At UNC, The Science Of Basketball

Can an athletic competition be understood as a form of applied math?

Can it be mastered that way?

This Friday and Saturday, April 15-16, UNC plays host to the Basketball Analytics Summit, bringing together experts in the analytic field to discuss the game of basketball in all its forms – from improving performance on the court to improving marketing techniques and the fan experience off the court. Ken Pomeroy – the analytics expert behind the KenPom rankings – will be there as a special guest speaker.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School professor Deborah Stroman is organizing the event. She discussed it on WCHL with Aaron Keck this week.


The Basketball Analytics Summit takes place at the McColl Building (home of the Kenan-Flagler Business School) and the Kenan Center (home of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise).

Get more information and a full schedule – and register for the conference – online at

James Worthy Named ACC Legend

Former UNC star forward James Worthy has been named to this year’s class of ACC Basketball Legends.

Worthy, along with 13 others will receive their honor during the ACC Tournament March 8-12 in Washington, D.C.

Worthy was the 1982 National Player of the Year and led the Tar Heels to a NCAA title, the first under Dean Smith.

He was a two-time All-American and was the first overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft.

His winning and dominant play continued at the professional level. Worthy was part of three NBA championship teams and was a seven-time All-Star.

The number 52 was retired at UNC, and he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2003.

The legends will be features at the Legends Luncheon, on Friday March 11. See the ACC’s website for more details.

The 2016 ACC Legends Class:

Jim Hooley, Forward, Boston College

Grayson Marshall, Guard, Clemson

Jason Willams, Guard, Duke

Rowland Garrett, Forward, Florida State

BJ Elder, Guard, Georgia Tech

Darrell Griffith, Guard, Louisville

John Salmons, Forward, Miami

James Worthy, Forward, North Carolina

Anthony “Spud” Webb, Guard, NC State

Adrian Dantley, Forward, Notre Dame

Charles Smith, Forward, Pitt

Derrick Coleman, Forward, Syracuse

Norman Nolan, Forward, Virginia

Howard Pardue, Forward, Virginia Tech

Dave Odom, Head Coach, Wake Forest

Paige, Jackson On Naismith Trophy Watch List

Two Tar Heels have been named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List.

Senior PG Marcus Paige and sophomore SF Justin Jackson made the 50-man early watch list.

Paige had 20 points and 5 assists in his season debut as UNC toppled the second-ranked Maryland Terrapins Tuesday night.

Jackson is averaging 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

Paige and Jackson were two of the nine nominees from the ACC.

Other ACC nominees are:

Virginia Senior SG Malcom Brogdon

Duke Sophomore SG Grayson Allen

Syracuse Senior SF Michael Gbinjie

Duke Freshman SF Brandon Ingram

Notre Dame Junior G Demetrius Jackson

Louisville Senior G Damion Lee

Miami G Sheldon McClellan

Chansky’s Notebook: Charter Member

Perfect. John Thompson is the first Dean Smith Award winner.

Dean Smith’s relationship went back to John Thompson’s days as a high school coach at St. Anthony’s in the nation’s capital.  Thompson sent his adopted son, Donald Washington, to play for Smith and the Tar Heels as the third African- American in the UNC program after Charlie Scott and Bill Chamberlain. Although Washington left school midway through his sophomore season, Thompson and Smith became close friends. And Smith tabbed Thompson as an assistant coach on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team in Montreal.

Six short years later, after Thompson had taken over at Georgetown and was building an imperious program, the dear friends met in the 1982 national championship game at the Super Dome in New Orleans. The Tar Heels won a classic, and there were Thompson and Smith hugging afterward, the protégé truly happy that his mentor had finally won the big one.

A foot taller and from a far different background, Thompson stood for almost everything Smith stood for. And Big John was even more outspoken about causes than was the measured Smith. But they became closer than anyone ever knew. Supposedly, when the phone rang after 10 pm in the Smith home, the family knew who was calling, and the conversation often went on for hours.

Thompson was a champion on the court and a champion for his race, and his tough love and demands on his players getting an education were so similar to you know who. When the U.S. Basketball Writers launched the Dean Smith Award last spring, UNC Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Kirschner predicted Thompson would be the first recipient for those very reasons. Demanding and loving all at once. And both Hall of Famers could really coach.

“It hit a soft spot in my heart, when I heard I was being considered,” Thompson said. And he added that, in his long life, he has never known a man quite like Dean Edwards Smith, who would be so happy that Big John was a charter member of his new club. Thompson turned 74 last week and is still heard on NCAA tournament radio broadcasts. Behind the scenes, he helps the game of basketball and the kids who play it and the men and women who coach it.

Just as the man for whom the Dean Smith Award is named did until he no longer could. A $100 per plate dinner for the Opening Doors Fund will be held here on November 10 to present the first award. Appropriate because both men opened so many doors for so many.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.