This is The Drive with Josh Graham Podcast. Tune in to The Drive weekday afternoons 3-7 on Sports Hub Triad. We're broadcasting live from ACC Operation Basketball, uptown Charlotte, Emma Joyce. Basketball season's just about here. And here are the three most intriguing storylines heading into the ACC basketball season. For me, it all starts with Duke basketball. Our first guest today will be Mike Krzyzewski. The Hall of Fame coach will join us in 15 minutes. And for the Blue Devils, I really feel like this is their best shot to win a regular season title in the eight-year drought, make it nine-year drought that Coach K has had since he's won a regular season ACC crown.
The last time being 2010. A year later, Kyrie Irving arrives on campus. Duke recruits the one and done. And it's just taken more time for his teams to come together.
And as a result, by the time they do, they're already out of the regular season race by season's end. It's been dominant by North Carolina and Virginia in the last half dozen years or so. But this particular year, there is doubt not only with North Carolina, but with Virginia both losing a substantial amount of their scoring. Duke's going to have to shoulder some of that as well, with Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish leaving off to the NBA, and Marquise Bolden leaving a ton of his defense and experience. But this is the best collection of youth and experience a Mike Krzyzewski team has had probably since the 2015 championship team. Remember, that's the last team that's had a returning point guard coming back among the starters that Coach K's had.
That was Quinn Cook. And Duke, they went through turmoil in that season. The only time Coach K's ever dismissed a player was in that national title year.
Rashid Suleiman in February parting ways with the team, which shortened the rotation to allow for a guy named Grayson Allen to get involved. But without revisiting history from five years ago, I think examining what the roster looks like right now, it's hard to say Duke and Louisville aren't heads and shoulders above the rest of the ACC, at least on paper. I've already made it known in the past, but if you missed it, I like Louisville to win the ACC regular season. I think there are more known commodities with the Cardinals than any other team you're going to find in the conference. You return a lot of the scoring that really led them to a pretty substantial season until they fell off at the end of the year.
Stephen Enoch and Jordan Moore are returning. There is some question at point guard, but Louisville's a team, I think, the talent that Chris Mack's recruited, the quality of coach that Chris Mack is, and on top of that, the type of returning talent they have there, it's hard for me to not pick Louisville to win the league. And when the poll comes out tomorrow or Thursday from the ACC, I expect Louisville to be the preseason favorite. Beyond that, I think it's Duke. I think the top tier consists of just two teams. I think it's the Cardinals and the Blue Devils. This is the best shot Dukes had to win an ACC regular season title in the last five years.
They haven't done it since 2010. I also mentioned that North Carolina has a little bit of uncertainty surrounding them. That leads me to my second storyline this ACC basketball season.
It is North Carolina's front court. I'm concerned about UNC right now. Going into a year, you usually know what you're getting from a Roy Williams team. You know you can rely on the bigs or Roy Williams is going to have a senior guard that can pick up the bulk of the scoring. That's not what exists right now. It isn't to say this team is less talented.
No. While there's so much turnover, what North Carolina is losing in that regard, they're gaining in the talent department. Cole Anthony playing point guard might be the best team player in the entire Atlantic Coast Conference.
He's that good. But you're already replacing someone who was one of the most dynamic players at the conference last year in Kobe White. You're going to have to figure out a way to pick up the scoring from Luke May, Cameron Johnson. These players, it's not easy to replace that and Kenny Williams' leadership in defense. North Carolina is going to have to find out who they are. I think in the backcourt, there's not going to be much drop-off with Anthony and the defense from Brandon Robinson, who I think is going to take that step, the same step that Williams took from a freshman to sophomore season. But the frontcourt is something I think is very suspect. How many guys can you trust if you're Coach Williams?
You can generously say two. Garrison Brooks going to be shifting to a more natural position at power forward versus center. You don't know yet what Armando Bacon is, but all accounts I've heard from people who have watched him and have been around North Carolina basketball say, this guy's for real. If he has a good season, he could potentially be another one-and-done player the same way Nasir Little and Kobe White were a year ago.
I buy that. I'm going to go ahead and say two North Carolina players, two North Carolina forward Roy Williams can trust. But after that hoop, I don't know if you can lean on a Brandon Huffman. Sterling Manley, we've learned from Coach Williams himself in the last week or so. He doesn't know even when he's going to be able to run and shoot and get back in his defensive stance, and he was banged up the last two years.
So you can't really rely on Sterling Manley I think at any point. So is Roy Williams going to chance it in most of the game, play the two reliable forwards he has just so he can play a lineup he's more comfortable going with, a conventional 4-5 big man lineup? Or does he go small and stagger the minutes with both Brooks and Bacot? Does he go to a small lineup that has Leaky Black play in the 4 with him being spelled by Justin Pierce coming in as a graduate transfer, a really good defensive rebounder transferring from William and Mary?
That's something that fascinates me, and I think it's another compelling storyline going into the year. Before we catch up with Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, you can chime in if you want to on Twitter, at sportsovtriad, 336-777-1600 is the phone number. Aaron Gabriel is the one turning the dials today, making sure we sound okay. Jenny Causey, our general manager on site as well, and Desmond Johnson is back in Kernersville in our sportsov studios right there in the Law Offices of Timothy D. Wellborn Studios. The third Operation Basketball storyline headed into the ACC season. Virginia. We talked so much about Duke in North Carolina, and heck, even Louisville in the last five minutes. I forgot to mention that Virginia won the national title last year. Everybody seems to be forgetting about Virginia because they are losing Ty Jerome, they're losing Kyle Guy, and they're losing another one of their scorers, DeAndre Hunter, who is the top draft pick that they had. Heck, these guys, they just interchange so well at Tony Bennett's system. I forget their names at points, which is kind of the point I'm bringing up here. I'm not counting Virginia out as being a contender in the ACC.
I can't do it just yet. How are they going to pick up the scoring? I don't know yet, but look at Virginia basketball the last dozen years or so, or make it the last half dozen years or so. When you see the way Virginia has replaced solid scorers year after year after year, maybe you won't quite count out the Cavaliers because there are some more unfamiliar, less proven names who are going to be starting for this team.
Think about it. Six years ago, when Virginia started this run of success that's had them win 20 games in each of those seasons and often win closer to 30 games, Mike Scott was the forward Virginia was leaning on. When Mike Scott finished up playing, there was a question.
Who's going to replace him in Tony Bennett's slower paced offense that values possession basketball more than maybe any other team in the league? Enter Akil Mitchell. In 2013-2014, he was that guy playing a very similar role to Mike Scott. When Akil Mitchell finished up, oh, who's going to replace Akil Mitchell? 2015-2016, it was Anthony Gill. And when Anthony Gill finished up, enter a guy named Isaiah Wilkins. Then it's DeAndre Hunter the last two years. The player is going to be asked to fill this role that someone's filled for Virginia basketball the last seven years is Mamadi Diakite.
He's the player. He hit the most important shot maybe in the history of Virginia basketball in the Elite Eight to get Virginia to the Final Four. The shot, by the way, was assisted by Kihei Clark, who's back for another season for Virginia.
Diakite, it's maybe the number one question going into the year I have. Was his lack of scoring a product of him being unable to score and not being developed enough to score or simply playing a role that didn't ask him to shoot the ball a ton because you had Hunter, Guy, and Jerome on the floor? That's the fundamental question with Virginia because who knows? He might step in and start scoring it, and we start asking, Where's this guy been? He might have been here all along just not being asked to score because there's only so many shots he can get, especially in that offense. So Diakite, he's the X Factor, and you're getting the leading rebounder of Virginia basketball back, and Braxton Key, who came off the bench, and Jack Salt's gone, but Jay Huff, I think he has higher upside than him at center. And Kihei Clark, as I mentioned, is back at point guard. They got a good recruiting class coming in. Tony Bennett, he recruits his system well, so don't count out Virginia basketball, another headline to be noted going into the ACC season.
We've got a massive lineup on today's show. C.J. Bryce, NC State guard. He once upon a time was coached by Kevin Keats at UNC Wilmington, and when Coach Keats left to go to NC State, Bryce was like, Yeah, I feel like I'm left behind a little bit here. I need to go join my coach back in Raleigh.
And his first season with the Pack was last year. He's got another season, and NC State has high hopes this year. In 20 minutes, we will visit with C.J. Bryce, NC State guard. But coming up, it is Duke Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. I want to talk to him about Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers and the measurement of March Madness. Also, maybe we'll get into his team a little bit too. Coach K will join us here in Uptown Charlotte, site of Operation Basketball, next on The Drive. Welcome to the show that cloned the Loch Ness Monster.
And got her drunk. The Drive with Josh Grab. All right, we're at Operation Basketball, Uptown Charlotte, and there's things I like about this event and things I'm not a big fan of. I do like we get a chance to talk to many different players, many different coaches. Mike Krzyzewski was just with us. You heard from him. David Glenn's going to be hanging out with us in about 15 minutes, and we're now visiting with C.J.
Bryce, NC State guard, going into his second year with the program. But the thing I don't like about it is it gets repetitive at times, where I can't tell you how many radio shows I'm walking past, people are talking about the FBI, they're talking about the national, the name, image, and likeness, California law. It's the same stuff over and over and over again. So my pact is, as long as we're here, we're not going to ask the same questions that everybody else is asking. We're going to try and have a little bit of fun around here. Somebody who I think is for this is C.J.
Bryce. C.J., what is today like from the lens of a player when you look out and you see a dozen or 15 radio shows out there, TV, and also print reporters trying to get stuff out of you, what is it like through a player to be at an event like this? This is actually my second year.
I actually participated in ACC Media Day last year also. I understand the perspective that they have, and I try to answer the questions as best as possible and give them the information that I know and that I can disclose. Even like you said, getting to ask some of the same questions over and over again, especially asking the players that. You know a lot of things that the players can't say. Let's get through the prepackaged answers that you've already thought about on the drive here and you've been given all day.
Let's just knock those out very quickly. C.J. Bryce, how excited are you for the season?
I'm so excited. This is my last run. I played a couple years at Wilmington transfer. I had a season last year. I would say more on a disappointing game as far as how far we wanted to get and the goals that we have for the team. We're just looking forward to getting back to it this season.
All right. Give me a sense for what Coach Keats is like as a coach at North Carolina UNCW versus where you're at now at NC State. Has he changed at all? I wouldn't say he's changed at all. A little bit more money in his pocket. The suits are a little nicer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He's the same guy, though. He demands the same thing out of his players.
All we know is really go hard, fast-paced game, and get after it every day. Coach Keats wouldn't say last year on the record that there are coaches that spend more on the suits and some who don't. But Kevin Keats, in my estimation, the best-dressed coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The guy, you see the red coat that seems fitted, the blazer, the shoes. Is that something that makes it more attractive to play for a coach when he has the nice watch, the nice shoes, and the nice suit? As a team, we try not to get too caught up in it, but we definitely notice it coming to court.
Sometimes I bump my teammate like, yo, did you see what he just had on his feet? He always brings us something new, so he has the drip that he needs. Oh, I know all about that drip. I'm somebody who, once upon a time, talking to Cam Newton about the drip, and Cam, he showed me up, because there aren't many people that say drip that have big-framed glasses and look the way I do. So I'll leave that to other people who are a lot cooler than me. C.J., you're somebody, though, I have to think that some of the style has worn off on you, some of Kevin Keats' style. Is that true? I mean, to be honest, I already had the style before I met Coach.
So it's the other way around. I would say I appreciate his style and what he does for the ACC as far as the fashion perspective, and he's doing a great job at it. It's NC State guard C.J. Bryce joining us, Operation Basketball in Charlotte. We were talking about right before we entered this segment, you're getting set for something massive tonight.
There's college basketball starting in a month, but it is a seismic event that's about to take place in the life of C.J. Bryce, potentially later this evening after you get done here in Charlotte. You're thinking about going to see the Joker movie. Yes, sir.
Yes, sir. What's your mindset going in here? I'm really anxious to see, you know, I mean, not really what it's about, but how they view and how they want the audience to view the Joker, you know, in this movie right here, you know, because you always see him as a villain going against Batman and really the bad part of him, but I want to see if they show any good of him.
I want to show his mindset and his motives for what he does. Yeah, here's the thing. He's not the ultimate villain. I saw the movie Aaron Gabriel on site here. He's seen the movie as well.
It's very dark, okay? I don't think anybody's coming away from this movie liking the Joker, but man, Joaquin Phoenix, he lost 52 pounds for the role. He's kind of insane the entire time, but when you think of the Joker, who's the first Joker you think about? You going back to Jack Nicholson, or do you go Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight? I would probably say Jack Nicholson.
Really? Do you think it's a better Joker? I wouldn't say a better Joker, but I mean, that's just the one that sticks out to me the most. I mean, but I mean, from what I saw from the previews, this is going to be pretty good. Oh, it's good, baby. So are you a movie buff or are you someone who's just into it because the buzz is there or you like comic books? I mean, I'm really good with whatever catches my attention. I mean, even if I was, I'm really into scary movies. I mean, if I was to see a romantic preview and it looked like a really good movie, then I'm going to see that.
Come on. CJ, give me the romantic comedy that you watch. Like, you're not ashamed to say, I watched this movie and I liked it.
The rest of you guys just bleep off. Like, what are you willing to admit that you like? As far as movies?
Yeah. You into the notebook? No, I'm not a notebook guy.
Not a notebook guy. Bachelor or Bachelorette? I'm into that. No. OK, not into the Bachelor or the Bachelorette.
Trying to figure it out, maybe. Hmm, 13 going on 30. I actually really like 13 going on 30. There it is. I really did. I really liked that movie. It was really good.
I watched it a couple times. Everybody, get in touch. I think the worldwide leader somewhere. ESPN, ACC Network, put it on the bottom scroll. It is CJ Bryce in the big letters at NC State. CJ Bryce, fan, Stan, if you will, of 13 going on 30 with Jennifer Garner. Yes.
Wow. That was a really good movie. Did you ever have a crush on somebody, an actress on a movie screen? If anybody, um. Who are you thinking about?
You got the big smile on your face. If I was going to anybody, I would probably go with Sandra Bullock. Wow. Yeah, she's gorgeous. Sandra Bullock has a lot in common with the person sitting across from you right now. Sandra Bullock and Josh Graham here, East Carolina graduates. Once upon a time, Sandra Bullock used to be referred to in a dorm in Greenville, America as Sandy from the first floor. And I had friends who were on the second floor there. They're like, oh yeah, we're just hanging out with Sandy from the first floor. Why do they call her that? Well, her name, she lived on the first floor and her name was Sandy.
It's pretty easy. Did you ever have any nicknames? No, I just straight with CJC, Big C, anything like that. All right, so we're going to root on this guy.
We're going to root on Big C. C from the four. Are you on Twitter anywhere? Where can the people find you? Yes, I actually deleted my Instagram probably about a week ago, but I have Twitter at Trippiemain, T-R-I-P-P, three Y's, underscore, M-A, two N's, two E's.
Go there and support our guy. Yes, sir. C from the floor, what floor? C from the four. Oh yeah, C from the four. C from the four, 704 Charlotte. That's where it's at. See, you're in Charlotte.
Where are you visiting? If you're in Charlotte, you have to go to one restaurant where you're headed. That's a tough one right there. See, we're asking the toughest of questions. I would probably say, I'm not sure on that one. All right. We'll leave you being stumped, but tell me this. If you're ever in Raleigh, you have to visit the Capital Grill.
Oh, I know Capital Grill. That's where it's at. See, C from the four. C from the four. C from the four, letting us know what's up.
Is this interview a lot different than any other one you've done today? All right, there you go. C.J. Bryce. We're rooting on this guy. So shoot him a follow.
Let him know what's up. NC State basketball this year. Appreciate you dropping by.
Appreciate you having me, man. That is C.J. Bryce. Once again, NC State basketball.
David Glenn, our early afternoon host, going to spend a little bit of time with us as well. That's coming up next on The Drive. You could try getting your sports news and talk somewhere else.
My life sucks quite enough already, thank you. Best to leave it right here on The Drive with Josh Graham. We're here at Operation Basketball on Tuesday afternoon on The Drive, and we're visiting now with Wake Forest head basketball coach Danny Manning, about a month away from the start of the year, Danny. And from your perspective, when people come up to you and they're asking, hey, what are some things you guys having this year that are going to be different?
How are you going to turn things around? What are some things that you get to see on a day-to-day basis that maybe people on the outside aren't privy to as you try to get the dekes back to the tournament for the first time in a few years? Well, I think one thing is the senior leadership that we have. You know, we've got three senior guards that have played quality minutes in college, with Brandon playing the most in the ACC and having a level of success last year in scoring the ball and having assists, Torrey Johnson having some success, and bringing in Andrin White as a transfer graduate student. So those three guys kind of lead the way for us. They all have experience. They all understand what it takes to be successful in college.
So I'm excited about that. I've got some upperclassmen, big guys that have been in the fire before, and so they have a feel for it. So this is one of the more experienced teams that we'll put out there on the court in recent memory, to be honest with you, the majority of our games. We have some very talented freshmen that will contribute as well.
And we're looking for contributions from them. But we don't have to hang our hat on contributions from the freshmen like we've had in the past. I don't have to throw a freshman out there in terms of feeding them to the wolves, if you will, and baptism by fire and figure it out on the go. I can give them small doses of it, and it kind of reminds me of Brandon's situation when he came in as a freshman, where he played some, but he got his feet wet and he got a taste of it, but we didn't have to leave him out there for extended periods of time if he wasn't ready for it. I remember last year there were just head scratcher games, and I would ask you at a press conference, hey, what are some things that are happening?
And you kept defaulting back, this is what happens at times when you have youth and you have a young team. I was catching up with Brandon not too long ago, Brandon Childress, and he said, it's just a different vibe around the building, everybody knowing each other and there being familiarity. But when that translates onto the floor, Danny, in what spots, what situations do you think that experience helps you most? Well, hopefully it helps us in all the situations out there on the floor. Every situation is different. Every moment down the court, defensively, the need, obviously you want to make sure the team doesn't get a quality shot or a shot at all. You want to make sure you finish a possession with the basketball, whether it's a loose ball pickup or a rebound. So having that understanding of that, I think this group has a good feel for that.
And not that groups in the past haven't, but you don't know until you know. You don't have experience until you have it. And now we're at a point where we're putting some guys out there on the court that have a decent level of experience. Ideally, what would you want Brandon Childress' role to be? Because it seemed like at points last year, you were asking a lot of him, maybe too much of him, at the point guard spot. I'm going to ask a lot of him this year as well.
But there's a little bit more balance in terms of the guys that he's out there with. You know, he's the quarterback of our team. He's got to make sure everybody's on the same page out there on the floor. He's got to make sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to do. And that's a tough job.
And put that on the top. He's got to score some points for us too. He's got to get some assists for us.
But not at the rate he had to get them last year. Because there is a little bit more balance for us throughout the lineup. But there are going to be some games where he's going to have to do some heavy lifting.
No question about it. All players on teams go through that. And there will be some nights where he's going to be more facilitator.
So a lot of it's just going to depend on how the other guys are playing, what the situation is, and things of that nature. It's Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning with us on sports.triad. The thing I like about Brandon, he's somebody who's very present. I think he told us one time, I have one more year left and I want to make sure I file away things and remember what's happening so years from now I can appreciate my time at Wake Forest. And also playing alongside his dad. His dad being on your coaching staff.
You're somebody I think can relate to that. As your dad was at Kansas when you played over there. When you think back on the times you enjoyed playing the game most.
As somebody who played it at the high school level locally and then at Kansas at the top level of college basketball than in the NBA. What do you go to first? It doesn't matter what level. I go to memories.
I go to memories and reflect back on the good times, the hard times, the trying times, the difficult times of all those levels. Whenever you see a former teammate that you played with in high school or you played with in college, you played with professionally. And take it a step further, that you played up against. There's always a sense of appreciation for what the sacrifice that they made to be at that level.
And there's always a bond. I'm different. I just saw Carlos Buza over there. We never played against each other. I mean played with each other. We played against each other.
But it's always good to see somebody that you've kind of been in the trenches with and you've battled with. So that's a unique fraternity. And all sports have it. But our fraternity in basketball is a little bit different just because of there's so much common ground. You know, like now with former players that I see, it's, you know, our children play or they're playing sports or things of that nature.
So the conversation changes, but the bond is always there. There isn't a level you found to be more satisfying, more fulfilling than others? No.
Not at all. I mean, I think you look at the professional level and you can say that's more satisfying because there's a financial tag to it. Sure. But yet and still, you know, I reflect back on my days at Kansas. I reflect back on my high school days. These are all memories that are very special to me. And, you know, so for me it's, you know, being fortunate. I had great coaches coming up in high school and college obviously and playing professionally. I played for some Hall of Fame coaches. And so for me those memories are always something that I can reflect back upon.
And no matter what I'm going through, because life happens, you know, there'll be maybe it's a small piece of time, maybe it's a little bit more extended piece of time, but those memories are something that I always reflect back on very fondly. It's Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning with us on Sports Hub Tryon. This morning at the Commissioners Forum I asked John Swafford about the rotation that's currently in place for the ACC tournament. And it's going to be returning to Greensboro for the first time since 2015. Now you've got Brooklyn a part of the footprint, which you've been to a few times, and Washington, D.C. as well. Are there, and it's been in Charlotte too, last year most recently, are there certain sites that you enjoy more than others? Well I think the ACC tournament in itself is special. Now for me I grew up in Greensboro, I grew up around the ACC tournament, and I like it in Greensboro.
That's just my personal preference. But I think the places that we've gone, the markets that we hit, when you look at the New York market, when you talk about the Charlotte area, I mean the ACC tournament is well received no matter where it goes because of the ACC and what this league stands for, the tradition, the history, the great players, the great coaches, and the great teams. And so the product that we have is a great product. I just like it in Greensboro a little bit more. Well what makes it special though, Greensboro specifically? Well I think that was kind of the heart of the ACC tournament where it kind of grabbed a hold and really locked into the community. And I think the community in Greensboro does a wonderful job of embracing that ACC tournament.
There are a lot of people there that support different teams, but at the end of the day they all come out and support ACC basketball. Danny, it's good to have you here. We'll see you in a month. Thanks for being on the Triad as always. Thank you.
And there he goes. Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning joining us at Operation Basketball in Charlotte. Your thoughts are welcome on Twitter at Sports Hub Triad. The Triad brought to you in part by our friends at Pie Guys Pizza & More. Paid them a visit in Clemens right off of Louisville-Clemens Road.
It is the Kinnaman Village Commons you can find. Pie Guys Pizza & More. Tried the Gram Slam Pizza. Or how about the Moravian Sugar Cane Pie? I don't know. Maybe you can try the Buffalo Wings as well. A lot of options.
Pie Guys Pizza & More online at pieguys.com. A lot of things there from Danny and if you're talking about somebody who's just had a very full life of basketball. That's a guy who locally in Greensboro played high school basketball. One of the best players we've ever seen come out of this area.
Played at Kansas National Player of the Year. I mean I don't have to go through his entire track record. You know it by now. But it's an important year for the Deacs. And Danny, he's somebody who generally doesn't make excuses. He's a guy who will tell you what he believes might be the cause of something that isn't working. And at many points last year he said simply it's youth. And sometimes you have head scratching results when the youth of a team just hasn't been in certain spots. Especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Now there are some people who hear that and think okay well that is somebody making excuses. Many players. Many teams across the country make things happen with young lineups. But that's not something he could say this time around.
As Danny just noted in this conversation. Pat. He has a very experienced team now. A lot of guys back.
Andrian White. Going to contribute as a transfer from Charlotte. A grad transfer. Or a transfer who is now a red shirt senior. Brandon Childress back.
And handful of guys. Chondi Brown. Going to be an impact player for Wake Forest. If things don't work out for Danny and Wake Forest this year.
It won't be because of youth. And the standard at Wake Forest. Frankly from pretty much every program in the ACC. It has to be higher than making the NCAA tournament.
One time and a six year stretch. Danny knows that. We've discussed it with Danny.
There are Wake Forest basketball fans who are unhappy at the moment. But. Danny's privy to things that we haven't seen. Behind the scenes.
And he knows what he has more than anybody else. We will all get a chance to see what exactly that is in one month. And we'll evaluate at that point. Once again on Twitter at SportsHubTriad. We are at ACC Operation Basketball Uptown Charlotte. Back at Operation Basketball Uptown Charlotte.
We're now being joined by someone who's a Charlottean. Kind of. Yeah. It's Wes Durham. Four days a week. Four days a week Josh. TV star Wes Durham who you know from Mark Packer's basement.
Yeah. On Packer and Durham. When I'm driving down I-40 in the Triad.
I see it almost twice a week. I see the billboards with your face and Packer's face on it. Man you could catch it on TV. The ACC Network in the morning.
From Packer's basement. Yeah. Yeah.
The billboard by the way. I had no idea. Small story here. So. About.
Golly I want to say. We hadn't been on the air four days. Right. We do the first live show on Friday the 23rd.
The next week. I think the billboard. There's one on I-40 in there. Yes. Yeah. That's.
This is the same billboard. Ish. My college roommate calls me. Hey how you doing? Good. He goes I got a problem. I said well how can I help you. He said well you didn't take this damn billboard down for starters.
I said what billboard. I had no idea. I had no idea.
Josh. No idea. Yeah. And I said. And I talked to this guy maybe once or twice a year right. And so he calls me and says yeah there's a billboard on I-40 and it's your head and Packer's head and they're kind of bobbing back and forth and I went what.
He said yeah you're on I-40 and it's a digital billboard. Fortunately it doesn't last very long. Well thanks very much. Appreciate that. You know what's great about this conversation?
There is somebody sitting in their car right now looking at your face. Saying the billboard and it lasts about seven, eight seconds. And then you know the digital.
Perfect amount of time. And they fly. Well and my mom. God bless her. Was here yesterday in town and we had lunch and she said oh yeah a friend of mine saw the billboard in the Raleigh area. I said really.
She goes yeah. It's a shame it's not like the old billboard. You know what they used to wallpaper them on. You know and they'd stay up 90 days, 120 days or whatever. And I go actually mom I think it's plenty that it's eight seconds. We don't need a lot more than that so. But it's good and look we're having a blast and I hope people are enjoying the show.
Looking at the actual basketball. We get asked to pick our preseason poll. Sure.
That's going to come out later in the week. I always tend to lean on what I know versus the unknown variables. No matter how highly touted they may be. Right. And Louisville with even without Enoch returning and without Waro returning. I think they were going to be a pretty good club.
Yes. With them both back and adding Williamson a top 25 player in the top 100 as well. It seems that's the team that has the best mix between experience and young talent. That's where I start if I'm trying to pick a favorite for the week.
Where do you. Yeah I mean I'm big on Louisville because I think number one Chris Maxer great coach not a good coach he's a great coach and he joins another list of great coaches that are already in this league. Right. And I think that David Johnson is a player we're all going to forget because he got hurt this summer and we don't know his timetable to return but when he comes back he and Williamson and fresh Kimball who transferred from St. Joe's and then you had Darius Perry and Warnock Wara Enoch and don't forget Malik Williams. Yeah. Malik Williams is hurt and when he comes back.
So when is Louisville hole is the only question I have. Right. Kind of in terms of their overall success.
But it's interesting. Dan Bonner was with us this morning and he said well you know all those schools are fine but don't leave out Florida State because when you go back and look at what Florida State has done in the last four years when it comes to the NCAA tournament Florida State has been deep. They've been impactful. They've been to elite eights and sweet 16 and quite frankly Leonard Hamilton has a process now that as much as we want to talk about everybody else's success his is really unique in that he can ball guys. He's got 35 on the roster and he plays 12 and he line changes like hockey teams. I mean I said it on the air last year. He's got a penalty kill and a power play and he's got no problem.
You know calling a time out dead ball change in five bring in five the whole bit. Do you think they could contend to win this league. I think that's possible. Sure.
Because here's why. As much as we want to push bigs in this league. OK. What's the number and I'll use Carolina and Duke is the example right now. Why do you believe in Carolina and Duke right now. Well Duke it goes back to OK. What you trust Coach K to do on the recruiting trail and the players more back. OK. What do you players what players impact your faith in Duke and Carolina to be good. Trey Jones.
That's OK. Stop point guard Carolina. Cole Anthony point guard Florida State Trent Forrest Absolutely OK. I mean we're talking about Louisville and my first answer to you about Louisville is what do we know about fresh Kimball transfer from St. Joe's Darius Perry as a score is inconsistent but he is arguably one of the better on ball defenders in the league. The reason he's one of the better on ball defenders is because Trent Forrest is the best.
He and Trey Jones are the best ball defenders in this league without hesitation. Now Cole Anthony can be an explosive offensive machine who by the way on Instagram does some stuff that's silly when it's a pickup game at Carmelo's place or something. But to me Cole Anthony has to prove he can stop somebody too. I know Trey Jones and I know Trent Forrest can stop and I know Darius Perry can stop. I don't know that about Kihei Clark.
I don't know that about Cole Anthony like Markel Johnson's pretty talented at NC State. I mean you see where I'm going with this as much as we want to push everything else about the league. Old sage guys who've either coached or seen the league like Seth Greenberg, Dan Bonner, Mike Krzyzewski, Westurms, yeah I'm old.
I'll be 54 in January. They can talk about it's still a guards league. We get to the NCAA tournament you're going to pick teams based on who's got good guards. Always happens.
Never. Why do we want to deviate from that here today? It's a really good question.
I don't know if it's right or not but it's a really good question. You start looking at the players who can be effective here and I think it changes the game to be honest. Westurm from the ACC Network with us in Sports Up Try.
We're at Operation Basketball Uptown Charlotte. I am a little concerned about North Carolina because when you look at their lineup, yes they have Cole Anthony. There are other unknown variables when you have to replace as much scoring as they do. Correct. But I only look at two forwards right now I know I can trust if I'm Roy Williams and I might even be generous in saying that because we don't know yet what Armando Bacot is but he's somebody who all accounts in great shape.
Five star player. Your typical North Carolina big and Garrison Brooks is obviously someone you can rely on as well. After that we don't know what Sterling Manley's health is and we don't know potentially what Brandon Huffman can give. How much concern do you have with North Carolina when it comes to the state of their front court? It's a good question. I think it's the one they have to answer first. Right. They may have to answer it on opening night with Notre Dame right?
Sure. When you think about it because John Mooney, Juwan Durham. What station is that on? Nate Luszczewski. It's on the ACC Network.
Oh got it. When you start thinking about those guys how valuable is that piece right? I mean you know John Mooney is going to be a problem for Carolina on opening night and when you think about it Prentice Hub and you know TJ Gibbs it's quite a challenge for Cole Anthony on opening night. They gave North Carolina problems last year.
Exactly. And so you know the reality of it is Mike Bray's been waiting a while and Rex Fluger's going to shoot threes because he's back. So I look I think that those are the kinds of things with Carolina with Cole Anthony but they lost a lot but we've all seen that show you know one guy group in one guy and group out.
Let's let's wait and see how this plays out. I think it'll be an interesting year for Carolina and I think they'll end up being very very good but there may be some ebbs and flows early for sure. Same with Duke by the way. I think I think you know with Duke kind of mixing and matching.
I mean Jack White and Javon DeLaurier are obviously very veteran pieces and I think DeLaurier really played well at times last year but having Trey Jones back that cures a lot of ills right now for the for the Hall of Fame coach. Whenever you launch a TV network there's going to be uncertainties West Durham with us from the ACCT network. How have things either exceeded your expectations. How have things have been different than what you thought they'd be.
Oh I don't I don't know that I've had any expectations other than I thought the professionals we had lined up would do a great job covering the league. You know look we're the analogy I like to use Josh is we're an airplane that's taken off right. And when you take off you got to climb the cruising altitude.
We're still climbing. I mean we're only on the air what we have been on the air 60 days yet right. I'm optimistic that by the time you know you're one finishes. I think people around the league regardless your affiliation for school or your affinity for school. I think people will see a network that is number one done a good job storytelling. They've done a really good job of blending people and showing people sports that are not obvious basketball football or easy baseball softball volleyball soccer.
I mean look you're you're sitting in the town where the men's and women's number one soccer teams in the country are right. Yes we are. So look I'm excited about kind of where this thing's going.
Not how it started. I mean there have been some bumps. Yeah we've had some turbulence going up on a couple of things but at the same time I'm optimistic that the job we're ultimately going to do when we get to cruising altitude it's going to be really really good. One of those professionals that you're going to be working with during basketball season it was announced today Carlos Boozier on the set. I had a chance to catch up with him a little bit man. He had this big thick beard I said how long you've been working on that. He said two years. He's like where's yours. I don't know how that would look West. Tell him it's not happening Josh.
It got red. It's okay to know your limitations man. Yeah that's not one of my strong points at all.
Mine either. Congratulations on the start of the network. I'm sure we'll see you sometime soon when the Falcons visit Bank of America Stadium.
Appreciate you doing this. That's like mid-November. No telling where those two teams will be by then. And basketball season will be in full flight.
That's Wes Stern from the ACC Network. Danny Manning the head coach of Wake Forest basketball will join us next. You could try getting your sports news and talk somewhere else.
My life sucks quite enough already thank you. Best to leave it right here on The Drive with Josh Graham. We're here at Operation Basketball Tuesday afternoon on The Drive and we're visiting now with Wake Forest head basketball coach Danny Manning about a month away from the start of the year Danny. And from your perspective when people come up to you and they're asking hey what are some things you guys having this year that are going to be different?
How are you going to turn things around? What are some things that you get to see on a day to day basis that maybe people on the outside aren't privy to as you try to get the dekes back to the tournament for the first time in a few years? Well I think one thing is the senior leadership that we have. You know we've got three senior guards that have played quality minutes in college with Brandon playing the most in the ACC and having a level of success last year in scoring the ball and having assist.
Tori Johnson having some success and bringing in Andrew White as a transfer graduate student. So those three guys kind of lead the way for us. They all have experience. They all understand what it takes to be successful in college.
So I'm excited about that. I've got some upperclassmen, big guys that have been in the fire before and so they have a feel for it. So you know this is one of the more experienced teams that we'll put out there on the court in recent memory to be honest with you the majority of our games. We have some very talented freshmen that will contribute as well. And you know we're looking for contributions from them but we don't have to hang our hat on contributions from the freshmen like we've had in the past.
I don't have to throw a freshman out there in terms of feeding them to the wolves if you will and baptism by fire and figure it out on the go. I can give them small doses of it and it kind of reminds me of Brandon's situation when he came in as a freshman where he played some but you know he got his feet wet and he got a taste of it but you know we didn't have to leave him out there for extended periods of time if he wasn't ready for it. I remember last year there were just head scratcher games and I would ask you at a press conference hey what are some things that are happening and you kept defaulting back this is what happens at times when you have youth and you have a young team.
I was catching up with Brandon not too long ago Brandon Childress and he said it's just a different vibe around the building everybody knowing each other and there being familiarity. But when that translates onto the floor Danny in what spots what situations do you think that experience helps you most? Well hopefully it helps us in all the situations out there on the floor you know every situation is different every moment down the court defensively the need obviously you want to make sure the team doesn't get a quality shot or shot at all you want to make sure you finish a possession with the basketball whether it's a loose ball pick up or a rebound so having that understanding of that I think this group has a good feel for that and not the groups in the past had them but you don't know until you know you don't have experience until you have it and now we're at a point where you know we're putting some guys out there on the court that have a decent level of experience. Ideally what would you want Brandon Childress' role to be because it seemed like at points last year you were asking a lot of them maybe too much of him at the point guard spot. I'm going to ask a lot of them this year as well.
But there's a little bit more balance in terms of guys that he's out there with you know he's the quarterback of our team and he's got to make sure everybody's on the same page out there on the floor he's got to make sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to do and that's a tough job and put that on the top of he's got to score some points for us too he's got to get some assists for us but but not at the rate he had to get them last year because there is a little bit more balance for us throughout the throughout the lineup so but they're going to be some games where he's going to have to do some heavy lifting no question about it all players on teams go through that and there'll be some nights where he's going to be more facilitator so a lot of it's just going to depend on how the other guys are playing what the situation is and things of that nature. It's Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning with us on sports.tria the thing I like about Brandon he's somebody who's very present and he's I think he told us one time I have one more year left and I want to make sure I file away things and remember what's happening so years from now I can appreciate my time at Wake Forest and also playing alongside his dad his dad being on your coaching staff you're somebody I think can relate to that as your dad was at Kansas when you played over there when you think back on the times you enjoyed playing the game most as somebody who played it at the high school level locally and then at Kansas at the top level of college basketball than in the NBA. What do you go to first? It doesn't matter what level I go to memories. I go to memories and reflect back on the good times the hard times the trying times the difficult times of all those levels. You know whenever you see a former teammate that you played with in high school you play with in college you play with professionally and take it a step further that you played up against there's always a sense of appreciation for what the sacrifice that they made to be at that level and there's always a bond you know I'm different I just saw Carlos Buza over there and we never played against each other I mean played with each other we played against each other but it's always good to see somebody that you've kind of been in the trenches with and you've battled with so that's a unique fraternity and all sports have it but you know our our fraternity and basketball is a little bit different just because of there's so much common ground you know like now it's former players that I see it's you know it was our children played or they're playing sports or things of that nature so the conversation changes but the bond is always there. There isn't a level you found to be more satisfying more fulfilling than others? No not at all I mean I think you look at the professional level and you can say that more satisfying because there's a financial tag to it.
Sure. But yet and still you know I reflect back on my days at Kansas I reflect back on my high school days these are all memories that are very special to me and you know so for me it's you know being fortunate I had great coaches coming up in high school and college obviously and playing professionally I played for some Hall of Fame coaches and so for me those memories are always something that I can reflect back upon and no matter what I'm going through because life happens you know there'll be maybe it's a small piece of time maybe it's a little bit more extended piece of time but those memories are something that I always reflect back on very fondly. It's Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning with us on Sports Hub Tryon. This morning at the commissioners forum I asked John Swafford about the rotation that's currently in place for the ACC tournament and it's going to be returning to Greensboro for the first time since 2015. Now you got Brooklyn a part of the footprint which you've been to a few times and Washington D.C. as well are there and it's been in Charlotte too last year most recently are there certain sites that you enjoy more than others? Well I think the ACC tournament in itself is special now for me I grew up in Greensboro I grew up around the ACC tournament and I like it in Greensboro that's just my personal preference but I think the places that we've gone the markets that we hit when you look at the New York market when you talk about the Charlotte area I mean the ACC tournament is well received no matter where it goes because of the ACC and what this league stands for the tradition the history the great players the great coaches and the great teams and so the product that we have is a great product I just like it in Greensboro a little bit more. What makes it special though Greensboro specifically? Well I think that was kind of the heart of the ACC tournament where you know kind of grabbed a hold and really locked into the community and I think the community in Greensboro does a wonderful job of embracing that ACC tournament there are a lot of people there that support different teams but at the end of the day they all come out and support ACC basketball. Danny it's good to have you here we'll see you in a month thanks for being on in the Dryad as always. Thank you. And there he goes Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning joining us at Operation Basketball in Charlotte your thoughts are welcome on Twitter at Sports Hub Dryad the drive brought to you in part by our friends at Pie Guys Pizza and more pay them a visit in Clemens right off of Lewisville Clemens Road it is the Kinnaman Village Commons you can find Pie Guys Pizza and more try the Graham Slam pizza or how about the Moravian Sugar Cane Pie I don't know maybe you can try the Buffalo Wings as well a lot of options Pie Guys Pizza and more online at pieguys.com a lot of things there from Danny and if you're talking about somebody who's just had a very full life of basketball that's a guy who locally in Greensboro played high school basketball one of the best players we've ever seen come out of this area played at Kansas National Player of the Year I mean I don't have to go through his entire track record you know it by now but it's an important year for the Diggs and Danny he's somebody who generally doesn't make excuses he's a guy who will tell you what he believes might be the cause of something that isn't working and at many points last year he said simply it's youth and sometimes you have head scratching results when the youth of a team just hasn't been in certain spots especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference now there are some people who hear that and think OK well that is somebody making excuses many players many teams across the country make things happen with young lineups but that's not something he could say this time around as Danny just noted in this conversation that he has a very experienced team now a lot of guys back Andrew White going to contribute as a transfer from Charlotte a grad transfer or a transfer is now a red shirt senior Brandon Childress back and a handful of guys Chondi Brown going to be an impact player for Wake Forest if things don't work out for Danny and Wake Forest this year it won't be because of you and the standard at Wake Forest and frankly from pretty much every program in the ACC it has to be higher than making the NCAA tournament one time and a six year stretch Danny knows that we've discussed it with Danny there are Wake Forest basketball fans who are unhappy at the moment but Danny's privy to things that we haven't seen behind the scenes and he knows what he has more than anybody else we will all get a chance to see what exactly that is in one month and we'll evaluate at that point once again on Twitter at Sports Hub Triad we are at ACC Operation Basketball Uptown Charlotte
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