Friday, March 30, 2012

Barnes, Henson And Marshall Headed To NBA

MARSHALL and HENSON (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Perhaps Chapel Hill’s new law prohibiting cell phone use while driving was the last straw...?

North Carolina said Thursday that Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall will enter the NBA draft, ending a two-year run in which the Tar Heels made deep NCAA tournament runs only to fall a game short of the Final Four each time.

“It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball,” coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me because I won’t get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well.”

BARNES (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Henson was a freshman during Williams’ worst season as a head coach in 2010. Barnes arrived a year later as the nation’s No. 1 recruit, though it wasn’t until Marshall took over at point guard midway through that season that the Tar Heels reverted to national powerhouse form.

UNC lost to Kentucky in the Elite Eight last year, but Barnes, Henson and rising senior Tyler Zeller put off entering the draft for another shot at a championship despite being likely first-round picks.

The Tar Heels (32-6) were the preseason No. 1 and won the ACC regular-season championship for a second straight year, but they fell in the NCAA regional final again amid a dizzying run of injuries—including wrist injuries to both Henson and Marshall.

“I wish we’d have been able to bring our fans a national championship, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Henson said in a statement. “I am proud of what we accomplished, especially the last two years.”

Both Barnes and Henson said in their statements they planned to continue working to complete their undergraduate degrees.

Rick Bonnell of the Raleigh News & Observer predicts how all four will stack up in the upcoming NBA draft.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

N.C. State: They're Lovin' It!

As previously noted, the much improved N.C. State team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen under the guidance of first-year head coach Mark Gottfried stands to be even more improved next season when they welcome three McDonald’s All Americans to Raleigh.  All three are from North Carolina.

The game was last night in Chicago and the West won 106-102. All three N.C. State recruits played for the East, and for a review of their game, click here

Shabazz Muhammad led all scorers 21 points, while Duke recruit Rasheed Sulaimon added 18 on 4 of 8 shooting from behind the arc.  

Muhammad, who won the MVP award, is still weighing his college choices. He is considering Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UNLV and UCLA. 

Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren are committed to the Wolfpack while point guard Marcus Paige is headed to Chapel Hill. 
Rasheed Sulaimon #35 of the West team (Duke) shoots under pressure from Perry Ellis #34 of the East team (Kansas) during the 2012 McDonald's All American Game at United Center on March 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Tyler Lewis #12 of the East (N.C. State) team lays in a shot during the 2012 McDonald's All American Game. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Quotes Of The Day

"Sorry, Coach Knight, that was my idiot son."

George Laettner explaining who had hung up on the Hall of Fame coach.  Christian Laettner thought it was a neighbor who prank called saying, “Hi, this is Robert Knight from Indiana University."

Then when Laettner eventually chose Duke over North Carolina and Virginia, Laettner’s mother, Bonnie, burst into tears.  

"Why are you crying?" said Laettner, baffled by his mother's reaction. This was supposed to be one of the best moments of his life -- he was going to Duke on a full scholarship. Duke! -- and his mother was inconsolable.

"Because I love Dean Smith," she whimpered.

This and more, from Gene Wojciechowski’s book THE LAST GREAT GAME: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds that Changed Basketball.

To read an excerpt, click here

Laettner and some of his former teammates are in financial trouble over some failed real estate development projects in Durham and other areas.  Reports say they could owe as much as $30 million

Laettner is currently an assistant coach for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBDL.

Pictures Of The Day

N.C. State student Victor Wassack participates in the stock saw event of the Stihl Timbersports Series Lumberjack Competition Southern Qualifier in the student division. About a dozen colleges from across the southeast competed in the student division. He won this event and tied for first in the total competition.  So they got that goin’ for them.  Last year, Wassack came in second.  The student from UNC refused to compete saying the sawed wood was a wasted precious natural resource likely to only benefit the 1%, and the kid from Duke couldn't start the chain saw after explaining to onlookers exactly how it worked. (C. Seward/Raleigh News & Observer)
Daniel Fox of Australia tees off on day one of the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am at The Hills Golf Club on March 29, 2012 in Queenstown, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins, right, talks to Anthony Brown during the Pac-12 conference championship in L.A.  The 48-year-old former Duke star and assistant coach has guided the Cardinal to the N.I.T. Finals tonight against Minnesota. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo)
Bayern Munich's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (C) jumps for a save next to Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben (L) during the UEFA Champions League quarter final football match Marseille vs. Bayern Munich on March 28, 2012 at the VĂ©lodrome stadium in Marseille. (Gerard Julien/AFP Photo)
Nothing says "great save!" like setting yourself and your fellow BayernMunich supporters ON FIRE during the Marseille vs. Bayern Munich on March 28, 2012 at the VĂ©lodrome stadium in Marseille.  (Gerard Julien/AFP Photo)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald's Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway last week in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Shalamiyr ridden by B.J. Poste clears the open ditch hurdle during the Bitterley Point-To-Point Steeplechase at Ludlow racecourse in England.  (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Duke And Maryland Eliminated from NCAA Tournament

DIGGINS (Gerry Broome/AP Photo)
Alyssa Thomas scored 17 points and Tianna Hawkins and Alicia DeVaughn added 10 apiece for Maryland, but the Terrapins fell to top-seeded Notre Dame 80-49 Tuesday night in the Regional Final of the Raleigh Region.

After rallying from 18 points to beat reigning national champion Texas A&M two days earlier in the regional semifinal, the Terps (31-5) finally slipped into a deficit they couldn't escape. The loss ended the careers of seniors Anjale Barrett, Lynetta Kizer and Kim Rodgers.

After the game was tied four minutes in, the Irish (34-3) broke things open midway through the first half, holding the Terps without a field goal for roughly 5 1/2 minutes during a 26-7 run that pushed their lead into double figures. They led 40-21 at the break.

Notre Dame was led by Sklar Diggins with 22 points.

The night before, Duke lost to Stanford 81-69.  Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 29 points and nine rebounds Monday night despite constant double-teams, sending top-seeded Stanford to their fifth straight Final Four berth.

THOMAS (Gerry Broome/AP Photos)
Little sister, Chiney, did plenty to seal the Denver trip, too - along with everybody else. Chiney Ogwumike grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 12 points and freshman Amber Orrange came through with 13 points and four assists as the Cardinal extended their school-record winning streak to 32 games.

Chelsea Gray had 23 points, four rebounds and four assists and Shay Selby scored 11 in her final college game for Duke (27-6).

Baylor and UConn are the other two teams in the women’s Final Four.

Off Season Crime Update: Miami CB Removed From Team

Already suspended once during spring practice for violating team rules, Miami cornerback Keion Payne has now been booted from the team because of similar undisclosed circumstances.

Miami associate athletic director for communications, Chris Freet, confirmed Friday that Payne was no longer with the team and expects the soon-to-be sophomore to transfer.

Payne was suspended earlier this month for a few days along with tackle Seantrel Henderson and linebacker Kelvin Cain for unspecified reasons.

The cornerback was one of six Hurricane players said to be suspended for the opening game of the 2011 season, with two separate reports pointing to academics and rules violations as the source of the suspension.

Payne appeared in two games last season and did not record any stats.

Georgia Tech’s Leading Tackler Out For Year, Maybe Forever

According to ESPN, Georgia Tech linebacker Julian Burnett, the Yellow Jackets' leading tackler in each of the last two seasons, is likely to miss the 2012 season with a neck injury, which may up ending his football career.
BURNETT #40 (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
"He's probably not going to play," Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson told reporters after his team's first practice of the spring on Monday. "I'm sure it's really tough on him. He loves football. He's a heck of a competitor and a great football player, but there are bigger things in life than football. You have to be safe."

Burnett, from Macon, Ga., was injured in the Yellow Jackets' 30-27 loss in overtime to Utah in the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl. He led the Yellow Jackets with 120 tackles last season and had 9½ tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. He also led Tech with 89 tackles in eight starts in 2010.
Burnett, a second team All-ACC selection in 2011, was a team captain last season.

Johnson told reporters Burnett would be placed on a medical scholarship, making him ineligible to play this coming season, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Scott Cunningham

Quote Of The Day

On the subject of allowing NCAA football teams to scrimmage one another during spring practice, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinnery said, “Personally, I think it would be a good thing for college football to do.  College football takes in a lot of money. I think it would be an opportunity to give something back to your school or a charity."
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)
“The other side of it is this: We’re already doing it in basketball. Our basketball teams play other teams but it’s closed, so nobody knows about it. For example, Clemson plays Georgia in basketball every year. But it’s a closed scrimmage. You know, nobody can be in there except the two teams…”

Clemson has its annual spring game vs. Clemson on April 14, and expects a crowd of more than 30,000 fans. What if that scrimmage was against the SEC East champions located only 75 miles away? 

“If it was Georgia, we’d certainly fill it up,” Swinney said. “It would be like that for Clemson and a Georgia, or whomever it may be, in a scrimmage situation. It would probably be like that at many other spring scrimmages between teams in the Southeast region.”

Things That Make You Go...


So one of Keith Richard’s daughters is a pro golfer and he’s her caddie? What?

…Oh…that’s not Keith, that’s David Hull and his daughter Charley Hull.  Huh?
(David Cannon/Getty Images)
Hull is a British golf phenom who was excluded from the Curtis Cup team when she skipped a trial to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major of the season.

The sixteen-year-old was put back on the team after official realized that the The British Isles squad hadn't won the completion, which every two years pits female amateur players from the United States and Great Britain against each other in a Ryder Cup style format, since 1996.

The event occurs at the Nairn Golf Club in Scotland in early June.

Our crack T.A.H. Research Department SWORE that was Keith Richards.


Pictures Of The Day

For reasons unknown to us, MLB decided to start their regular season in Japan. Here is a little bit of the pre-game festivities prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 28, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
Jeremy Prevost of Rance gets airborne during the Ski Xtreme Verbeir contest on the Bec ded Rosses Mountain in Verbier, Switzerland. (Loivier Maire/EPA)
Dayton’s Mell Skochdopole jumps into a mob of teammates after hitting a walk off grand slam against St. Bonaventure’s Jason Radwan (foreground). (Erik Schelkun/Elsestar Images)
Supporters dressed like chickens cheer the pack during the 6th stage of Catalonia’s Raza de Bicicleta de Actuadores y de Tricksters between Sant Fruitos de Bages and Badalona, Spain. Just down the road supporters dressed like steroids also cheered the same pack. (Toni Albir/EFE/

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It’s Official: Austin Rivers Leaving Duke, Williams To Start Process

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
For those UNC fans wondering if the sun was going to come up on Monday morning after the Tar Heels were eliminated from the NCAA tournament, not only did it come up on Monday, but it also showed up on Tuesday with news that Duke guard Austin Rivers is leaving Durham for the NBA.

The freshman guard announced his decision and plans to hire an agent on Monday after team officials said he spent the weekend discussing his future plans with his family at their home outside Orlando, Fla.

The son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers averaged a team-leading 15.5 points and was a unanimous selection as the ACC’s rookie of the year. He’s just the third Duke freshman to lead the team in scoring after Johnny Dawkins in 1983 and Bill Sapp in 1945.

“Austin had a terrific year as a freshman and has put himself in a position to pursue his dream of being a great player in the NBA,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, adding that he supports the decision. “We look forward to watching him continue to develop and excel at the next level.”

MAGETTE (Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
The top highlight of Rivers’ only college season was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer last month that gave Duke an 85-84 victory at North Carolina. He scored a season-high 29 points in that game.

He’s the fourth player to leave Duke after one season and the second one-and-done guard in two years after Cleveland made Kyrie Irving the No. 1 overall pick of last year’s draft. The others are Corey Maggette in 1999 and Luol Deng in 2004.

Prior to the official announcement, Doc Rivers, speaking to reporters in Charlotte before the Celtics’ game against the Bobcats on Monday night said, “Listen, going to the NBA if you’re going to get drafted in the first round, that’s good. Going back to Duke, that’s good. So I don’t know if you have a bad choice.”

Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, head coach Roy Williams said he would likely begin having initial discussions about the NBA with his underclassmen later this week.

“I don’t think anyone’s thinking that far,” Harrison Barnes said. “We all had expectations of going to New Orleans and now that’s cut short.”

DENG (Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images)
(Editor’s note: While we would encourage all of these young men to “take the money,” having just been to an NBA game where we were very close to the action, it is abundantly clear that none of the underclassmen players in question are ready to play effectively in the NBA.  Yes, Rivers, Barnes, Marshall and Henson will get drafted (as would McAdoo) -- perhaps all in the first round depending on what other players are available in the draft -- but none of them is physically or mentally ready to play in a league where they very clearly will be boys among men...While Henson may develop more physically next year, his game is relatively sophisticated for a player of his size.  Barnes may simply never be the player he was hyped to be coming out of high school settling for very good as opposed to great, and Marshall could surely use another year to develop his offensive skills as Ty Lawson did so effectively in the 2008-09 championship season.  Question is, could these players make more rookie money by improving their position in the 2013 draft with a productive season next year?  The answer is, like so many other things, who knows?) 

The AP All-American Team And The NBA Draft

(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall were the only two ACC players to be named to the AP All-American team announced late last week.  Zeller, a senior, was named to the second team while injured sophomore point guard Marshall was named to the third team.

The first team was Anthony Davis of Kentucky, Draymond Green of Michigan State, Doug McDermott of Creighton, Thomas Robinson of Kansas and Jared Sullinger of Ohio State.
In terms of NBA value, it’s hard to evaluate how All-America status, or lack thereof, will impact the likes of Harrison Barnes or John Henson.  Barnes was AP honorable mention and third team on the Sporting News’ team.

In 2009, the last time the Tar Heels one the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship sending four players to the NBA via the first round of the draft, Tyler Hansbrough was first team AP and consensus All-American and Ty Lawson was  second team.  Wayne Ellington and Danny Green were not mentioned.

PSYCHO T (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Hasbrough, the NCAA player of the year as a junior, was chosen 13th, Lawson 18th, Ellington 28th and Green 46th.

In 2005, Sean May was second team AP and Raymond Felton was third team.  Rashad McCants was third team on the squad chosen by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Based on his potential then freshman Marvin Williams was first Tar Heel chosen at #2 in the 2005 NBA draft.  Raymond Felton went 5th, May 13th and McCants 14th.

Felton’s career averages are 34.8 minutes played per game with 6.7 assists and 13.4 points, while Williams averages 30.5 minutes, 5 rebounds and 11.5 points.

In the NBA, from the 2009 Tar Heels, Hansbrough averages 21 minutes per game, 10 points and almost 5 rebounds), Ellington (18 minutes, 6.4 points), Lawson (26.3 mins, 11.4 points and 4.6 assists) and Green (19 mins, 6.5 points).

IRVING (Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Last year, Duke’s Kyrie Irving was injured a good part of the season while Nolan Smith was making first team consensus All-American and Kyle Irving was named to several second teams. 

Irving was the first player taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith went to Portland at #21 and Singler went to Detroit at #33.  

Evidently, Irving is the real deal averaging 31 minutes, 5 assists and 18.8 points a game as a rookie.  Smith is riding the pine getting just 8.4 minutes per game and 2.8 points while Singler is playing professional ball in Spain.

UAB hires UNC assistant Jerod Haase

The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), which went to seven straight NCAA tournament appearances during Gene Bartow’s tenure during the 1990’s, have hired North Carolina assistant Jerod Haase as the Blazers new head coach.

Haase will replace former Indiana coach Mike Davis who was fired after making the NCAA tournament once in six seasons.  He took the Hoosiers to the NCAA finals.
Haase, who turns 38 on April 1, has worked under UNC coach Roy Williams for 13 seasons at North Carolina and Kansas, where he starred as a player and graduated in 1997.

As a coach, Haase helped the Tar Heels win national championships in 2005 and 2009. He played for Williams at Kansas on teams that won three consecutive conference titles, finishing among the school’s Top 10 in assists, 3-pointers and steals.

Haase started 99 of 101 games during his career, averaging 12.5 points per game, after playing for a season at California and starting alongside Jason Kidd.

Williams brought Haase with him to North Carolina as an assistant coach and director of operations.

Zeller On Wooden All-America Team

(Mike Erhmann/Getty Images)
Tyler Zeller of North Carolina has been named to the John R. Wooden Award All -American team.  Other notable bigs on the squad include Anthony Davis of Kentucky, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Thomas Robinson of Kansas.

The Wooden All-American team was announced Monday. The others members are Isaiah Canaan of Murray State, Jae Crowder of Marquette, Marcus Denmon of Missouri, Draymond Green of Michigan State, Kevin Jones of West Virginia, and Doug McDermott of Creighton.

All 10 members of the team have maintained at least a cumulative 2.0 grade point average and are making progress toward graduation, two components of the award that were insisted upon by the late UCLA coach, whose name is on the award.

Things That Make You Go...

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Quarterback Tim Tebow addresses the media as he is introduced as a New York Jet at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on March 26, 2012 in Florham Park, New Jersey. 

Tebow, traded from the Denver Broncos last week, will be the team's backup quarterback according to Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, started 11 games in 2011 for Denver and finished with a 7-4 record as a starter. He led the Broncos to a playoff overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round before eventually losing to the New England Patriots in the next round. 

But, New York, a city crammed packed with...well...New Yorkers...and the biggest media market, a coach who cusses a blue streak and one of the most dysfunctional locker rooms in the NFL, really?


Basketball Season Is Almost Over

Deal with it as best you can.
(Valery Hache/AFP Photos)
Here, Luxembourg's Fleur Maxwell performs in the Ladies Free Skating preliminary round program during the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, France.

The scouting report says she’s a good passer and a decent defender, but she needs a lot of work on her outside shot. 

Pictures Of The Day

Tillman rides his skateboard prior to the start of the NASCAR Auto Club 400 in Fontana, CA.  (Paul Hebert/Icon/SMI)
Evidently, they are still playing football at Penn State.  (Pat Little/Reuters)

Monday, March 26, 2012

“Just Disbelief”

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
“Just disbelief. We had a position, got an opportunity to win that game. And we didn’t come through. I missed a lot of shots I usually make. And big-time players come through in big-time games. And it just wasn’t there tonight.”

Harrison Barnes, when asked after sitting in front of his locker with a towel over his head for 17 minutes after the loss to Kansas, on what he was thinking about all that time…

Barnes wasn’t alone in missing shots. The Heels began the game by making 11 of their first 13 shots from the field. But after the hot start, they only made 17 of their final 51 shots (33.3 percent). 

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda...

Quote Of The Day

“I mean, I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t know. You know, they sagged the big man off and they were kind of playing a zone. That’s why we’re sitting here right now – we never could figure it out.” 
(Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
North Carolina junior John Henson, who finished with 10 points and four rebounds, on Kansas’ second half triangle and two defense that stymied the Tar Heels.

For 36 minutes, the two teams played a tense, back-and-forth game that seemed destined to be decided in the final seconds. But Kansas changed its defense, confused North Carolina and closed the game on a decisive 12-0 run that sucked all the drama out of a Tar Heel attempt to make it to New Orleans without Kendall Marshall.

In the final 8½ minutes, Carolina didn’t make a single field goal off its set offense. There was a putback by Tyler Zeller and a free throw by Harrison Barnes, but nothing from a standard offensive possession. 

The Heels were shut out for the final 3:57.


Stat Of The Day

(David Klutho/Sports Illustrated)
According to ESPN, Kansas scored 18 transition points Sunday, its most in a game during the 2012 NCAA tournament.

The Jayhawks were able to create transition opportunities off of North Carolina turnovers. The Tar Heels had 10 turnovers Sunday, leading directly to nine transition plays and 11 transition points for Kansas. 

Tyshawn Taylor finished with nine of the Jayhawks' 18 transition points.

Another place where Kendall Marshall's absence was noticeable...

Now, That’s Not Nice...

(Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)

More Pictures Of The Game

Ol’ Roy and Stillman White.  (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
UNC's John Henson (31) and Tyler Zeller (44) defend the basket against Kansas' Thomas Robinson. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
UNC's Tyler Zeller (44), Stilman White (11) and coach Roy Williams take their seats for the post game press conference. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
UNC's John Henson (31) drives to the basket as Kansas's Elijah Johnson (15) defends in the first half. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
Tyshawn Taylor #10 and Thomas Robinson #0 (R of Taylor) of the Kansas Jayhawks gesture the number four for their upcoming trip to the Final Four after they won the Midwest Regional Final. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
James Michael McAdoo dunks in the first half. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Thomas Robinson #0 dunks in the first half against Reggie Bullock. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Kansas head coach Bill Self cuts down a piece of the net. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with his players after receiving the trophy. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Harrison Barnes. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Tyler Zeller, pictured here, and fellow senior Justin Watts had a chance to become the first UNC players to win two National Championships.  They were both freshman on the 2009 team.  (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The walking man...Thomas Robinson got away with at least three extra steps that led to seven points.  The officials weren’t having their best game as they never seemed to have the charge/block equation sorted out regardless of which team had the ball.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Desmond Hubert, Justin Watts, P.J. Hairston and John Henson.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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