New Chapel Hill High School boys’ basketball coach Bill Walton has a secret.
He’s a fan of Mike Krzyzewski.
“Now I didn’t say Duke basketball. I said Mike Krzyzewski,” Walton said Thursday. “I like him as a person.”
Walton, meeting with members of the local media for the first time after getting the Chapel Hill job, admitted he noted a negative vibe in the room when he mentioned Krzyzewski during CHHS job interviews.
“They were like, ewww. ...”
Despite that, Walton still admires Krzyzewski for his courtesy and warmth when meeting the public. And of course, K has won a few games in his time.
When it comes to basketball in Chapel Hill, Walton is on much safer turf.
“Everything we do is Carolina,” he said, citing his past successes at Greensboro Grimsley, Southwest Guilford and Reidsville. “We run the Carolina fast break. We try to kick the ball up the court the way they do. We run the Carolina secondary break We use the Carolina half-court trap and the Carolina pressing game.”
Walton comes to Chapel Hill after a good run at Reidsville High School, where in slightly more than eight seasons as a head coach, he led the Rams to an overall record of 145-72.
Most of that success, he said, came from ball-hawking and up-tempo play. In three 20-win seasons, the Rams averaged 70.1 points a game.
By way of comparison, Chapel Hill’s 19-8 team last year averaged 50.3 points a game. The Tigers won three times scoring under 40 points.
“Honestly, we didn’t run a lot of complex plays or have a lot of different sets (at Reidsville). We just said ‘Go get the ball.’ That’s why we scored a lot – because we would take the ball away and convert.”
Walton called Chapel Hill a “Mecca for basketball,” where potential players abound in every gym. In Reidsville, the town was all about football.
“When you’ve got an assistant superintendent running your scoreboard clock, that says something about your football team,” Walton said. “Reidsville is a powerhouse in football. It’s just about the only thing going on Friday night.”
Conversely, Walton said, Reidsville is not known for much else.
“You have to go 30, 40 miles just to find a good restaurant,” he said.
Walton hopes to move with his wife and daughter to Chapel Hill – eventually. For now, he’s willing to commute from Reidsville, where his family has quite a bit of time and money invested in its current residence. They’d like to recoup that investment before leaving.
“It takes about an hour, maybe and hour and 10 minutes to get here” from Reidsville, Walton said. “I’m looking for a place to live ... (but) I might be willing to commute up until basketball season.”
Walton doesn’t have a staff yet and is actively looking for help. He has one or two Reidsville assistants who could be in the mix, and he’s reached out to the assistants who worked with Chapel Hill’s 2013-14 interim coach Lason Perkins, but they’ve yet to talk face to face.
Walton is eager to get started, thinking Chapel Hill has plenty of talent with which to work.
“I’m looking forward to a really good year,” he said, “maybe one of the best they’ve had in three to four years.”