UNC Ranks 4th in Avg Basketball Attendance

UNC basketball ranked fourth in average attendance last season, according to recently released numbers from the NCAA.

19,582 fans packed the Dean E. Smith Center on average for the Tar Heels during the 2014-2015 season.

ACC peer Syracuse led the nation in average attendance at 23,854 fans of the Orange.

Kentucky checked in at number one in overall attendance with 447,874 cheering for the Wildcats at home over the entire season.

Louisville joined Syracuse and UNC in the top five. The Cardinals checked in just above Carolina at number three.

NC State ranked 12th in average attendance. But the Wolfpack saw the largest average attendance jump from the previous season in the nation.

The only other ACC team in the top 25 was Virginia at number 23.

As a conference, the ACC saw the largest climb in average attendance, but checked in at second in fans per game behind the Big Ten.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-ranks-4th-in-avg-basketball-attendance/

Tokoto’s Fit in Philadelphia

JP Tokoto was taken at number 58 overall in the two-round NBA Draft on Thursday night after leaving Carolina following his junior year.

Brian Geisinger, Assistant Producer and Senior Researcher for the David Glenn Show, spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about Tokoto’s prospects with the Philadelphia 76ers.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tokotos-fit-in-philadelphia/

Tar Heels in the Pros: Harrison Barnes

The University of North Carolina has a long-standing tradition of sending its basketball players to the NBA. A breeding ground for sensational talents such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, and Vince Carter, UNC has produced a star more recently in Harrison Barnes.

***Listen to the story***

A two-year member of Roy Williams’ program, Harrison Barnes entered the NBA draft in 2012 after his sophomore season at UNC. Since then, the standout shooting guard has been a starter for the Golden State Warriors in two of his three years in the league. In his second season with the Warriors, Barnes only started 24 of their 78 games, a change that he did not acclimate to very well.

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“After my rookie season I felt like we had a good year, I felt like we could have kept the same guys and continued doing what we were doing. We just made some changes and it was just a different experience for me because I had come to the league and I was used to playing a certain way my rookie year, and to come and play a different role and play with a different unit and all that was why I struggled statistically,” Barnes recently told NBA.com.

Barnes’ statistical averages did take a hit in the 2013-2014 season coming off the bench; his field goal and three-point percentages dropped in his sophomore slump.

This season, his third, has by far been Barnes’ best. He started all 82 of the Warriors’ regular season games; he shot 48% from the field as well as 41% from three-point range, and took care of the ball, averaging less than one turnover per game in the regular season.

The rising star has not forgotten his collegiate experience, saying how his wish growing up was to play at North Carolina.

“That was a dream to play at Carolina. I remember I used to tell kids when I was 14 or 15 years old, I was like ‘I’m gonna play on the big stage, I’m going to go play at Carolina’ and these kids used to laugh me out of the gym. ‘Come on man, stop it. North Carolina? That’s the big stage.’ And that was always something I dreamed for and worked for, North Carolina was always the spot for me,” Barnes says.

Barnes has quickly found himself yet another family outside of his home state of Iowa in the Bay Area of northern California. The Golden State fans there have embraced him and have even given him a nickname: “The Senator.”

“That came from Jim Barnett [Warriors TV color analyst],” Barnes says. “I think we were just doing like a little Q&A interview my rookie year and he was like ‘You know you’re always going into politics and your answers are always so well-parsed I’m gonna start calling you “The Senator”,’ and I thought he was joking but he kept calling me that and calling me. Now every time he sees me he says ‘How’re you doing, Senator?’.”

Barnes has been known for his calm and often stately demeanor, even during his time at UNC, but his competitive side is no secret, either. As an important starter for the best team in the NBA, Barnes’ reputation grows with each passing game. Along with stars like Klay Thompson and MVP Stephen Curry, the Warriors have their eyes set on the highest of goals: winning an NBA championship.

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

“You know obviously it’s a very big accomplishment to win the division, that’s something we didn’t do obviously my first two years here. So, it’s a big goal, big milestone but it’s still a long journey to where we want to go,” Barnes says.

Starting their second round series this week against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors are hoping to move on to the Western Conference Finals and face either the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Clippers.

Next week on “Tar Heels in the Pros,” we’ll feature an ageless wonder – Vince Carter of the Memphis Grizzlies.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-pros-harrison-barnes/

Heat Chooses Hairston, Trades To Hornets

Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat selected former University of North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Heat reportedly then traded Hairston in a multi-player deal to the Charlotte Hornets, pending NBA approval.

Hairston scored 707 points in 71 games for the Tar Heels in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He played last season for the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League.

As a sophomore, Hairston led the Tar Heels in scoring at 14.6 points per game and made 89 three-pointers, the second-highest single-season figure in UNC history. In two collegiate seasons, Hairston averaged 10.0 points, shot 34.9 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.

The Greensboro, N.C., native scored a career-high 29 points against Virginia in 2013 and 28 against Miami in the 2013 ACC championship game, making a career-best six three-pointers in each of those games.

Hairston is the 15th Tar Heel to play for head coach Roy Williams and be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Overall, he is the 46th first round pick from UNC and the 107th Tar Heel taken in any round in NBA Draft history.

“I am ecstatic for P.J.,” says Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams. “I think he’s going to be a great addition to the Hornets. I am happy that he will still play in state and for another Tar Heel, Michael Jordan. It certainly will make it easier to see him play. Life has given him another opportunity and he will take great advantage of that chance.”

The 2014 NBA Draft is the first in 22 years in which players from each of the three Triangle schools – North Carolina, Duke and NC State – were selected in the first round. Tonight, UNC’s P.J. Hairston, Duke’s Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood and NC State’s TJ Warren were first round picks. In 1992, UNC’s Hubert Davis was joined in the first round by Duke’s Christian Laettner and NC State’s Tom Gugliotta.

The following is by WCHL Sports

Hairston sat out the first ten games of the 2013-2014 season before the university announced it would not seek reinstatement of the junior guard. He received a traffic citation for reckless driving on July 28, less than a week after charges against him, stemming from a June 5 arrest, were dismissed.

In June, the Greensboro native was arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license after getting stopped at a license checkpoint. Those charges were dismissed on July 22 after he completed a drug assessment and provided the court his current driver’s license.

Following the arrest, it was discovered that Hairston was driving a 2013 GMC Yukon rented under the name Haydn Thomas, a convicted felon who has been linked to other college athletes. Hairston was also cited for speeding in May while driving a 2012 Camaro SS rented by Catinia Farrington, a woman who shares the same home address as Thomas.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/heat-choose-hairston-trade-hornets/

ACC Basketball Tournament Moving To Barclays Center

ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Wednesday morning that the league’s men’s basketball tournament is heading to Brooklyn.

There isn’t an Atlantic Coast Conference school within 200 miles, but New York is home to several large alumni bases and, perhaps more importantly, is a “media capital,” Swofford said at Barclays Center on Wednesday.

“I firmly believe that the experience for our players, our coaches and our fans will be second to none when we come to Barclays,” Swofford said. “It’s the media capital of the world, and we want our brand in this city, in this facility, in Brooklyn. So we’re really excited about this and what it can do for the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

The league will crown its champion at the arena in 2017 and ’18, after holding the tournament in Greensboro, N.C., in 2015 and in Washington in 2016.

The move to New York represents a shift from the ACC tournament’s Southern roots after years of conference realignment. The state of North Carolina has hosted 50 of the 61 events in league history.

But Louisville’s arrival in July will make it the seventh former Big East school to join the 15-team ACC since 2004, so those program were accustomed to playing their conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/acc-basketball-tournament-moving-barclays-center/

Basketball Tournament Going To New York

CHAPEL HILL – Sources close to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn say the two parties have agreed to stage a future ACC Basketball Tournament at the brand new home of the Brooklyn Nets.

The ACC will vote on holding the tournament in New York Tuesday, but the sources say that the agreement has been made and the vote is a mere formality. Due to the addition of former Big East schools Notre Dame, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the ACC is anxious to play a tournament in the northeast.

The Barclays Center selected the ACC over the Big Ten, which has added Maryland and Rutgers to its conference membership. Both conferences may hold later tournaments in Brooklyn, but the ACC will come first.

The exact year the ACC Tournament will be played in Brooklyn has not been determined, but it will be at the Barclays Center and not Madison Square Garden. The 2014 and 2015 ACC Tournaments will be played in Greensboro. The 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament will be held at Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center, the ACC announced November 14.

The 2017-21 tournament sites have not been determined, but one of those years it will be New York and the Barclays Center.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/acc-tournament-going-new-york/

Bobcats Blow Lead, Fall To Lakers At Home, 88-85

CHARLOTTE— The Charlotte Bobcats blew a late lead and a chance to hand the Los Angeles Lakers a devastating blow with an 88-85 loss Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Kemba Walker drained an 18-foot jumper to put the ‘Cats up 85-79 with 2:49 remaining, but Charlotte didn’t score again as the Lakers closed out their win with a 9-0 run.
Kobe Bryant was instrumental in helping L.A. avoid a fourth straight loss since his return from injury, hitting a layup and connecting on a pair of free throws. Nick Young salted away the Lakers victory with a clutch three-pointer and Pau Gasol added a pair of free throws.
Bryant finished with 21 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds while Gasol and Jordan Hill added 15 each.
Kemba Walker was the game’s high scorer with 24 points, while teammates Al Jefferson and Jeff Taylor struggled with their shooting in combining to hit just 10 of 31 field goal attempts.
http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/bobcats-blow-lead-fall-lakers-home-88-85/

Nelson Lifts Magic Over Bobcats, 92-83

CHARLOTTE — Jameer Nelson had 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and the Orlando Magic snapped a six-game losing streak with a 92-83 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Glen Davis added 17 points and 12 rebounds and Nikola Vucevic chipped in with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Arron Afflalo had 16 points.

Nelson came up with a big 3-pointer late for the Magic, and also had seven rebounds and six assists while outplaying fellow point guard Kemba Walker.

The Bobcats shot 37 percent from the field to see their two-game win streak come to an end.

Al Jefferson led Charlotte with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Walker, who had 31 points against Stephen Curry on Monday night, was held to 10 points on 4 of 18 shooting.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/nelson-lifts-magic-bobcats-92-83/

Men’s Basketball Tips Off November 8

GREENSBORO – ACC basketball will certainly be getting a lot of national exposure in the 2013-2014 season. Of the 149 games, 83 of them will be aired nationally as ACC Commissioner John Swofford revealed on Thursday.

And the Tar Heels will be getting their fair share of attention as usual. Carolina will be featured in one of the two “Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV telecasts” and College GameDay in the ACC when UNC heads down Tobacco Road to face Duke in Cameron Indoor on March 8.

The Tar Heel regular season tips off at home with a contest against Oakland on November 8. A possible matchup against Louisville looms in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament in November, and the scheduled showdown in the Dean Dome with the University of Kentucky Wildcats on December 14 are two no one will want to miss.

With the new additions of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the league, the ACC has only strengthened its reputation as the nation’s strongest college basketball conference.

Three of the top five winningest programs in NCAA Division I basketball history are now in the ACC. And the league is getting the exposure that reflects that kind of pedigree.

2013-2014 UNC Men’s Basketball Schedule

http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/acc-basketball-schedule-out/

USA Today’s Eric Prisbell Comments On Hairston And Thomas

CHAPEL HILL – National college basketball writer for USA Today, Eric Prisbell, played a key role in uncovering information about Haydn “Fats” Thomas and his relationship with PJ Hairston.

Prisbell comments on who he thinks Thomas is and why he has a relationship with the basketball players like PJ Hairston.

“Who he is, is a guy who operates in the shadows, in anonymity really and he builds relationships with these high profile, some of them high profile in the area, for the purpose of partying” said Prisbell.

The NCAA is currently investigating to see if Thomas was a booster representative of UNC Athletics.  The NCAA can already suspend Hairston for several games due to his recent arrest for possession of marijuana, but if the NCAA declares Thomas a booster, Prisbell says UNC basketball next year could be under further investigation.

“Well I think if “Fats” Thomas is declared a booster, I think that’s a game changer and that’s problematic for both Hairston and the North Carolina basketball program, but I think that’s a real stretch at this point.  I don’t think we’re going to see that” Prisbell said.

UNC did not contact Thomas after Hairston was arrested and have yet to investigate their involvement together. Instead, Prisbell says the University is looking to see if sports agent, Rodney Blackstock, had any involvement in PJ Hairston receiving benefits.

“The NCAA and North Carolina are not just looking at “Fats” Thomas’ relationship with PJ but they’re looking at Rodney Blackstock’s relationship with PJ” Prisbell claims.

UNC and the NCAA continue to investigate Hairston’s involvement with  Thomas and Blackstock.  Prisbell says he has yet to find a connection involving benefits between Blackstock and Hairston.

“He has known PJ and his family for a long, long time because they’ve both been from Greensboro, but I have yet to find any evidence of an improper benefit between Blackstock and PJ” said Prisbell.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/eric-prisbell-comments-on-hairston-and-thomas/