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FSU’s Winston, Maryland’s Thomas voted ACC Athletes of the Year

Duke's Celine Boutier.

Duke’s Celine Boutier.

Florida State football Heisman Trophy winner and baseball pitcher Jameis Winston joins Maryland women’s basketball All-American Alyssa Thomas as the top male and female ACC athletes for the 2013-14 academic year, as voted upon the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).

Duke golf All-American Celine Boutier, who got my vote, came in third for top female ACC athlete. She won two national player of the year awards. Basketball is a higher profile sport so it was going to be hard to unseat Thomas.

Winston, who quarterbacked Florida State to the 2013 national football championship and played a key role as a reliever on the Seminoles’ nationally-ranked baseball team, earned the 61st Anthony J. McKevlin Award as the conference’s premier male athlete.

Thomas claimed the 24th Mary Garber Award as the conference’s finest female athlete after becoming the second player in conference history to be voted the ACC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year for a third straight season and leading the Terrapins to the 2014 NCAA Final Four.

The awards are given in memory of distinguished journalists from the region. McKevlin was a sports editor in Raleigh, N.C., and Garber, of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, was a pioneer as one of the first female sports journalists in the nation.

Winston, of Bessmer, Alabama, became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy (19 years, 342 days) and just the second freshman to receive the honor. A dazzling playmaker, he led the Seminoles to a 14-0 record and engineered the game-winning drive in a 34-31 win over Auburn in the 2013 VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.

Named the offensive MVP of the national title game, Winston also received the Davey O’Brien Award and the Manning Award as the nation’s best quarterback. The overall ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year, Winston shattered the ACC record, Florida State record and national freshman record for touchdown passes (40) and broke the national freshman record for passing yards (4,057). He led the nation and set the ACC record for pass efficiency rating at 184.8.

Winston was a consensus All-America selection, the 2013 Walter Camp Player of the Year and an All-ACC Academic Team member.

On the baseball diamond, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Winston made 24 relief appearances and led the Seminoles in saves with seven while posting a 1-0 record and 1.08 ERA. He struck out 31 batters while walking just seven allowing 18 hits in 33.1 innings pitched.

Winston was the choice of 22 of the 41 ACSMA voters casting ballots for the McKevlin Award. Pitt football All-America tackle Aaron Donald placed second with four votes.

Maryland’s Thomas led her team in scoring with 19.0 points per game and in rebounding with 10.9 per contest as the Terrapins posted a 28-7 record. In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Thomas passed Juan Dixon as Maryland’s all-time leading basketball scorer (male or female). She ended her career with 2,356 career points and as the school’s leading career rebounder with 1,235.

A consensus All-American, the 6-foot 2 Thomas led the ACC with 28 double-doubles in 35 games played in 2013-14 and led the nation with four triple-doubles. She is one of just three players in NCAA history with six or more triple-doubles in her career. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, native also ranked fifth among ACC players in assists (4.1 per game) and shot 51.3 percent from the floor.

In April, Thomas was selected fourth overall by the New York Liberty in the WNBA draft and traded to the Connecticut Sun minutes later in a blockbuster deal.

Thomas received 15 votes in the Garber Award balloting. Virginia soccer All-American Morgan Brian placed second with 10 votes, and Duke golf All-American Celine Boutier was named on eight ballots.


Nine ACC players, including four from the Triangle, selected in NBA draft

Led by Duke’s Jabari Parker, the second overall selection by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlantic Coast Conference had nine players chosen in the 2014 NBA draft, including five first-round selections. The ACC and the Pac-12 tied for the most players selected, while the Big Ten was third with seven players, followed by the SEC (6) and the Big 12 (5). For the third time in five years, seven ACC schools […]

Led by Duke’s Jabari Parker, the second overall selection by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlantic Coast Conference had nine players chosen in the 2014 NBA draft, including five first-round selections. The ACC and the Pac-12 tied for the most players selected, while the Big Ten was third with seven players, followed by the SEC (6) and the Big 12 (5).

For the third time in five years, seven ACC schools had at least one player drafted, with Duke and Syracuse leading the way with two selections apiece. Clemson, North Carolina, NC State, Pittsburgh and Virginia each had one player drafted.

The nine selections are the most by the ACC since 2010, when they also had nine players drafted.

With its five first-round selections, the ACC is the only conference to have had at least four first-round picks in each of the past six NBA drafts (2009-2014). The ACC also extended its streak of having at least one first-round selection to 26 consecutive years (1989-2014).

Over the past six years (2009-2014), the ACC leads all conferences with 32 first round drafts picks; the Pac-12 and the Big 12 are tied for second with 22 first round selections, followed by the Big East (21), SEC (20) and the Big Ten (14).

Over the past nine years (2006-2014), the ACC has accounted for 18 percent (52 of 294) of the college players selected in the first round.

With Milwaukee’s pick of Parker as the second overall selection, the ACC has had at least one lottery pick in six straight drafts. The ACC has had 12 lottery picks over the last six years.

1st Round

Jabari Parker, forward Duke

1st Round/2nd overall by Milwaukee Bucks

The first Duke player ever selected by Milwaukee, Parker is the sixth Blue Devil over the past four years to be selected in the first round, and 34th overall … the 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year is the eighth ACC player selected in the first round by the Bucks and the first since North Carolina’s John Henson in 2012 …the USBWA National Freshman of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-America selection, Parker became the 12th freshman in ACC history to lead his team in both scoring (19.1) and rebounding (8.7) … a first-team All-ACC selection, his 19.1 points per game were the fourth-highest by a freshman in league annals, while his 18 20-point games were second.

T.J. Warren, forward, NC State

1st Round/14th overall by the Phoenix Suns

The 2014 ACC Player of the Year, Warren is the 16th NC State player to be selected in the first round and the first since J.J. Hickson was picked 19th overall by Cleveland in 2008 … Phoenix has selected an ACC player in the first round in each of the past three years (Alex Len, Maryland, 2013; Kendall Marshall, North Carolina, 2012) and 12 times overall … Warren is the highest NC State player selected (14th overall) since Todd Fuller was the 11th overall pick by Golden State in 1996 … as a sophomore in 2014, Warren set an ACC single-season record with 31 games of 20 or more points en route to leading the ACC and finishing fourth nationally in scoring (24.9) … Warren became only the third player in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and field goal percentage (.525) in the same season.

Tyler Ennis, guard, Syracuse

1st Round/18th overall by the Phoenix Suns

Ennis is the fourth Syracuse player over the past three years to selected in the first round, and the 21st overall … Ennis is the second ACC player (T.J. Warren, NC State) selected by the Suns in the first round of the 2014 draft … the Suns have now drafted four ACC players in the first round over the past three years, and 13 times overall … the selections of Warren and Ennis mark the first time an NBA team has selected two ACC players in the first round since Minnesota drafted North Carolina’s Ty Lawson (18th) and Wayne Ellington (28th) in 2009 … a consensus first-team Freshman All-American after averaging 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game … averaged 17.6 points over his last seven games … a five-time ACC Freshman of the Week selection, Ennis was the first freshman to lead the ACC in both assists (5.5) and steals (2.1).

Rodney Hood, forward, Duke

1st Round/23rd overall by the Utah Jazz

Hood is the seventh Blue Devil over the past four years to be selected in the first round, and 35th overall … the selection of Parker and Hood marks the third time in the past four years and seventh time overall that Duke has had at least two players selected in the first round … Hood is the first ACC player drafted in the first round by Utah since NC State’s Cedric Simmons (18th) in 2006 … a second-team All-ACC selection this past season as a sophomore after averaging 16.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game … led the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage (.420), was fourth in field goal percentage (.464) and ninth in free throw accuracy (.807).

P.J. Hairston, guard, North Carolina

1st Round/26th overall by the Miami Heat

Miami’s selection of Hairston marks the third-straight year that North Carolina has had a first-round selection … the Tar Heels have at least one player selected in seven of the last nine years and lead all ACC schools with 46 first round draft picks … Hairston is the 15th Tar Heel to play for head coach Roy Williams and be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft … only the second ACC player ever drafted by the Heat (Matt Geiger, Georgia Tech, 1992), Hairston did not play at North Carolina during the 2014 season … led the Tar Heels in scoring (14.6) and was third rebounding (4.3) as a sophomore in 2013 … averaged 21.8 points and 3.5 rebounds for the NBA D-League’s Texas Legends last season.

2nd Round

K.J. McDaniels, forward, Clemson

2nd Round/32nd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers

The 2014 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, McDaniels is the first Clemson player drafted since Trevor Booker (Minnesota) in 2010, and the 27th overall … McDaniels is the first Clemson player selected by the 76ers since Sharon Wright in 1994 … a first-team All-ACC selection in 2014 after leading the team in scoring (17.1), rebounding (7.1), blocks (100), steals (41) and 3-pointers (42) … only the second player to lead the ACC in all five of those categories since Wake Forest’s Josh Howard did so in 2003.

Joe Harris, guard, Virginia

2nd Round/33rd overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers

The seventh ACC player selected in the 2014 NBA Draft … Harris is Virginia’s second NBA draft pick in the past three years (Mike Scott, Atlanta, 2012) … a second-team All-ACC selection by the coaches after earning first-team honors in 2013 … started all 37 games for the Cavaliers in 2014 and was second on the team in scoring (12.0) and third in assists (2.3) … named the ACC Tournament MVP honors after scoring 47 points in three games and leading Virginia to their first ACC title since 1976.

Jerami Grant, forward, Syracuse

2nd Round/39th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers

The eighth ACC player selected in the 2014 NBA draft … Grant is the 10th Syracuse player to be drafted over the past eight years … the Orange have had at least two players drafted in three of the last five years … led Syracuse and was 12th in the ACC in rebounding (6.8) … averaged 12.1 points per game and shot .496 from the floor.

Lamar Patterson, guard, Pittsburgh

2nd Round/48th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks

With Patterson’s selection, Pittsburgh has now had players chosen in the NBA draft in back-to-back years for the first time since 1980-1981 … earned second-team All-ACC honors as a senior, leading the Panthers to 26-10 record and an NCAA Tournament berth … was the only player to finish in the top 5 in the ACC in both scoring (17.1) and assists (4.3) … was also eighth in field goal percentage (.441), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.388) and ninth in steals (1.4).


Duke’s Wolf leads 12 area players on All-ACC lacrosse academic team

Jordan Wolf.

Jordan Wolf.

Duke senior Jordan Wolf has been named the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and headlines the All-ACC Academic Men’s Lacrosse Team, as announced Tuesday by Commissioner John Swofford.

A history major, Wolf was named the Most Outstanding Player of NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship after involving himself in Duke’s final five goals of the national championship game against Notre Dame to give the Blue Devils its second consecutive NCAA title and third in the last five years. Wolf also garnered ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors, and led the league in scoring with 103 points on 64 goals and 39 assists. The Wynnewood, Pa., native was a Tewaaraton Award finalist and named a first team All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Wolf, who earned his fourth career ACC academic honor, is the third straight Blue Devil to be named the ACC men’s lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and fourth overall. He is preceded by Blue Devils Brendan Fowler in 2013, CJ Constabile in 2012 and Max Quinzani in 2010.

All six of the league’s men’s lacrosse programs are represented on the All-ACC Academic Team, led by Duke with seven selections. Notre Dame followed with six student-athletes on team, while North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia each placed five on the team and Maryland with four.

Duke’s Christian Walsh joined Wolf as a four-time All-ACC Academic honoree, while teammate Chris Hipps, North Carolina’s Jake Bailey and Joey Sankey, and Virginia’s Robert Emery and Owen Van Arsdale are all three-time selections.

The ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards were established in September 2007 to be awarded annually to the top junior or senior student-athlete in their respective sports. Candidates for the awards must have maintained a 3.0 grade point average for their career as well as a 3.0 for each of the last two semesters.

To be eligible for consideration for the All-ACC Academic Team, a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career.

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jordan Wolf, Duke

2014 All-ACC Academic Men’s Lacrosse Team

Jordan Wolf (4) Sr. Duke
Deemer Class (2) So. Duke
Brendan Fowler (2) Sr. Duke
Casey Carroll GS Duke
Christian Walsh (4) Sr. Duke
Will Haus Jr. Duke
Chris Hipps (3) Sr. Duke
Connor Cannizzaro Fr. Maryland
Matthew Dunn (2) So. Maryland
Michael Ikeda Jr. Maryland
Henry West So. Maryland
Jake Bailey (3) Jr. North Carolina
Jimmy Bitter (2) Jr. North Carolina
Ryan Creighton (2) Sr. North Carolina
Joey Sankey (3) Jr. North Carolina
Shane Simpson Fr. North Carolina
Douglas Hopkins Sr. Notre Dame
James Marlatt Sr. Notre Dame
Liam O’Connor Sr. Notre Dame
Stephen O’Hara Sr. Notre Dame
Sergio Perkovic Fr. Notre Dame
John Scioscia Sr. Notre Dame
Peter Macartney R-Jr. Syracuse
Derek Maltz Sr. Syracuse
Brandon Mullins R-So. Syracuse
Kevin Rice Jr. Syracuse
Billy Ward Sr. Syracuse
Robert Emery (3) Sr. Virginia
Chris LaPierre GS Virginia
Joseph Lisicky GS Virginia
Ryan Tucker (2) Jr. Virginia
Owen Van Arsdale (3) Sr. Virginia

(#) – Career All-ACC Academic Honors


Suiter, a good guy, inducted into the NC Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Tom Suiter.

Tom Suiter.

Long-time WRAL sports reporter and anchor Tom Suiter has been inducted into the NC Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Suiter, originally from Rocky Mount (his dad was a well-respected local doctor), made a name for himself at WRAL as a sports reporter, working his way up to anchor. After retirement, he continued his popular Football Friday high school highlights show.

Suiter, who was elected to the NC High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, shows just as much interest in and enthusiasm for high school sports, maybe more so, than he does ACC and professional sports. He mentored many aspiring journalists over the years and has been helpful to many fellow journalists.

I’ve always found him to be good-humored, appreciative of his upbringing and respectful to every one.

To read more about his induction, please click here.

To read more about his commitment to high school sports, please click here.


NC State’s Marchand leads All-ACC academic golf team

Brittany Marchand.

Brittany Marchand.

Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year Brittany Marchand of NC State heads up the 2014 All-ACC Academic Team, as announced today by Commissioner John Swofford.

Marchand, a senior chemical engineering major, is a four-time All-ACC Academic member and a three-time All-ACC team honoree. The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada senior was named as an honorable mention All-American by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) after leading the Wolfpack to third place at the 2014 ACC Championship and a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Championship. Named to GolfWorld’s preseason Top 50 Golfers to Watch, Marchand ranked second on the team and eighth in the ACC with a 73.5 scoring average and had a team-high four top-10 finishes among her six top-20 performances.

Six golfers who earned All-ACC honors this season secured spots on the academic honors team: Marchand, Clemson’s Sloan Shanahan, Duke’s Laetitia Beck and Celine Boutier, Florida State’s Alex Milan and Miami’s Daniella Darquea.

In addition to Marchand, three other golfers – Duke’s Laetitia Beck and Alejandra Cangrejo and Wake Forest’s Olafia Kristinsdottir – are four-time academic honorees.

Earning all-academic recognition for a third time are Boston College’s Katina Joo, Florida State’s Laure Castelain, Maryland’s Emily Gimpel, North Carolina’s Katherine Perry, NC State’s Ana Menendez, Virginia’s Elizabeth Brightwell and Wake Forest’s Marissa Dodd.

All 11 ACC schools that compete in women’s golf are represented on this year’s academic team. Duke, Notre Dame, Miami and Wake Forest lead the way with four honorees each. Clemson, Florida State claimed three players apiece while Boston College, North Carolina and NC State each placed two players. Maryland and Virginia landed one player each to complete the team.

The ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award was established in September 2007 to be awarded annually to the top junior or senior student-athlete in their respective sports. Candidates for the award must have maintained a 3.0 grade point average for their career as well as a 3.0 for each of the last two semesters.

To be eligible for consideration for the All-ACC Academic team, a student-athlete, regardless of classification, must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during her academic career.

The 2014 All-ACC Academic Women’s Golf team is as follows:

Katina Joo, Jr., Boston College Finance & Marketing
Cristina McQuiston, Jr., Boston College Marketing
Lauren Salazar, So., Clemson Marketing/Financial Management
Sloan Shanahan, Fr., Clemson Pre-Business
McKenzie Talbert, Fr., Clemson Communications
Laetitia Beck, Sr., Duke Psychology
Celine Boutier, So., Duke Psychology
Alejandra Cangrejo, Sr., Duke Psychology
Sandy Choi, Fr., Duke Undeclared
Laure Castelain, Jr., Florida State Finance
Carlton Kuhlo, Jr., Florida State Marketing
Alex Milan, Jr., Florida State Finance
Emily Gimpel, Sr., Maryland Kinesiology
Delfina Acosta, Fr., Miami Sport Administration
Daniella Darquea, Fr., Miami Undeclared Arts & Sciences
Leticia Ras-Anderica, Jr., Miami Painting
Kailey Walsh, So., Miami Communication Studies
Jackie Chang, Sr., North Carolina Global Studies/Anthropology
Katherine Perry, Sr., North Carolina Exercise and Sport Science/Psychology
Brittany Marchand, Sr., NC State Chemical Engineering
Ana Menendez, Sr., NC State Business Administration
Ashley Armstrong, Jr., Notre Dame Mechanical Engineering
Talia Campbell, So., Notre Dame Finance
Jordan Ferreira, Fr., Notre Dame Science Preprofessional
Kristina Nhim, Sr., Notre Dame Accountancy
Elizabeth Brightwell, Sr., Virginia Public Policy
Marissa Dodd, Jr., Wake Forest Math
Elizabeth Doty, So., Wake Forest Undeclared
Allison Emery, Jr., Wake Forest Computer Science
Olafia Kristinsdottir, Sr., Wake Forest Economics


Red Wings assistant named Hurricanes head coach

Bill Peters.

Bill Peters.

Bill Peters, assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings, has been named the Carolina Hurricanes’ head coach. Peters will be the 13th man to serve as head coach for the franchise, and the fourth since the team’s arrival in North Carolina.

GM Ron Francis will introduce Peters during a news conference on Friday at noon in PNC Arena’s Varsity Club, which will stream live on CarolinaHurricanes.com.

Peters, 48, has served as assistant coach for the Red Wings for the past three seasons, working primarily with Detroit’s defensemen and penalty kill units.

For more on the announcement, please click here.


U.S. Open starts with 15 golfers who played in the ACC

dukegolfbagFifteen golfers from ACC schools will tee off Thursday at the 114th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Eight different league programs will be represented at the championship.

Two of the last five U.S. Open champions played in the ACC, with Wake Forest’s Webb Simpson winning in 2012 and Clemson’s Lucas Glover in 2009. Georgia Tech’s Stewart Cink, The Open Championship winner in 2009, also has a major victory on his resume.

Florida State’s Jonas Blixt (T-2) and Georgia Tech’s Matt Kuchar (T-5) both were in contention on Sunday at the Masters in April and finished in the top five.

Seven players from current ACC schools have won the championship in the past. The group has combined for 11 U.S. Open titles and includes Clemson’s Glover, Florida State’s Hubert Green, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Jones, North Carolina’s Raymond Floyd, and Wake Forest’s Arnold Palmer, Curtis Strange, and Simpson.

Golfers from ACC Schools at the 2014 U.S. Open

Lucas Glover, Clemson
Joe Ogilvie, Duke
Kevin Streelman, Duke
Ryan Blaum, Duke
Daniel Berger, Florida State
Jonas Blixt, Florida State
Brooks Koepka, Florida State
Roberto Castro, Georgia Tech
Matt Kuchar, Georgia Tech
Stewart Cink, Georgia Tech
Garth Mulroy, NC State
Mark Wilson, North Carolina
Brendon de Jonge, Virginia Tech
Bill Haas, Wake Forest
Webb Simpson, Wake Forest


Four area baseball players – three from NCSU – make All-America teams

Trea Turner.

Trea Turner.

Six baseball student-athletes from the ACC were named All-Americans on Wednesday, collecting a total of 10 honors from Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).

Four players were named to both squads, led by NC State SS Trea Turner, who garnered two first-team honors. Virginia SP Nathan Kirby is on the Baseball America first team and the second team from the NCBWA, while both publications selected Florida State OF D.J. Stewart to the second team. North Carolina SS Michael Russell garnered two third-team accolades.

NC State C Brett Austin was named to the Baseball America third team, and Miami RP Bryan Garcia is a member of the NCBWA All-America third team.

The NCBWA’s Freshman All-America Team was announced on Monday and recognized five from the ACC, including a national best four on the first team: Maryland SP Mike Shawaryn, Miami C Zack Collins and Garcia, and NC State 3B Andrew Knizner. Maryland 2B Brandon Lowe was named to the second team.

With the two All-America teams announced Wednesday and the Louisville Slugger squad from last week, 11 different ACC players from six programs have earned national recognition, while seven more have been named to a Freshman All-America team.


Williams being pummeled in the press but some believe him

williamsinterviewIt seems that, in general, the media is believing Rashad McCants’ version of the grades/class scandal rocking the University of North Carolina, and Ole Roy – Coach Roy Williams – is being pummeled in the press.

McCants claims he was anything but a student athlete at Carolina, where he took no-show classes in African American studies to remain eligible during the team’s run to the National Championship in 2005.

“You’re not there to get an education, though they tell you that,” McCants said. “You’re there to make revenue for the college. You’re there to put fans in the seats. You’re there to bring prestige to the university by winning games.”

McCants claims that Coach Williams knew that he was taking bogus classes and that the coach even directed him to the courses to keep him academically eligible.

For his part, Coach Roy Williams says, in an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas, that he thought no-show classes meant independent study.

“I’ve been told by people that some of those (courses) are really, really good,” Coach Williams said. “It shows a lot of discipline because you’re self-directed. If my players took independent study courses that were offered by this university for a reason that the university thought they were valuable, my players, if they took those courses, did the work, and I’m proud of that part of it.”

He also denies directing McCants to any classes. Bilas, a former Duke basketball player, believes Williams.

“I find him to be credible, and I believed what he was saying,” Bilas said of Williams.

“McCants declared to go pro in the middle of that (junior) semester and was gone by the time his grades came out,” Bilas added. “So, to expect the coaching staff, somehow, to have their antenna up for that in 2005, I think, is asking a little too much, and I think the context of that time period is very important.”

The News & Observer newspaper, on the other hand, finds Williams’ comments to be “porous.” In an editorial, the N&O wrote of Williams’ comments to Bilas, “That’s a response, but not a defense. On the issue of revising the transcript, it will remain a case of conflicting accounts until new information, if any, surfaces. On the issue of sham classes, Williams would seem to be at fault if he didn’t know or if he did.”

The panelists on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters also believe McCants’ version.

“The NCAA will prosecute you for taking a cab ride or buying a kid a dinner. Where are they on this story?,” said Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News. “When you look at this whole story, where is the institutional control at the University of North Carolina? And when Roy Williams says he doesn’t remember McCants coming to him when he was failing a couple of classes and that ‘swapping out classes’ isn’t in his vocabulary, you have to take a step back and think there’s got to be an investigation at this school.”

Reporter Jackie MacMillan, getting in a liberal dig, even compared the situation to the old Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of gays in the military. “Don’t tell me what my students are doing,” she said. “I don’t want to know about their classroom. I just want their transcripts at the end of the year so I can check it off and say yes I checked and they are eligible.”

She said it’s pretty obvious something is going on at Carolina but that it’s not limited to that school.

Lupica asked, “What’s in this for Rashad McCants to make these accusations?” Well, McCants, who often brooded when he was on the bench and who was known to feud with Williams, doesn’t have a stellar reputation. Perhaps he likes the attention. Perhaps he thinks he can be a hero to a lot of people. Perhaps he has an axe to grind with Williams. Perhaps he has made himself a victim and believes these things.

Former basketball players Wes Miller, Sean May, Tyler Hansbrough, Damion Grant, Marvin Williams, Wayne Ellington, Byron Sanders, Jackie Manuel and Bobby Frasor said after the Williams interview that McCants was “a loner” on and off the court and that his allegations that they got together for study sessions and went by car to pick up papers written for them by tutors were untrue.

Who knows? The truth may lie somewhere in between the two versions.

On ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, journalist Howard Bryant said, “I am as shocked as I am that gambling is going on in this establishment,” quoting a line from the movie Casablanca.

That’s the problem. Crip classes have been around forever. Athletes are steered toward easy classes, easy majors and high-scoring professors. Even non-students go around to see posted grades to determine which classes and professors give out better grades.

The difference here is that apparently some of these African American studies classes didn’t even really exist.

Did Coach Roy Williams know? I don’t know. It seems out of character for a guy who was raised on the Carolina system and Coach Dean Smith who valued education. Bilas goes further, “I’ve known Roy Williams for a long time. I have known him not only to be a coach but a man of the highest integrity.”

John Saunders, host of The Sports Reporters, said, “I certainly have seen situations where coaches do not necessarily know what’s going on. They can’t know every minute of every day. I’m not saying it’s the right thing not to know. I’m just saying I have seen this many, many times in the past.”

Should Coach Roy Williams have known? Yes. The coaching staff needs to be closely monitoring players’ academics.

Years ago, I saw football coaches escorting players (almost by the ears) into class. Tutors worked hard with student athletes to keep them eligible. But presumably the players actually did the work.

No, we shouldn’t be surprised if it has come to this considering the dollars involved plus the natural evolution from old timey crip classes.

But the elephant in the room – and everyone is afraid to say it because it touches on the sensitive race issue – is that the very people who are complaining loudest that these athletes – who apparently are all African Americans – are not getting a proper education are the ones who would be complaining loudest if these athletes were not let into school because of their low high school grades, SATs and projected ability to do college work.

There are some students who don’t belong in college – particularly at major universities – whether they are athletes or not. Do we simply pay college athletes to play a year or two while they do their best to stay eligible or do we return to true student-athletes who can do college work? I say the latter but, if we do, expect to hear the same people yelling about racism – and the lack of opportunities for minorities – as basketball team rosters begin again to reflect the general population.


Reynolds Coliseum to get complete renovation in ’15

reynoldscoliseumThere’s an old saying “out with the old and in with the new.” But that doesn’t apply to the $35 million renovation project of storied William Neal Reynolds Coliseum. Known as “The Old Barn,” Reynolds has been a fixture near the center of the NC State campus for more than half a century.

The first major renovation of the legendary building since 1949 will keep much of the original outside appearance. However, the new look on the inside will have breath-taking features sure to appeal to alums old and new, fans and potential recruits.

“Many more intimate components and details of this high-level concept will enable a high level of experience,” reflects Michael Lipitz, Senior Associate Athletics Director.

“Getting the building up to code and installing all of the amenities such as air-conditioning, concessions, elevators and restrooms will deliver a great experience.”

Lipitz adds that extra care was taken during the design process to ensure that the exterior of the historic building maintains its original look. “There will be a new roof and windows, but the outside will look like the original Reynolds. There are only so many iconic arenas like Reynolds. Too many are falling by the wayside.”

Six decades ago, Reynolds was the basketball playground of the South. The largest arena between Atlantic City and New Orleans, it was host to the nation’s premier holiday basketball tournament — the Dixie Classic.

In addition, Reynolds was also the site of the nation’s premier post-season event – the ACC Tournament – the forerunner of today’s collegiate post-season tournaments. The storied structure housed Ice Capades, concerts, the the circus and other premier entertainment.

Four sitting U.S. Presidents, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, have addressed crowds in Reynolds, as did John F. Kennedy when he was campaigning. Public address announcer C.A. Dillon, Jr. kept rabid crowds in a frenzy for an incredible 50 years. And after the 1983 Cardiac Pack won the NCAA title, over 20,000 Wolfpackers jammed the arena when coach Jim Valvano’s national champions returned from their Cinderella triumph.

Construction on the renovation will commence in March of 2015 and the building will be vacated until the completion date — scheduled for August of 2016. The project is a combined effort of NC State Athletics and the NC State Student Aid Association – The Wolfpack Club.

Entering the original storied entrance will give Wolfpack fans the opportunity to view a completely re-modeled arena. Today’s capacity is at just over 8,000, the renovated Reynolds will seat 6,000 spectators for convocations and festivals and 5,500 for basketball. The seating, locker rooms and training rooms surrounding Kay Yow Court will be on equal footing with the nation’s top collegiate women’s facilities.

In addition to the basketball court itself, other renovations include training rooms for wrestling, volleyball, gymnastics and rifle.

“If NC State is serious about competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference and having the best basketball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics in the country, it needs a place to train, compete and recruit,” Lipitz continued. “This puts us in the game. There won’t be a place anywhere in the country like this one – the arena and environment.”

Visitors entering the entrance on the north end of the building will soon realize that while the exterior of the building is historic, the interior is state-of-the-art. The NC State Walk of Fame and History promises to be an area that stirs the hearts of all the Wolfpack faithful.

“Once a person walks into the historic North lobby, they will see the pageantry and envision what has happened at NC State athletics over the decades,” Lipitz continues.

Displays will introduce NC State athletic greats of yesteryear – players, coaches and significant contributors.

Memorabilia and memories will be on display in both physical form through artifacts and multimedia presentations. Each display will be able to be adjusted as time marches on and additional accomplishments are achieved.

NC State’s unofficial athletics historian and author Tim Peeler has been an invaluable piece in the development of the Walk of Fame and History. His search and rescue mission of NC State memorabilia has been remarkable.

“Thank goodness for Tim helping put this together,” Lipitz adds. “This has been and is a work in progress – categorizing the items and features. But in the end, we know that there will be something that everybody is proud of.”

On the west side, adjacent to the Case Athletic Center parking lot, halls will be widened and there will be a spacious new media room. Upon entering the building on the south end, fans will view the basketball court via an unobstructed, 35-foot spacious corridor outlined by concession and merchandising stands and restrooms.

With a Talley Student Union and new student bookstore operating just next door, there will be increased foot traffic along Cates Avenue. In addition to new food court options for students, the area around the historic building will be busy with student-athletes headed for team training facilities, including a sports medicine venue.

In short, Reynolds will be a place for students, alums and recruits to relive State’s athletic past and enjoy live competition in a state-of-the-art facility that should produce extraordinary benefits for years to come.

Below is a detailed view of the scope of the renovation:
• Although still designated as one of nine “hallowed spaces” on the NC State campus, Reynolds Coliseum will be renovated to become state-of-the art facility.
• With renovation, Reynolds will serve as an on-campus gathering place for large-scale student events, (e.g. convocation, graduation, keynote speaker addresses, concerts and shows) benefiting one of the nation’s leading research universities. Festival seating will be approximately 6,000.
• A Walk of Fame and History of NC State athletics will be created, including the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame. The entire history of NC State athletics will be featured with prominent athletes, coaches and contributors on display.
• The reconfigured playing arena will serve as the home for Wolfpack women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics and will seat approximately 5,500.
• The building will be air-conditioned.
• A new center-hung video board will highlight game action and secondary LED displays will enhance event and in-game experiences for participants and fans.
• A new roof will be installed as the project secures LEED Silver certification. All windows will be replaced to maintain their original appearance. New glass doors will flood light into the bowl arena.
• New concessions-merchandising points of sale, hospitality rooms, renovated restrooms and fan amenities will be included. East and West concourses will be expanded to 35 feet.
• Extensive new branding and graphics will flow through the Walk of Fame, area concourses and seating bowl.
• New offices for women’s basketball and volleyball will overlook the “Grand Hall” and Walk of Fame and History from the second floor.
• A new video control room will serve as a hub for television, video board and online productions for 23 varsity sports.

- News release