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The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
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April 19, 2023 6:19 pm

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The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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April 19, 2023 6:19 pm

On a Wednesday Drive, Josh reacts to the newest player that Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels are pursuing, discusses the Canes goalie situation going into Game 2 against the Islanders, discusses how hot it has to be to be too hot, in Weekly Positivity, tells why he thinks Hendon Hooker will go in the first round of the NFL Draft, ESPN broadcaster who'll be on the call for Canes-Isles, Mike Monaco, joins the show to discuss the Canes flying under the radar in these NHL Playoffs, and voice of USA Baseball, Daron Vaught, joins the show to discuss summer playlists and the Grilled Stuffed Burrito from Taco Bell, in Unusual Questions.

The Masculine Journey
Sam Main

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, what you scheduled this game.

He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taken the wind out of my city. It's time for The Drive with Josh Grant. Welcome to a Wednesday drive. You are listening to WSJS News Talk Sports for the Triad.

We're up to this point. It's been a lukewarm off season for Hubert Davis and North Carolina basketball. Incoming transfer Paxson Wojcik from Brown. Might as well have Justin Pierce 2.0 printed on the back of his jersey next year. Jalen Withers didn't average double digits for a horrific Louisville team. What makes you think he's going to do better on a bigger stage in Chapel Hill?

Then you got the guys they're going for that they're talking to. Former Notre Dame guard Cormac Ryan. He's visiting Chapel Hill.

That would be fine, but not really anything earth shattering. Last night, Inside Carolina reported that Hubert Davis will be pursuing Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland. And that's exactly who they should be pursuing. Cleveland would be the first transfer Carolina has landed that fans should be really excited about this offseason. Because this is who Matt Cleveland is. Offensively, he'd be the best Tar Heel wing since Theo Pinson. So since the national title team, Matt Cleveland would be the best wing that North Carolina basketball has had. Now, that's not to disrespect Leaky Black. Leaky brought a lot on the defensive end, obviously. But, offensively speaking, aside from a few games last year, you could leave Leaky from three.

And not really worry much about him. Not Matt Cleveland, who pretty much doubled Leaky's scoring average last year. 45% from the field the last two seasons at Florida State his first two years. He didn't take a lot of threes, but he was 35% from three. That's decent numbers. And he could be a draft pick.

That's a big deal. North Carolina is about to go back to back NBA drafts without having a player selected. Back to back years. The last time someone was taken was De'Ron Sharp.

Unless you count Walker Kessler, which I don't. The last time they had a lottery pick, you have to go four years ago. Cam Johnson and Kobe White, four years ago. The last Tar Heel lottery picks. And that's going to be a five-year stretch if nobody's taken this year or taken going into next year's draft.

So, it's been a long time. Matt Cleveland could be a draft pick. Maybe even a lottery pick if he shows out. Cleveland, he's 6'7", 200 pounds, crazy athlete, has made some big-time plays, hit some big-time shots. Look at the shot he beat Miami with last year at the buzzer. He can hit some threes. He's a former five-star player.

This would be a great pickup for Carolina. But this is what I find interesting about Hubert's approach to the portal so far. He's missed more times than he's hit so far. For every Brady Manic, there are two Dawson Garcias and Justin McCoys. Or Pete Nans. One of those guys that don't really quite hit coming out of the portal. So, what has Hubert done to try to improve his hitting, his batting average in the portal?

I'm going to trust my own two eyes. Paxim Wojcik played North Carolina this past year. His father is a former North Carolina assistant coach. The kid they're talking to out in Stanford played for a former Roy assistant. They bring in Jalen Withers from Louisville. He's from Charlotte, North Carolina, played against him the last two years. Cormac Ryan, multi-year player at Notre Dame, who Hubert Davis knows very well. And now Matthew Cleveland, also in the ACC, has played North Carolina a handful of times. It's almost like Hubert's like, I'm not going to trust the tape so much. I'm not going to trust what other people are telling me about these players.

I'm going to trust my own two eyeballs. And I watched Matthew Cleveland play my team. I watched Paxim Wojcik play my team. I watched Jalen Withers play my team.

My greatest evaluation tool will be my own two eyeballs. On Twitter, at WSJS radio. Matthew Cleveland, he'd be the first transfer target to really excite Carolina fans, I think. Rightfully excite Carolina fans. W.D.

's just excited thinking about it. Well, I am the producer of this show. Hello.

Hello. You know, Carolina, they recruited this guy a couple of years ago. I figured they would have. He's a five star player. They were going after him. And now we'll see what happens. NC State was after a North Carolina native, M.J. Rice, who went to Kansas a five star. He announced that he's transferring to NC State today. Kevin Keats getting busy in the transfer portal, doing a great job.

Some of the guys that he's landed. W.D., we're eight days away from the NFL draft. Are we hanging out on draft night? Damn right we are.

Is that right? We still need to figure out what we're doing for the draft. We need to figure out what we're doing, perhaps, to get the audience involved in this as well. So when that night comes and the Panthers make the number one pick.

We're able to enjoy that moment amongst our listeners. Stay tuned on that regard. According to Rod Brind'Amour this morning, the Carolina Hurricanes will be starting Ante' Ranta again for tonight's game two. And frankly, this decision doesn't really move the needle one way or the other in terms of what will happen when the puck drops tonight. It just doesn't seem to matter. That reminds me, Mike Monaco, who will be calling the series for ESPN, he will join us in about 20 minutes or so from Raleigh.

The game will be on ESPN 2 at 7 o'clock tonight. It just doesn't matter for this team who's going to be in net. You could make the case for either of the guys. Here's the case for starting Ante' Ranta. Traditional thinking has always been in the National Hockey League that when you're winning, you don't mess with the streak. It's the Bull Durham-Crash Davis approach.

Never bleep with a streak, with a winning streak. And if you win two to one in a playoff game, in game one, and you're the best penalty killer in net, the way you need your goalie to be this time of year, you got to ride the hot hand. You have to go with the goalie the next start. That's the case for him. But the concern for Ranta was something that Brenda Moore talked about yesterday, and it's that the Canes have been rotating their net all year long.

Here's how extreme it's been. Ante' Ranta has not started consecutive games for the Carolina Hurricanes since Christmas, four months ago. That's the last time it's happened, and really it was just a one-week stretch the entire year that Ranta started multiple games in a row. Freddie started more games than Ranta has this year. So you could make the argument against that, hey, this is the way that you've won all year long, but the counter to that, which I think is right, by the way, ride the hot hand. It's traditional NHL coaching 101 for a reason.

The postseason's a lot different animal than the regular season is. So it looks like it's going to be Ante' Ranta. It was his crease this morning. Brenda Moore even said, very short, by the way, typical Brenda Moore, hey, is Ranta going to start tonight?

Yes. That's what Rod says. So at seven o'clock, it's going to be Ranta number 32. Starting again as Carolina looks to take a two game to nothing lead over the Islanders. Everybody talks about how important the odd digit games are. Game one, oh, you've got to set the tone. Game three, oh, man, it's the series has shifted.

Home ice has shifted. Game five, pivotal is always attached to that. Pivotal game five. Game seven, oh, the two greatest words in sports. Game five, or game seven, excuse me.

No one ever talks about much the even digit names or the even digit games and how important they might be. And for Carolina, tonight might be the difference between whether Carolina wins in five or the series goes seven. Because if Carolina wins tonight, the pressure is really on New York in game three. If they lose, well, the Islanders did their job. They split the first two home games and, you know, unless the Islanders get swept on their home ice by Carolina, you're guaranteed that a game six is going to be back in the Islanders building in game six.

So that's how big tonight is. And I'm sure the Hurricanes are prepared for that. We have siren sounders for the Carolina Hurricanes game two tonight. I'm sure no NC State fans are going to boo when R.J. Davis from North Carolina sounds the siren. And from the 2002 Cup team, Bates Battaglia will be sounding the siren.

Once upon a time, he was part of the BBC line, I believe it was back in the day. Bates Battaglia, Rod Brind'Amour and Eric Cole on that 2002 team. And we'll be calling game two on ESPN two tonight is Mike Monaco, who joins us now. And Mike, you might be the only guy on the ESPN talent roster who has called NC State basketball at PNC Arena and also Carolina Hurricanes hockey. How much different is the vibe for pucks than hoops? Well, Josh, great to be with you.

It's a great question to start off. It is worlds colliding and hearing even you say R.J. Davis is worlds colliding. Really similar, I would say across the board. Playoff hockey, though, is unlike pretty much everything else. I've done Carolina State men's basketball, but I've only done that in Chapel Hill.

So cover your ears, Pac fans. I'm not trying to say that, but I haven't experienced that at PNC. So I would assume that is quite comparable. But yeah, I've been in Raleigh, I think if I'm counting correctly, I think this is my seventh time in Raleigh in the last calendar year, whether it's NC State football. I did spring game, three NC State regular season games, I think, including two at Carter Finley, NC State men's basketball. And now it's my third trip, fourth game for Canes hockey. So I love coming here. The fan base is incredible. I don't need to break any news with that. So it's always a treat to be here.

Yeah. Right down the road from our studios here in Kernersville, our mutual friend Randolph Childress lives. And I remember you calling a game in Raleigh where both you and him had the DJ Burns shades on during the broadcast. What's the best Randolph Childress story you have for us being on the road doing games with him? Oh, wow, that's a good one. Man, we've had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun games.

I'm trying to think of a real good one. So we were in Georgia Tech doing a game we did like it felt like every Georgia Tech game in the last couple months of the season. But he left his backpack in the arena. On a Friday night, we had a Saturday game he was there for Georgia Tech practice or maybe the road teams practice on a Friday night.

I wasn't yet in town. So he was there and he gets back to the hotel or some amount on his way back to the hotel and realized he had left his backpack in the arena. So he goes back.

And of course, on a Friday night, the arena's locked so we can't get in. He sees Debo Coleman, the Georgia Tech shooting guard, who he knows from a prior recruitment when Randolph was coaching, obviously a Wake Forest. And so he goes up to Debo Coleman's car and Debo, the way Randolph tells it, is like, who's this guy walking up to my car? And Randolph's like, no, it's me like Debo, it's me. So Debo lets him into the building.

He gets his backpack back. But maybe that's at least somewhat indicative of the work ethic that Randolph brings to it. And man, I don't know how many people I've worked with more prepared than him.

If there is anyone, it's a short list for the level of detail he puts into knowing the players, knowing the coaches, knowing the strategy. And yeah, we've had a lot of fun on the road. Mike Monaco's with us here. Seven o'clock puck drop for Carolina and New York tonight on ESPN2. He'll be on the call for tonight's action. From a national perspective, are the Canes still flying under the radar? The reason I ask that is because Vegas has Carolina tied for the sixth best odds to win the Stanley Cup, despite the fact Carolina second most points, second most wins. What do you think?

Short answer is yes. People are, you know, allowing them to fly under the radar. And I'm not here to judge whether that's right or wrong, I'll say. But they are. Like, they are being slept on to some extent. They're the second best record in the NHL, and only behind the Bruins who had a history making regular season, setting NHL records for wins, points in the standings, you name it. They're going to win all sorts of individual awards as well. So second best team in the NHL. And like you just said, you know, whatever it is, six best odds to win the Cup out in Vegas.

Maybe there's some truth to it. You know, they're a different team without Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty, and those are big losses for them. And to finish the regular season without Svechnikov, their all-star, they went 9-8-1.

So maybe there is some legitimacy to that. And maybe there's not, because maybe the system is that good, and the playing style is that forceful, and the discipline on this team in the way they train and prepare and then go out and play for three periods a night is that good. So, I mean, it's been a pretty robust sample size of five years of Rob Brind'Amour and what he's done with this team. But I think they are being slept on a little bit, and one of the analysts who I'm working with on these games, Dominic Moore, who played 900 games in the NHL, he basically said that on our pregame show on ESPN2 on Monday night before game one, that he can't remember a team that had as good of a regular season as the Canes did to come in with this little noise around them. And maybe in part that has to do with the other teams in the league just soaking up a lot of that noise, the Bruins like we said, or in the Western Conference, Connor McDavid. Because rightly so, a lot of people are talking about Connor McDavid because he's a generational talent, and he had 153 points this season.

That's insane. So rightly so, some of the attention gets spent in other places, but I think just like how anyone's a fool to write off the lightning, even though they had a tough month to their season, we saw what they did against Toronto last night. I think anyone would similarly be a fool to write off Carolina.

Also kind of insane, and it speaks to what the NHL is, eight game ones we've seen the last two days, six of the eight game ones have been won by the road team, including all four last night, the two winners, Boston and the Carolina Hurricanes, Mike Monaco with us here. What's more surprising to you? Rob Rindamore confirmed today that it will be Ante Ranta again in net tonight. What's more surprising for you that there was question that Ranta might be in net tonight, or the fact that he is getting to start, not Freddie Anderson?

I would say small amount of surprise with each. Look, I get that there's some question as to who it would be because Freddie Anderson, for all intents and purposes was brought here ahead of two seasons ago to be the number one guy and effectively was entrusted to roll throughout the season as well. So it's at least a question. And with the workload for Ante Ranta, I think it's at least a question as well. But it can't be surprising to go back to him either. Like he was great, especially in the third period in game one on Monday. So I think you got to go back to now what we're curious to see is they've obviously managed his, his workload throughout the season, in part because you had Freddie Anderson, but in part because of the injury history with Ante Ranta as well. So what does that all look like, now that he's going to be entrusted with the game to start as well and depending on how tonight goes, what happens down the stretch like if he wins tonight and he's good again. You got to keep rolling with him until proven otherwise.

Absolutely. And maybe that's already the case as it is right now with like we said how good he was in game one, but only three times all season, did he start a game with either one or zero days in between things. So think of it like a starting pitcher in baseball one day rest or zero days rest.

Only three times all season did Ante Rata go out in that situation, and the last time he did it was late January, so it's effectively been almost three months on since he went out on, you know, just one day yesterday in between. So what does that look like and devil's advocate is well he did it in the postseason last year and he put up really good numbers. When he was the starter and Freddie Anderson was unavailable last year, so I think that's one thing that that is absolutely worth watching.

He's been really good all season when he's been in there and if that continues, again, another reason why you can't sleep on Carolina. You mentioned baseball, I was going to close things out by talking Orioles and Red Sox and, you know, you do games, Red Sox games for NASA and you have a package as well but instead, because you're a Notre Dame guy. And we learned in this in the last few days that Mike Bray is going to be coaching in the NBA on Quinn Schneider staff who he coached at Duke way back in the day, he's going to be on the Atlanta Hawks staff.

I just need to know. Were you moved at all, when you saw him after his last home game, hitting up the linebacker, the college bar there at Notre Dame, and did you have any good brace stories. Yeah, I was moved throughout it all, and I was actually there the week in January where it all kind of got finalized that it was coming to an end and I had known a day before the game, the game ended up being against Florida State where Notre Dame was really down big.

It was not pretty in South Bend but so I had known it was coming. And, yeah, it was emotional, like, it's a guy that for 23 years has poured everything he's had into that job in South Bend and yeah I'm biased as an alumnus of that school but it's a pretty special place, and there's a lot of people that care. You know, about other people and care about the right things and not that other universities don't have that as well but I was certainly touched by those bonds there, and Mike brain really typified that, like I heard, I heard great stories from people I went to college with people I knew really well, people I didn't know well in the aftermath of that news about. Oh Mike brain did this for me and my friends in college, he would go into dorm rooms and into dorm parties and in beer pong or whatever people call it at different schools and in different parts of the world. He would go in and be welcomed into these games and take celeb shots, as they call them in a beer pong game, like how great is that, that the head basketball coach for a lead 18 is going into your dorm and doing that. One of my best friends to this day a college roommate of mine wrote Mike brain email, because he would always email the student bodies trying to the student body trying to drum up support over the course of the season trying to get them to come to games telling them how much he needed them that sort of thing.

So we all had this, this email address that you know was supposedly associated with Mike gray. So my buddy took a shot and said hey I'll write him an email I got something on my mind. And what my buddy had on his mind was that he thought the Notre Dame basketball team should stay on the court. While the alma mater was playing win or lose after a game, the way the football team does it. And I think at that point the they weren't doing it after losses maybe and football had and my buddy wrote that to my brain the middle of the season. And Mike gray wrote back and said, Hey, I think this is a great idea.

Thanks for reaching out, I'm a little superstitious. So we're not going to change anything in the middle of the season, but we'll take it into consideration in the offseason. Sure enough, the next year, they changed course and put in a new policy for singing the alma mater. So, like those two stories, hopefully typify the type of guy he is, that's fantastic, Mike, it's good to see you, and on a game day appreciate you making the time for us we need to do this more often and I promise, the next time that we visit, we'll talk a lease baseball and the fact that our teams the Orioles and the Red Sox, they don't have to play each other 19 times a year. We can talk about that we can talk about anything we can talk wake forest baseball because the deeks are incredible and I'm fired up for them and I hope that when I'm in Omaha in June I hope I'll see them there. So yeah, Josh, always a pleasure.

Thanks for the invite it's always great chat with Josh. We raise morale across the Piedmont Triad, it's a segment we call weekly positivity. It's the most polarizing segment that we do WD was just telling me another story involving everybody who comes up to me mentions this segment.

We talk about the show and usually they say they love it or they hate it there's no in between. What was the story you told me a couple of days ago, I was hoping this was going to come up so my dad he has a tennis buddy that apparently is a fan of the show. I don't know what his name is, but my dad asked me when I walked in the house, he's like, what is this gratitude thing you guys do? You know my weekly positivity. He's like, yeah, this guy that listens to your show, he loves the show, but when that thing comes on, he has to turn it off.

He can't do it. So this is dedicated specifically to that guy WD's dad's tennis friend, this is for you weekly positivity. Oh, yeah. I'll have what she's having.

336-777-1600 the first two to call in and tell us something good will win $25 gift vouchers to the real Q off Country Club Road in Winston. Tasty. That's good. Let's start with Kyle the Amazon driver. Kyle, tell me the latest thing you've been up to. That's good. Hello, Josh.

Hello, everybody. Ah, man, so many good things. We had spring break recently and one of the things that we wanted to do. We wanted to jump on a plane and we flew halfway across the country to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The hub round one game one Milwaukee Bucks against the Miami Heat. That's what you were in Milwaukee for.

Well, I wouldn't be called the Amazon drive like a any type of anything to that. We took ourselves 20 minutes north to the beautiful suburban town of Wauwatosa. What was in Wauwatosa? Wauwatosa held the PBA World Series of Bowling USA versus the world for two days. Josh, I watched the best bowlers in America versus the best bowlers of the world.

That's good. There's a lot of things I could talk about. You know, I could talk about the oil patterns being beat up. I could talk about how these guys couldn't strike. I could talk about three gutter balls.

I saw on live TV, but none of it equates to the end of the show. Day two, Jason Belmonte signs his used bowling ball and hands it off to my son Kyrie. Now, just real quick, because I know a lot of people aren't going to follow me.

This is one of those quad three sports I like to talk about. But this is the equivalent of Tiger Woods sinking a 30 foot putt at the Masters, picking that ball up out of the cup, signing it and tossing it to your son. Where's he going to put it? Where are you going to put it? Oh, we've already got a case. They put the Australian flag behind it and it's sitting in his room.

We have been instructed to keep Pawpaw away from it so he doesn't throw it down the lane. That's so good. Thank you for the call, Kyle, the Amazon driver. Wow. That's going to be hard to top. W.D., did he want a real Q gift certificate?

I think he did. Well, congratulations, Kyle, the Amazon driver. Enjoy the barbecue and be sure to share. Let's go to Brian, who's in Greensboro. Hi, Brian. Hello, Josh. Tell me something good, Brian. Josh, it is 82 degrees in Greensboro. Wow. It is sunny and the birds are chirping.

I can hear them. Tomorrow we're heading for 84 and 81 on Friday. That's good. What is too hot, Brian? Like 82 is good. 84 is good. If I said 87, is that starting to get into uncomfortable territory or where's uncomfortable?

Uncomfortable comes when the humidity hits 95. Wow. Yeah, we're not going to get there for a while. Well, Brian, how does real Q sound to you? That sounds excellent. You're supposed to say that sounds good.

That's OK. Next time. There he goes. Brian in Greensboro telling us something good.

Richard in Winston-Salem. I think I'm out of real Q gift cards, gift certificates. But how about do you like PDQ? Does that sound good to you, Richard? That sounds really good, Josh.

OK, well, you get a free meal at PDQ if you tell me something good. Oh, man, something really good, Josh, is that about five years ago, my wife and I bought a fixer upper house, which was good. And one of the last projects we have to do is redoing our back patio completely.

And it's probably going to be done on Friday, which is really good. What are you going to do the moment that it's finished? I'm going to wheel my new grill that's being stored at my dad's house to my house. And then I'm going to grill a bunch of awesome meat for my family. That sounds good, Richard. Enjoy the PDQ. And thanks for sharing that with us. Thanks, Josh.

Yeah, there's Richard in Winston-Salem. I was just going to say that the Orioles won one to nothing yesterday. They're always having to win these games 10 to eight, 10 to nine. They won one to nothing, which was good. What's so great about that? That's the Nats and the O's.

Nobody dislikes the O's. Yeah, you and you. You can try to pretend.

Don't bring up that example I brought up earlier. Speaking of good meats, I had a steak in downtown Winston-Salem, but I couldn't find parking. I won't say the name of the place, but you could probably figure it out. I couldn't find parking around downtown Winston, so I pulled into where one of the public parking areas were that's adjacent to a hotel. I acted like I was unloading the hotel, hit the flashers and such, and went inside and grabbed my food to go and went back to where my car was parked. You're so cool. So shifty. Wow.

Tell me something good on the way out. Well, it is starting to kind of get warmer outside. Yeah, Brian pointed to that. He stole my thunder a little bit. The vibes are good out. The weather is where you were going to go? Yeah, it's one of the things. It's a good vibe out there.

It is, yeah. Good vibes. But I got up at 3 o'clock this morning. Why'd you do that? Because the Mandalorian season finale was today. Okay, any thoughts? It was fantastic.

There was a lot of Mandalorians in it, and there was a big battle in the air, and then I went back to bed. And that's been Weekly Positivity. Take that, W.D.

's dad's friend who's a tennis pro. Yeah. Take that. That's what we call high quality radio programming or YouTube streaming.

He's probably not listening to this because he's turned it down. Live action, Tracy. Turned it off. Yeah.

That's the most polarizing segment that we do. It is. It's what I said. For those who are watching on our live video stream or on YouTube, you might see that I'm wearing Tennessee gear. And the reason why I'm wearing Tennessee gear, and that Rocky Top's playing right now, is because NFL Network host Peter Schrager put in his mock draft today, Tennessee quarterback and Greensboro native Hendon Hooker, not only in round one, but going 11th overall to the Tennessee Titans.

And if that surprises you, it really shouldn't. Because if he didn't get hurt last year, we're talking about a top ten pick. And it's not like it was an Achilles he's dealing with. It's not like he broke his hip, albeit when Tua had a broken hip, he still went in the top three picks. Without the injury, he'd go in the top ten.

And here's how I know that. That's where people were mocking Will Levis, still to this day to be taken. Eight days out from the NFL draft being here. Hendon Hooker, if he didn't get hurt, would be taken over Will Levis, no questions asked. I was at the game in Knoxville last year when Levis went head to head with Hooker. And even though Tennessee secondary wasn't all that great, Levis threw multiple interceptions while Hooker looked fantastic. And at that point, he was the front runner to win the Heisman Trophy. And folks in Panthers circles were discussing whether Hendon Hooker would be their quarterback when draft day arrived. But the timing of Jalen Hurts' emergence I think is significant to this conversation.

Hurts nearly winning the MVP, Hurts taking the Eagles to the Super Bowl. That is significant because the NFL tends to be a copycat business. If a team does something successfully, other teams generally follow. We saw that when the late Tony Sperano 15 years ago ran the Wildcat. And then the year after that, suddenly everybody was trying to recreate what Sperano with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown did. You know, the Philly Special was run five years ago.

Then suddenly everybody seems to have the Philly Special in their playbook. Jalen Hurts was a second round draft pick, was doubted even though he was great in college. And the Philadelphia Eagles made everybody look stupid by taking him, developing him, and now paying him big bucks in the last few weeks.

And it's something that Jim Nagy, the Senior Bowl director, mentioned to Peter Schrager as a parallel to Hindon Hooker just yesterday. Jalen Hurts came down here, everybody had him in the fourth or fifth round. We had him in the fourth round coming into Senior Bowl week.

Leading up to that draft, the comp for me was Dak Prescott. And now we've seen Jalen, I think Howie Roseman got questioned big time when he made the draft pick, you know, 53 overall. Everyone thought that was way too high for Jalen. But I think the lesson, at least for me, like the takeaway from Jalen was don't ever put a ceiling on these guys that are like high-end competitors, high-end workers, high-end leaders. And say what you want about Hindon's tape.

We can all watch his tape and pick apart scheme and things of that nature. But he's the same as Jalen in those three areas. And one way that Jalen and Hooker are different? Jalen Hurts is 6'1". That's short for NFL quarterback standards. Hindon Hooker is 6'4". He looks like a prototypical quarterback. There's so much to like about him.

Yes, there's the mobility piece. He can run. But other than Stroud, I'd say that no one in this draft is more accurate or makes better decisions than Hindon Hooker does. And that's including Bryce Young, who I still expect the Panthers to take in about a week.

I still think that Hindon Hooker is a better decision maker. And when you look at the last two years, there's a large sample size on this. 58 touchdown passes to 5 picks the last two years in Knoxville? Those are stupid numbers, man. 58 touchdown passes. And that doesn't include the rushing numbers. Only 5 picks. You would think, given how high octane and how fast Josh Heupel's offense is, we're going to snap it every 20 seconds, that that might heighten the chances of making mistakes. Snap mistakes and throwing a pick. But no, Hooker hasn't been making those mistakes. But he has to go to the right team.

It has to be a good fit. And there are three teams picking in the 20s that I think would make a lot of sense for Hindon Hooker, a couple of which he's already visited with. The Seattle Seahawks at number 20. It's their second first round pick. They have the number 5 pick as well. The Minnesota Vikings at number 23. And the New York Giants at 25.

All three of those teams. The requirement has to be you're not looking for this quarterback to start right away. You're not looking for Hindon to start right out of the gate. But you also don't have a quarterback on your roster that's on a rookie deal that you expect to extend. You have a veteran, someone who could start right now.

And perhaps you groom Hindon to be in the guy eventually. All three of those teams check that box. But you might be thinking, Josh, didn't Geno Smith just get a big deal and didn't Daniel Jones just get paid by the Giants too? When you look at the way those contracts are constructed, there is an out after two years of the Daniel Jones contract that if Hindon is ready to go, they could start him and easily move Daniel somewhere else. And that's also a great offensive mind in Brian Dabel, who hasn't been able to draft his quarterback yet and develop him since taking the Giants' job. The Vikings, Kirk Cousins is a free agent after this year. Seattle, you already have one first round pick in the top ten if you don't go quarterback there.

You don't feel comfortable going with the quarterback that high up. You could take a really skilled player who could start for you right away in the top ten or in the top five. And then you could draft a quarterback later. Geno Smith has an out in his contract after one year that if you move off of him, you wouldn't have a serious dead cap hit. And there's probably a team you could trade him off to that could offset some of that salary. Those three teams make sense. And towards the end of the first round, teams are really evaluating this. Obviously, teams reach more when it comes to quarterback.

But at the end of the first round, you really start thinking, man, the value of getting that fifth year option for a first round pick versus not having it for a second rounder, that's something you really have to consider. You should expect Greensboro's Hinden Hooker to go in round one. Maybe not as high as number 11 like Schrager has him, but going in round one, I would expect the Greensboro native to be there. On Twitter at WSJS Radio, if you want in, Darren Botts is going to join us in just a few minutes. We'll answer unusual questions and give away a pair of Merlefest tickets, our last pair that were given away this week, your chance to win those tickets in a bit. But before we get to that, the Canes, it's game two tonight.

And it's a funny thing. It seems like both in the NBA and NHL, the odd number of games get all the hype. Game one, got to set the tone in a series. Game three, oh, home ice, home court has shifted. The series has shifted as well. Game five, it's a pivotal game five, especially if the series is tied.

Oh, it's pivotal. Game seven, two greatest words in sports. What do we got for the even numbers? What do we got?

It seems like those get overlooked a little bit. But tonight is sneaky important for the Carolina Hurricanes because if they win, all the pressure is put on the Islanders to win in game three or else the series is essentially over, history tells us. But if Carolina loses tonight, well, the Islanders will have accomplished what they set out to do.

And that's splitting the first two games. It's not a series until a road team wins after all. And it pretty much guarantees that this series is going to go six, which would hurt Carolina. It feels like Carolina needs a quick series and having that advantage going into the second series that they plan to advance against either the Rangers or the Devils. If last night was any indicator, it's probably going to be the New York Rangers, which is not a good matchup for Carolina.

We learned last year in that second round series. Canes need a quick series. And if they lose tonight, well, they would have to sweep the next three games in order to win in five and make it be a quick series. And two of those games would be on the road, which is unlikely. And if it was a game six, well, then you have to close out on the road, which is difficult to do as well. I like Carolina to win the night. I like Carolina to win more convincingly than they did the other night, which isn't really saying much because they only won by one goal. It was a tight game.

Maybe I'm just hoping that for my stress standards that it's not that close of a game again. Could there be four, count them, four North Carolina regional sites in the NCAA baseball tournament? Darren Vaught will help us answer that and then answer some unusual questions next. You're on the drive with Josh Trail, WSJS.

Your chance to win a pair of Merlefest tickets single day passes when we answer unusual questions in a bit. That's because Darren Vaught joins the show now, the host of ACC Baseball, et cetera. Listen to that earlier this week, him talking to Coach Pollard out at Duke.

If you love college baseball, that's a place to go. Darren Vaught will also be calling North Carolina its series this weekend at the Bosch. The reason I didn't say the opponent is because I... Boston College. Yeah, W.D.

has it queued up. Boston College. facing North Carolina.

Darren joins us now. I look at the D1 baseball rankings this week. After taking two out of three at Louisville in a top 10 clash over the weekend, Wake is number two in the country.

Rhett Louder just rolling through people last Saturday. You have my East Carolina Pirates currently in position to host super regionals for a second straight year, if it were to hold up this way, eighth in the country. Eleventh are the Campbell Camels. So the top three teams from the state of North Carolina ranked are not from the triangle. And then North Carolina is ranked 18th, not too far down the line. Darren, how many in-state teams do you think realistically could host regionals when the NCAA baseball tournament arrives?

And by the way, it's not too far down the road. No, so, I mean, these teams have another month-ish, right, to improve their resumes before potentially getting the chance to host. Sixteen host sites for regionals. You alluded to three in Wake Forest, ECU, and Campbell that are top 16 teams as we speak. North Carolina has been top 15-ish most of the season, now sitting at number 18. Josh, it is, I don't know if likely is the word, it is very possible, very possible, all four of those schools could host regional action and put about a quarter of the NCAA regionals in our state, which would just be wild.

The one thing is, Wake's a lock, right? I mean, they've been one of, if not the best team in college baseball all season long. Teams, listen, teams don't just go to Jim Patterson Stadium at Louisville and win series there.

They actually did not lose a single home series all of last year, and they have not lost multiple series at home in a handful of years. Wake's there. They're going to host in Winston-Salem. I think ECU is especially considering their schedule, the American Athletic Conference is abysmal this year. ECU is going to get through that schedule. They're going to keep close to high ranking as they are right now in the top 10 or so. I think it's favorable for Campbell, given that they are up to number 11 in the country. I mean, they don't play in a cupcake in the Big South, but, you know, you can view their schedule similarly to how you view East Carolina's.

They're not probably going to move much. The real X factor in the four or not NCAA regionals in North Carolina is going to be with the Tar Heels and how they finish out the ACC season. And again, they won the tournament last year. We've known them to do well down the stretch.

They've got a top 20 matchup with BC this weekend. So we'll see. Darren, it's time for us to give away some Merlefest tickets. I believe you're going to be pinch hitting for me while I'm out watching Merlefest the day after the draft.

I can't wait for it. I don't know. You're a big music festival guy, yeah? Yeah, I mean, I'm a music guy, certainly. Being a music festival guy, I feel like it comes with different territory. But yeah, no, I enjoy music. I have been to some festivals here and there, yeah.

So 336-777-1600. We have one pair of Merlefest tickets that we're going to give away. And the way that we give them away is by simply asking us an unusual question. Well, what warrants an unusual question? Last week, guys, everybody made it out that I got mad at Josh and I left the press conference.

That's not right. I thought it was an unusual question, and it's okay. It's time for Unusual Questions with Josh Gray. What warrants an unusual question is something that's probably just not sports-related, usually. That's how I would define it. It could be almost anything, right, Darren? Yeah. I mean, we've asked sports-related unusual questions during this segment, right? Yeah, and... Will always asks about food, so...

Shut up, Darren. By definition, if you want it to truly be unusual, probably steer clear of food conversations because Will got those covered. Sure. So this ticket giveaway brought to you by Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, your one-stop source for entertainment in Winston. Burl Fest next week, and Hayes made this point yesterday that it's two single-day passes, so you could take someone with you, or you could just go multiple days with those passes, I assume. Whatever you care to do.

If you are a music festival guy as opposed to a music guy, you're probably going solo both days. You probably would enjoy that. There's the distinction. There you go. D.W. in Greensboro, what's your unusual question? Hey, D.W., are you there? D.W.? Maybe you need to say boogity boogity boogity before D.W. wins the game. Oh, we lost D.W. Lost him. That's a shame.

Probably just lost out on a chance to win tickets. Let's show people how it's done real quickly. I have a new puppy. Her name's Willow. Willow the dog.

I've spoken about Willow quite a bit on this show. The last few weeks since I've gotten her. And she has doubled her weight in three weeks upon us picking her up. She was 3.2 pounds when we picked her up. In three weeks, she is now at 6.5 pounds. Been walking her quite a bit.

She likes to walk. And we meet a ton of people that love playing with Willow because she's such a lovable dog. And thus, I've seen a lot of different moves that people have playing with dogs that might be theirs or with stranger's dogs. What's your go-to move when you go to pet and or play with a dog, Darren Vaught?

This is a great question. So I grew up with family friends who would breed dachshunds. So my family always only had dachshunds, which at their most, they're going to be like 15 pounds. It's a small dog.

In adulthood, I have become much more of a big dog person, but the move is the same. The move is the same. You rub on their midsection, on the sides, right? Yeah. Sort of altering hands. And you give them a hearty smack on the sides, right? You know what I'm talking about?

Yeah, absolutely. Somebody did this exact move last night. A hearty slap to the side at the end is key. They freaking love that. I do the two hands and rub down the sides of the dog. They generally like that too, most dogs that I'm around. Head is a mixed bag. I used to be a guy who goes to scratch the head at first.

Some don't like that, others do. So just take note of that. Especially if it's a dog that's not familiar with you, head is risky. I get it. I get it. And instinctively, you want to scratch behind the ear. Most dogs like that.

Sure. But beware, beware. Go for the midsection, the back and forth rubbing, and then the pat with both hands.

That's my go-to. To win tickets to Merlefest, we now go to Tim in Moxville. Tim, what's your unusual question? Well, I'm going to ask this question, not sure if it's an unusual question, but you guys used to broadcast on FM station 101.5. We still do. I was wondering if that will continue or if that's changed or if it's coming back or if it's over.

You know, thank you for the call. That is an unusual question, and I'll tell you why in a second. So you get the two Merlefest passes for asking an unusual question because we are currently broadcasting on 101.5 in Winston-Salem.

That's why it's unusual. There was like a three-week stretch where we weren't because there were vandals that took down our towers, but after that got up to speed around the ACC tournament, the last month we had been up on 101.5, and here's how I know that. I listen on 101.5. Thanks to the feds who got involved following the vandalism. Appreciate it. Thanks, feds.

It's a whole ordeal. Yeah, shout out to the feds, the title on today's podcast. What's your unusual question, Darren? All right, so you guys know me. I've already alluded to the idea that I'm a music guy.

I am one of those people that will create copious numbers of playlists on my Spotify account. In thinking about my summer 2023 playlists already, I know it's not summer, but it's damn near 90 degrees in the triangle here today. Very nice outside. It's got me thinking about summer. I already got you. Summer playlist for this year. Number one song. I already know. Kill Bill, SZA.

Okay. Kill Bill by SZA. I've been listening to that song on repeat the last week or so. It's amazing.

It's a great song. Trying to think what else I'd put in there. See, because I do a chronological playlist. I start in 2023, and then I just keep throwing new music into it as the year goes on, and my chronological playlist is at 26 songs through three and a half months now. Okay, solid.

No, I respect the methodology there. The other one would be Escapism by Ray. R-A-Y-E. Those are the two songs I've been listening to a lot lately. Escapism by Ray.

Okay, I'm not familiar with Ray, but those are great suggestions. There you go. Will, what do you have in this regard? You asked the right person.

WD is on the phone currently. That's right. We'll get to it. You've got your summer playlist that you're putting together, and you do a great job with your summer playlist. I actually really appreciate those. In fact, when you put yours together, we will figure out a way on the show to try and put out that summer playlist for people who might enjoy it.

Let's do it. So I got to say, one of the very first ones I added to it this year, my brother, huge soccer fan, plays FIFA on the Xbox, and the most recent version of FIFA has this song on its soundtrack. It's a group or an act, an outfit called Small Pools.

One word. Totally unfamiliar with them. Check out Dreaming by Small Pools. I knew exactly where you were headed.

I played that video game too, and that song was on there, and that ended up on the playlist. Boppiest of bops. If you just want to inject yourself with good vibes and you just want to generally feel okay about life as you have never felt okay about life before, Dreaming by Small Pools. Pull it up right now. You have permission. Stop listening to Josh's show for like two minutes. Well, listen to what W.D.

has to say first, then you can listen to Small Pools Dreaming. So because apparently I only ask questions about food, I would be remissed if I didn't keep up the trend here. Okay, good. I thought you were going to go the other way around.

Just lean into it, man. Yeah. Be you. So when you guys were in college, what was the best place to go eat when you were either having a good time on the weekend or not such a great time the next morning after said good time?

Jimmy John's or Cook Out. This is, um, Josh, of course, spent his undergraduate days in Greenville, America. So it's like the options were numerous.

This is this is different for me. See, I went to school in the sticks. So if you couldn't get a ride to Bristol, Tennessee, Virginia, on the state border, which was about 30 miles away. You you were limited. There was a 24 hour subway in Meadowview, Virginia, that came in the clutch a lot.

And if you could again, if you could get a ride about midway between school in Bristol was Abingdon, Virginia. They had a Taco Bell that was open late. So there's a lot of Taco Bell nights. Outstanding. What was the order? Do you guys remember the grilled stuffed burrito?

Yeah. It's it's a discontinued item. People people freak out about the Mexican pizza. But I'm telling you, Taco Bell, if if I know Taco Bell executives listen to the they do big fans.

Grilled stuffed burrito. Bring it back. He heard it from Darren. But did you have an answer to your own question?

I did. So the late at night piece cookout the morning after Waffle House. Oh, OK. And how would you answer song recommendations for 2023? Darren's putting together his playlist while you were on the summer playlist. Will first song that comes to mind.

Go. Have you been listening to anything good lately? I haven't been listening to a lot of music lately. Maybe somebody Nicki Minaj. Don't you have any banger out?

Probably. And that's been unusual questions with Darren Bond. We will talk to you next week. We will see you next week. Darren, thanks for doing this. Yes, sir. I'll see you guys.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-19 20:33:33 / 2023-04-19 20:55:39 / 22

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