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N.C. A&T coach Will Jones in studio

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
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March 29, 2022 6:06 pm

N.C. A&T coach Will Jones in studio

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 29, 2022 6:06 pm

On this edition of The Drive Josh talks A&T Basketball with Coach Will Jones, Nick gives his saddest NC State rant to date, and a Will Smith themed Skips or Plays with Hayes Permar


He's amused Cam Newton. He's been insulted by Charles Barkley. When some idiot in the press asked him, if you know what you know now, would you schedule this game?

He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey. I do say go Tarion. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taking the wind out of my safety. It's time for the drive with Josh Graham.

You are on a Tuesday drive, which means it's day two of doomsday week. Before we completely turn the page towards Saturday's game in New Orleans, I wanted to go back to the Cameron game earlier this month because in addition to being the highest rated basketball game of the season, and I actually think the highest rated basketball game non-final four since Zion Williamson played North Carolina in the ACC tournament three years ago, it also turned out to be the most important basketball game that's been played all year considering how things have shaken out. This is what I mean by that. I don't think either North Carolina nor Duke is playing in the Final Four this week, if not for the way that game turned out. Without the Duke win, there's no way North Carolina's here. They might not have been an NCAA tournament team. Knowing what we know now, how Wake Forest wasn't even close to making the tournament. It would have required more than the Boston College win and maybe the win against Miami after that wouldn't have been enough. North Carolina at that point only had one quad one win. If they lost to Duke, you might not have been talking about a NCAA tournament team.

So that's number one. Number two, North Carolina probably doesn't have the confidence to pull off the wins they've had thus far. If they haven't beaten a team, we can all agree is one of the best in the nation. The ACC didn't present a lot of opportunities for that this year. Only five teams made the tournament, North Carolina included. Other than Duke, the only team North Carolina has beaten that made it to the tourney this year, Virginia Tech.

That's it. So North Carolina did not know at that point it had beaten a team worthy of being a Final Four team until they did so at Cameron. After that game, they had to be thinking, if we play this way, we can beat anybody in the nation.

And they're probably right. That's the way they look like. That's the way that they've played.

So that's the North Carolina side of it, which I think is obvious. What I think is less obvious, and people aren't talking about nearly enough, Duke needed a wake-up call like that to prevent, with a young group, having a Mercer-like exit like 2014 in Raleigh or a Lehigh-like exit 10 years ago in Greensboro. I've said it many times, with younger teams you are more susceptible to losing to worse teams earlier on in the tournament than the more experienced groups. And Duke is in this position right now because they received an uppercut, not in the tournament, but right before the tournament began, they were able to get that wake-up call.

They would never admit this. But consider this, Duke had four losses going into that game at Cameron. All four of those losses were decided by a combined nine points. They led in all four of those games that they lost in the final minute. So they haven't had a loss that required them to pick up the pieces. After the Virginia game, after the Florida State game, a few others, Ohio State, you can look at things and say well we probably should have won that game. Oh well, you know, the margin for error is so great, we're gonna be fine, we're so talented, we've got number one, we got first round draft picks all over the place. The North Carolina game was the first time Duke lost a game this year and they truly had to pick up the pieces and look themselves in the mirror and say we got to be better. We got to be better if we're going to be a Final Four team. A double-digit loss to your worst rival nonetheless. That had to refocus them.

Both teams needed that Carolina game, that Cameron game to get here. If Duke ends up winning the title, that speech that Kay had after the game, it's gonna go down in Blue Devil lore. The same way folks in Gainesville, Florida talk about Tim Tebow and they have a plaque with every word from that speech he had after a loss to Ole Miss in 2007 where he was saying nobody in the nation's gonna work as hard as I'm gonna work, no team's gonna be pushed as much as I'm gonna push this team and they ended up getting to the national championship game and winning back-to-back years. I didn't see this speech, Robert. After the game ended, I was chasing down Hubert Davis, Brady Manick, and North Carolina players so I didn't see what Kay had to say.

But this speech is going to be remembered for a very long time if Duke wins its next two. This isn't part of the program, this is impromptu by me. I'm sorry about this afternoon. That, no, please, no, please, everyone be quiet. Let me just say, it's unacceptable. Today was unacceptable, but the season has been very acceptable. And I'll tell you, the season isn't over, all right?

Season's not over. If they make a plaque of that, do you think they would include the, no, stop talking, shut up, stop, everybody be quiet, everybody be quiet, and they'd have like crowd noise in parentheses like they do in subtitles. I hope that's included in the plaque.

That would be great. The plaque's on the side of the building and then the the screenshot they have or the image they use of Kay is him mad with his arms crossed saying, everybody be quiet, be quiet. You know what they're doing, Robert. You know what he was saying? He wasn't telling the crowd to be quiet, he was telling the naysayers to be quiet. That's what it was. That's what he was saying. Both teams needed that game to get to this point.

I truly believe that. 3-3-6-7-7-1-600 on Twitter at WSJS Sports if you want in. Robert Walsh, the producer of this show, a bummed out Nick Dioli's here for a myriad of different reasons.

We'll get to the NC State stuff in just a bit. I think I saw Luis sneak in here. No, I didn't see Luis sneak in here today.

A lot of people running around in the studio shifting things. Robert, I'm even more affirmed today in my belief that the Carolina Panthers are going to take a quarterback. We do have a lot of football to get to. So Sean Clark, App State coach, he's roaming around the Triad the last few days. He's gonna join us at 3.30.

NCA&T basketball coach Will Jones is gonna join us next hour. But with the Panthers, you've got these league meetings that are happening and I see some of these quotes from Matt Ruhle and Scott Fitterer and all I'm thinking as I read them, the Panthers, they're gonna draft a quarterback. They're gonna take a quarterback in the first round. Matt Ruhle's comments, they stand out because he's speaking so glowingly about Sam Darnold. That's usually a bad sign.

We've learned that. You know when Matt Ruhle is saying the nicest things about you, that's when you should be most worried. Because that's what happened to Teddy Bridgewater and that's what's happened to Cam Newton. Oh, I can't wait to coach Cam. A week later Cam's released.

I can't wait. Oh my gosh, Teddy. We're looking forward to this guy being improved. Teddy Bridgewater has been traded. Sam Darnold's now the new quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. He said earlier today he expects one of the top three quarterbacks in this draft. Malik Willis-Liberty, Matt Corral from Ole Miss and Kenny Pickett from Pittsburgh to be taken in the top ten. None of the mock drafts have that.

He has that and he also has one of the top ten picks, that number six pick. So that's Matt Ruhle. Scott Fitterer though was speaking one-on-one with our friend Joe Persim from The Athletic and I think his comments were even more telling. Scott Fitterer said, this is a question that Joe asked. I'll just read it how it was written. Do you have a feel for drafting a quarterback versus acquiring one of the guys who's still out there via trade?

And Scott Fitterer responded with, I don't know how far into it we want to get. I think with the economics of the position though, going with the rookie is the good way to go. Drafting and developing and if you miss with this one, take another one next year. Take another one the year after that until you get one. Just keep swinging till you get one. Give it your best shot and try to surround him with an offensive line, skill positions and defense.

Don't make him win games, just let him run the offense. That's right, just take swings. Joe Persim asked, what's the likelihood that you'll only pick once in the first 136 selections? Remember Carolina doesn't have a second or a third round pick. Scott Fitterer's response, it really depends on who's there at six. We'd love to trade back, we'd love to acquire some picks but if you can't and you get a really good player then just do that. It's hard to say right now.

Robert, they're gonna take a swing. They miss on Deshaun Watson, they're talking about the value of developing and finding a young player and taking swings in the draft. You got that number six pick and I got a feeling they're gonna like one of these guys more than the others and kind of like when Daniel Jones was taken six or seven a few years ago, you cannot risk with that position losing someone you believe to be a franchise guy because somebody might agree with your assessment.

I hear all this talk of, well he might have been available there at 12 or 13, why didn't you trade back? Well what if one of these teams agree with your assessment that this quarterbacks better than or that they believe that who you think the franchise quarterback is, they think is a franchise quarterback too. The next three picks are by teams that you could argue are quarterback needy. The Giants, so-so, the Atlanta Falcons, the Seattle Seahawks, all those teams are looking for quarterbacks. So I think if Carolina, if I had to bet right now, I think Carolina goes quarterback with the number six pick. I don't think they trade back to risk losing their guy and I think they take a swing at that position. I would prefer Kenny Pickett, I don't know who they like out of those three, I don't think anybody can.

I would prefer Kenny Pickett, but that would be my guess. Carolina goes quarterback there. And the only difference between this and the Daniel Jones situation is the Giants had a second pick in the teams where people were saying like, why didn't you wait to take him?

Why didn't you take Daniel Jones at 17? The Panthers don't have that luxury and you already talked about the people who would they really trade back with and if someone's trading up to that position they're probably looking to take a quarterback. The only thing that is against them in the quarterback race is the team in front of them has two picks surrounding them and they could look to move back and if they give the slightest inkling that they are interested in that quarterback, needy teams are gonna try to trade up to get in front of them.

That's the only detriment to their position, but if you don't if you don't see a quarterback come off before six it's a great chance they're gonna get somebody. This is The Drive with Josh Graham on WSJS Sports. We've got the head coach of the A&T Aggies, the newest members of the CAA, Will Jones joining us in studio. It's finally good to be here. First time live, full effect.

That's right. It's good to have you and you're telling us during the commercial break Harlem Globetrotters stories. We just gave away a pair of tickets.

Exciting. I see you have connections to the Globetrotters. I've heard enough Globetrotters stories in my lifetime working for David Smolky Gaines who's one of the Globetrotters Ring of Honor. Actually was at his Ring of Honor ceremony in Memphis Tennessee and then Malik Gantz is one of our former players at A&T who's gonna be running around with the Generals tonight and so go out there and see the Globetrotters tonight. That's gonna be so cool.

Cool to know the local connection to it. Maybe there will be some folks that are rooting on the Generals. Hey man, listen those guys go out there and they play it on the line.

It's not like the old days but it's still fun for the kids. That's what I'm saying. I love the idea of Will Jones going to watch the Globetrotters and rooting on the Generals. Yo, let's go Gantz. I've done that before.

I've done that. They came down the last time and I was on the sideline rooting for the Generals. That's what I like to hear. Let's get to this year's final four. Let's talk about it. Man, my first impression. This isn't what I think is gonna happen or it might be but it's not. I'm gonna welcome the opportunity to change my opinion on this.

Merely a first impression without diving too deep into it. Duke and Kansas have a really strong advantage here. Agree?

Yes, yes. Duke, my thinking is there was a lot that went into the game at Cameron that worked to Duke's disadvantage. When North Carolina faced NC State early in the year, they honored the 1982 championship team.

But it wasn't like a plan deal. It just kind of manifested itself the day before and we heard there's a chance Michael might show up. There's a chance some of these guys might be there. And then when Michael shows up, Caleb Love is making eye contact with him court side and he's inspired.

And you get the best version of Caleb Love, North Carolina, bully clubs, NC State. When it's planned during the year that this last game at Cameron is going to be a circus. And that's all anybody's talking about for an entire week. And you take the floor and there's JJ Reddick and Laitner and all those dudes sitting right behind the bench.

And there's celebrities all over the place. It was not inspiration. They played tight. And I don't think they're gonna play tight on Saturday is my first thought. A lot of pressure. A lot of pressure for Duke in that game to deliver the W for Coach K. But the flip side of it is I've been telling people all week that this is the worst game for North Carolina. Because now those guys, they went through that game where they didn't perform to the best of their abilities.

And now they have an opportunity with everything on the line. North Carolina's playing really good ball, though. Is there anybody who's playing better ball than North Carolina currently?

I don't think so. At least not a better starting five. Listen, they may be playing seven guys, but they are.

Those seven guys are hooping. And it's gonna be an unbelievable game. A lot of people saying that's the national championship.

Not disregarding Kansas and Villanova. But a lot of North Carolina people are gonna be in New Orleans. They're gonna recognize me walking down the street when I leave the nice restaurants.

But it's gonna be some good ball in New Orleans this week. You headed down? Leaving Thursday morning. Then we better hang out. Listen, what restaurant are we going to? You know the spots?

Listen, I like Traubroyd Alsters. Alright, you tell me where to be. I'll be there. Listen, we're gonna get it done.

Drago's Restaurant. We're gonna eat good. I'm telling you.

So there you go. Will Jones and I. Who thought we'd be here? Not me. Will Jones and I. Maybe we'll see if Forbes wants to hang out, too.

We'll try to figure that out. All the coaches. See, this is the deal. I've known this for years that many coaches view the Final Four as if it's coach's spring break.

That's what it is. You have the meetings. It's like spring break for coaches. We're gonna be there.

Everybody in the country. The only thing that's missing from this New Orleans trip is Kentucky and Coach Kyle. Because the last time it was in New Orleans, Kentucky was with Anthony Davis.

Ten years ago. Beat Kansas. They were running everything down there in New Orleans. Not knocking Villanova, but I did want Kentucky to be in the Final Four. But it's gonna be a really, really good Final Four.

Like you were saying earlier, maybe the best ever in terms of the four teams. But man, if Kentucky was there, it would have been unbelievable. It's such a devastating thing that Justin Moore gets hurt from Villanova late in the game. And like North Carolina, that's a team that only plays seven guys.

You gotta think Kansas has a really strong advantage because of that. As a coach, you never look at the injuries. Because somebody's gonna step up. Even when it's like your second leading scorer? Listen, you can't ever pay attention to it.

Because you pay too much attention to it and somebody else will get you. So obviously, he's your second leading scorer. He's been big for them. But Villanova's gonna come out ready to play. Trust me. Do they have a shot to win?

Yes. They have a shot to win. They have a shot to win. Who has a better shot to win? Carolina or Villanova? I'm going with Carolina.

See, because this is one other side to it we haven't talked about. Carolina has seen Duke twice already. And a big part of what I think hurts teams or has hurt teams so far in this tournament, I don't think Texas Tech in the Big 12 has seen a team as athletic as Duke is. And obviously Cal State Fullerton and in the Elite 8, I think it applied as well with Arkansas as good as the SEC was this year. I think North Carolina haven't seen it twice. And not being afraid of the moment, considering what they've already done in Cameron with Coach K on the other side.

That stuff's invaluable. What happens is, as college coaches in this game, we get used to playing our 16 or 18, 20 game schedule in conference play. And the style of play within your league can sometimes consume you. And yes, so some of those teams haven't played as talented a team as Duke or Carolina.

Like the Big 10, everybody was saying, hey, that league is so good. But again, they're playing that grind it out, that style. And then you've got Houston who comes in there, and they're athletic, and they're D'ing you up, and they're up and down the court.

They just haven't seen that in two months. They maybe play a team like that in non-conference, but you get used to playing the guy that you're playing. But Duke and Carolina, those guys know each other like the back of their hands. It'll be some nerves, obviously, because of the Final Four, the first few minutes of the first half. But those guys bump and grind with each other year-round.

They don't stay in school for four years. So the last two years, a lot of them have been playing each other for a long time. So it's going to be a good game. Two specific matchups on the floor.

You tell me which one's more important. Armando Bacot going head-to-head with Mark Williams, or… Armando… Every time his name's mentioned on the show, that has to play. I forgot to tell you about that. Jeremy Roach up against R.J. Davis, both of whom multi-year guys who have emerged late to be the primary point guard. I'm going with the Baycote matchup because that kid's a bucket. It's going to be a back-and-forth deal. Hopefully, they don't get each other in foul trouble and we have a good game. If Duke goes through Mark Williams, does that present more problems for North Carolina, or does North Carolina think because they've got Bacot inside, that's something they would welcome? They're going to definitely welcome the inside play. One thing that Duke has to do is guard that middle ball screen because North Carolina killed them on the middle ball screen.

So they're going to have to figure that out to try to stop the bleeding with that. Let's talk about the CAA. How weird have the last, let's call it, 12 to 18 months have been going from the MEAC to the Big South and now the CAA? Because I remember asking Coach K about ANT's move to the Big South and he thought it was an awesome addition. Is this just ANT looking at this is what's best for us and trying to progress in conference when we get an opportunity to?

This is what's best for ANT as a whole. The CAA academically is an unbelievable league, schools with unbelievable academic tradition, and obviously the athletic opportunity for an HBCU to compete in such an unbelievable mid-major league. So this opportunity is one that is a huge opportunity for me in the basketball program and the other sports to go out and compete in the league that, hey, these guys are getting 12 seeds, 16 seeds. VCU and George Mason were part of the CAA when they went to the Final Four.

And so the league has had unbelievable tradition and has been successful. And I can't wait to get in that league and start competing. Is there an HBCU that's in a comparable conference to where you guys are at in the CAA? No, it's going to be just us and Hampton. So Hampton's making the move also. So us and Hampton will be competing, I think, in a two-division setup. And we have an unbelievable opportunity, me being one of the youngest coaches in the country and obviously an HBCU, to compete in that league and have a chance to do something special. Schar Center, a great venue.

Obviously Club Corbett here locally, and you've got even at UNCW, Trask Coliseum, that place can get very loud. Really looking forward to watching you guys. A lot of new rivalries, right? So I can't wait. A lot of those guys, we're really good friends. My hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, I get to go down there again and play in front of family and friends.

So it's going to be a good ride. Got any questions for coach? We'll take them. 336-777-1600 on Twitter at WSJS Sports. A&T coach Will Jones hanging out in studio with us. Roy Williams, he had some thoughts about some of Hubert Davis' critics earlier today that I think you're going to want to hear. That's next on The Drive.

I got one word for him and one word only. You're on The Drive with Josh Graham on WSJS Sports. The blue bloods are here, aren't they, boys?

There's no somebody looking for a magic slipper. Roy Williams saying it well there. We've got Will Jones, A&T basketball coach, hanging out in studio with us before we dive into what Roy had to say with Packer and Durham this morning right here on WSJS Sports. A reminder that the show, sponsored by Krosnoor and also the Miracle Heights adventures that they have. For more than 100 years, Krosnoor Communities for Children has provided a Christian sanctuary of hope, of healing for children in need in North Carolina.

They're well suited to work with groups. If you have a camp classroom, community group, or team, Miracle Heights Adventures will be an experience that your group remembers for weeks to come. Visit their website, slash MHA as in Miracle Heights Adventures for more information.

Roy said it. The blue bloods are out to play on Saturday, Will Jones. The only team that's not there is the A&T Aggies. One day.

One day. But yeah, this Final Four is... If St. Peters can make a run, why not A&T? Shout out to my really good friend Shaheem Holloway for that unbelievable run that they made. Did it surprise you?

Yes, it did. But college basketball is the greatest sport on earth in this tournament. The memories and the things that happen are unbelievable. Roy was talking about a few things with Packer and Durham. He was speaking to the matchup of Duke and Carolina this time and how he suspects it's going to be a lot different than the game we saw at Cameron. Well, I think it's a heck of a lot more normal than the last game was over at Cameron. That was the one that was the event. But I think this is Final Four and you can forget about who's coaching, who's leaving coaching, who used to coach, who was a coach 500 years ago, play the frickin' game.

And so to me, this one's more normal. And the fact that it's at the Final Four, I know some people say, God, I wish it was so on Monday night. Well, my God, so does Mike and Hubert.

They wish it was on Monday night, too. Robert, do you miss cutting Roy Williams' sound? I miss hearing Roy Williams' sound. Only if he's cussing. If he's not saying, like, freakin' or mad about something, then I could do without it. But when he comes in with heat like this, I'm always here for it. Yeah, I'm a big Roy fan of freakins' and dag-gums, getting a lot of that in there.

Listen, I was in Charlotte at the Hornets training facility earlier this year, and Roy Williams came up in there with, his entourage was about 50 guys. So he's riding around and he's doing his thing and he's still doing his frickin' and all of that type of stuff. He's having fun.

He is. But what he said there, he's suggesting, and I think this is something fans wouldn't consider to be the case, there is less pressure on Duke this week than there would be in that Cameron setting. There are some who thinks, that probably sounds crazy. It makes sense to me.

Does it make sense to you? They had an unbelievable test run in Cameron. More pressure in Cameron than it is now. So they will come out tomorrow and just play, this week and play basketball. They will come out and just play basketball, no pressure.

Obviously the final four, but they'll have more fun in this game. And that's the most important part. Duke didn't look like they were having any fun at all when they played the first time. It's tough.

It's tough to play. The bottom line was they had to win. And the pressure of winning in North Carolina knew they had an opportunity to go in there and get the job done.

And so this one's a little different. It's like coach said, just go play the game. Getting to Hubert Davis, Roy has heard some of the criticism over the past year, and he had something to say to the doubters. Again, this is from Packer and Durham this morning.

I was happier after that game, take them to the final four than any game I've ever coached in my life. And let's be honest, you guys, I don't read the social media. I couldn't get social media. I don't know what the hell Instagram is. You know, YT, YouTube, whatever it is.

I don't know any of that stuff. But I know there were people sniffing at him for a long time. And that was, I told him, I said, don't look at this stuff. But people around you look at it, people around you. Sometimes your family members see it.

And so that's something that I was so disgusted with. But I tell you, boys, he's as good as there is, and he's only going to get better. It is amazing where this has gone throughout the entire season, where after Tennessee, they get blown out. They get blown out against Kentucky. And you have fans thinking, why didn't we hire Wes Miller? And I think Wes is going to be a really good coach at Cincinnati. Maybe one day he's coaching in Chapel Hill.

Who knows? But Hubert Davis deserved a fair shot. And Hubert Davis is in the final four in his first year. And I hear folks comparing it to Bill Guthridge. That's something that bothers me because with all due respect to Bill Guthridge, he had Antoine Jamison and Vince Carter.

I don't know who Antoine Jamison and Vince Carter is on this team. And he didn't have to worry about guys leaving after one year, the one and done like De'Ron Sharp, and didn't have to worry about losing a guy like Walker Kessler because of a thing called the transfer portal. Hubert brought in Brady Mannock because he wanted to run a style where they utilize the four with more three-point shooting.

That's work. And Hubert is here in the final four. He's not the type to get back at people and say, I told you so. But Roy Williams is the type of guy who cares enough about Hubert to let people know.

I heard some of the things that were said, and it wasn't fair then, and it looks ridiculous now. Obviously, when you take a job like North Carolina, you want to see instant. It's got to be instant grits.

You know, it's got to be instant. And sports is not instant. The development of a team, taking over a program from a Hall of Fame coach, installing your own system, a team having to go through their ups and downs in learning. And so Hubert's been a pro. He's an NBA player. So he knows how to cut that stuff off and not pay attention and focus on what's going on in the North Carolina locker room. And I think he's done an unbelievable job of focusing in.

I've called Hubie a couple of times this summer and he's been locked in the whole time. He's been locked in on this job and getting these guys to the Final Four in the first year. It's a testament to him being prepared. You're talking about chemistry and the ability to bring a team together when they haven't played together.

In our last conversation months ago, you said one of the more interesting things that a basketball guest has told us on this show because it's resonated with me and it's something I've thought about quite a bit with the Portal. You said what Steve Forbes, for example, has done at Wake Forest, what Kevin Keats is probably going to have to do in order to have job security after next season now that a lot of guys are transferring out, it's identifying talent and that's the thing that fans feel like they could even do. But you can bring in the most talented guys. It doesn't mean it's going to work on a roster.

How difficult is that piece? Not the identifying talent part, but finding guys and even talented players that you can bring in and bring together on a team to have success even if it's just one season. Yeah, it's bigger than the X and O's because now instead of growing that in-home culture that normally you're used to, now you're forced to, hopefully your culture is strong enough to be able to get two guys to buy in to working together for a common cause. And now teams are bringing in three, four, five transfers, six that all are coming from different places. They all have different reasons why they want to transfer. And you have to be unbelievably good at managing relationships, personalities, and getting guys to buy in. And Coach Forbes' JUCO connection, my JUCO connection, it helps us do that a little bit quicker than guys who've never done that because you have to sign a new team basically every year, and you have to get those guys to buy in.

And so, yes, I mean, if you haven't ever done that before, it can be a challenge and something that, it can either go really, really, really good or really, really, really bad. Culture is a buzzword that people use in the media. You're not in the media, you just used it saying that's something you need to lean on. How much thought goes into what your culture is? You know, Shaka Smart, when he was at VCU, he was the one that really, really brought in that culture and all the coaches across the country have it. You know, their culture of making things tough and making teams struggle. Culture is really who the coach is, to be honest with you. So what is your culture?

You know, I'm an energy guy. I want my guys to feel good about themselves, have energy, go out and play their game without having to worry about me looking over their shoulder all the time. That's the culture at A&T. And I think that's the culture a lot of guys like to play.

So when you're recruiting, how many times do you see a guy who's really talented and think he's probably not going to fit into the culture that we're looking for here? You know, I like to see guys- Because that's a lot of trust that you're talking about. I'm not going to look over your shoulder because I know I can trust you.

And that trust is earned also. But you got to also look for that in recruiting, guys that are having fun out there. I can't expect a guy that's not having fun before he gets to A&T to have fun when he gets to A&T. I want to see guys play with passion before they get to the court in Club Corbett because now I know they're going to be able to use that energy for the benefit of our team.

We got Will Jones here. What's on the agenda in New Orleans? I've never been to a final board before. It's my first Final Four I'm headed to this weekend.

What should I expect? New Orleans is one of the best Final Fours out of all the cities. Okay, I hear this. I hear New Orleans is the best.

That makes sense. The other two I hear, there's two others I hear. Do you want to try and guess them?

The ones that I most commonly hear are the best Final Foursite. Almost seems universal. San Antonio. Yes.

In Indianapolis. That's exactly right. Those are the two. I even brought it up yesterday.

You can check the tape. Those are the three. And San Antonio, come on.

I get it. They have the Riverwalk there, the entire deal. I've been to San Antonio, never been to the Final Four. But San Antonio, what are we doing? It's special. The city's connected. Everything's close. You can walk by Coach K. An average fan can walk by Coach K, walk into a restaurant. Everything's intimate. And the same thing in New Orleans and obviously in Indiana. That's what makes these Final Fours so good because everybody's just in one spot, in one area. You can see everybody walking around and the coaches are there, the fans are there.

You can kind of see the blueprint of the city. All right. We're going to have a meal. We're going to make that happen in New Orleans. Let's figure it out. I'm going to get on the internet.

I'm going to research. Again, I'm going to eat at three of the best restaurants in New Orleans. I love New Orleans seafood. I'm from Charleston. And we eat seafood there, but New Orleans is good, too.

See, I'm from Baltimore. Oh, yeah. Crab cakes, man. You got the crab.

You got the connection, too. That's what I'm saying. Yeah, we got to have that. We got to eat some good seafood, man. We will not break bread, but we will break crab.

For sure. That's what I'm saying. I don't need any utensils to eat crab. No, you don't. I'm a professional. See, I'm more of a crab cake guy. Mm-hmm. I don't want to do all the work.

You don't want to work. I just want the crab cake. If it looks like a hamburger patty, it's not a good sign.

It's got to be lumpy and going in different directions. Yeah. That's usually a good sign for it. For sure. No doubt. Will Jones. I'll see you, I guess, later on in the week, but we need to have you in here more often. Let's do it. Will Jones.

It's always a pleasure. You could see him in the club, Club Corbett, later on this year. And there's going to be a different logo on the court. Different logo. CAA. That's where ANT plays their ball now. A man is a lunatic.

Smells like a gym bag. The Drive with Josh Graham on WSJS Sports. Earlier today, Coach K visited with the local media for the final time before the plane leaves for New Orleans. It's crazy to think Coach K has been at Duke for 42 years, and today was the final practice he will ever lead in Duke's basketball facility. Final practice of the year. He had his press conference. I had a chance to catch up with him talking about the succession plan specifically. Hayes Permar, by the way, going to join us in 15 minutes.

We'll play skips or plays with Hayes. And what I find interesting is Hubert Davis has gone to the Final Four in his first year. We've wondered for the last decade.

It's the most popular question I got when I was a guest on radio shows versus the show that I do here for three hours. Hey, who do you think is going to be the next guy at Duke? Who's going to succeed Roy Williams at North Carolina? And we speculated on that answer for a very long time. And we know now it's Hubert and it's John Shire.

Hubert got to the Final Four. Shire is going to be facing a ton of pressure in his first year, but he's going to be more equipped with talent when you consider they have the number one recruiting class for next year. And that I think is due to the succession plan that Coach K mapped out about a year ago. So this is K talking about how the succession plan came to be rooted in his experience working in the military or going to a military institution at West Point and how Hubert's experience in year one following Roy has him optimistic about John Shire's future in Durham. It has to be looked at a little bit like in business. Is there, do you like the culture that you have? Do you like how it's adapted along the way?

Can you continue to do that adaptation with someone, somebody new? So whether it was John that worked out, Vince Price chose John, or someone else, they had to be here all year in order to have this level of continuity. And a huge thing is recruiting.

A big thing is recruiting. But the other thing is, like in John's case, he and I for this whole year, we've had a lot of different talks. He's better prepared to be the head coach after going through this year. And everyone around him has accepted him at a high level.

And so it'll be smooth when, it'll be next week, no matter what it'll be next week. And it'll be smooth now because it's been done that way and because he's really good. He's not good. He's like really, really good.

There's a saying that you'd never want to be the guy that follows the guy. I wonder what you think about Hubert being able to step in in his first year and get to this point and how that affects your optimism about how seamless this session can be. Well, in some respects, it was similar. And Hubert spent on the staff for a long time. I don't know the exact number of years he played there. Very pro, really good pro player and a good guy. I mean, I've known his wife since she's a little girl. Her father and I were teammates to West Point, Bobby Segal. And so they've had continuity in culture because Hubert plays a different style than Roy's team said, but the culture is the same, the pride of being a Carolina player is there. And Hubert, he was and was on the staff.

I mean, that's his wife. So for him to get that across to his unit, it's great to see, but he has it to get across to his team. And in that respect, it's similar, it's just that the timing is different. Just another way that Duke and North Carolina are linked. I've shared this story before, but having gone to several Duke Carolina games, my favorite memory, firsthand experience of the rivalry was after the Trey Jones game where Trey Jones hit the shot at the end of regulation erasing an 11 or 12 point deficit without Vernon Carey right before the pandemic hit.

Wendell Moore had the overtime winner at the buzzer. But after the game ended, Coach K was emotional when he was reminded it was the five year anniversary of Dean Smith's passing. And what made him emotional was since Dean's passing, he had realized that what Duke had created with the brotherhood was emulating what Dean and Roy created with the Carolina family.

So it doesn't surprise me at all that K highlights the similarities there and sees that they're kind of kindred spirits. And if Hubert Davis can succeed in year one with this roster and figure out a way to get to the final four, then Duke fans should feel pretty optimistic, too, that that's possible for John Shire a year from now. Nick's probably hearing all that and thinking, gosh, this is terrible. He's a state fan. He's the still volunteering but trying out unofficial mascot of NC State athletics. He's paying close attention to NC State baseball, which is right now facing Robert and I's East Carolina Pirates. He's having a tough one, Manny Bates. He is going to transfer out along with three other Wolfpackers, Robert Dillingham, the five star player, that point guard that they had committed, he's committed now.

Kevin Keats going to get two more years on his contract, it looks like. Wes Moore's team, they lost last night, even though they probably should have been playing on more of a neutral floor than playing what looked like a true road game against UConn, despite NC State being a higher seat. Great game. They lost it in double OT.

It makes you wonder what would have happened if they played on a neutral floor. Nick, I'm just going to give you the moment. What do you got to say to Wolfpack fans? I really need to be the mascot after today, because this is the saddest, this is the longest one I've ever done. OK, I'm very sad what's going on with NC State sports and the NC State stuff that you have alluded to. The song's really sad, too. Well, yeah, it's a sad day. It's gloomy outside. Nothing's going our way right now as NC State fans. It is kind of gloomy. I know.

I just I don't really know where to start by, I guess, ladies first. So first, why does the NCAA hate us? Why do they hate us? We were the number one seed and we're playing in Bridgeport, Connecticut, UConn's backyard. I don't understand why it's not in Greensboro. It should have been in Greensboro. And for people that say that, oh, NC State fans want to pack that out.

Yes, they would have. Greensboro is a huge hub for NC State fans. They packed it out in the ACC championship.

I just I I don't understand. I can't believe UNC fans were coming at you and me last night when you said that they probably would have won. Yeah, they would have won in Greensboro.

I was wrong, though. South Carolina was a higher seed than state. The point is, UConn should not have been at home. Exactly. That's the main point. State should have been at Greensboro.

I was wrong on that. Right. They should not have been playing at UConn. I'm really sad for these girls. They played so hard all season. I mean, the Wolfpack Nation is nothing but proud of them. I think they just got dealt with a bad hand once again by the NCAA. As for the men's, I mean, yeah, we're still dealing with everything. Now Mandy Bates is transferring.

So he really needs a fantastic start to the season if he's not going to get fired. I don't know what's going to happen. And if you're an NC State fan in the Twitter world, our Twitter world, there is a video going around of BarstoolBigCat basically saying how if you're an NC State fan this weekend, you need to run away, hide, make sure you don't have cell service because this is the worst weekend for NC State fans. It truly is.

Duke Carolina, the two big dogs going at it in the Final Four while we're dealing with everything else. It's just not. This is awful. This is a bad week. I mean, the only thing that's good right now is the baseball team winning this weekend against Georgia Tech. That was huge. Needed that. But basketball, it's not good. Was it really huge that they beat Georgia Tech at the end of March?

They were 14 in the country. So we needed that. OK, for sure.

And it was a sweep. So, yeah. Take what you can get.

Yeah. I'm sorry. I put out this poll, if you want to hear it real quick, I put out a poll that said what hurts more in the last 12 months, as you alluded to earlier today, baseball not playing the College World Series, the Holiday Bowl, girls basketball or men's basketball drama. Over 77 percent have said the College World Series hurts. That's definitely the answer to that question. Maybe if you would have coupled not playing in the ACC Championship game and not winning or playing in a bowl game and having that canceled the day of. Maybe that has a shot. But the answer is the College World Series there. Hayes Permar has a new ACC song. Maybe that'll cheer Nick up. We'll play that for you and we'll play Skips or Plays next on the drive. National and media just can't admit their own ACC just likes to dance, dance, been knocking the conference all season long ACC just likes to dance, eight teams remaining and we got three ACC just likes to dance, dance, Big Ten and Pac-12 where they be ACC just likes to dance, Northwest Conference at 14 and 10 ACC just likes to dance, dance, everyone's a darling, not a single win, ACC just likes to, ACC just likes to dance, survival to dance, don't it feel great, have a three out of eight, peace out Gonzaga, good bye all, new ACC song out there. We are one win away by North Carolina to getting a Manic Monday.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-12 07:54:03 / 2023-02-12 08:13:48 / 20

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