Saturday, July 10, 2010

QB Marquise Williams announces for UNC

Marquise Williams, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback from Charlotte, announced Saturday afternoon that he has decided to attend the University of North Carolina.

It came down between Carolina, Virginia Tech and Michigan. He also received scholarship offers from Boston College, East Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame, South Florida, Syracuse, UCLA and Wake Forest.

"I feel good about choosing UNC-Chapel Hill because it's a good fit for me," Williams said. "The coaches are great and I love the atmosphere on campus. Also, staying in North Carolina is important to me."

Inside Carolina ranks Williams as the No. 4 overall prospect in the state while Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 14 quarterback prospect nationally.

Oddly, a member of an LSU recruiting Web site titled tigerdroppings.com boldly proclaimed last Tuesday that Williams would announce for Carolina Saturday afternoon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron James makes big news but we should be more interested in his Skills Academy

LeBron James made national news with his announcement last night that he will take his talents, as he puts it, from Cleveland to South Beach, Miami. But, those of us in North Carolina should perhaps be more interested in the LeBron James Skills Academy which was held this week in Akron, Ohio.

2011 UNC basketball recruit PJ Hairston, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Greensboro, missed the first two days with an ankle injury but he came back the third day to show flashes of his scoring abilities. He is transferring before his senior season from Greensboro Dudley to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.

Hairston, who wrongly guessed that James would go to the Knicks, said it had been a media circus at the camp with everyone following James' every move. “I don’t really have an explanation for it,” he said. “It’s just crazy, what’s going on over a human being.”

The only rising sophomore to attend the camp was Rodney Purvis, a 6-3 shooting guard from Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh. Purvis, who grew up a Carolina fan, is already being compared to John Wall. He has been offered a scholarship from Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. Others pursuing him are UNC, Duke, N.C. State, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Xavier.

Many of the top players are in Europe competing for Team USA in the FIBA Under-18 national tournament. Still, the state of North Carolina (with eight) had the most players in attendance at the camp.

It's reported that one of the North Carolina players - Dominique Pointer, a 6-5 guard from Winston-Salem - drilled a three with LeBron James covering him. With retaliation in mind, James called for the ball and blew by Pointer for slam dunk. During five-on-fives, a team that included James and former UNC player Jawad Williams of the Cavaliers lost to a group of high schoolers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ESPN and ACC reach exclusive 12-year agreement

FROM ACC NEWS RELEASE - ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have reached a 12-year agreement for exclusive rights to every conference-controlled football and men’s basketball game, plus women’s basketball and Olympic sports matchups, and conference championships.

The agreement, which begins in 2011-12 and continues through 2022-23, was announced by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, and John Swofford, ACC Commissioner. It will result in approximately 4,800 ACC events over the 12 years on ESPN’s television outlets, digital and mobile platforms, syndication and more.

Among the entities included are: ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3.com, the new ESPN 3D network, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN.com. Numerous events will be produced in high definition across ESPN HD, ABC HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNU HD.

Additionally, through a new sublicense arrangement with ESPN, Raycom Sports will continue its long-standing position as the syndication home of ACC content for over-the-air and regional cable network distribution in the ACC market and beyond. Raycom Sports will also continue to manage the ACC’s official corporate partner program and the exploitation of its digital assets, including www.theACC.com, the official conference web site.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Veteran Corvo back with Hurricanes, back in Raleigh permanently

Joe Corvo, who was traded to Washington late last season, is back with the Carolina Hurricanes, adding experience to a team that has gotten significantly younger.

Corvo, a 33-year-old defenseman, is expected to be paired on the ice with defenseman Tim Gleason.

"My family is really comfortable here, and I’m really comfortable with the coaching staff and what goes on here,” said Corvo, whose family, including two young sons, stayed in Raleigh after he was traded to the Capitals.

He said that he plans to make his home in Raleigh permanent. ”When I first got here we bought a house with that the thought that it was going to be temporary, but we had the talk that we were going to stay here until after I retired,” Corvo said. “You can’t go wrong with the weather, the schools and the golf.”

The Triangle area has become an asset for the Hurricanes in acquiring established veteran players looking to settle down. And while the Hurricanes have some good, young talent, they'll need older guys like Corvo and his friend Erik Cole, 31.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dean Smith's memory fading, Fayetteville Observer reports

The most poignant article of the weekend came from Dan Wiederer of the Fayetteville Observer, who wrote about the decline in health of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.

Smith’s fantastic memory is fading, and Wiederer quotes Woody Durham as saying, "That's really the painful thing to absorb when you're around him."

This is a terrific bit of reporting, and you have to give Wiederer credit for digging into a story everyone in the media knew but didn’t want to tell. One of the signs of a mediocre reporter is they don’t share what they know with their audience, either because the information is highly sensitive or because they fear alienating a sports information director who might threaten to cut off access.

Wiederer, as you can tell by his thoughtful and persistent questions in news conferences, isn't afraid of more difficult assignments. And he handled the Smith story with grace and professionalism, which is difficult when the subject matter is so delicate.

What he wrote isn’t new to people in the area news media, but it is new to many in the broader audience, and those are exactly the people reporters are intended to serve.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Final spots for USA Baseball's National Team to be determined in Cary this week

Games will be played Tuesday through Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary to trim the Collegiate National Team from 39 players to 22.

The best bets for spectators are Wednesday and Friday when the games are played at 6 p.m. as opposed to the 2 p.m. starts the other days (except for the 12 noon start on Sunday). Temperatures are expected in the 90s this week with the heat index putting temps over 100.

Among those players trying to make the squad are pitcher Greg Holt of UNC-Chapel Hill, pitcher Anthony Meo of Coastal Carolina, infielder Brad Miller of Clemson, outfielder/pitcher Sean Gilmartin of Florida State and outfielder Jackie Bradley of South Carolina.

Bradley, who helped lead his team to the national championship, was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player last month.

The manager of the club is Bill Kenneberg of Utah. The only local connection among non-players is press officer Malcolm Gray of East Carolina.

Following the trials and training period in Cary, the U.S. will play a five-game series against Korea before squaring off against a Japanese Collegiate All-Star Team in a one-game, international friendship competition in Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium on July 21. From there, the team will travel to Taipei, Taiwan for a four-game series against Chinese Taipei at Tien-Mu Stadium beginning July 25.

Team USA will close its summer season at the FISU World University Championships in Tokyo, Japan, from July 30-Aug. 7. The U.S. has won the last three FISU Worlds (2004, '06, '08), while host nation Japan will be looking for its first title.

To see directions and guidelines for attending games at the complex, please click here.

In other USA Baseball news, Dillon Maples, a pitcher out of West End, NC, has made the 20-player 18 and Under National Team announced Saturday.