As the last season of ACC basketball concludes, the contributors have revisited some individual match-ups, but I'd like to add a look back at the history of what was consistently the greatest basketball conference in the country. For perspective, I began following basketball in the mid 80's, and grew up with the 8 team league. Len Bias is the reason I'm a basketball fan. The addition of Florida St was fine, but Va Tech and Miami ended the ACC as many of us knew it. Its been a bit sad every time an announcer has repeated the line that Maryland will be leaving the ACC, but I'm with Scott Van Pelt on the move to the Big Ten. This isnt an attempt to rehash tired arguments. What is appropriate is to look back at the teams, players, and coaches that made the ACC what it once was....with that, a few questions and some personal options to start the discussion.
Favorite MD team excluding the national championship?
-2010 with Greivis and Eric Hayes
-1986 Len Bias Sr yr
-1994 Joe Smith and Keith Booth freshman season
Favorite coach other than Gary or Lefty?
-Rick Barnes....damn near coming to blows with Dean Smith counts for something
Team worth rooting for that didn't wear the red white, black and gold?
-1990 Georgia Tech with Lethal Weapon 3 (Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott, and Brian Oliver)
-1989-91 NC State with Fire and Ice, Rodney Monroe and Chris Corchiani
-Late 80's, early 90's Duke....yes, Duke. Before all the younger fans here flip out, there was a time when the Duke as we now know it was once actually UNC. Every bit of hatred and vitriol you have torward Coach K would have, or at least should have been directed at Dean Smith. Yes, I would argue that what Gary became to Coach K in the late 90's-early 00's...that underdog SOB looking to knock off the top dog, was what Coach K once was to Dean Smith. I would argue that Coach K only came to be what we now know him as once Dean Smith retired.
For perspective, this was perfect---From ESPN magazine highlighted in the MM today:
LORD, HOW THE other schools hated him. St. Dean, they called him. Fans of the other ACC teams united under the ABC banner: Anybody But Carolina. When the NCAA tournament came around, schools around the country crowded into the tent. Someone in every group had a Dean impression, that accent as dry and flat as the Kansas prairie: It might have looked like luck to you, but we practice making those 40-footers off the backboard. That's the Carolina Way.
They grumbled about how Dean subtly baited the refs, how he planted seeds with the media that other teams played dirty. They were furious when he pulled out the Four Corners and stalled his way to a win. They couldn't stand how he acted all humble but still gave off that whiff of we're-better-than-you. They smelled it everywhere. One year the Heels beat Wake Forest after a five-second call when Wake couldn't get the ball in bounds. "We did play six seconds of good defense there," Dean said after the game. See, the ABCers said. Even when he won, a little dig.
JJ Redick Award...least favorite duke player other than the award's namesake
Least favorite player, non Duke category?