Opinion

Get the jump on ACC men’s basketball at N&O forum on Nov. 28

Zion Williamson talks about dunking after Eastern Michigan blowout

Duke's freshman sensation had several thunderous crowd pleasing dunks during the non-conference victory.
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Duke's freshman sensation had several thunderous crowd pleasing dunks during the non-conference victory.

The News & Observer’s Community Voices series has taken on some earnest topics — sea level rise, privacy and social media, the 2016 ballot.

Now we’re turning to something really serious — ACC men’s basketball.

As the 2018-19 season gets underway, our panel will assess the basketball prospects for North Carolina’s four ACC schools and offer predictions on which teams are likely to finish where. It’s going to be a rousing season with six ACC teams now in the AP Top 25

Who are the brightest stars of the Atlantic Coast Conference? Which teams are sleepers who could surprise? Which coaches are on the hot seat? Which teams are winning the recruiting contests? Is the ACC still the best league for men’s basketball? How good is the freshman dunk machine Zion Williamson? Is it possible that he’s Duke’s second or third best player?

And, perhaps the season’s biggest question: Can anyone beat Duke?

Beyond the details and subplots of the season, the panel will discuss how the ACC is doing overall. ACC men’s basketball has long been an intense, tribal contest in North Carolina, but with many newcomers to the state and big changes in the league and the game, does ACC basketball still captivate North Carolina with the same intensity?

There are plenty of other questions. What has been the effect of expanding the ACC? Has Maryland’s departure for the Big Ten hurt the league? Are one-and-done players reducing the league’s appeal? What rule changes have helped and what changes are still needed? Is the ACC tournament as exciting as it once was? Has the expansion of the NCAA tournament made a league tournament less important? How long will UNC’s Roy Williams and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski continue to coach? Can their successors keep those programs at the same level?

The panelists for the evening will be:

Bridget Condon. A native of the northern reaches of the ACC – the Boston area – and a graduate of James Madison University, Condon is a sports reporter/anchor for ABC II Eyewitness News - WTVD in Raleigh.

Clarence “Chucky” Brown. A former NC State forward, Brown helped lead the Wolfpack to the 1987 ACC Tournament and 1989 regular-season championships. He was a much traveled NBA player over 13 seasons and a member of the 1994-’95 NBA champion Houston Rockets.

Luke DeCock. The N&O’s lead sports columnist and an N&O sportswriter since 2000, DeCock covered the recent NCAA championship runs of UNC and Duke. His columns and features have been ranked among the nation’s best by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He’s a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

David Shumate. A native of Fayetteville and a graduate of Appalachian State, Shumate is the men’s basketball and football play-by-play announcer for the Duke Blue Devils. He is a former director for IMG, which handles the radio broadcasts for nearly 200 college athletics programs, conferences and bowl games.

This Community Voices forum — “ACC men’s basketball, this season and beyond” — will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the North Carolina Museum of History. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com. (N&O Rewards members can receive free tickets by using the promo code on the N&O website’s Rewards homepage.)

The ACC was established in 1953 and is steeped in history that includes some of the greatest moments and players in college basketball. Starting with conference play on Jan. 1, the ACC will start making history anew. We hope you’ll come out and to see what’s coming up in ACC men’s basketball.

Barnett: 919-829-4512, nbarnett@newsobserve.com



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