When Erroll Reese sat down last week to look at the upcoming S.J.G. Greater NC Pro Am summer league schedule, he knew right away there was a problem.
Team McGladrey was slated to take on Team Stackhouse at 6 p.m. today. The matchup pits several N.C. State players against UNC players, guaranteed to draw a lot of attention, Reese said. But the tipoff time was problematic. With people's work schedules, traffic and parking problems, Reese said, he wanted to make sure the community could catch the game.
So he changed the start time to 8 p.m.
"This is going to be one of the biggest nights we have ever had," said Reese, the league's community relations director. "There is going to be a high level of talent in one building. Get there early, I recommend that."
Team McGladrey boasts State incoming freshmen Ryan Harrow, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie. The team also has rising senior Tracy Smith and rising junior C.J. Williams. On the other bench will be UNC's rising freshmen Reggie Bullock and Harrison Barnes. They are joined by rising sophomore John Henson and rising junior Justin Watts.
While NCCU's McDougald-McLendon gym is not an ACC stage, the crowd is expected to give the game that in-conference feel, Reese said. For most people, he said, this will be their first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the highly touted newcomers for each school.
"It is the first time these kids are playing together against another team that has kids from a rival school," Reese said. "This is how it's going to look in the fall. It is a precursor to what is going to happen in the ACC this year."
Reese's phone has been ringing off the hook in the days leading up to the game, he said. He has fielded calls from ESPN The Magazine and several players, he said. It is the most calls he has ever received for a summer league game.
While there has been a good turnout so far, he expects the biggest crowd yet. "Let's just say it will be filled to capacity."
One player even changed his schedule to be able to play in tonight's game. Reese did not want to name the player but said he called and said he was supposed to go out of town, but put that on hold to play in the game.
"We are really pumped up about the game," Reese said. "No other summer league has matchups like this."
email@example.com or 919-829-8949