Reflections on ACC Media Day: Operation Basketball

Posted by Christopher Kehoe on October 20th, 2013

The Atlantic Coast Conference hosted its annual media day for college basketball last Wednesday and each school brought along its head coach and two player representatives. The event was held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the heart of ACC country, and had it’s own television special on ESPNU, the network’s specific college sports channel. While ESPN analysts like former Duke star Jay Williams took to the blacktop to showcase special moves from the player representatives, they also had group interviews indoors with the coaches and the players. Here is a team-by-team look at some of the highlights from ACC media day:

Note: All quotations and highlights were provided by full transcripts from ACC media day from the conference website.

The 15 Coaches and Mascots Assembled at ACC Media Day Last Week (credit: ACC)

The 15 Coaches and Mascots Assembled at ACC Media Day Last Week (credit: ACC)

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams: Williams is playing it safe with his young team by not presenting outrageous expectations and seems to be standing behind his star P.J. Hairston. Interestingly, he has problems with players on very different ends of the weight spectrum, while his deep but very young and inexperienced frontcourt will be intriguing as will the drama surrounding Hairston.

  • On creating new rivalries: Syracuse and North Carolina will form a rivalry quickly, won’t ‘have to wait 10-15 years.’
  • On P.J. Hairston: “He’s done enough to come back to practice” and has been sensational so far in practice and with conditioning.
  • On replacing Reggie BullockLeslie McDonald must be a better defender and J.P. Tokoto must not turn the ball over as much.
  • On ACC supremacy (a continuing theme throughout, you’ve been warned): “I think it will be the greatest basketball conference ever.” He goes on to mention depth of the league and Tobacco Road going beyond just Duke and Carolina.
  • On rules about going pro: He would prefer a rule where players stay in school for at least two years, but acknowledges some players can go pro right away like Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant.
  • On Marcus Paige: Can play him simultaneously with freshman Nate Britt, he is one of two leaders on the team along with James McAdoo. Has increased his weight from 154 to 170 now.
  • On Kennedy Meeks: Needs to lose weight, has already dropped from 317 to 285 pounds. Brice Johnson on the other hand needs to gain weight. Williams compares Kennedy Meeks to former UNC great Sean May.
  • On the ACC Tournament changing locations: Likes the idea of Madison Square Garden but cannot forget the North Carolina roots of the ACC, likes the idea of keeping the location moving around.

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey: I found his comment on overcoaching very refreshing and unique from a coach, but then again Brey has a uncommon mix of talent and experience on hand with his backcourt of Eric AtkinsDemetrius Jackson and Jerian Grant. He will give the players free rein and a lot, if not all, of their season will depend on how these players handle that kind of responsibility and freedom. It will be a fun season for Notre Dame basketball fans; if nothing else they may get to see those horrifyingly bright adidas uniforms the recruits are so keen on.

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Media Day Launches New Era for Big East, Same As It Never Was

Posted by Todd Keryc on October 17th, 2013

The next generation of the Big East officially kicked off Wednesday with the conference’s annual basketball media day in New York. It was a day marked more by who was missing than who was in attendance. Gone was one of the faces (and mouths) the original Big East was built upon, Jim Boeheim. Gone were the defending national champions, Louisville and Rick Pitino. Gone was even a man who had never coached a game in the conference but whose arrival was expected to help the revamped league, Brad Stevens. Even the traditional Big Monday with Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery on ESPN is a thing of the past.

It's a New Era in the Big East Conference

It’s a New Era in the Big East Conference

Yes, there’s still a Thompson roaming the sidelines at Georgetown. There’s still Villanova, St. John’s, Providence and Seton Hall, schools bonded together by their Big East heritage and lack of high-level football. But the 2013-14 season will be decidedly different in the Big East. Marquette, always solid but not spectacular since the days of Dwyane Wade, was the media’s choice to win the league. The preseason player of the year, Doug McDermott, plays college hoops in Nebraska at Creighton. The team the closest removed from playing for the national title is Butler, which only has DePaul to thank for avoiding the cellar in the preseason poll.

New Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman vowed in her address to “make the Big East a force in college basketball.” The key word here is “make.” Yes, there’s clear talent this year but there are question marks everywhere. McDermott is a two-time All-American, but one who will face steeper competition night in and night out this season. Marquette returns the frontcourt of a team that was a win away from the Final Four, but must replace talented backcourt performers like Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan. Georgetown lost to Dunk City (Florida Gulf Coast) early in the NCAA Tournament last season and then lost Otto Porter to the NBA.  They were still picked to finish second.

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