Dean Smith Honored With Presidential Medal of Freedom Today

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on November 20th, 2013

Today, President Barack Obama will honor 16 individuals with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including former North Carolina head basketball coach Dean Smith. Due to health reasons, Smith will not be attending the ceremony in Washington. He will instead be represented by his wife, Dr. Linnea Smith, his children, long-time coaching assistant Bill Guthridge, and current UNC coach Roy Williams. If anybody would be fine with not being there to receive such an individual honor, it would be Smith. As a basketball coach, he taught his teams to be unselfish on the court. As a private citizen, Smith was legendary for trying to avoid the limelight and always squirmed uncomfortably when others tried to publicly praise him. Selflessness is a core value to the Hall of Fame coach.

The living legend may have some memory problems, but the collective conscious of college basketball does not.

Dean Smith Joins Select Company With Presidential Award.

Dean Smith is mostly remembered for his great coaching record over 36 seasons at North Carolina. He took the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours, winning two national titles, and when he retired in 1997, he held the men’s basketball all-time wins record of 879. In addition, almost all his players graduated and under Smith’s guidance the North Carolina program was never investigated or sanctioned for NCAA rules violations. All in all, it is arguable that Smith was as successful as any college basketball coach in the history of the game, considering the consistent excellence his teams achieved for such a long period of time and the universally-recognized classy way that he ran his program. Let’s not forget that he also coached the 1976 United States Olympic Team to the gold medal under intense domestic and international pressure after the controversial U.S. loss in the 1972 Munich Olympics. In those days, the United States was still sending college players to compete against foreign professionals. All that success over so many years made Dean Smith a popular leader in the sports world for the better part of three decades. But that isn’t why he is being honored by President Obama today.

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LeBron Runs With The Hurricanes

Posted by jstevrtc on August 26th, 2010

Celebrities of all types have always been associated with college basketball. Just in the past few years, we’ve seen the likes of President Obama playing pickup at North Carolina and taking in a game at Georgetown; Michael Jordan’s been known to practice with the Tar Heels every so often; Ashley Judd considers herself Kentucky Fan #1, and last season John Calipari had the likes of Magic Johnson, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, and Drake showing up at Rupp Arena. Calipari’s association with LeBron James specifically ticked some people off. There are certainly more examples, and whether they admit it or not, coaches with such connections like it when musicians, actors, or athletes bring a little celebrity juice to their programs.

LeBron will probably make a few appearances at Miami's Convocation Center.

That last one, though, may have now found a new crew with which to play. The AP reported earlier today that James joined in some “informal scrimmaging” with the Miami Hurricanes, some of whom hadn’t been notified that he was coming, let alone bringing along the likes of fellow Heat members Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Patrick Beverley, and Chris Paul from the Hornets. According to the AP report (via, NBA players who live in Florida often work out with the team, but this was James’ first visit to “The U.” LeBron’s assessment via Twitter: “Just left ‘The U’ hooping with the team….Great runs! Needed that.”

Messrs. Williams, Thompson, and Calipari — it’s your move. Who’s got Clooney’s number?

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The John Wall/Barack Obama Cartoon

Posted by jstevrtc on June 2nd, 2010

We got word of this from’s recruiting analyst extraordinaire Evan Daniels, who tweeted out the link earlier today.  We predict if the dance depicted in the last panel actually happens, President Obama might actually carry Kentucky in 2012, even though it was the first state on the map to be called on Election Night 2008, going to John McCain.

With John Wall presumably going to the Wizards, you have to figure this would result in the Prez doing the dance at least once.  We’re not saying we want this to happen.  We’re just saying it might.  And it might be worth a few votes in the Bluegrass.

Even more interesting than the actual cartoon is the authorship.  The copyright on the left side bears the name Demetrius Calip and there’s the “by D. Calip” at the top.  You may recall that Demetrius Calip was a guard for the 1989 national champion Michigan Wolverines, but the site says the author is 11 years old.  So either Demetrius has become a cartoonist and is using this 11-year old persona as a (rather poor) cover, or we have an artistic 11-year old college hoops fan who knows his Michigan basketball history, or bears the name of the former Wolverine.

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Props From The Prez

Posted by jstevrtc on January 26th, 2010

A few hours before their game at South Carolina this evening — you’re sure to see a clip of this on ESPN’s coverage and probably on SportsCenter — John Calipari and his Kentucky team were summoned to the phone for a call from a fairly famous fan of college basketballPresident Barack Obama.  The call was one of gratitude to Calipari and his boys as a result of their efforts in helping to raise over a million dollars in aid money (that dinner with Ashley Judd at Calipari’s house going for a hundred grand didn’t hurt) through Calipari’s Hoops For Haiti initiative.

I spent my college years like a great number of people who are fortunate enough to get to go at all.  You know, organizing my schedule so I didn’t have to get up before 2 PM, eating a lot of pizza, hitting on co-eds, doing the Greek thing, maximizing my time in pubs and on golf courses, that kind of thing.  And that’s when I wasn’t watching college basketball, or tapes (yes, freaking VHS tapes) of games in the off-season.  One thing I wasn’t doing was taking calls from the President and joking with him about how we needed to play horse or how I’d hopefully get to chill with him in the summer.  Of course, I wasn’t raising over a million bucks for natural disasters with a group of my friends, either, so there we are.  Despite their status as BMOCs on the Lexington campus — and pretty much the rest of the state save for small parts of Louisville — even that can’t compare with conversations with world leaders, especially when they’re giving you some serious props.  You can see some nerves on the part of the players, and definitely from John Calipari.

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