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The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
November 29, 2023 6:21 pm


The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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November 29, 2023 6:21 pm

On a Wednesday Drive, live from the Lawrence Joel Coliseum, Josh explains why it's time to start taking Clemson seriously as an ACC basketball contender, poses the question of what will happen with Carolina Panthers GM, Scott Fitterer, Wake Forest head basketball coach, Steve Forbes, joins the show to give his initial thoughts ahead of Wake's matchup with Florida, the timeline for Demari Monsanto, and to decide the next move WD should watch, WD goes to the movies to review "Home Alone", and Wake Forest AD, John Currie, joins the show to tell how the sausage is made when it comes to scheduling the ACC/SEC challenge.


This is The Drive with Josh Graham Podcast.

We are killing it online. Tune into The Drive weekday afternoons 3 to 7 on WSJS. The ACCSCC challenge continues tonight. Wake Forest two hours from now. Now facing the Florida Gators.

So glad you're here on a Wednesday drive. We have Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes that's going to drop by for a visit in about 15 minutes from now. Last night in the ACCSCC challenge, there was some bad. NC State, woof, woof is right, losing at Ole Miss by a ton. Kentucky taking care of the Miami Hurricanes. But a team that has kind of snuck under the radar the entire offseason, really snuck on the radar during the season a year ago, can't be ignored any longer after beating Alabama last night. Clemson Tiger basketball is a legitimate contender in the ACC this year. A legitimate player. It's time to rank the Tigers. Brad Brownell has been at Clemson for 13 years now?

For a very long time. He coached at UNCW within our state's borders for a long time. And he's won quite a bit. He's had some good basketball teams.

He's never had a 6-0 team. Until last night, they went into Tuscaloosa, Nate Oates' team ranked, and trailing in the second half, a 13-0 run put them in front. They didn't relinquish the lead. Awesome stuff for the Clemson Tigers. Awesome for the ACC who needed it. Or else, they wouldn't have much shot at even tying up the ACC-SCC challenge tonight in the first year this showcase has happened.

But keeping it with the Tigers, they aren't ranked right now, they should be ranked next week. With a win like that, a signature win that is going to age well when you get into January, February, and when bubble time comes around in March, speaking of the bubble, it's kind of absurd that Clemson didn't make the tournament a year ago. The Tigers, they finished fourth in the ACC standings. They got a double bye in the ACC tournament. And a double bye team didn't make the NCAA's, even though they beat NC State by a million three different times who did make it. It didn't make sense then, it makes less sense now, and Clemson has guys from that team back, PJ Hall namely, Chase Hunter who returns, and they added a familiar face in Joe Girard from Syracuse who poured in 16 points last night.

What really stands out about Clemson, and what we can't say about a lot of the teams in the ACC right now, is you know what you're getting from them. Brad Brownell, he's been around long enough, you know what you're getting from a Brad Brownell coach team. You know what you're getting from PJ Hall who's been around for multiple years now. I believe this is his third year on campus. You know what you're getting from Chase Hunter who's been around for years as well.

Joe Girard, been around in the ACC. We can't say that about the high ceiling Tar Heels. We don't quite know what they're going to be, what all those new parts are going to mesh into. Same thing for Miami. Sure you made the Final Four a year ago, you got a lot of talent back.

Wooga Poplar heard the entire offseason how he's going to take a big jump. How much are you really going to miss Isaiah Wong, the ACC Player of the Year? How much are you going to miss guys who helped get you to that Final Four?

These new pieces, how is it all going to fit? I don't have those concerns with the Clemson Tigers. So the way I see it is, how many teams do I think are better than Clemson in the ACC right now? The only one I feel comfortable saying is better than Clemson at the moment is Duke. I think Duke's more talented than everybody else in the league. They won the league last year, they brought four starters back, they brought back the number one recruiting class too.

You're bringing in bona fide five star players added to that mix. They're the most talented team, they're the best team, and their ranking warrants that. But then I believe there's a group of four teams that whatever order you rank them in, I'm probably not going to have an issue with it. Virginia, Miami, North Carolina, and Clemson.

Rank them in whatever order you please. But Clemson's in that group, which means Clemson has a chance at winning the ACC. Which sounds strange to say about Clemson Tiger basketball, but they are to be taken seriously. After last night, they proved that. They are legitimate contenders in the ACC and a damn good basketball team. 1X at WSJS radio if you want in, that's where we're streaming video.

In addition to YouTube and Twitch, Steve Forbes, he's going to join us here in just a few minutes. Shifting the conversation to the Carolina Panthers though, W.D. A lot of the talk, it feels like, has centered on the head coaching opening.

Doesn't it feel that way that most of the conversation? A lot of Panther fans probably wouldn't even be able to tell you who they play this week. Tampa Bay. There you go.

Thank you. Most Panther fans probably don't even know that because they're so focused on the head coach. But what about the GM?

What's going to happen there? As David Tepper was walking away from the podium after 13 and a half, 14 minutes meeting the press yesterday. Joe Person, he asked the question, what's the deal with Scott Fitterer? Are you going to keep Scott Fitterer? And David Tepper chose not to answer that question.

He walked off. And figuring out the general manager situation is almost as important as the coaching hire. Now, I understand since we know that Frank Reich is fired and there's going to be a change made there. That deserves most of the conversation this week.

I'm not pooh-ing that at all. But the GM piece of this is fascinating to me too because it's shocking to me. Very surprising that David Tepper didn't just pull the bandaid on Monday. I wish we had some clarity on that. Why, unlike say the Raiders a few weeks ago when they fired Josh McDaniels and also fired their general manager, the Panthers didn't just do that. Let's just pull the bandaid one time. We're blowing it up.

No more arranged marriages. We're indicating to anybody who's going to be looking at this job that if you take this job, you're not going to be roped in with the lame duck general manager who's on the hot seat. I don't know why the Panthers didn't do that because it would be a shock to me if Scott Fitterer returned as Panthers GM. I think he's still going to be fired because he whiffed on two top 10 picks.

Now, one of them isn't really his fault. J.C. Horn's just been hurt. But that's still a whiff when you had the chance to draft other guys and that pick was questioned the moment that it happened.

It wasn't like everybody universally agreed. Oh yeah. Great pick. J.C. Horn.

Let's go. Thumbs up. That was not the way it was received. A lot of people wonder why they didn't take Justin Fields. Why didn't you just take the swing in that spot?

Maybe go tackle. Rashawn Slater, who's turned out to be a really good tackle. If Carolina went tackle there, then they're not whiffing at tackle a year later with Iki Iquanu. And the irony of that is nobody doubted that move.

Everybody thought that that was awesome. And it just hasn't been. It's a whiff. Now, that doesn't mean Iki Iquanu can't one day be a serviceable left tackle. That's what Carolina hopes in the best case. You get him playing to a point where he's not hurting you. He's not a liability.

He's not a turnstile. You don't need to find another tackle to replace him. He can start for you and not be worried about out there. That's not the way he's playing right now. That's what you hope he can develop into. But we do know enough to say he's not an All-Pro. He's not a Hall of Fame caliber player. And when you're picking in the top 10, that's what you're looking for.

That's the standard that's applied. And the Panthers have been pretty good at that. Marty Hurney was a GM for 15, 16 years for the Panthers in two tours of duty. He had six top 10 picks. And I don't mean to be a broken record in continuing to bring this up, but Marty Hurney wasn't the greatest GM, but he hit on those picks. 2002 Julius Peppers, 2003 Jordan Gross, 2011 Cam Newton, 2012 Luke Geekley, 2017 Christian McCaffrey, 2020 Derek Brown.

That's six for six. Derek Brown's been the best player on this team this year. Now, does that mean he's going to be as good as those other guys?

Maybe not, but you hit on all six of those picks. That's why Scott Fitterer is going to be let go. But who does Carolina replace him with? I think the key is finding an experienced GM, a retread, somebody who's done the job before. Scott Fitterer, he couldn't say that when he got here. And that worked to a detriment when you were talking about a hands-on owner. How can you tell a hands-on owner what the boundaries are when you haven't experienced that position at all? Find somebody who's dealt with owners before, who's done the job before, who can come in and maybe insulate a head coach from an owner that likes to be hands-on.

And there are some guys that check that box. Jeff Ireland with the Saints, been there since 2015. He used to be the Dolphins GM. Ryan Grigsons in Minnesota drafted Andrew Luck in 2012, dealt with Jim Irsay for five years as the Colts GM. John Robinson, fired by the Titans last year, did a nice job with Tennessee for six years. And those are just a few coaches today. But figuring out that spot is going to be just as important as the coaching hire, which is commanding most of the attention. Since we're here at the Joel, it only makes sense that we talk to the big man.

And the big man is that guy. Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes joins us. We still have to figure out if that's, in fact, Steve Forbes' music anymore.

A little bit of Deacon Inferno, as Steve likes to call it. Steve Forbes is joining us on location here. See, us radio folk aren't used to being in a TV booth with cameras and lights and all these things.

Steve Forbes, we saved you a seat here and it's good to have you with us, coach. Let me turn your mic on real quick. You got it on there, Josh? Yeah, I got you.

How are you? Come on, come on. Well, I think my heart rate went up a little bit. Yeah. Climbing up here, but hey.

Got to get your steps in, coach. Yeah. Do you have one of those Fitbits on?

I have an iPhone, what do you call these things? iWatch and a Whoop. How many steps do you generally get in? I don't know. Not enough.

Not enough. You have a basketball game in about an hour and a half or so. You play the Florida Gators. When you first started in the SEC, that was about the time where Billy Donovan was winning back-to-back national championships. When you think about memorable run-ins you've had with the Gators, what comes to mind?

Yeah, I think my second year in 08, is that right? I can't remember. We clinched the SEC championship on their court. I do remember that. That was a big, John Curry was there actually that night with us. It was a big win. I remember pretty much beating them, at least splitting with them the two times and maybe sweeping them when they won the back-to-back national championships. They were really good. We were really good. It was a great rivalry. A lot of good memories. They've renovated their place now, but before that it was small and it smelled like chlorine because the pool was in there. When it got hot in there, it was hot. It was a fun place to play.

You don't have to go on the road, Steve, the entire month of December. Yeah, we went the whole month of November. Kind of incredible. How was your Thanksgiving?

It was good. We had kids cooked. My wife's not able to do that yet, so I'm definitely not capable.

She's not able, I'm not capable. So my children cooked and they did a good job and we still have a little bit left. Yeah, I was about to say, it's always a time where you're thankful, but this year especially. Yeah, a lot different being thankful this year.

You know, Janetta's doing fine. It's just a long process. People are asking me a lot and I appreciate it, but it's just small little steps day-to-day.

She gets discouraged at times because she wants her independence back and she doesn't have it yet. You know, like today, the water went out of the house. I didn't even know where the water main is. I couldn't figure it out.

I had to call the city. You know, it's just a lot of things I got to deal with right now that I haven't dealt with in years. Steve Forbes is here with us. Wake Forest. Basketball coach, what do you think about the ACC-SEC Challenge now that it's here?

John Curry was saying that if he had it his way, maybe you have this thing in January. I think you've kind of seconded that with having more of a resume when you play these types of out-of-conference games. But now that it's here, what do you think? I think it's a great matchup.

I mean, there's a lot of great teams in our league, a lot of great teams in the SEC. It's something new for the fans. I don't know how long the Big Ten thing ran, but it ran for a while.

Close to 20 years. Yeah, I mean, what's wrong with a little change? There's a lot of pretty cool matchups in these things. I think it's good. I think it's good because, too, the ACC and the SEC geographically were a little bit closer than the Big Ten, except maybe the new Big Ten, new ACC. I think it matches up good for our fans. It's easier, a little bit of travel. For instance, last year at this time we played at Wisconsin, won the game. But we played at, you know, we got home at 5 a.m., which was ridiculous, and had to play on Friday against Clemson in a league opener and had class and presentations due that day.

I don't think we'll have extreme travel like that that we maybe had in that thing. Yeah, last year that was a tough situation with the quick turnaround that I know you've spoken about before. Steve Forbes is with us here. You know, I know you're a big fan of history. This past week, the 60-year anniversary of the JFK assassination, that's something that I read a ton about. That's a fascinating subject for me. What are your subjects?

For me, it's always Muhammad Ali and JFK. I'll read and watch everything there is. I know you love World War II, but what specifically?

I mean, I like all aspects. I really like, to be honest, I like the viewpoint of the people we fought against. Like, I watch German movies, I watch Russian movies.

We didn't fight against Russia. I watch Polish movies. I try to find different genres of World War II movies, and I've been able to do that.

Britain, New England has a bunch of good ones. I went to Napoleon this past weekend. I texted you. You love it? I didn't love it. I liked it. Yeah, there is a lot of battle. The battle scenes were great.

I thought it was more about his personality than about the historical presence of him, which is fine. It was fine. I went with my kids. It was a good time. We went on Saturday. I like from anywhere from probably Napoleonic to the end of World War II.

I can do that. W.D., were you all in? He went with me last night. He hasn't seen any of the good movies, but we went to go see Napoleon last night.

You all in? Oh, I loved it. The battle scenes, it almost felt like a live action portrait in history, if that makes sense. I just thought he was a little quirky. He is. Very insecure. He was, yeah.

I don't know. I mean, I have Napoleon books at home. I haven't really read them front to back, but it was interesting how they portrayed him. I'll say that. Yeah, and I just don't know how they shoot some of it. Ridley Scott did Gladiator, of course, so underneath the ice looking up during that scene, that battle scene. I don't know how they did that, but it's impressive stuff.

Eleven cameras he's used. Huh. Look at you, W.D. I know things, son. This is important to ask you.

These are the options for W.D. next week. We tried to give you a wide range of movies here. Alien, 1979. Parenthood, 1989.

JFK, 91. Dunkirk, 2017. You know, I wanted to really, really like Dunkirk. I thought it was a little slow for me. I would go JFK. See, you and me both.

May I have it? Even though I would tend to lean towards Dunkirk, I wasn't that impressed with that movie. Alien was Stan Cotton's vote, and that's what the audience has right now. That just surprised me. That's about upstands out. You know what? Just because I want to do it and Steve Forbes is giving me reason to do it, W.D., you're going to watch JFK next week. Let's go.

I'm excited. Is that Kevin Costner in JFK? Yeah. That's a good one. Oliver Stone. A lot of conspiracy theories in that deal. Oh, my gosh. We'll have your head spinning.

That movie is out of its mind. Ready. For sure. Okay, so let's get to the basketball game here real quickly while we have you. Because we never get to catch you on game day ahead of a game. What is something people can watch at home? Basketball snobs. Watching the game at 715.

A specific area that you circle, knowing how good of a job you guys are doing. Well, tonight it will be defensive transition. This is one of the quickest, fastest teams in college basketball, tempo-wise. And they score a lot in transition. So if you're watching the game and they're getting easy baskets in transition, that's very problematic for us. The other thing in the half court is if they're driving what I call the drive box or the elbows. If they're getting downhill in the paint inside our defense at will, it's going to be trouble.

And so those are two big areas. And then the third area is how many offensive rebounds that they get. They're the best at and we're not very good at. They're like third in the country in offensive rebounds and we're not a very good rebounding team right now. And so I think if you're watching the game and you look and say, well, they're not getting very many offensive rebounds, they're not getting many drives, they're not getting a lot of scores in transition, then we're in good shape. Yeah, and we'll see if the 7-footer from the Charlotte area is able to go for Florida tonight. That'd obviously be a big deal.

What's the latest you could tell us on Damari Monsanto? You know, he's going through his rehab and he's working hard at it. I'm just waiting for the doctor to tell me that he can start practicing. He's not practicing yet.

He's out running and shooting, but not up and down, you know, physicality. You know, I would hope here sometime in December, you know, we'd get him back in practice and then have him. He won't be able to play right away. Obviously, once he gets in practice, it'll take probably a couple weeks.

And so, you know, maybe towards Christmas or after, we can hopefully get him and get him in there. Do you still see him on the floor? Is he still out there getting shots up? Oh, yeah, he's probably out there right. He might be out there right now. If you shoot, he's probably shooting from half court.

And making them, probably. Yeah, sometimes it's discouraging when, you know, we're down here practicing on one end and he's over on the other end. I turn around, he's shooting 30-footers and draining them.

I'm like, dang, you know, it'd be nice to have him. Steve Forbes, we'll have to do more of this. We'd love to hang out. We appreciate you having us and helping us promote Wake Basketball.

All right, man, thanks. We're here at Joel Coliseum. It's live action, Tracy. W.D. has his movie for this week, even though last night we went to go see Napoleon together off at the AMC 12, Haines Mall Boulevard.

You know, casually laying back, enjoying. We'll have to talk about that movie a little bit later on because that's not the movie that we selected for you this week. Home Alone. The holidays are here, W.D. Some call this the greatest Christmas movie ever. I don't know if I'd go that far, but it's probably on the Mount Rushmore. Top four, top five Christmas movies ever. It's kind of crazy that you haven't seen it.

Came out in 1990. Let's dive right into it at the movies with the W.D. Unless you're talking about Star Wars. Movies aren't exactly Will's thing.

But that's about to change because Josh can't stand it anymore. This is At The Movies with Will Dalton. Okay, we got four categories for At The Movies with the W.D. What you liked, what you didn't like, best quote, and you can guess a Rotten Tomatoes score for the movie. W.D., what did you like about Home Alone 1990? I enjoyed the pure chaos of the family right before they leave for the flight, and not right before they leave, but the night before when they're all having pizza.

Oh, absolutely. And the chaotic scene that that was. I don't remember the names of the family, but you had the youngest brother get a chair smashed up against his face, and nobody sees it or moves it.

It's just held there up against his face. Come to think of it, I think Buzz is the only kid other than Kevin you actually remember his name. Because he has the iconic line of, I wouldn't let you share a room with me if you were growing on my... Yeah, that might have been one of my quotes. That is one of the iconic quotes of this movie. But Buzz, a legendary jerk brother, older brother.

A lot of great lines, a lot of great dynamics between the kids. I don't remember the guy's name, but it was the guy who when he got on the flight he was already talking about the champagne. Oh. And he just, fill it up, fill it up.

Was it Frank? He was trying to steal the crystals? Yeah, they look like crystals. Put them in your purse. Put them in your purse. Fill it up.

Put them in your purse. Yeah. And also, this just looks like a blast. Like if you're the kid who got left home alone, like this looks fantastic. It's interesting you should bring that up. Because rewatching this as an adult, it does strike me... It's great. well they handle things with Macaulay Culkin.

It's hard to explain to young, young people. I'm talking about like Zoomers, how famous Macaulay Culkin was. He hosted SNL. Like you're talking about how famous a kid actor can be.

Like we had a few of those in that era. And in this movie, he did all the things that a kid would do if you were home alone, you had the home to your house, you'd eat an inordinate amount of food... Ice cream. ...jump food that you weren't supposed to. You'd go shopping and buy random things. You'd jump on your parents' bed.

You'd do all those things. And it's so craftily written, but Macaulay Culkin as Kevin is the reason why this movie, I think, fits so well. And also, I don't know why it slips me, the name of the actress who plays the mom, who plays Mrs. McAllister.

See if you can look that up for me. This is really bothering me because she's also fantastic in Schitt's Creek, the show. And, hmm, what's her name? Catherine O'Hara. Catherine O'Hara. Oh, thank you, Catherine O'Hara. Just an outstanding actress.

What didn't you like about Home Alone? Can we just acknowledge what crappy, terrible parents these people are? Yeah. Like, you...

I have this written down, too. For starters... Absolutely poor job by Mrs. McAllister, played by Catherine O'Hara, in case you didn't know. Yeah, like, for starters, you send the kid up to the attic not to be seen again for the rest of the night. That already was a... No, no, no, that's understandable.

But then... He was acting like a jerk. Like, Kevin deserved what he got that night. He didn't deserve to get left behind. No!

He definitely deserved to be banished. Like, you're going on family vacation and you leave your son, and not only that, but it takes you till you're in the air on the flight to figure it out, and as you're figuring it out, you're like, did we forget to do something? What did she say? What did she say when she realized that she didn't have him anymore?

I don't remember her exact quote. Do you want to do it? Let me see if I'm going to scare anybody by yelling. Did we leave the coffee on?

Kevin! Did we leave the coffee on? Did we close the garage? No, you left your kid at home, alone, in a big house. That's not even the worst part. That's terrible. No, no, no. The worst part that she made, the mistake that she made as a parent, is the phone call to the police. Oh, yeah.

This is a problem that I had. She just called and said that her kid is home alone. Okay, lady, I'm in Paris. My kid is home alone. You did not explain that you went on a cross-country flight and left him home alone.

Oh, yeah, we left that detail out. Like, when you say home alone, they're probably thinking, okay, well, babysitter or whoever's going to check in. Somebody knows that the kid is there. Well, she needed to be clear that, hey, can you get somebody to knock that door down and make sure that this eight-year-old boy is doing okay?

Also, do you not know any of your neighbors? Like, you can't call Mr. Walter O'Malley or whatever that guy's name is next door. What was the guy's name? I think it was O'Malley. Yeah, we can't call that guy up. Maybe they were scared of him, too. I don't know.

I think so. Nobody. You know nobody who can go and check on your son at that house. Unbelievable. And I don't believe it. I believe you have more friends than that when you're in a house that's that absurdly nice, plain and simple. True.

Very true. What's the best quote? Well, you stole my thunder on I wouldn't let you sleep in my bed if you were growing in my you-know-what. So my second one I wrote down, the Santa Claus, it's very subtle in the background in one of these scenes, one of the girls says, does Santa Claus have to go through customs?

Great question. I love when he approached the fake Santa Claus. He's like, listen, I know how it works.

I know you're not the real Santa. And he's like, oh, I know you work for him, though. That's right.

And he's like precocious, but not that precocious. That is pretty good. You know, Catherine O'Hara yelling Kevin, which I won't do again because I'm sure somebody's going to come marching up here saying I'm being too loud. That one's good.

What else? If it makes you feel any better, I left my reading classes. That's good.

And then keep the change, you filthy animal. We haven't even talked about Joe Pesci at all. I know. I almost wrote him down as one of the things I enjoyed about the movie. Consider this. I believe this movie came out in November of 1990. Goodfellas came out in October of 1990.

So he was on a heater. But think about those two movies. Like, think about that range where you curse more than anybody in any movie at that time in Goodfellas as a gangster. And then a month later, you're able to be a bad guy, sure, but it's a kid's movie.

Different type of range he's able to pull it off. All right, let's get to the Rotten Tomatoes score. Can you get within five for Home Alone? I'm going to guess a 93.

I think this one's hot. 80% for Home Alone. And that's been At the Movies with the WD. Looking at some of the other things that we have going on, you're going to be shocked to learn this WD. But the Hornets lost last night, and the Carolina Hurricanes won. I'm not shocked to hear that.

I'm really not. No, the Canes, they laid the beat down in Philadelphia. You interrupted me right there, interrupted me, reminded me to tell you that in Greensboro and in Kernersville at the East Coast Wings locations. See, our studio used to be off of Main Street, and on North Main Street you could visit the East Coast Wings location. From 2 to 4 p.m., which means for the next 30 minutes today, but also for the rest of the week, half-price wings at the New Garden Road location in Greensboro and also the South Main Street locations. Did I say North Main Street?

South Main Street in Kernersville. See, way ahead of me on that. But East Coast Wings, with that special, pay them a visit, tell them that we sent you. We have John Curry that's going to join our set in about 20 minutes or so. Steve Forbes will be dropping by.

And Stan Cotton. I don't know, we've got to figure out a way to work Connor O'Neill into the show just because you have the audio to potentially go along with it. You don't have that ready, do you?

See, that's what happens when you doubt W.D. He just immediately pulls it right out and tells you how it's done. The house that Connor O'Neill built, the Joel Coliseum. Ready, set, forge. This is The Drive with Josh Graham. Wake Forest Director of Athletics John Curry has joined our set here at Joel Coliseum. We did this at a Legacy Federal Credit Union Stadium, otherwise known as a Legacy Stadium, to open the football season. We're doing this for basketball now. I guess this means we'll have to go out to the couch when baseball starts in a couple of months, too. And we've got to go over to tennis.

Yes. To the Southern Courts and the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. We almost did a show from Wake Chapel when Chris Paul. We should go out to JDL Fast Track when indoor track is out there.

That's what we're here for. We're Winston-Salem, true and true, Triad, true and true. John Curry here with us. So it's the ACC-SEC Challenge.

Wake Forest, Florida, going to tip off in about three hours. How do figuring out these matchups work? Is it ESPN in tandem with the conferences? Do you have any say of how these things work?

I've always been curious. Well, it's really a collaborative effort of the deputy commissioners for basketball, both leagues, and then our television partner to pick out them. And they're going to try to do it from a projected how the team is going to be. We're going to try to create as many even matchups. It's kind of like tennis, you know, the number ones play the number ones and the number twos play the number twos and go on down.

You can't do it perfect because you don't know who's going to be able to play or not able to play. You're trying to project rosters from the last season and returnees, and that's obviously gotten very, very complicated. But overall, this is a great partnership with the Southeastern Conference. We share a partner with ESPN and ABC and Disney, and so it's a great thing for us. And as you and I were talking before we came on the air, you know, I love those Big Ten games, but I really love the games here in the Southeast. Having this remain the last week of November around the start of December, rather than, say, in January like the SEC has done with the Big 12, is that more an ESPN decision or a conference decision? It's more of a conference decision, and from a basketball standpoint, you're trying to figure out the schedule. You know, we play 20 conference games, and how you fit a 20-game conference schedule into the calendar from the beginning of December to the end of February is a challenge, no pun intended, right?

I would like to play the challenge series at the end of January. Like when I was in the Big 12, that's when we started doing it with the SEC. So I think that has some appeal, but it has a different affect on the ACC season.

Now, at the end of the day, Josh, if it was the John Curry Club, we'd be starting basketball season now, right? Because we would have played all these classics or MTEs over Thanksgiving, and then December 1 would be the beginning of basketball season, and we'd finish it at the end of April with May Madness on the first week in May. So we don't overlap with football and also our fall sports, soccer, volleyball, et cetera. We dump all that stuff on top of each other, and I wish we could spread it out.

But that's a whole different radio segment. With it being a conference decision, though, is it difficult with it being a 20-game schedule having to sell coaches on the idea of if you have these challenge games in January, that likely means you're going to have to play more conference games early on. I know they tried it one year where you had, when they first debuted the 20-game schedule, they opened up with conference games, and you had Roy Williams and many other coaches saying, why are we opening up with ACC?

Yeah, I don't think that's the right way to do it. I mean, we've got to figure out the right way to give our league the best possible platform to be the league that it is, which is the best basketball league in the country. But you've got to win it on the court, too. And so, as we know, in our league we have more players that turn professional and get drafted, et cetera, and so you always have a lot of new players. And so figuring out how to get your rosters going in November is appropriate. Have conversations already started when it comes to how basketball will be approached with the three schools being added next year?

Yes, there's extensive conversations. It's complex, but when we were examining the opportunity to add Cal and Stanford and SMU to the ACC, we looked at the travel impact, and there was obviously concern about that, but we know it is not nearly as significant as it might have been feared. And so we know that the schools on the East Coast, like Wake Forest, the heritage schools, if you will, of the league, will make one trip. I think it's one trip every two years or two trips every three years in basketball to the West Coast.

And, you know, a lot of ways there's opportunities to do that that give it the opportunity to be the good thing that it can be. Yeah, I think Jim Phillips handled that issue well with the way that he explained it, talking about, okay, once every two years you make a trip, you knock both those games out in the same week when you play at Cal and at Stanford. And then he wanted to play ball on the ACC tournament, giving his opinion that he feels having 18 teams in a conference tournament is too many, you don't want to add days. He wasn't opposed to potentially adding one extra team, so that way you have an extra game on that Tuesday since you're already playing. He wasn't even opposed to the idea of maybe lessening the field that we already have.

But what I found is it's a different, there seems to be a split between what ADs like you think about it and what coaches seem to feel about it. Where do you stand on the ACC tournament with three more teams being added to the league? I think we've got to do more discussion about what we're trying to accomplish, and I think we've also got to be creative about how we can give every school the opportunity to be playing for something at the end of the year. That's one of the things about conference tournaments that gives your team something to play for.

You've still got a shot, even if you've had a tough year, injuries or whatever. So how do we do that in a way that's additive? I do believe that just tacking on additional days. It used to be Friday, Saturday, Sunday we were done. Then it was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Then it was Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

Then it was Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So it can't just morph forever, but at the same time, I think there's creative ways to give everybody a shot to make it a meaningful experience. The biggest conversation, John Curry's with us here, Wake Athletics Director. The biggest conversation I hear happening in college sports this week is surrounding the transfer portal that opens up on Monday. Doug Gillen was joining us yesterday, and he says their coaches are preparing for a conference championship game on Saturday, but also having to worry about this thing two days later that you're already seeing guys jump into the portal, even though it's not officially open yet.

Even in some cases, we're hearing about players who already know their destination, even though they're not already in the portal. A lot of coaches are describing it to be a zoo. So what can you do from an administration standpoint and even from the football program standpoint to make sure you're prepared for something like this Monday? You can stick to your principles, and you can remember that at a place like Wake Forest, you're really distinctive. You offer a world-class academic experience and a world-class student-athlete experience. You're right in the middle of the best state in the country. Here in Winston-Salem, we're in this incredible sports market of 1.3 million people in the triad.

We've got world-class, state-of-the-art facilities, and we're distinctive in that we have full professors teach our classes, our class sizes are intimate, and it's just not like that everywhere. So does the transfer portal affect that? Does NIL and the idea that you're going to get $25,000 here or $10,000 here or $50,000, does that warp perspectives of student-athletes?

Do they hear different voices? Absolutely. Deal with it. Grow up. Adapt to the way you can adapt. Continue to stress the things that are part of your fundamentals. I spent an hour and a half walking with Dave this morning, Coach Clauston talking about this this morning, and I think he's doing a great job of focusing on the things that really matter as we build our program.

We're always in a building mode, right? Obviously coming off of this year, which we had a year that we're unaccustomed to. We didn't win as many games as we usually do.

I'm pretty sure we'll win more games next year, but we go back to the fundamentals of our program and the relationships that our student-athletes have with our coaches and the opportunities they have to play in this incredible league. You say stick to your principles at the beginning of that. Are there principles you see violated elsewhere that bother you?

Generally? The thing that bothers me is that in this frenzy, in this frenzy, the opportunity that is most significant gets diminished, and the idea that a college education and the opportunity to have the world-class support that our student-athletes have is not worth it, right? And that people are making decisions about $10,000 or $25,000 or whatever.

But that's kind of evolved. People have chosen schools because they like the shoe brand or because the mascot or whatever. So that's always stuff that we've dealt with, and we've just got to keep our head on straight and focus on what we're good at. College football playoff rankings came out last night. You already hear folks saying because Jordan Travis got hurt that potentially an unbeaten ACC champ should get left out. I don't think under any circumstances that will happen.

Do you feel the same way? I agree. So go, go, Noles, go, ACC this weekend probably.

I'm all for the ACC, but candidly, I'm focused on the Demon Deacons this week, and we've got a lot of stuff going on. That's a good answer. One time I was in Kansas for eight years, Josh, and one time I was talking to a farmer. It was a terrible drought year, and I was trying to be empathetic. And I said to the farmer, I said, I'm so sorry about this drought and everything. And he looked at me and he said, you know, John, there's some things you can get done in a dry year that you can't get done in a wet year, right?

And I've never forgotten that, right? And so right now, we'd usually be preparing for a bowl game. We're going to be able to prepare for it. We're going to be preparing for a bowl game this time next year.

I'm fully confident. And so, you know, there's some things we can get done right now that we couldn't get done if we were preparing for a bowl game right now. So we're going to make it, and we're going to keep building and focus on Wake Forest. John Curry, thanks for having us here. This is awesome, and we hope we can do more stuff like this. Absolutely. Thanks for being here, Josh. You know, this is a great opportunity for Winston-Salem and the Triad. We've got Florida Gators coming in. I'm going to go over and pick up their AD and their board vice chair, and they're going to see how incredible our community is.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-29 20:50:24 / 2023-11-29 21:08:49 / 18

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