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.
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ACC Morning Five: 02.21.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 21st, 2012

Well, the ACC vs. NC State feud isn’t getting any quieter. The conference reprimanded referee Karl Hess for not following protocol, and he released a statement to NC State explaining his reasoning (he apparently thought Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta were getting too close to the scorers’ table). Apparently, Mark Gottfried talked to the students about the incident. I couldn’t get a working link to the Facebook video, but this is the transcript (h/t Luke DeCock):

I think it was weak. It was bad and I thought the official was completely out of line 100%. I’m disappointed, quite frankly, in the ACC, because not only did he throw out two of NC State’s greats, he threw out two of the ACC’s greats, and the league is supporting the official rather than supporting former great players. The former great players, in my opinion, were embarrassed and wronged when they shouldn’t have been. I don’t think you can have rabbit ears like that if you’re a referee and start throwing people out. I was disappointed in the whole thing. So they gave a reprimand tonight to the official, but it was pretty weak in my opinion.

UPDATE: WTVD uploaded the video.

Your move, Swofford.

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Brian Gregory is doing a good job with one area Paul Hewitt struggled by reaching out to Georgia Tech alumni. He’s invited them to games and practices, trying to keep the school’s myriad alumni connected despite a rough inaugural season. Malcolm Mackey, the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leading rebounder, complimented Gregory on his former boss (Tom Izzo) and his new basketball team. Alumni support should help Gregory recruit the Atlanta area, which is crawling with five-star talent.
  2. Washington Post: Georgetown and Maryland should play each other in basketball. Both schools have plenty of history, but for whatever reason the two programs are at a stalemate. Because of the stalemate, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson laid down an ultimatum: The Terrapins won’t be playing Georgetown in any sport until the basketball series questions are worked out. Mark Turgeon sounds game for it, but there’s a lot of coachspeak going on that makes it difficult to assess Turgeon’s real motive.
  3. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Jim Larranaga knows the CAA well. He coached George Mason long before heading to Coral Gables. He’s been to a Final Four. Why not talk some smack and lobby for your NCAA Tournament chances in the meantime? Basically, Larranaga thinks it’s a down year for the CAA, which lacks quality wins. “In short, Larranaga on Monday was like a politician on the campaign trail. He stretched the truth and went negative.”
  4. Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State‘s senior class is having a special year. They just became the winningest class in Florida State basketball history. It’s pretty impressive to see what Leonard Hamilton has done with the Seminole program. He’s changed it from irrelevant to top-tier and a consistent NCAA Tournament presence.
  5. NBC 41: Really bad news for Georgia Tech, who already owns the worst record in conference play. The team’s best player (seriously he was the best scorer, rebounder and facilitator on the team), Glen Rice Jr., has been suspended indefinitely. If the Yellow Jackets already can’t win, there’s no way they can win without him.
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ACC Morning Five: 02.20.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 20th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer and Fayetteville Observer: The story of the weekend was Karl Hess. In a fairly chalky weekend, the notorious official made huge headlines after tossing NC State greats Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta from the Florida State game in Raleigh on Saturday. The two alumni apparently “got under his skin” but Corchiani claimed neither used threats or profanity. Hess declined to talk to reporters after the game. The ACC basically did the same with a statement implying his action was fine but proper protocol wasn’t followed. Needless to say, Debbie Yow isn’t happy at all. This also piles onto the sometimes-valid perception that NC State fans are treated poorly by the ACC (here, losing the home-and-home with North Carolina, etc.). Fans are even calling for Hess to issue an apology and never officiate an NC State game again.
  2. Charlotte Observer: About the only thing we know from the ejection fiasco is that Yow is pulling out her big guns. Not only is she aggressively seeking further comment from the ACC, but she’s also already invited the 1988-89 ACC Champion NC State team against North Carolina this week. Gugliotta and Corchiani just happened to both play on that team. The team will be receiving the inaugural “Wolfpack Unlimited” award. For those of you keeping score at home: Karl Hess kicked out two men whose jerseys hang in the RBC Center without giving any explanation whatsoever. Debbie Yow fired back by creating a new award so that she could honor the Wolfpack legends publicly in the next game. Advantage: Yow.
  3. Eagle Tribune: I could not agree more with the premise of this article. Boston College “needs to win recruiting battles to win ACC wars.” Steve Donahue has proven that he can coach this year (and over the course of his career), but he needs to show some recruiting skills to hang with the coaches in a high major conference. Period. Otherwise his ceiling will be very low. One thing I think this article misses is the impact on Donahue’s recruiting that Syracuse and Pittsburgh joining the ACC will have. I think the additions will help by increasing the conference’s presence in the recruiting fields of the Northeast. But they’re also competitors.
  4. South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The more I learn about Reggie Johnson the more I like him. Apparently, Johnson is a huge wrestling fan. He grew up loving The Rock and practicing moves on his poor teddy bear and wearing a championship belt. Now he’s still into it, much to the chagrin of his roommate Malcolm Grant: “It just blows my mind that he loves wrestling. I can’t believe it […] And he knows that it’s not real. He still goes crazy for it.”
  5. Baltimore Sun: It suffices to say that Mark Turgeon wasn’t happy with his team’s 71-44 losing effort against Virginia (for your reference, the game was tied at the half). After the game Turgeon said, “You can go down our whole list, and if you can tell me one guy that played well today, I’ll argue that you’re wrong. […] We were 0-14 [players playing well].”

EXTRA: Duke’s Kenny Dennard got big news this week when he was named an ACC Legend, prompting his wife to praise him because now “it’s not just in your mind.”

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Morning Five: 02.20.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 20th, 2012

  1. Western Kentucky announced yesterday that its new head coach was its current head coach. Despite starting his career at 4-7 since taking over for Ken McDonald, the school has opted to retain the services of Ray Harper. Citing the difficult circumstances that Harper inherited with taking over the team in early January, the school claimed it had “total confidence his ability to return our program to prominence”. Based on his record at the Division II level where he was named national coach of the year four times in nine season while winning two national titles and claiming four runner-up finishes (one was later vacated) the Hilltoppers might be moving in the right direction very soon.
  2. Critics of the NCAA will have one less thing to rail against at schools opposing the previously accepted proposal allowing schools to award mulityear scholarships failed to reach the veto threshold. When the rule was passed in August 2011 it was hailed as a small, but important concession for athletes, whose scholarships and academic/career goals can swing with a coaching change or an injury. However, a few months later, a large number of schools petitioned the NCAA asking for a repeal of the rule leading to Friday’s vote. Needing 62.5% (more than 206) of the 330 institutions to vote against it for a repeal, the schools were only able to get 62.12% (205 votes) so when the NCAA parades around its new multiyear scholarships remember that it was two votes away from having it repealed and not everybody voted (the NCAA would only say more than 90% voted).
  3. There are a lot of way to have your bubble burst and Purdue appears to have taken the most publicly embarrassing one. On Friday, the team suspended starting point guard D.J. Byrd and dismissed starting guard Kelsey Barlow following an incident that morning where Byrd was arrested for public intoxication while Barlow, who had been thrown out of the bar earlier that night apparently came back with several teammates including Robbie Hummel where Barlow reported hit a bouncer and was arrested. Even though they are still technically in contention for a NCAA Tournament bid with every other team bubble team falling apart this seriously damages their chances of making any kind of run.
  4. It will be an eventful few days for several members of the 1988-89 North Carolina State team. On Saturday, in one of the more bizarre interactions between an official and the crowd that we have seen, veteran official had Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta removed from the stands in a game between NC State and Florida State even though they did not appear to do anything that you typically see fans get ejected for and afterwards did not offer any explanation for his actions. Yesterday, the school announced that tomorrow it would honor that Wolfpack team that Corchiani and Gugliotta were on in a tribute to the team before Tuesday’s game against North Carolina as part of its inaugural “Wolfpack Unlimited” award that honors the spirit of Jim Valvano. According to Debbie Yow, the school’s Athletic Director, the 1988-89 team was up for consideration before Saturday’s events although she did not specify how those events impacted her choice.
  5. “A season with few bright lights grew even dimmer Friday.” That opening sentence from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sums up our thoughts on Georgia Tech dismissing Glen Rice Jr. from its team. Normally, the loss of a player who leads your team in scoring, rebounds, and steals is crippling, but when you had already lost 12 of your last 14 you cannot get much worse. This suspension is Rice’s second of the season as he was also suspended for three games earlier this year for violating unspecified team rules and while the school would not go into detail about what led to the dismissal they did say that it was not basketball-related. Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets their last four games are against four of the teams they are competing against to stay out of the ACC’s cellar. With three of those games at home perhaps they can avoid finishing dead last in the conference.
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Past Imperfect: The Ballad of Fire & Ice

Posted by JWeill on January 26th, 2012

Past Imperfect is a series focusing on the history of the game. Every two weeks, RTC contributor Joshua Lars Weill (@AgonicaBoss|Email) highlights some piece of historical arcana that may (or may not) be relevant to today’s college basketball landscape. This week: the dynamic duo of  Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe.

Clearly, NC State coach Jimmy Valvano loved nicknames. He reveled in being “Jimmy V”. He started referring to his erratic star big man Charles Shackleford as “Shack” long before Shaq was Shaq. So it’s not surprising two star freshmen in 1987 would eventually get their own aliases.

But taking a glance at the pasty white point guard from Florida and his reed-thin fellow freshman from Maryland, would anyone have ever come up with the monikers “Fire” and “Ice”? Perhaps not at first. But it didn’t take long for Chris “Fire” Corchiani and Rodney “Ice” Monroe to earn their nicknames, and much more.

Rodney Monroe and Chris Corchiani made up one of the NCAA's all-time great backcourts.

Corchiani meshed well with the fiery (and proudly, even comically, Italian-American) Valvano right off the bat. A Florida prep legend that was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball in 1986 and again in 1987, Corchiani was a passionate and talkative pass-first point guard, a coach’s son who loved winning basketball games even more intensely than he hated to lose them. By the time he left for Raleigh, Corchiani had set Florida prep marks for both career points and career assists.

Monroe had also had a record-breaking high school career, establishing a Maryland state high school record for scoring with over 3,000 points. Coming out of Baltimore’s tough Catholic league, Monroe had his pick of programs, but ultimately chose the Wolfpack over his home state school. This was due in part to the departure of popular Terrapins coach Lefty Dreisell, but had more to do with the chance to play alongside Corchiani, whom Monroe had first met at a high school camp a year before. As any good scorer knows, playing with someone who can get you the ball means more chances to shoot. Both had been point guards in high school, but Valvano knew what he wanted.

“[Corchiani] was a point [guard] who thought pass first and shoot second. That’s why it was a joy to play with him because I thought shoot first. We really had a great combination,” Monroe said later.

Coach Jim Valvano was always close with his fiery point guard.

With future pros Chucky Brown, Vinny Del Negro, and Shackleford already in the fold, Monroe’s immediate role would be as instant offense off the bench, and that’s just what he was. Corchiani, meanwhile, moved seamlessly into the starting lineup and racked up 235 assists as a freshman. Valvano’s motion offense meant lots of looks for Del Negro and Brown, and lots of cleanup for Shackleford. Monroe came in launching as the team’s sixth man. After a 24-win campaign, however, NC State was shocked by Murray State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the beginning of a pattern of NCAA struggles that would haunt this vaunted duo.

It would be as sophomores that the Fire and Ice duo would more fully gain national attention. With Del Negro gone to the NBA, Monroe got his shot, and shoot he would. Playing the game with a quiet intensity, and never afraid to hoist up a deep one, Monroe was the icy compliment to Corchiani’s fiery temperament. Riding Monroe’s three-point bombs, Brown’s interior brawn and Corchiani’s total floor game, NC State won 22 games in 1988-89 and earned a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament, where it dispatched South Carolina and Iowa easily.

The Wolfpack’s run would be stopped, however, on a questionable traveling call on Corchiani that negated a potential game-tying bucket with under two minutes to do. With Alonzo Mourning doing damage inside (12 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks), Georgetown would go on to beat NC State, 69-61. Still, the season had been a good one, with the Wolfpack finishing the regular season as ACC champions and reaching the Sweet 16. Hopes were high for the next year, with Fire and Ice returning as upperclassmen and talented young big man Tom Gugliotta joining the starting lineup.

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