Coaching Carousel in Full Swing

By: Trey Walker


As we head into the final week of college basketball, some programs have already gotten a head start on filling coaching spots. One notable position was filled today by a familiar face from our area. Let’s take a look at the biggest hiring from today’s Coaching Carousel….

  • Pittsburgh

– Panthers tap Duke assistant Jeff Capel to lead basketball program 

The Pitt of Misery looks a little less worse today. The University of Pittsburgh has supposedly reached an agreement with Jeff Capel to take over the reigns as head coach for the Panthers. Capel should bring stability in place of the somewhat tumultuous wake left by his predecessor, Kevin Stallings. Capel is widely known for his recruiting ability. Under his direction, Duke has managed to land the #1 recruiting class in the nation for the last 3 seasons. Aside from his ability to recruit, Capel also brings plenty of coaching experience to Pitt. Prior to teaming up with Coach K, he served as the head coach of both Oklahoma (5 seasons) and VCU (4 seasons).

Capel coached under Krzyzewski for 7 seasons while at Duke. (PC: si.com)

In a statement today, Mike Krzyzewski responded to the departure: “Jeff Capel is one of the most dynamic coaches in the country. He possesses championship-level experience as both a head and assistant coach”.

Due to the state of disrepair in Pittsburgh, I think it might take a couple years for Capel to find his place, especially as the ACC continues to grow as the nation’s premier college basketball conference. However, Capel’s recruiting touch is unparalleled to anyone in the game today and if he can continue that at Pitt, he will restore success to the ailing program.

On the flip side, this is a HUGE loss for Duke. Coach K lost his closest confidant and best recruiter from his bench. He will now look to newcomers Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer to fill the massive void Capel will leave.


Other North Carolina schools with changes or vacancies:

 

UNC-Charlotte: (HIRE)- UVA’s Ron Sanchez took over for Mark Price ahead of the 49ers 2018-2019 campaign. This will be his first job as a college head coach.

High Point: (HIRE)- After getting the boot from Memphis in just 2 seasons, Tubby Smith returns home to coach his alma mater, claiming his new role with the Panthers as his “dream job”.

Western Carolina: (DEPARTURE)- Larry Hunter called it quits after leading the Catamounts for 13 seasons.

UNC-Asheville: (DEPARTURE)- They say all good things must come to an end, and that is an appropriate fit for Nick McDevitt’s time at UNCA. The former Bulldog guard coached his team to 2 Big South Regular Season titles and a NCAA tournament bid. Middle Tennessee plucked McDevitt to lead their program last week.

East Carolina: (DEPARTURE)- Longtime coach, Jeff Lebo resigned earlier this season after an unsuccessful run with the Pirates. Assistant coach, Michael Perry was given the interim job but isn’t considered as a serious candidate. Expect the Pirates to take their time filling this job, especially following the buyout of athletic director, Jeff Compher.

 

 

Gensler’s Heroics Save Camels late

By: Trey Walker


Final: Campbell 71 – New Orleans 69

The Campbell Camels are rolling through this year’s College Basketball Invitational Tournament.

Monday evening the Camels squared off against the Privateers from New Orleans. Campbell extends their CBI win streak to two after a first round defeat of Miami University.

Raleigh product Chris Clemons led the Camels in scoring with 35. Campbell found themselves in a little bit of a hole at the half, down 9 points to the Privateers.

With a trip to the next round on the line, Campbell fought back in the second half. A deep three pointer from Chris Clemons at the 2:39 minute mark gave the Camels the 2 point advantage going down the stretch.

New Orleans’ responded later with an equalizer from Ezekiel Charles to make the score 69-69.

It looked as though this battle wouldn’t be settled in regulation.

But Cory Gensler had other plans…..

The former Cary standout nailed this midrange jumper to take his team to the next round.

Campbell will face off with the University of San Francisco on Thursday in the CBI semi-finals.

CFB Impressions and Predictions: Week 2

By: Trey Walker

This football season is still very young, and lots can change. However, some teams have started to pave their paths early on for the whole year. Let’s check it out….


NC State: 

Marshall was a nice break. It took State a while to wake up, as Marshall came thundering out of the gate up 13-3 early. But monster performances from Kelvin Harmon and All-American Jaylen Samuels helped the Pack come out on top.

Big time players make big time plays……

Next week’s matchup should be more of the same. State’s offense really stepped up to the plate in the second half and proved they could get things going. Furman will have no match for weapons like Samuels and on the ground game with Gallaspy. This will be a commanding win for NCSU.

PickState Logo.png


Duke: 

Might I say Duke is a football school?

All signs are pointing toward a promising year for the Blue Devils. After a lopsided victory week 1 versus NCCU, Daniel Jones and Company welcomed some tougher competition into town in Northwestern.

This didn’t seem to change things.

Duke is rolling right now on both sides of the ball, and I think they will be too much for a struggling Baylor team.

 

PickDuke Logo


North Carolina: 

Where to begin?

Carolina is a mess right now. As long as the quarterback competition between LSU grad transfer Brandon Harris and redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt remains “open”, expect an out-of-sync offense for the Heels.

However, the defense that was supposedly poised to have the most experience on the team, and lead the Heels this year, is not living up to the hype. They rank 126th in total defense in the FBS (3 from last place), surrendering on average 7.53 yards per play and 587.0 yards per game. No wonder Lamar Jackson looked great last week, not only is he an incredible athlete that can get yards in all ways possible, but he played arguably one of the worst defenses in football last week. Those two factors aligned to create the perfect storm of 525 total yards and SIX touchdowns. Yikes.

UNC Defense (pc-herosports.com)

Lamar Jackson had no trouble getting in his groove against a struggling Tar Heel defense          (PC: herosports.com)

Tar Heel fans, prepare for a long season ahead…..

As far as this week’s matchup goes, the Tar Heels will most likely earn a much needed win, as they travel up to Norfolk with a matchup with Old Dominion. Last time the Tar Heels met with the Monarchs, they led 80-20 going into the fourth quarter, and it had to be shortened.  This is a struggling team but I am confident they will walk away with a W.

Pick:

UNC Logo


HEISMO-METER

Baker Mayfield’s 226 yard/2 TD performance to lead the Sooners over Ohio State bumps him just above Lamar Jackson in this week’s 919 Sports Report Heismo-Meter….

919SR heismometer week 2.png

Our graphics guy, Ross Bechtel displayed the Heisman standings after Week 2 in the 919SR Heismo-Meter

Howard’s Homecoming Cut Short

By: Trey Walker


With the NBA Draft just two days away, teams are scrambling to get their last trades in and compile as many picks as possible for this unusually heavy draft class. For the most part, no blockbuster trades have been made.

However, rumors arose earlier today that the Hornets and Hawks had engaged in trade talks. It was later confirmed that the Hawks dealt Charlotte Dwight Howard and the 31st pick in this year’s draft. In turn the Hawks received Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and the 41st pick. Dwight Howard’s time in his hometown of Atlanta was cut to only one season.

Why?

Well, the Hawks have established a couple things in this trade. First, Dwight Howard was not worth the money. This move frees up about 5 million in cap space for Atlanta. Also, the Hawks have moved into re-building mode. Paul Millsap will most likely not return to a team that has only a few assets. A new group of front office personnel is ready to start fresh from the ground up.

Charlotte made out like a bandit, kind of. Dwight Howard is definitely on the back half of his career but will provide size and valuable rim-protection. Howard is a high riser that can catch lobs and isn’t easily bullied in the post. Last season Howard saw career highs in field goal percentage and offensive rebounds.

Bottom Line: Solid move for Charlotte. Also, Two Tobacco Road legends will finally be reunited.

Plumlee and Kelly

Ryan Kelly and Miles Plumlee were college teammates at Duke. 

NC State settles with Keatts

 

By: Trey Walker


Friday afternoon, a new era began for Wolfpack basketball. A team with a once unstable future has finally found someone to bring some stability in former UNCW head coach, Kevin Keatts. And people already love him.

Keatts

Kevin Keatts spent the last 3 seasons at UNCW (PC: wralsportsfan)

Who is this guy?

That’s a great question. Kevin Keatts has held coaching positions all over the place: Southwestern Michigan College, Hargrave, and Marshall, but his most recent pit stop was at UNCW, where he successfully turned an ailing program into a back-to-back NCAA tournament qualifier and powerhouse in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Before Wilmington, Keatts was the Associate Head Coach under Rick Pitino at Louisville, where he was apart of the 2013 national championship.

What is he going to change? What does he do well?

Recruiting. This dude kills the recruiting game. Mark Gottfried didn’t struggle to land big time recruits, and Keatts shouldn’t have a problem continuing that trend. During his time at Louisville, he compiled 2 top-10 recruiting classes.

Bottom line: This was a great hire for the Wolfpack. Keatts is young, energetic, structured, and has been successful everywhere he has coached. As far as returning talent, the future is uncertain. Omer Yurtseven has declared that he will test his possibilities, Abdul-Malik Abu’s return is again in question, and DSJ is packing his bags. I believe that after he gets his system installed, Keatts can make NC State competitive again, and put the program back on the map.

NCFC agrees to historic merger

By: Trey Walker


North Carolina FC continues to prove to the MLS why they are worthy of the MLS bid they seek. This afternoon, the soccer club agreed to a “Strategic Collaboration” with youth programs: Capital Area Soccer League(CASL) and Triangle Futbol Club Alliance(TFCA). This new agreement has forged what is now the largest youth development league in the country.

In the past, CASL had been sponsored by Chelsea Football Club (England) and most recently have maintained a relationship with the Carolina Railhawks. This merger will grow to what is already a successful youth development league. Since 2013, the Railhawks Academy has churned out college talent, graduating 71 players to the collegiate ranks. NCFC’s owner Steve Malik, believes that this move is pivotal in his organizations MLS campaign.

“North Carolina FC Youth will be home to more than 13,500 youth players and will be a key positive differentiator in our already strong Major League Soccer bid. The collaboration shows the unified and powerful support of soccer at all levels in our area. I want to personally thank the visionary leadership of CASL and TFCA for their work in accomplishing this goal.” – Steve Malik

Although this transaction takes place on the youth level, it is worth of your attention. Steve Malik and company are really laying it all out there to try to snag the MLS bid, and they may just get it….

 

Manziel comforts Trump, deletes account after

By: Trey Walker


It has been quite an interesting time in the political world of the United States recently, and earlier this month, former president Barack Obama passed the presidential torch to the Republican victor, Donald Trump. In this article, OT Sports analyzed the impact of Johnny Manziel’s Twitter posts in his own career, and in the political atmosphere.

DISCLAIMER: OT Sports is not a political news outlet. Our mission is to deliver the best stories in the sports world. However, in this particular instance, politics crossed paths with the beaten path of our sports coverage, so giving this matter some recognition seemed appropriate.


We have a soft spot for Johnny Manziel. He has always found away to beat the odds against him. Standing at a meager 6′ 0″, Manziel was never deemed worthy by scouts to be a good quarterback, but proved otherwise. After winning the Heisman Trophy, given to the best player in college football, in his freshman year, he finished his career as an Aggie, and left after his sophomore year to pursue his dream of playing in the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns decided to give the troubled quarterback a chance, promising that they would provide stability for him. Unfortunately Manziel fell out of the league after a short two seasons, struggling again with substance abuse and his relationship with his girlfriend.

Manziel’s tumultuous tale is a sad one, but he doesn’t believe that this is how it ends for him. This month, he surged back into headlines, this time for antics on Twitter, promising a return…..

No lie.. I was a douche in 2016 I’m just trying to be a good PERSON again#LostInTheSauce

— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 19, 2017

It will take intensive rehab and consistent good behavior for a franchise to even fathom picking Johnny Football back up, but it is not impossible.

The real comedy happened when Manziel comforted President Trump about Twitter haters, and how he should block out the noise…..

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 1.14.34 PM.png

PC: Johnny Manziel’s Twitter

…….Shortly after publishing the tweet, Manziel deleted his account. He cited distraction, and his need to commit more to his comeback as reasons for leaving.

Whether or not Money Manziel actually makes it back to the gridiron ever again, we can always count on him to make stunts that will entertain us all.