The first public scrimmage is in the books, and eerily it’s quite the same as last year’s results. Barry Jacobs at TarHeelBlue pointed out recently how similar this season has begun compared to last season, and the connections keep on coming. Last year, Carolina toppled Belmont Abbey by 48 in exhibition before the roller coaster began. This year? Barton by 41. Twilight Zoneish right? Not really. In the 2008-’09 championship season, UNC’s exhibition victory over UNC-Pembroke was 40 points. It happens every year. Now, more about that scrimage:
Justin Watts played well, even when stepping into the Four position. It appears Watts will be relied on to spell Zeller and Henson, while giving up eight and six inches to them respectively. His athleticism and strength are allowing him to step into this role. I like this development. With Watts in there playing small, he could draw his potentially (much) bigger defenders out of the lane to create space, or even to create a mismatch with his speed. Jury is still out on his driving capability, though. And as Adam Lucas points out, Watts played well in the exhibition game last year.
Harrison Barnes didn’t quite perform at a preseason AP All-America level, but hey, he’s still a freshman (human). Playing in front of thousands in the Dean Dome has got to rattle your nerves a bit. His low point total, seven, wasn’t as much of a concern as the turnovers, six, but again as Roy expressed after the game, Barnes’ work ethic is notoriously Hansbrough-esque, and this game might just have been an anomaly.
The Daily Tar Heel’s basketball preview, in all its attempting-to-remain-objective glory. Not knocking the DTH, they do a great job, but c’mon, how can they pretend they’re not UNC fans? I worked at the DTH, and I never tried to get on the sports desk for that very reason. Predictably, I started writing for a blog where I can say whatever I want. Go J-School diploma!!
Some more DTH-ness, UNC will be selling basketball tickets on StubHub this year.
Lastly, there are only four days until all is right with the world again and the argyle is flying up and down the hardwood in Chapel Hill. It’s been too long. Carolina’s opponent, Lipscomb, was so nice as to make this quick facts sheet on their team. A more comprehensive preview will be coming.
Big thanks to @TarHeelWire (Follow Friday, everyone!) for pointing out the stark, and I mean STARK, differences in two covers of the USA Today’s college hoops preview. Check out Harrison Barnes’ cover, and now Duke’s. If you did not previously know who these players were, which ones would seem more like freshmen in their picture? I thought so, too.
USA Today was full of good stuff. Here’s a special message that Nolan Smith received when he ordered something from Nordstrom. Apparently, Smith likes his online shopping, or something, but someone involved in shipping does not like him.
Sticking with the Devils, you probably saw they were voted No. 1 in the AP poll as well. But go here and vote against them!
UNC’s graduation rate among basketball and football players is much higher than the national average. And remarkably, UNC’s basketball graduation rate is higher than Duke’s.
We’ll try to keep you updated with all the interesting articles about UNC basketball that come along in segments like this. Here’s what’s happening in the Heels Hoops world:
It may not be legitimate, but the Tar Heels got a first place vote in the preseason ACC media poll yesterday. Hey, we’ll take it any way we can get it. In a surprise to no one, Harrison Barnes was voted preseason conference rookie of the year. Flash ‘em that smile, Harrison.
In the end, the Heels finished third in the voting, behind Duke and Virginia Tech. This is a pretty high ranking considering the Heels’ performance last year, but the entire league, with the exception of VT and Dook is pretty young. So if the entire league is young, why not UNC?
The News & Observer’s J.P. Giglio tells us about the players in the ACC not named Harrison Barnes, C.J. Leslie or Kyrie Irving. In other words, the veterans.
We usually stick to the men’s team at The Rafters, but this is a great story about Jessica Breland of the Lady Heels. She’s playing for UNC this year after coming back from a battle with cancer last year.
Of all the barbs and insults thrown in the direction of Dook University by Tar Heel fans and sensible people alike, how many are truly at the fault of the speaker? The Durham Clown College brings these things on themselves, you see. Even the Dook coeds not associated with the basketball team are not immune to this self-deprecating nature, take the recent “thesis” by one of the lovely ladies there on campus. Because we at The Rafters like to keep things clean, we’ve created our own version of the infamous “F List.” Our “F,” however, stands for fail.
1) Redickulous-ly Gay
This list could start and end with JJ. And where to start? The pouty lip face made after baskets that’s normally reserved for sorority girls trying to look cute? The t-shirt to cover up the atrocious back acne? The poetry is the kicker though.
Sports Illustrated did a feature on JJ back in ’05 where he proudly read some of his stanzas with the nation. Personal favorite?
I can’t see what my future has in store
but I move forth with the strength of a condor
JJ also came out last year saying he was part of a rap supergroup. The group’s first single to be titled “Waste Management” has yet to see the light of day. Here’s to hoping that album makes it to Best Buy soon.
2) For this, there is no alibi
While JJ was able to cover up some of his physical ailments with extra layers, some of his fellow teammates and alums were not so lucky. We’ll limit this list because we’re sure you don’t have all day.
How do heads ripple like Shane Battier’s?
When I think of Cherokee Parks, I think “true grit.”
Somehow this man named Sheldon bagged Candace Parker.
Growing that beard and pretending to be coordinated fooled no one Zoubek.
Some people look bad with either short or long hair. Kyle Singler looks like death either way. Did anyone see the Da Vinci code?
3) The Rat King
Coach K could also be in the above section. The driver of the clown car does many things that warrant an “F,” but the prime example dates back to the 1994-1995 season.
Having lost to Arkansas in the NCAA final in Charlotte the year before, the Duke team was, how do you say, rebuilding? Without going into full detail, the Duke team limped to a 13-18 record and 2-14 mark in the ACC, missing the NCAA and NIT tournaments. How, you may ask, did the great Coach K spend an entire season on the sideline and watch this happen? Easy, he didn’t. Coach K left the team for elective back surgery and to treat his exhaustion after only 12 games. The team – and subsequent loses – fell on the shoulders of Pete Gaudet. We at The Rafters were in grade school during this episode, but were still able to understand the cowardly move. What also should be noted, one of the greatest games in the UNC-Dook rivalry took place on February 2, 1995 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game features two constant highlights – the Jerry Stackhouse reverse, baseline dunk over two Dookies and Jeff Capel’s half court heave to force a second overtime – and ended in a win for the Heels. Apparently Coach K was too tired to hang around for that one.
4) I got my flippy-floppies
This one can fall onto Coach K as well. By current calculations, Dook spends approximately 30% of practice time taking charges. Unfortunately, not enough basketball players take advantage of Dook’s theater studies major. More often than not, these charges tend to look like this.
Even after stunts like that it’s amazing Dook’s marquee basketball camp still breaks attendance records every summer.
5) Sincerely, Elton Brand #42 NBA
Probably the best letter closing ever comes via a misguided attempt to chastise former Dook standout Elton Brand for leaving school early for the NBA. After one Dook alum somehow got ahold of Brand’s email, Brand shot back with what would make him an honorary Tar Heel in our book. Just read the transcript if in case you haven’t before.
From: Taylor, Jennifer
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 2:55 PM
To: Brand, Elton
Subject: Leaving Duke
I graduated from Duke last May and just wanted to express my disgust for your decision to leave the Duke program after only two years. As an alum, not only do I hold the school in high regard, but the basketball program as well, especially since both have deservedly garnered such a great deal of respect for their accomplishments.
As part of our basketball program, you represent Duke as a whole. We are first and foremost an academic school, you clearly did not belong at Duke in the first place if this was the extent of your commitment to Duke and a college education in general. You have not only insulted the current students who are putting in four years at a school they love, but also the thousands of alumni who have realized the value of a Duke education and what an honor and privilege it was to be there for four years.
If you do not realize the opportunity you has infront of you to play for Coach K and at the same time attain a Duke diploma, then that is certainly your loss. I just wish that you has spared us the notion that you were continuing in the tradition of being a Duke student-athlete, in emphasizing excellence in both academics and athletics. You will not be considered part of the Duke family, in my mind as well as many others. You have by no means proved yourself worthy of that title.
From: Elton Tyron Brand
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 8:05 PM
To: Taylor, Jennifer
Subject: Re: Leaving Duke
Thank you very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. People like you can not and will not ever understand my situation. I’m sure daddy worked very hard to send your rich self to college. While real people struggle. I would also like to extend an invitation for you not to waste your or my time ever again. Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart. Yeah, right. Because I don’t care about you or your alumni.
Sincerely, Elton Brand #42 NBA
7) OH – VER – RAY – TED
In a typical year, Dook makes the NCAA tournament. It’s also typical for them to draw a preposterously high seed, despite any shortcomings that might be obvious to the casual college hoops fan. I’m sure you’ve said to yourself before, “Gosh darn, Dook is so overrated this year.” Well, you’d be right.
Since 1998, Dook has received nine No. 1 seeds, two No. 2 seeds, one No. 3 seed and one No. 6 seed – NINE No. 1 seeds! With those favorable seedings, Durham Tech reached four Final Fours. For a comparison, let’s use oh, I don’t know, UNC. In that same time, Carolina has reached five Final Fours with a significant seeding disadvantage. First of all, the Heels didn’t even play in the tourney three of those years: 2002-2003, 2010. For the remaining years, UNC received five No. 1s, one No. 2, two No. 3s, one No. 6 and one No. 8.
Say what you will about UNC not making the tourney, but the point is that the Heels – and any other team for that matter – are seeded realistically, rather than receiving their birthright top seed like their neighbors in Durham. You tell me which team is more overly hyped:
From 1998-2010, 0ut of UNC’s five No. 1 seedings, the Heels never finished before the Elite Eight. They also tallied four Final Fours, three championship game appearances and two national championships.
UNC also reached the Final Four as No. 8 seed in 2000 – definitely underrated as the No. 8 and 9 seeds are perhaps the toughest in the tourney, with competitive games beginning in Round 1.
From 1998-2010, out of Dook’s nine No. 1 seeds, they produced four Final Fours, three championship game appearances and two national championships – the same exact clip at which the Tar Heels produced but with almost twice as many No. 1 seedings. The Devils also made the Elite Eight once. So what did they do with those four other egregiously high seedings you ask? All Sweet 16s. A Sweet 16 as a No. 1 seed means beating a No. 16 (the worst team in the tourney) and then an 8 or 9, then bowing out. Overrated.
Oh, and then there’s 2008 when No. 2 seed Dook beat No. 15 seed Belmont by only 1 point in the first round and then immediately lost in the second round. Clearly not a two-seed caliber team that year. There’s also a personal favorite, when in 2007 No. 6 seeded Duke lost to No. 11 VCU in a highly predicted upset in the first round. Why keep ranking them so high if you expect them to lose, tournament committee?
8 ) Smash Mouth would never write a song about Dook alumni
A strange thing happened last year. For what I’m sure was the first time ever, the number of former UNC and Duke players on NBA rosters was even. Had the reputation of underachieving Dook players finally come to a halt? Hardly. Take some players sneaking onto rosters, examples Josh McRoberts and Shavlik Randolph, or still milking otherwise great careers, Grant Hill, but the curse is still alive and well. Without getting into full career stat breakdowns and awful draft busts – I’m talking about you William Avery -what’s the best way to measure greatness in the NBA? Easy, all-star game appearances.
Dook alums boast 15 total roster spots in all-star games – Carlos Boozer, 2; Elton Brand, 2; Grant Hill, 7; Christian Laettner, 1; Jeff Mullins, 3. Subtract Laettner’s one because he was really a reserve addition and Brand’s two since both he and the Dook community have cut ties (see item 5), Dook’s grand tally equals 12 all-star game appearances.
Michael Jordan has14 NBA all-star game appearances.
Feel free to take His Airness out of the equation and UNC has still occupied 51 other all-star game roster spots – Vince Carter, 8; Billy Cunningham, 4; NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty, 5; Walter Davis, 6; Antawn Jamison, 2; Bobby Jones, 4; Bob McAdoo, 5; Charles Scott, 3; Lee Shaffer, 1; Jerry Stackhouse, 2; Rasheed Wallace, 4; James Worthy, 7.
Yeah, I know. At this point most of you are probably still stressing more over your fantasy football rosters than you are Larry Drew’s assist-to-turnover ratio, but did you know Late night with Roy is little more than two weeks away? This column on John Henson was getting me excited today so I had to look it up.
That means in the coming weeks The Rafters will start to kick back into gear. The Tie-Tracker will be back, as well as post-game awards and thoughts, and of course, plenty of Duke-bashing.
We like to meet the needs of you, the reader. So please, if you have an idea or something you’d like us to focus on or do more of, please comment on this post with your suggestions. The management appreciates all your feedback.
Things are looking up this year – it would be hard for them not to – so pull your blue out of the closet and let’s get ready for some Tar Heel basketball!
Never was a tougher headline typed than the one you see above. As I began the word “Natio…….” my fingers literally gave pause. Is this really happening?
For the past six years or so, we’ve come to expect Duke to be highly ranked, but underachieve. This year was the third time – yes, third time – that Duke was a No. 1 seed since their last Final Four. They’ve also been a No. 2 seed twice since then, so when they received yet another favorable seeding and region, we could only expect them to fail again right? No, they actually lived up to their seeding this year, even looking like a championship contender at times.
Ouch. That was another one of those painful sentences to type. How did it come to this? I dream of that dark-haired, sinister man, grinning and dangling gold medals and basketball nets as he puppeteers the blue-clad menaces all over Indianapolis. I wake up screaming. And on another note, how is Brian Zoubek getting double-digit rebounds?!
Needless to say, but I’ll be rooting for the under(Bull)dogs tonight. And it’s not because I want to see the latest version of Hoosiers play out for my enjoyment. It’s because my sanity has been questionable since the Final Four teams made official. C’mon Butler, I need this.
So, this is just terrible. Heard about this yesterday on ESPN Radio and almost lost it when I realized this wasn’t a joke.
If this isn’t the worst decision ever made by the Dook coach, I don’t know what is. I’m really hoping this was somehow his own idea. That he wanted to create an app that allows users to “learn” about different cultures like NYC, China, Durham and soon-to-be-added Spain and Chicago, not some developer looking to cash in on the name (notice the USA jersey creep that tries to show K was the reason for the USA’s recent gold medal, not, you know, the superior talent that started playing for the team again after years of 2nd tier NBA players). What’s worse than the underlying and weak message of cultural acceptance through basketball is just listening to K and his nasally voice give a hint in the video above:
“If your avatar has ‘hops,’ you can unlock a shortcut.”
Shortcut to what? What the hell does that mean? I have so many questions that I never want answered because that would mean I would have to play the game.
One thing all UNC fans have come to know, love and expect of Roy Williams is his fashionable selection of ties, most often courtesy of Chapel Hill outfitter Alexander Julian. The same man who put the argyle on the side of the basketball uniform is still turning heads with what he’s putting around Ol’ Roy’s neck. So, here at The Rafters we decided to pay homage to the best accesory in college hoops, if not the entire sporting world, and document every tie Roy Williams wears this season.
Mmm, well, not a great ending to an ACC season filled with more downs than ups.
This is the same tie design worn by Roy for the home Wake Forest and Nevada games. That gives this design a 1-2 record. Eh, not great.
Ed looking better than the team play.
Here’s this years stats:
Game 1: Florida International, W 88-72 – Small paisley in aqua and dark blue with pocket square
Game 2: North Carolina Central, W 89-42 – Large paisley in Carolina and navy blue and gold with pocket square
Game 3: Valparaiso, W 88-77 – Large paisley-ish in gold, navy, brown and Carolina with pocket square
Game 4: Ohio State, W 77-73 – Diagonal white stripes over light blue back with pocket square
Game 5: Syracuse, L 87-71 – Large paisley in Carolina and navy blue with pocket square
Game 6: Gardner-Webb, W 93-72 – Blue and white dotted with pocket square
Game 7: Nevada, W 80-73 – Carolina blue and white diagonal stripes with no jacket or pocket square, removed tie in first half, black arm sling
Game 8: Michigan State, W 89-82 – No tie, Carolina blue plaid shirt with no jacket or pocket square, black arm sling, AIDs ribbon
Game 9: Kentucky, L 68-66 – No tie, white shirt with no jacket, pre-game pinstriped jacket with pocket square, black arm sling
Game 10: Presbyterian, W 103-64 – No tie, white shirt with no jacket or pocket square, Old Well emblem on pocket, arm sling with Carolina blue patterned cover
Game 11: Texas, L 103-90 – No tie, white shirt with no jacket or pocket square, arm sling with Carolina blue patterned cover
Game 12: Marshall, W 98-61 – No tie, Carolina blue plaid shirt with no jacket or pocket square, arm sling with Carolina blue patterned cover
Game 13: Rutgers, W 81-67 – No tie, white shirt with no jacket or pocket square, Old Well logo on pocket, arm sling with Carolina blue patterned cover
Game 14: Albany, W 87-70 – No tie, black longsleeve shirt with no jacket or pocket square, arm sling with Carolina blue patterned cover
Game 15: College of Charleston, L 82-79 – No tie, white longsleeve shirt with no jacket or pocket square, NC logo on sleeve, blue sweater with white diamond pattern, arm sling with Carolina blue patterned cover
Game 16: Virginia Tech, W 78-64 – Carolina blue tie with pocket square, Carolina blue striped shirt with pinstriped suit
Game 17: Clemson, L 83-64 – FedExKinkos tie with unmatching pocket square, white shirt with pinstriped suit
Game 18: Georgia Tech, L 73-71 – Carolina blue tie with white diagonal stripes ['09 Championship Tie] with blue pocket square, white shirt and pinstriped suit
Game 19: Wake Forest, L 82-69 – Carolina blue and white diagonal stripes with white pocket square, white shirt and gray jacket
Game 20: NC State, W 77-63 – Carolina blue and brown diamond designed with white pocket square, white shirt and Carolina blue jacket
Game 21: Virginia, L 75-60 – Beige tie with dark spotted pattern and Carolina blue pocket square, Carolina blue shirt and brown jacket with plaid pattern, Jordans in first half, changed at halftime
Game 22: Virginia Tech, L 74-70 – Large pattern paisley in Carolina blue and navy with white pocket square, white shirt and pinstriped suit
Game 23: Maryland, L 92-71 – Cream color tie with white pocket square, white shirt and plain suit
Game 24: Dook, L 64-54 – Carolina blue tie with white diagonal striped and pocket square, vertical striped shirt with white collar and pinstriped suit
Game 25: NC State. W 74-61 – Carolina blue and brown diamond designed with white pocket square, white shirt and Carolina blue jacket
Game 26: Georgia Tech, L 68-51 – Black tie featuring blue and white dots with white pocket square, white shirt, gray jacket and Tar Heel lapel pin
Game 27: Boston College, L 71-67 – Pastel tie with lily pad pattern in Carolina blue, yellow and purple, with no pocket square, white shirt, Tar Heel lapel pin
Game 28: Florida State, L 77-67 – Vertically striped tie in blue, brown and tan with no pocket square, Carolina blue shirt, no Tar Heel lapel pin
Game 29: Wake Forest, W 77-68 – Plain Carolina blue tie with white pocket square, white shirt and pinstriped suit, no Tar Heel lapel pin
Game 30: Miami, W 69-62 – Large paisley in white on a Carolina blue tie with blue pocket square, white shirt and tan jacket, no Tar Heel lapel pin
Game 31: Dook, L 82-50 – Carolina blue and white diagonal stripes with white pocket square, white shirt and gray jacket
In the state of North Carolina, there is a small country in western Durham. It’s old - though not 1789 old – and has gone through name changes and rape scandals, yet still retains a pristine image. Here the citizens aren’t of the same ilk as most North Carolinians, and most natives know it. Yes, here is the home of Duke University.
The private institution has a certain air about it — a stuffy one. Sure it’s ranked in the Top 10 Universities of U.S. News and World Report, not No. 28 like some dinky public school, but does that give them the right to be so, well, douchey?
Some of you will be thinking I’m blowing this out of proportion. There’s no way ALL Duke students are total pricks, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that in my experience, I have yet to meet a Duke student who didn’t rub me the wrong way, intentionally or not.
Take my most recent encounter, at the party of a mutual friend in December.
I introduce myself to said Dookie without knowing his affiliation. He is friendly enough, as much as to be expected at a party in which many don’t know each other. I ask him how he knows the mutual friend, blah blah, and eventually get to, “Oh where’d you go to school?”
I visibly show my distaste at his answer — all in fun. After all, the UNC/Duke rivalry is one of the most well-known sports rivalries in the country. What happens next is the same thing that has happened to me multiple times when meeting a Dookie.
The conversation dies for a second. It’s during this silence that a couple of things are happening. The Dookie is usually trying to figure out something else to say, while at the same time hiding his or her scorn for my joking gesture. Yes, it was all in fun, but you can tell it drives them crazy to see a “bumpkin” from Chapel Hill insulting their school.
I’m usually just trying to hold in my laughter. If I had seen said Dookie in a lineup, I could have picked him out as the one who went to Durham Tech. Much like its basketball players (douchey, unathletic), Duke students tend to have a look.
Anyway, a new question is then usually proposed by said Dookie. And nine times out of 10, it’s this:
“Oh, so are you actually FROM North Carolina?”
As a matter of fact, I am, dick. But the question wasn’t meant to find out where I was reared. It was used to reassure the Dookie that he or she is superior. I obviously must have gone to UNC because it was the best public school I could get in to, and couldn’t go to a prestigious private one. Forget about the fact that some out of state kids would kill to go to UNC, and that it’s consistently one of the best public schools in the nation. Not to mention that Carolina’s journalism school – my major – is Top 3 in the country at worst.
No, this doesn’t matter to the royal blue. They know their snooty network of donors and alumni will get them in a “better” job than I could imagine. They’ve been destined to “attain” greatness since they popped out of the womb, silver spoon in hand. Even Reggie Love has a good position in the current administration.
That is a travesty, but the worst part is that I’ve had the experience described above several times. Perhaps it’s their environment that causes them to ask such questions. Maybe after attending the Gothic Gehenna you just get used to being around other Yankees with trust funds and how they interact with one another, and then just don’t remember how to act around normal people?
It’s just much easier (or true?) to take your prestige and call it arrogance, pretension, snootiness, conceit, snobbery, contempt or vanity.