Jim Boeheim stopped yelling at kids to get off his lawn long enough to make a half-assed peace offering to Greensboro on WSJS. But even then the Syracuse coach repeated a couple of his dumber ideas about why the ACC tournament, in which he is now 0-for-3, should abandon its traditional home court: “It’s about what is the best place in terms of getting exposure and getting near recruits, and those are the major cities.”
Exposure? Maybe back when players wore canvas shoes, but in the era of ESPN and the internet, no.
And recruits and their parents all across this big country have the iPhones and the televisions too, so, also, no. (Even in the days when print was king and the tournament never left North Carolina, great players from New York somehow found out about the league.)
But what about the original claim by Boeheim, who has never won an ACC tournament game, that there isn’t much talent around Greensboro in the first place?
I put together an all-time starting five from the Triad: Chris Paul, Lou Hudson, Bob McAdoo, Danny Manning, and Curly Neal. (Shout out to my favorite current Tar Heel, Theo Pinson, and my friend Wayne Robinson).
Let the list cover the state of North Carolina and it quickly gets very long and very deep (including a strong candidate for college GOAT, David Thompson, and overall GOAT Michael Jordan).
Anyway, Sydney and I went to the semis last night in Brooklyn. It was exciting to emerge from the subway and see that cool new arena, and the Barclays Center was a nice place to watch a ballgame (at least until the Tar Heels hairballed up that fat lead). I didn’t even mind taking out a mortgage to pay for our hot dogs and beers, but the overall vibe had no more to do with ACC tradition than the pre-expansion players from Louisville and Miami who were inducted at halftime as league legends. It felt sterile and corporate and deracinated.
I am not at all unbiased. As a GSO native and life-long ACC basketball fan, I believe deeply that the tourney should be held in our coliseum with great regularity. North Carolina is the geographic center of the conference, and has more schools in the league than any other state. Greensboro is a great host, and tradition matters, and, too, I have won exactly as many ACC tourney games as Jim Boeheim.