND they’ve looked better in doing it.
  3. Luke!  Go ahead, put Texas #1 in this week’s power rankings.  We know you want to.  C’mon, man, everybody’s doing it.
  4. Talk about being a tough critic – Seton Hall’s Herb Pope called his own team a “fraud” because they have a loss to Temple on their record.  Guess we’ll find out just how fraudulent the Pirates are this Saturday when they host West Virginia, won’t we?
  5. Here’s your holiday treat.  Lost Letterman listed the top ten most despised players in CBB history, and while there are always quibbles with lists like these, we love that they did their homework to show video evidence of Art Heyman (Duke) and Corky Taylor (Minnesota).  Here’s Part II (#10-#6) and Part I (#5-#1).  Btw, there’s absolutely no doubt about #1, and anyone who disagrees didn’t live through it.
Share this story