CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The ACC’s Operation Basketball is in the books for 2018, and we were on hand for the festivities.
It’s never easy to boil an entire day down into five key points, but we’ll take a crack at doing so.
Buzz Williams is not pleased about the new 20-game ACC conference schedule. At all.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the quote of his I posted during the event:
Bonus: Roy Williams was the second unhappy Williams on the subject.
Jim Larrañaga dropped some science on the pack line, Dick and Tony Bennett, and the mover/blocker.
He asked if we wanted a clinic, and we got one.
Tony Bennett and Virginia are just fine after the UMBC game, thanks.
It’s admittedly unusual to see a situation where a program suffers a crippling defeat and turns it into a positive. UVa appears to have done that. No one has ever questioned Bennett’s skills as a motivator and teacher, but this might be the most important job of motivating and teaching he’s ever had.
It is also probably easy to question Bennett’s authenticity in saying that his team has moved on, but it should be noted that he gave us 45 minutes in the afternoon media scrum, and his tone was consistent and measured.
Bennett had this to say in the press conference before the afternoon meeting:
I don’t think we assume anything, I don’t. I read a letter that actually was sent to Bobby Knight way back after he had a tough loss in the tournament they had an undefeated year. Clair Bee wrote him a letter. Someone sent it to me. And it was the idea of being strengthened by the very blow that cut you down, but the premise of it was: We’re going to run to the starting line.
This is a new team this year. This is a different team. So many people want to say, well, okay, you’ve got to get back, you’ve got to vindicate yourself or validate that, you know, what happened — no. This is about us running to the starting line of the season and taking it absolutely as far as we can possibly go, and it’s about growing from last year’s unbelievable success and growing from last year’s very humbling loss, and using it to help us respond and be better.
If you don’t believe Bennett, here’s Kyle Guy:
Yeah, I think for me, it’s never forgetting it, but definitely trying to move past it to where I’m not hanging my head on it. I think it’s taken me a little bit longer than some of the other guys, but that’s just because I’m an emotional kid and I’m real passionate about things. That cut me real deep.
But Coach said something last night when we were meeting with him and Jack (Salt), and he said that, you know, courage is not the absence of fear; it’s moving forward in the face of fear, and I think that’s something that I’m going to hold onto for the rest of my life. I think one of the greatest things and I wanted to be here so bad was because it was in the same arena. I think this is the best way for me to face my demons.
Mike Krzyzewski’s media session was a bit…heated.
Coach K talked with the media for roughly 25 minutes about his “blip on the radar” comments, the FBI investigation, the NCAA, and a number of related subjects.
We won’t transcribe the entire interview here — you can click the link in the embedded tweet to listen to the entire thing. It’s pretty compelling.
Suffice it to say that Krzyzewski has a lot of unanswered questions about the NCAA and its leadership, the process of clearing players’ names, and more. He also said this about his “blip on the radar” remarks:
I was really upset at how I expressed myself at that press conference, and how it was conveyed, because that’s not who I — that’s not what I — that’s not what I meant, and certainly, nothing is frivolous about what we’re doing. It’s all serious business. The most serious business are these kids, and that they’re treated fairly, and that they’re in this environment where they get the most, and their families get the most, from what this sport can provide.
And finally…since we started with Roy Williams being angry about something, let’s close with his being angry about something:
The scuttled North Carolina-South Carolina exhibition game for hurricane relief didn’t go over well with Roy Williams.
Here’s more on that significant understatement, straight from Coach Williams’ mouth:
You watch TV, I watched The Weather Channel for three days, and more of those three days I ever have in my life. I was seeing what was going on, tried to figure out a way to make a lot of money. The two areas hurt more than anyone, and not the only ones, but hurt more than anyone was North Carolina and South Carolina. I called Frank Martin to see if he would be willing, and he jumped on immediately and said he would be willing to do it.
And so we applied for the waiver. And the fact of the matter is when our compliance girl is on the phone, they said: We don’t want you to apply because we’re not going to say yes. We’re not going to permit it. We’ve made the decision we’re not doing any waivers.
And so then I made the statements at my press day that I was really sad that it happened. And someone immediately called back and said, well, you didn’t ask for a waiver. Come on now, let’s not play games. The reason we didn’t ask for a waiver, we were told not to because it wouldn’t do any good.
Then I hear about the senator sending the letter and the response was back that every school had two opportunities: You can play two scrimmages, you can play two exhibitions or one of each.
We already had an exhibition scheduled with Mount Olive. We do it with teams in our state to give them some money to help their programs. Every year I’ve been there, I’ve played an exhibition game against somebody in our state. We already had that scheduled. We didn’t want to take money away from them. And I didn’t necessarily think that would raise a lot of money. Like I thought North Carolina and South Carolina would particularly if we did in this building.
Well, the fact of the matter is we wanted to do it quickly. Quickly. And when it was really in front of everybody it was some situations that people were still living through.
And so I was disappointed by the answer because — like I say, I think he’s got the toughest job there is. But you’re talking about some people who had tremendous tragedies going on in their life. We were not going to gain any advantage on State or Duke or Wake or Virginia or Florida State by playing that game. We were trying to make some money to help some people. That’s the bottom line. Yes, you could say we could have canceled Mount Olive, we could have canceled our scrimmage and tried to get it, but I thought we could have done that so quickly, getting North Carolina and South Carolina involved that it was a home run.