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I Don't Feel Bubblish (3-7-23)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2023 6:14 pm

I Don't Feel Bubblish (3-7-23)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 7, 2023 6:14 pm

Live from the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum, Josh gives his pick to win the ACC Tournament, reacts to the latest news on Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady, head coach of Wake Forest basketball, Steve Forbes, joins the show to discuss Miami's Isaiah Wong getting ACC Player of the Year over Wake's Ty Appleby, NC State head coach, Kevin Keatts, joins the show to talk about what it means to feel "bubblish", and 2X NC Sportswriter of the Year, Andrew Carter, and 5X NC Sportswriter of the Year, Ed Hardin, join the show to discuss the realities of the ACC Headquarters moving from Greensboro to Charlotte and what that means for the ACC Tournament.


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. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taking the wind out of my face. It's time for The Drive with Josh Graham. Live from the Greensboro Coliseum, it is a Tuesday drive. You are listening to WSJS News Talk Sports for the Triad, where the ACC tournament is already underway somewhere right down the way from where we're sitting in the bowels of the Coliseum.

Georgia Tech meeting Florida State and viewing this from the triad lens, this is a week for us. So if the tournament being here is something that matters to you, that is significant to you, savor it. Because it's not going to happen again here anytime soon.

Think about it this way. It's really been eight years since we've had this tournament here. Like for real. 2019 it was supposed to be here, but a lot of folks saw the writing of the wall of how the ACC felt about Greensboro versus Charlotte when Charlotte got the ACC tournament in 19 before deciding to return to Greensboro. And that was a memorable tournament.

It was Zion. It was three number one seeds. A great year for the ACC. But rest assured, the ACC tournament was going to be coming back in 2020. Then the tournament starts and things immediately feel off.

The world changed three years ago. The tournament got nuked. 2021 was supposed to be in Washington, D.C. Then they move it to Greensboro out of convenience.

Only family allowed in the stands. It certainly didn't feel like a normal tournament. Last year it was in Brooklyn as originally scheduled.

This was the makeup from 2020. So when you view it that way, it's been eight years since the Greensboro Coliseum has hosted an actual real ACC tournament that, fingers crossed, is going to start and is going to finish with fans in the stands at capacity. The last time it happened it was Mike Bray cutting down nets for Notre Dame. And to show how much time has passed, Rick Pitino, Coach K, Roy Williams coached in that tournament. Mike Bray was nowhere close to stepping away at Notre Dame or retiring.

And tonight might be the last time we see Mike Bray coaching the Fighting Irish. A lot can change in eight years. And you shouldn't expect the tournament to be back anytime soon. I'd probably say 2029 is the next time to look at with the 75-year anniversary. And that's six years from now. They'll get another one here before 2033 because that's what needs to be fulfilled in order for the $15 million from the North Carolina government to come in.

So that's something that needs to be fulfilled. Four tournaments over the next 10 years, two in Greensboro. But we still have no word on what, where the 2025 tournament is going to be. And we're two years out from that. In fact, it was something that was brought up to Commissioner Phillips in September of last year. And this is how that exchange sounded. Jim, when can we expect an announcement for the 2025 ACC tournament?

That should be pretty soon. We don't want to go much longer than this fall. So we're looking at options and bids and the rest of it.

But you've read my mind on my list of things to do coming up. So again, we need it, our fans need it. And I think you should be hearing something this fall. And we hope that gets addressed in the spring. Maybe Amelia Island, when spring meetings get here, that we can get a vote and figure out where the 2025 tournament is going to be.

We've seen some of the reporting where Paul Brazo told the News and Observer that they were looking at locations such as Pittsburgh and looking at Boston. So it's okay, the tournament's going to be moving as it has really over the last couple of decades. But Greensboro will be a part of it for the next decade at least.

But for this week, enjoy it. It's been eight years since it's felt real. And there's no saying the next time that it's going to be here. And there is this feel in the building among talking to ushers when I walked in yesterday and today and others, that this is the ACC's unofficial farewell to Greensboro.

It's been home here since 1953. And starting this summer, really the process has already started. Headquarters are going to move and we'll see how exactly that changes the appearance of this league. So it's an emotional week. The Triad's excited to have the ACC tournament here and we'll be here all week broadcasting Tuesday through Friday. Make sure you keep it tuned here to WSJS.

Also streaming on YouTube, Twitch, and on Twitter. Will Dalton's back in our Kernersville studios as the executive producer of this show. We are taking calls at 336-777. Now what might that be? We're going to do this even though it's right down the hallway from me, because we got to talk about what's happening in that back hallway there.

It is right. I don't, I don't have a TV screen up now. Tell me what's happening. It's at halftime.

You got me. It's 31 21 halftime Florida state. They're the Seminoles Georgia tech. They're the team with the yellow jackets on there.

Is that your stat? Yeah. That Georgia tech is yellow jackets.

Okay. And they're and the yellow jackets that their, their head coach has tremendous respect for commissioner Phillips. That's true. That's something that we've come to learn about Josh Pazner, that he does have a tremendous respect for commissioner Phillips. That's right. So it's a battle between him and Florida state.

Who knows? Might be the last time we see Leonard Hamilton on that sideline. Every year we see coaches in their seventies saying they've had it.

And he's 74 years old, even though he doesn't look a day over 50. We also got a Florida state graduate. Who's helping out on the show today that needs acknowledgement and Tom Septon who's alongside. So all eyes on Florida state, Georgia tech, except here in this hallway where we do not have it on a screen, but thank goodness. WD is here to help us out in that regard. Let's actually get to the basketball very quickly.

Why don't we? I look at the odds for this tournament and the two favorites are Duke and Virginia. Last I checked Miami is the number one overall seed in this tournament. Yet they are not the favorite or even the second favorite to win the tournament. According to draft Kings and other places you might look, that is astonishing to me because we'll fill out the entire bracket as we do on Tuesday every year later on this hour. And you'll hear from Steve Forbes in about five to ten minutes.

Kevin Keats going to be a guest on today's show as well. But regardless of what Vegas says, Duke a favorite, Virginia the second favorite, Miami should be the favorite to win this tournament. And it's amazing to me, but really we shouldn't be surprised by it at this point. They've been overlooked all year. Miami is a team that went to the Elite Eight last season, yet was not picked first, second, or third in the preseason poll. They were picked fourth, finished as the number one seed here in the ACC tournament.

Still Vegas hasn't responded to that. Even though when you look at the double buys, they're the only ones that I trust to score. It's an amazing metric. We can get into advanced metrics if you want to. How about just scoring the basketball where Miami is first in the league in that category, Duke is ninth, and Virginia is 11th. Clemson isn't that much better either. If you want to get into the numbers, see what the nerds have to say, Ken Pom has Miami 13th in the nation nationally in scoring.

Or that's adjusted offensive efficiency, excuse me. Duke is 63rd. Clemson 74th, Virginia right there around 73. And why am I only bringing up those four? Only two teams in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament here has won winning four games in four days. So if you're gonna list a favorite for this tournament, it's not anybody playing Wednesday.

It's the teams playing Thursday and Miami is the team that can score out of those four teams. And to me, this is a team that has final forerun written all over it. They are a perfectly constructed team.

Not too many working parts, seven, eight man rotation, tons of experience. You know, elite coaching Jim Larinaga, some coaches in the league might say, or have already flat out said it's the best team money can buy in this league. Miami, there's real value in that piece of sound, real value.

Miami should be the favorite to win the ACC tournament, regardless of what they say in Las Vegas. Few sponsors that we want to thank as we're sitting here in the Greensboro Coliseum, round one of the ACC tournament, Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, your one-stop shop for entertainment in Winston-Salem, Carolina Gutters and pressure washing, the triad's best option for new gutters. Visit them online today. As I mentioned, we will have visits from Kevin Keats and Andrew Carter on today's show, but up next it's a visit with Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes, his team not in action today. Tomorrow they've got that Jim Boeheim fella. Noon tip round two in the eight, nine matchup. We talked to coach Forbes next on the drive. Wake up with Jeffrey Griffin and triad today, weekday mornings at seven. Now back to the drive with Josh Graham. WD knows the way into my heart playing some cold play.

Oh yeah. ACC tournament in Greensboro. We're broadcasting live.

Also streaming video, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, however, and wherever you are listening or watching. We appreciate that. I see quarterback news on the horizon that we can get to momentarily, but prior to doing that, we visited a short while ago with Wake Forest basketball coach Steve Forbes, his team not in action right now, not today. We'll see them tomorrow in the eight, nine game facing the Syracuse Orange, Jim Boeheim and company. That's the part where you play the Jim Boeheim drop. There you go.

See, you can host a show on remote location and also produce it at the same time. Here was our conversation with coach Forbes, which started with, for those who don't have the YouTube or the video streaming up, us wearing a couple of Ty Appleby Appleby's t-shirts. Steve Forbes, coach Forbes, you got Ty Appleby gear now has the number one, wake one on the back. Pretty cool stuff, huh?

Yeah. I'm really happy for Ty. He's had a historical season for us number wise, you know, and to lead the league in scoring and assists and be second in the league in steals, you know, what more can you say? And, and Appleby's figured out who he was.

They didn't know who he was before he came to, to wake for. So a pretty cool story for, for him and in our program. Were you disappointed at all that he didn't win player of the year? I mean, I'm disappointed more for him than anything. I mean, I'm sure it was something that he wanted to, to get, but I don't put a lot of stock in that kind of stuff. You know, I know Ty well enough to know that he'd much rather win the ACC championship and play in the NCAA tournament and then get, you know, an individual award.

And so I don't campaign for my players. I let them, the numbers speak for themselves and, you know, it was a very close vote, but I voted for Isaiah Wong, you know, and I'm happy for him that he won the award. How'd you vote for coach of the year?

I'm not going to, I'm not going to reveal that. I'll reveal the player of the year, but not the coach of the year, but you know, those are always kind of hard. You know, I've always been the guy that kind of voted for the guy who won the league because it's the hardest thing to do, you know, but then you always look at the coach that overcame a lot to, you know, to, to get to, to move up in the league, maybe where some of you experts thought they would probably, you know, be.

And so, you know, I'm, I wish every coach could win it, but it can only pick one. I love run it back games. I especially love the idea of playing a team and consecutive games.

What's that like from a coaching perspective, preparation wise? Well, man, I think it really helps us in the respect that number one, um, we didn't play Syracuse all year to the last game of the year, which is very odd to me. And so, um, we hadn't really seen it, you know, their, their style of play. I don't watch a lot of film on them because they don't play the way, you know, that we play. And so I think, uh, it'll help us a lot to have played them on Saturday and seen how they play both on offense and defense, and then have a chance to come back here on Wednesday and play them again.

You find too, some things to do a few adjustments and you, and you go out and play. Last thing for you, Steve Forbes, we are here at the Greensboro Coliseum. You have had history in this building. You've coached here when, you know, it was UNCG as the home team.

The curtains were down when I was here most of the time. Yeah. Yeah. There was the pandemic season where Bray beat you at the buzzer. Yeah. Thanks a lot. But you never really experienced it when it's real, like when it's true here at the tournament.

So being the history guy that you are, what does that mean? I'm excited. I think this is the best place to have it, you know, and, um, I can't wait, you know, and that you're right.

I didn't even think about that. The one time that we did play here, it was during COVID. So there was, that was one of the few times we actually had a few people in here actually actually heard people cheering, you know, the whole year, not, not the piped in stuff. Um, so yeah, I'm excited. And, and, uh, to see the place full up and, you know, all the tradition, all the history here of the tournament, like I said, I came in here for five years playing, uh, you know, when West was here with great teams at UNCG, but the curtains were down, you know, and they had some nice crowds in the lower bowl, but not the whole thing. So I think I'm excited to see it.

The Horns RQ have a great game tomorrow. Best of luck. Thanks for the time.

Appreciate it. That is something that you might not know about Steve Forbes, that he legitimately is a history buff, not just the guy who says they're a history buff. And then you find out later, they're just super into, I don't know, like a specific period piece.

They like watching old movies. That makes me a history buff. No Forbes, all he reads is World War One and World War Two stuff. This guy's got a Vietnam playlist on Spotify, which I just imagine is the Forrest Gump playlist. A Vietnam playlist? He does. That's awesome. It's probably just a lot of John Cougar Mellencamp.

I ain't no fortunate son. Guess that's CCR back in the day, but he's a big history guy. He's told us many times that Greensboro means something to him, even though he hasn't coached in it while it's real, the way that we described there. He's appreciative of it. He knows about 1974 and UCLA being knocked off by NC State and David Thompson and the greats who have played in this building decade after decade after decade.

So even though he's from the Midwest, from Iowa, he's a big time appreciator of history and what playing slash coaching in the ACC tournament here means. Let's shift gears to quarterback talk. WD, do you want me to get to the breaking news regarding Lamar Jackson or do you want to get to Tom Brady's tweet? Let's get to Lamar Jackson, because I don't even think I saw that.

Okay. Diana Russini of ESPN is reported in the last 20 minutes, 10 minutes that Lamar Jackson will not be pursued by the Atlanta Falcons. So we know who one quarterback in the NFC South will be. Derek Carr in New Orleans, Tampa, your guess is as good as mine. Atlanta, we thought made a lot of sense for Lamar in that they're already a run-based offense.

They need a quarterback. It's in a different conference. That would make a lot of sense for Atlanta not going after him. So does this mean WD that it's going to be the Desmond Ritter show this year? I mean, it might have to be unless they go after somebody else. I like their chances to go after Revet more than I like Carolina's.

I do too. I think Carolina, they need to draft somebody. What is the most popular destination for Jimmy Garoppolo? Garoppolo, he's going to end up somewhere, but what is the most popular destination for the Packers or excuse me, for Aaron Rogers?

It's probably the New York Jets. That's been talked about since before the season even ended. Well, and then earlier today, apparently the Packers gave Aaron Rogers permission to meet with the Jets. There you go. So there's been that connection. Jimmy G is going to end up somewhere.

I don't think it's going to be in Charlotte. Atlanta needs a quarterback. That makes a lot of sense to me since they're not going after Lamar anymore. Now we get to the Tom Brady part of the conversation. So in Indianapolis, everybody is in the same place at the same time when the combine rolls around.

You've got the coaches, you've got the scouts, you've got the general managers, you've got the media. They're all in one place. Often they're eating steaks at St. Elmo's over there and drinks.

They're flowing, I'm sure. And when that happens, and it's a laid back setting, people generally talk and rumors get out. Then you have somebody in the media on Monday.

In this case, it was Rich Eisen. Just letting some of the rumors out for everybody to hear. That's how the Philip Rivers stuff gets out. Oh, I heard he reached out to the Dolphins and the 49ers.

Okay. And then there was the Tom Brady stuff, which got thrown out there as if it was gospel that Brady, quote, might not be done after all with his playing days in the NFL. This is according to Rich Eisen talking to people in Indy. Quote, folks say, keep an eye on Miami. Tom Brady going to play for the Dolphins?

Well, it doesn't seem that's the case because Tom Brady himself tweeted an hour ago, anyone who thinks I have time to come back to the NFL has never adopted a two month old kitten for their daughter. Getting that stand up comedy ready. But he didn't say no. He never says no. He never says no. Is he leaving the door cracked? I think he is.

He didn't say I'm I'm not coming back. He's just trying to use a kitten as like a body shield here. Well, as a meat shield and he's a two month old kitten. He's practicing for his stand up comedy. I mean, maybe that's why he didn't have time. I don't know. Tomorrow on the Rich Eisen show, Tom Brady won't answer the question. Yeah, I don't think Tom's coming back.

Is he going to pursue stand up comedy, though? That's that's what we need to talk about. Live from the ACC tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum, one game in the books already. Georgia Tech by a point against Florida State. Louisville about to tip things off. Starting lineups are being read as Louisville faces Boston College without Quentin Post in college, which only matters across the triad to one person. Me, who drafted him in our ACC tournament draft.

Smooth. Such an interesting story. Anybody else have a player that's playing on Tuesday? Or am I the only one with players? I took two. I had Quentin Post and I had Grant Basile. Yeah, my draft. Yeah, I think you've got Basile tonight. And then Connor O'Neill has Nate Leschefsky.

Remember that? OK, that was his last pick. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a vested interest in the games being played today. Kevin Keats is going to be locked in on tonight's game between Notre Dame and Virginia Tech because the winner of that game is going to face his Wolf Pack tomorrow. Had a chance to catch up with Coach Keats right here at the Greensboro Coliseum a short while ago.

And here's how that conversation sounded. Tennessee State coach Kevin Keats is with us here in Greensboro. I've got to know, the last time we saw you was a week ago in Durham.

He didn't play in the regular season. Finale weekend. How'd you spend the weekend?

Well, you know what? It was a weird weekend. I'm so used to playing on Saturday and we didn't have a game, so I didn't even know what to do with myself.

My wife gave me this list of stuff to do, which is a problem. I would much rather be playing basketball, but I thought it was good for our guys. We were able to take a couple of days off, try to practice a little bit so we can keep some chemistry and not get out of shape.

But also, it was good just to, you know, our minds to rest and our bodies to rest a little bit. So looking at the matchup that you have tomorrow, you don't know who you're going to play yet. So how does the scouting work exactly?

You have an assistant who watches it or how does it go? So we have assistants that are watching both teams. I will say the common theme about both of these teams is they really can shoot the basketball. You know, when you look at Virginia Tech against Florida State, I think they made 16 threes.

And so we're dividing it up. It's a good thing. I told our guys be excited that we don't have to play on day one and you're able to watch these two teams.

And I have no idea who's going to win. Two great coaches, two good programs, two teams that are very exciting to play, especially the way they shoot the basketball. How surprised were you that neither Jarkel nor T'Quavion were first team all ACC?

You know, I don't get into it. I'm grateful that those guys were honored by the ACC. You know, it's voted on by the media, it's voted on by the coaches.

You know, I'll leave that up to them. But I'm happy that they both made a team and DJ made honorable mention. Who'd you vote for for Player of the Year? Jarkel Joyner. See, that's a good answer.

I'll tell you what. See, it must have been pretty difficult trying to differentiate, though, when you have your two guys who are up for it. Yeah, you know, I think both of those guys have had great years.

Both of them have played well in 17 points. But, you know, Jarkel was really good down the stretch for us. And so I did two ballots, to be honest, which I didn't want to tell nobody.

I did one for Jarkel Joyner and one for T'Quavion Schmier. And I don't know which ballot they took, but everything else was the same. I don't know if you remember this, Kevin, but like right down the way from where we're talking right now, I don't know if you remember this, Kevin, but like right down the way from where we're talking right now was the day that everything kind of got nuked the ACC tournament three years ago. A lot of people since walking in today have been reflecting on that week. What stands out to you the most about three years ago?

God, it was tough. If my memory serves me correct, I think we had won the game against Pittsburgh and getting excited to play against a really good Duke team at the time. And, you know, later on that evening, you kept hearing that the tournament wasn't going to happen. And I was like, it doesn't seem right. And as you start turning on the TV and you start seeing people counsel and counsel, you realize that we were dealing with a pandemic at the time. We didn't know that was bigger than anything other than basketball.

And I think at the time it was the right thing to do because we just didn't know what we didn't know. But it does bring back some memories as I walked into this place saying, man, this is this is kind of weird because we won here ready to play against a very good Duke team. What an opportunity to go to the NCAA and then it all changed.

And, you know, so much has changed in the world and we were isolated for so many years after that. And I'm glad that we can get back to playing and I'm glad it's back in Greensboro. Because that likely cost you an NCAA tournament team that year and you haven't been since your first year. So what would it mean this season to get back into the field? Well, it was tough because, you know, you think about around the country, everybody, including us, you know, you're prepared to play this tournament and then you know your opportunities playing the big dance. And it just didn't happen.

It was kind of taken away from you right away. It would mean a lot. I mean, I've guys, I told our guys, we've had a really, really great regular season, 22 wins and 12 conference wins. And, you know, I think we've had an unbelievable conference schedule. When you look at, we played Miami twice, we played Carolina twice, we played Duke twice, we played Clemson twice, we played Wake Forest twice and then you're on the road at Virginia Tech. And we've done some really good things.

I'm proud of our guys to go from where we were at last year to turning this thing around and getting back on the winning side of it and playing good basketball. It means a lot. On that note, does it feel like you're on the bubble? It doesn't. But I, you know, I learned a long time ago, I don't, I can't control that. You know, I just, I feel like our team's done a really good job. I don't feel bubblish. But I don't feel bubblish should be the headline to take from this.

The last thing for you. So we're in Greensboro. Our audience is right here in the Tryon. Does this place, does this city have added significance, considered in the history to you? Yeah, listen, I know the ACC tournament's going to jump to different cities.

And there's no knock against any city because I think they're all great cities to be able to host. And I think the folks at the ACC do a good job of making sure we get it to the right place. But this is, this is Greensboro.

This is where it happens. I remember when I was at Hargrave taking an hour drive over, hour, 15 minutes drive over to watch these games. And it's always been about Greensboro.

I hope that eventually we will get it back here. I don't know what the schedule looks like. The folks in Greensboro are first class. They do a great job. They run a great tournament.

They're good folks here. And I hope we get to come back. Really quickly, just because you mentioned it, I didn't, I never heard you say you rode over here from Hargrave to watch some of these games. Was it to watch Josh Howard or like, what were some of the guys? It was to watch Josh Howard. We had, remember we had Kenny Eames before NC State.

You had Anthony Grundy. We had so many guys from Hargrave. And we used to come over when my season was over at Hargrave when things were a little bit easier for me.

We would finish in late February and then the tournament started. I would get up and come over here and stay and watch games and had a great time. And so it's got a special place in my heart because I've been coming since I was, you know, a younger kid. I didn't come as much as a younger kid, but I saw it a little bit. But then when I became older and I could drive myself and be able to watch these games, it means a lot to me. Oh, and this is just for you tonight.

You're going to be, since you're not playing, keeping an eye on what UNCW is doing in the championship? Look, I am so proud of what Takeo Siddle has done. You know, he's been with me for years. He played for me. He coached with me at a couple, several stops and he's got that program right back.

He was the right guy for the job and I'm pumped and excited. I'm going to be locked into it. I got to figure it out. I got to watch two games. I got to watch the game tonight against Notre Dame and the Virginia Tech, but I have to support the Seahawks. I'd love to know what's on the big screen, but Coach Keats, best of luck. Thanks for the time.

Thank you. Kevin Keats joining us. What do you think's on the big screen tonight? Is it the, is it the game that features an opponent he's going to play tomorrow or does he have his former assistant Takeo Siddle's UNCW Charleston game on tonight? I think he goes double screen tonight.

Oh, I think he does though. WD. How many times have you been over on a bachelor? Well, that's what I'm talking about. Multiple screens. One gets the bigger screen though.

Bachelor always gets the big screen at the Graham household. What gets the big screen at Kevin for Kevin Keats tonight? He strikes me as the type that's going to be locked into who he's going to be playing tomorrow and he just needs to see on the smaller screen. What Wilmington's up. He doesn't need to see him. No, I think UNCW is on the big screen. He didn't need to see him. You've got, you've got an assistant that's already in the building. That's scouting them. So support the Seahawks.

That's what you need to do. If you're Kevin Keats in my opinion, has this game even started? It has, it has. It's five, four and our, and our, our favorite team who's leading five to four Boston college. And guess who doesn't have any points? Quinton post. You had to do that. Yeah. Hope you feel better about yourself. I feel great. Belittling me about the fact that I chose a player in a six man draft who is not playing because he's hurt.

To make the show a lot smarter than it usually is. Ed Harden. Who's won how many North Carolina sports writers of the year from the NSMA? Have you lost count?

I think it's five. Who's won five North Carolina sports writers of the year is joined by Andrew Carter who just won your second? I did, but Luke should have won.

Like, let's be honest here. I think people made a mistake in the voting. Luke DeCock, your colleague. If I were Luke, I'd be demanding a recount or just saying I didn't, you know, I didn't lose or something. Just a second ago, he walked, walked by her set and said, this is too much. We'll find out over the next 10 to 15 minutes. Boys, let's reflect on three years ago.

A lot of ushers fans I've talked to in the building. They immediately go back to three years ago this week. I was joking with Andrew that one of the memories that stands out to me was at halftime of the North Carolina Syracuse game, which was the nightcap on Tuesday. You joked with me, or it would have been Wednesday, I guess.

You joked with me, there's coronavirus on the floor and they're doing baby races. Yeah, that is a memory. What do you remember most about that day? Well, I don't remember any of the basketball. I know that. Luke and I were trying to track down whether we were going to play the tournament or not. And Syracuse like stomped Carolina, right? They did. Yeah. I remember that part about it.

I think what I remember most is the baby races, quite frankly. That and nobody could push the button. Nobody knew who was in charge of stopping the tournament. Because outside of the tournament, Rudy go bear, that situation was happening in Oklahoma City. And we were wondering what was going on with Tom Hanks and what was going on with Fred Hoiberg. Because in that moment, Andrew, we didn't know if having COVID meant a death sentence.

Yeah. I mean, what I remember is just the entire vibe of weirdness and uncertainty and fear, I think is a fair word to use. And that Wednesday night was so strange.

She just mentioned the events with go bear and the Tom Hanks thing and Hoiberg. And I remember after the Syracuse Carolina game, you know, we all had a feeling that the next day that Thursday was going to be different. And my assignment was to try to like, talk to fans because I think it became clear that fans were not going to be allowed the next day, that Thursday. And so folks were streaming out of the Coliseum, with the realization that they weren't going to be able to come back that the tournament, they hoped at the time was was going to keep on going. But without fans, but you know, I just want to what a weird time in history, like goes well beyond what happened here, but just golly, I mean, you know, I'll never forget some of the moments and scenes that we witnessed those two days. You wrote this week for the NNO, that the ACC in college basketball feels like it's at a crossroads a little bit, as the tournament returns to Greensboro.

I encourage people to read good journalism, but getting into some of the things you wrote about, what intrigues you the most about this week? Well, you know, in terms of the basketball side, like I feel like it's a wide open tournament. You know, that should be fun. Once it really kind of gets going, you know, tomorrow and Thursday, once you really kind of get into the better teams playing, it should be wide open. I think there's several teams that can win it.

That's interesting. You know, the thing I wrote earlier this week or last week, whenever it was that I posted, I do feel like the sport itself is in a weird place. I think college basketball is not in a great position. I think it's a very strange time for the ACC, which kind of finds itself being consumed by this beast it allowed into the league in a way.

We all understand that football drives a bus and they had to make these decisions, but it is interesting. The route that the league tried to go, an effort to save itself, really is kind of tearing it apart, which I kind of find interesting and a little bit poetic. So those broader themes surrounding both the sport itself and the conference are interesting. To narrow in on the triad, Ed, I remember a few years ago, might've been 2018, 2019, you told me the first sign of trouble for Greensboro in terms of league headquarters and such was when they went off to DC and Brooklyn. And that 2019 tournament that featured three number one seeds in the NCAA was played in Charlotte rather than Greensboro.

And the reason I'm thinking about that today is the last time the ACC tournament was really held here was eight years ago because 21 fans, it was limited, 20 got nuked. So it's eight years that it's been. Yeah. And the sport has changed. The landscape has changed. The conference has changed. Yeah.

I don't know. There's a, there's a, you get a sinking feeling that it may not ever come back. And there are a lot of reasons for that. When they came here in 2020, it was a huge year for Greensboro because it was the first time the majority of the ADs and presidents for that matter in the league had never been to Greensboro. This was their first time and they were going to see firsthand what it was all about.

And we lost that. And here we are what three years later, and I don't think they ever have seen what it was, what it still could be. Do you think there's a chance that if they did see what Greensboro could be that perhaps something changes in the next few years? I think they would at least understand it. I don't think they really understand what it means to not play in Greensboro.

And I think they're perfectly willing to, to find that out. You know, I don't think there's any, there's really any urgency for it anymore. So what does this mean, this week mean to you personally?

It's just odd. I mean, walking into that press room with, with all these sports pages on the walls and seeing how it changed through the years, you know, literally at the news and record going from a powerful paper to a ghost paper and knowing that it'll never be the same. Journalism will never be the same. The city has lost its voice, not just in sports, but in everything. I mean, the news and record drove a lot of what happened in this city, and it's gone.

It's just gone. And here's the tournament. And like you said, you have a bribe essentially from the North Carolina government that's going to bring the tournament back to Greensboro twice over the next 10 years. But if I had to guess, it's not hard to look at a calendar and say, 29 is the 75 year anniversary, and they have to fulfill that second tournament by 23. You're probably not going to be talking about an ACC tournament in Greensboro for another six years. When did you think? Perhaps.

I know the folks running the Coliseum are very, you know, Matt Brown and those folks are very interested in having it come back for the 60th anniversary of when Greensboro first held it here, which is, I guess, 67. That's right. Going back to that.

So 27, I think they're hopeful. But certainly, you know, you read the tea leaves and the writing on the wall, and you think it's not going to be here more often than the minimum that they agreed to with that piece of legislation and the budget or whatever. And, you know, I want to go back to something that just touched on. Sure.

You know, in terms of the sadness, he feels like it, you know, it makes me feel sad. Like, you know, it should be here on press row. Like, you know, the news and record. I don't know who they have here. I don't know if they have anyone who's technically a part of their staff. I could be wrong. I was talking to John Dell. He's going to, I think, cover Winston-Salem State.

He's not here at the Coliseum, or maybe he'll be here for a few days. And it's, you know, and this isn't to rip on the folks who are still there trying to do the work. I know people in both those places, Winston-Salem and what's left of Greensboro, trying to do what they can. You know, but it does speak to the people who run these newspapers and media companies are just vultures. And, you know, it's an absolute shame what's happened to the news and record. And, you know, you talked about that award earlier, and it's fun to joke about, you know, whatever.

I do think Luke should have won it. I'm not just saying that because he's walking by me. But I think of the names like, you know, Ed Harden and Lennox Rawlings and, you know, so many great people from the Piedmont Triad area, from this area of the state. You know, it had such a rich legacy of great sports writing and reporting and, you know, people who shaped my writing style when I was younger and coming up in college and would read those guys like Ed and Lennox especially. And, like, you know, it's heartbreaking, you know, the state of it now. And it's kind of like, you know, I mean, there's like, you know, it feels a little bit like you're part of a, you know, a dying breed or whatever the right phrase is.

But, you know, there's not many writers left to even earn those awards. But it feels like the city within it in which this is happening is also a city that's, you know, been consumed in a sense by vultures in a case of how many things have been taken, Ed, by Charlotte that we used to call home. I know that's something you've been writing about for years or used to.

Yeah. I mean, it's become quite a tradition for Charlotte to come up here to take what they want, banks and businesses large and small. And now they've taken the ACC. It's like, you want to say, where does it stop?

Well, there's nothing left. You know, I don't know what they're going to take next. Hospitals. They are taking Baptist Hospital.

They're taking the medical school. It's not a merger. It's a hostile takeover. It's amazing. What's in things positively with Ed telling us about his vicious pursuit of carp and some of the fishing stories that you've had over the last few months? Well, I caught a fish yesterday.

Okay. Where at? Behind my house. Little bass, about two pounds. Caught it on a worm.

Had no, I was just testing the new line. I didn't think it was going to be a fish at the end of it when I pulled it in, but so that got my blood going a little bit. That's where I should be right now, quite frankly, and probably where I'll be tomorrow. As you should.

When this tournament resumes. Yeah. Whoever, whoever stocked the lake 20 years ago, decided to put carp in it to get rid of the grass. And they would have been told that these carp are sterile, that they'll never reproduce. They'll die off in 10 years, and we'll get rid of our grass problem. Well, they've done two things. One thing, they weren't sterile. They are now 40 inches long and 40 pounds, and they swim around in wolf packs like submarines. And you can shoot them. So I do.

And that's my own eradication program to try to save my leg. Somewhere in there, Andrew, is an analogy about football in the ACC. A wolf pack, something or another. Yeah. Somewhere in there is that analogy.

Wolf pack are always targets. I don't know. You're a hiker. You don't strike me as a fisherman. I'm a hiker. I do enjoy the mountains. That's going to be, you know, when my number is called in this business, and we all, it's all coming for all of us at some point, it's all coming for all of us at some point.

You'll probably find me on the Appalachian Trail or some, you know, somewhere up there. I'll grow my hair even longer. Let's close with this.

Good plan. Since we talked a lot about the industry. How excited are you for the ceremony this summer? The NSMA is in Winston. It's a non-profit.

I think a lot of people don't know about what it aims to do. We hope as a radio station to do more stuff with them to let people know what exactly we have in the Triad. I know this is something that means a lot to Ed Harden as well, but for you to be recognized and to be at that ceremony, for people who haven't experienced it but are listening to our voices as sports consumers, how important is that to you? Yeah, it's very important and the, you know, I really love what the NSMA is about and Dave Gorin and his staff and those folks do a wonderful job of, you know, trying to create something special and trying to be an advocate for the industry and, you know, broadcasters and writers who are still trying to fight the good fight, you know, and they do a good job of supporting us and, you know, the awards thing that they do every year is top-notch and first-class and certainly really excited to have the chance to attend. But, I mean, you know, the most meaningful thing for me is all those awards or whatever I think are voted on by your peers.

They are? And so that's the neatest thing. I may or may not have voted for you. Well, I appreciate that if you did.

You should have voted for Luke and I'm, you know, I'm serious. But, you know, that is meaningful when people, you work alongside and people who are familiar with what you do and how you do it think highly enough of you to even nominate you, you know, that's a special thing. Ed, any encounters that you've enjoyed the most at the NSMA? You know, it's like a reunion in a way for sports writers. It's guys you have seen, you've read, you've heard about, you know of only in passing, and we're all there under one roof in my hometown.

I think that's the coolest thing. When it moved from Salisbury to Winston-Salem, it became something different for me. I mean, it's, I'm glad it's in Winston-Salem. And I go every year, win or lose. I mean, obviously I'm not in it anymore, but I'll be there, you know. I'll be there looking at skinny getting his award and it'll be a great night for journalism. It'll be a great night for Winston-Salem.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-07 22:58:42 / 2023-03-07 23:17:07 / 18

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