Clemson Tabbed to Win ACC

UNC has been picked to finish fifth in the always up-in-the-air Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Football Kickoff at Pinehurst Resort.

The voting media members selected the Clemson Tigers as the favorites to claim the conference championship.

Clemson was picked to finish above three-time defending champion Florida State in the Atlantic Division ahead of Louisville, NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest.

In the Coastal Division, the media members tabbed Georgia Tech as the favorites followed, in order, by Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Virginia.

Clemson Quarterback Deshawn Watson was voted the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Tar Heel Quarterback Marquise Williams finished in a tie for third in player of the year voting.

The media preview wraps up Tuesday in Pinehurst.

Chansky’s Notebook: Are The Clouds Clearing?

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

Another sign the worm may be turning at Carolina.

Last April, the best two-sport athlete in North Carolina committed to Duke because his favorite school, UNC, was still mired in the NCAA investigation. Last week, Chazz Surratt of East Lincoln High School in Denver, NC, de-committed to Duke and said he was flip-flopping to Carolina.

It may be another indication that the Tar Heel football and basketball programs won’t be hit with serious sanctions by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions when it metes out penalties sometime in early 2016. If so, take that, Brandon Ingram!

Surratt is a super athlete, a chiseled specimen with speed to burn and a great throwing arm. The 6′ 2″ rising senior quarterback led East Lincoln to a 16-0 record, passing for 4,338 yards and 51 touchdowns last season, while also rushing for 1,239 yards and 22 touchdowns on 156 attempts.

Surratt committed to Duke on April 21 over offers from Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, Tennessee, Wake Forest and West Virginia, among others, as well of course from Larry Fedora and the Heels. Too much negative recruiting about UNC caused Surrat to commit to David Cutcliffe and the Devils.

His mother confirmed that her son turned away from Duke last week and committed to Carolina on the same day. And while he will sign a football scholarship next February, he will also be invited to try out for the basketball team and give Roy Williams more depth in the backcourt, where Surratt averaged 20 points for East Lincoln last season. He was named the state’s best two-sport athlete by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

An AP all-state selection for both football and basketball, Surratt ended his sophomore season with 2,590 yards on 178-of-273 passing (that’s 65-percent) with 28 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1624 yards and 34 scores on 208 carries (a 7.8-yard average). Likely red-shirted in football, he will play behind Mitch Trubisky in 2017 and then take over when Trubisky graduates. It may be another omen that those dark clouds over Carolina are finally clearing.

Tokoto Projected 2nd-Round Selection in Tonight’s Draft

Three Duke Blue Devils are projected to be taken in the first round of tonight’s NBA Draft.

The National Basketball Association will welcome 60 new players during the two-round draft tonight in Brooklyn, New York.

NBA Draft Express is projecting Center Jahlil Okafor to be selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, Guard Justise Winslow to the Orlando Magic at number five, and finally Guard Tyus Jones to the Houston Rockets with the 18th selection.

The impressive trio from the reigning national champions may be outnumbered by Kentucky Wildcats in this year’s draft.

Kentucky seven footer Karl-Anthony Towns is projected to be the number one overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Charlotte Hornets may come away with a pair of Wildcats to add to former Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets are projected to select Guard Devin Booker with the ninth selection followed by Kentucky teammate Dakari Johnson in the second round.

UNC Junior JP Tokoto surprised many by leaving school early but now is projected to be a second-round selection of the Miami Heat.

New Duke Dean is a Tar Heel

The next Dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University is a Tar Heel.

Duke announced that Valerie Sheares Ashby, who has been a professor and chair of the chemistry department at UNC, will take her new post in Durham on July 1.

Ashby will oversee the university’s core academic units, which offer courses and degrees across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Ashby joined the faculty at Carolina in 2003.

Duke Legend Talks Final Four

The UNC basketball team fell to Wisconsin in this year’s Sweet 16 – but Duke is still alive, set to face Michigan State on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

It’s the Blue Devils’ sixteenth trip to the Final Four (and Mike Krzyzewski’s twelfth, tying John Wooden’s record). How has the game changed since Duke’s first trip back in 1963? What are the players likely thinking as they get ready for their first appearance on college basketball’s biggest stage? And what are Duke’s chances this year, against high-profile programs like MSU, Wisconsin and Kentucky?

Steve Vacendak is a Duke legend: playing under Vic Bubas in the 1960s, Vacendak led the Blue Devils to two Final Fours and won ACC Player of the Year honors in 1966. He went on to play in the ABA before returning to the college ranks to serve as Duke’s associate athletic director and head coach at Winthrop.

Vacendak spoke Friday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Duke and Michigan State tip off at 6:09 Saturday. Kentucky and Wisconsin follow, with tip-off set for approximately 8:49; the winners meet on Monday in the national title game.

(Aaron, who grew up in Spartan country, will be rooting for State and Wisconsin while superstitiously avoiding any and all TV screens.)

Police Investigate Noose Found On Duke Campus

Duke students, staff and faculty are looking for answers after a noose was reportedly found hanging from a tree on campus early Wednesday morning.

According to the Duke Chronicle, the noose was removed from the Bryan Center Plaza before 3 am, but pictures of it continue to circulate on social media.

In an email to students, Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta described his “disgust and anger” and vowed “the Duke community will provide all the support necessary to help us all get through this. In time, each of these cowardly acts of bias and hatred will strengthen our resolve to love and support each other.”

This comes less than a week after a black student at Duke said she was taunted by a group of white male students yelling a racist chant. The derogatory song was reportedly the same chant sung by members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in a viral video released earlier this month.

Campus police are investigating the latest incident.

Coach Smith Transcends Rivalry

Wednesday night will be the first meeting between rivals UNC and Duke on the basketball court since the passing of legendary UNC men’s basketball coach Dean Smith.

In memory of Coach Smith, shirts have been made by Chapel Hill’s Thrill City that are dark blue with the letters DEAN replacing the standard DUKE.

via Thrill City

via Thrill City

Reports estimate more than 500 of the shirts have been sold prior to tip off, on Wednesday night.

Duke Documentary Students Photograph Hillsborough

Students from Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies have been coming to Hillsborough for the past eight years to photograph its people and places.

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens met with a group of students in January.

“Fifteen students came in, and we were sitting in our visitors’ center. And I said, ‘How many people were raised in this area.’ And there were one or two raised in the area, living in Durham now,” said Stevens in an interview with WCHL. “But a good third of the class had never been to Hillsborough before. . . So when you see yourself through fresh eyes – somebody’s taking the time, a whole semester, to get visuals but also learn the story . . . it’s really joyful to see.”

Mayor Stevens shared his favorite photo stories from this class called Small Town, USA, taught by Susie Post-Rust.

“I think one of the most moving times was in the very first year,” said Stevens. “They picked a young woman, a teenager who is being homeschooled . . . by her family who is very involved in one of the local churches.”

Here’s an excerpt from Jessica Silver’s narrated slide show about the Christian family:

“Her father does not allow his daughters to date. They must court. After six months, a couple can hold hands. And they, if allowed by the parents, can kiss after a year. Amanda is currently courting a boy from church who took her to his senior prom.”

Stevens also enjoyed a story from that same year featuring a family from a different religious tradition. Kristyn Schomp’s photos show people chanting at Hillsborough’s Hare Krishna temple, kids doing homework on the couch seated beside a blue-eyed baby doll, and kids climbing into their bunk bed while mom starts the Krishna bedtime story on a cassette tape player.

You can find photos from past years on the website, The current batch of photo stories are set to be finished in April.

DBAP Outranks Dean Dome and Cameron Indoor for Stadium Experience

For many sports fans along tobacco road it doesn’t get any better than watching the Tar Heels at the Dean Dome or the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor. But recently another area sports venue has outranked both iconic basketball arenas.

Jason deBruyn with the Triangle Business Journal says the trade publication, Stadium Journey, has an annual ranking of sports venues.

“This is the fourth year they’ve been [ranking] the top 100 in-stadium experiences,” he says. “The number one ranked stadium experience in North Carolina was the Durham Bulls Athletic Park; they ranked 33 in the nation.”

deBruyn says the DBAP got $20 million in improvements prior to last baseball season – with $12 million coming from the city of Durham – but most was done on the inner workings of the stadium. The DBAP got very high marks from the trade publication, with seemingly the only negative being the lack of lodging and restaurants in walking distance.

The home of the Durham Bulls checked in at number 33 on Stadium Journey’s list, but other venues in the Tar Heel state cracked the top 100.

“The only other two spots to crack the top 100 in the nation,” he says, “were, in fact, the Dean Smith Center and the Carolina Panthers stadium.”

Accessibility could be an issue; tickets to Cameron Indoor and the Dean Dome are much harder to come by than tickets to DBAP. deBruyn says last year the UNC – Duke game at Cameron was one of the most expensive tickets in the nation.

“The UNC – Duke game at Cameron Indoor was the toughest ticket,” he says. “The average cost of a ticket to that game is $1,400.”

You can see the full list of the Top 100 Stadium Experiences of 2014, according to Stadium Journey, here.

Fiber Internet In 2014?

Your days of waiting for videos to buffer or uploading attachments may be over soon as competition is growing for which data provider is going to offer internet speeds up to 100 times faster than your current provider.

AT&T announced Thursday that it would join Google and Time Warner Cable in providing cities in the Triangle and Winston-Salem one-gigabit speeds through their fiber-optic internet services.

“AT&T already has a large fiber footprint in the region—that’s one of the reasons it made it such an attractive partner,” says Marc Hoit, the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology at N.C. State and a spokesperson for the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN). “With that, they have the ability to jump start and do things faster. We’re hoping some of those connections start before the end of this year.”

The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro along with UNC agreed in January of last year to join four other municipalities and three other major universities to ratify NCNGN. According to its website, NCNGN is a “regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation broadband networks in North Carolina.” It’s also comprised of Durham, Cary, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem; Duke and Wake Forest round out the group.


Courtesy of Gizmodo

According to Gizmodo, a design and technology blog, the Triangle averages internet speeds between 10.9 and 14.6 megabits per second. The ultra-high-speed internet option of one-gigabit per second would be 70-100 times greater than those averages.

“If you think of how long it takes to download a movie or if you’re doing education content with the university and doing streaming, some of the things that you want to do with offsite stuff like Google Apps and Documents and Microsoft SkyDrive and download music and your save your music up in the cloud, if you have a one gig file and you’re up at a gig, it takes a second,” Hoit says.

Hoit says NCNGN sees ultra-high-speed internet changing the world of medicine.

“We’re hoping to see things like medical diagnostics live, hi-resolution video used for medical services or for other types of services that you can do diagnostics and use that high-speed stream,” Hoit says.

Another positive aspect of fiber-optic internet is downloading and uploading speeds are the same. With Google fiber or AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, you could receive or send files big and small in almost no time. For example, you could download a full-length, high-definition movie in about 30 seconds.

“The symmetric version is really important from our standpoint, because as you want to work with all these new services that people are doing and putting your music in the cloud; if somebody’s in a studio and creating music and then wants to put it up and to be served somewhere else, you need that upload speed just as much,” Hoit says.

Google offered its first fiber-optic internet service in Kansas City, Missouri in 2012. It later expanded to Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas. In mid-February, the internet giant announced it was considering Triangle cities as places to expand the ultra-high-speed option.

Time Warner Cable said last year that it plans to extend the next level of service sometime in the near future.

Of course, the prices for these ultra-high speed options could be higher. Google fiber in Kansas City is selling its product at $70 per month for internet alone. It is, however, currently waiving its $300 construction fee to customers who sign up.

“Our expectation is to be priced similar to what you’re seeing in Kansas City and in Austin,” Hoit says. “The price depends on the costs and other things, but it should be very close to that same price.”

The next step for the municipalities and universities within NCNGN is to review the terms and agreements of the plan to continue the process.

Carrboro elected officials will likely vote in mid-May on the plan; Chapel Hill leaders have not decided on a date when they will vote on the plan. However, Hoit says the next step should be fairly seamless.

“It’s been a two, two-and-a-half year process of which the municipalities and the universities have been working together through this whole time,” Hoit says. “It will hopefully not come as a surprise. The municipal lawyers have all been involved, so there’s been a lot of collaboration that we’re hoping everything goes smoothly.”