North Carolina

Duke’s Coach K, UNC’s Roy Williams part of early-entry discussions

The National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NBA and the NCAA have come up with a proposal that would affect college players’ early entry into the NBA. The upshot is that the withdrawal date for underclassmen would be moved from late April to late May.

At present once an underclassman files his papers for the draft, he can’t change his mind and return to school. The commitment date would remain in April, and underclassmen would be permitted to attend a mid-May, invitation-only combine for about 80 or 90 draft-eligible players run by the NBA. Underclassmen currently are not permitted to attend.

The hope is that college players would find out whether they’re a first-round prospect – or a draft prospect at all – after being evaluated by the NBA. And those who weren’t invited to the combine would get the message in no uncertain terms that they should forget about the NBA for now and stay in school.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski reportedly has been involved in shaping the proposal, according to ESPN. Roy Williams of North Carolina said Wednesday he also has been part of the talks.

“I’m trying to remember what I was told to say,” Williams quipped Wednesday. “I think there will be more information released out of it. I’ve been very pleased to be part of the discussion about it. I’ve been part of the discussion and very happy that we we’re working together.”

Not all ACC coaches are on board, however. Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton said Wednesday he would be opposed to it unless the scholarship limit was raised because late May is too late in the year to replace a player he might lose to the draft.

“If I have a kid in April who wants to be evaluated, and he decides not to come back, then how do I fill the void?” Hamilton asked. “There has to be some way to come up with a procedure that will allow the youngsters to pursue their goals and not impact the team. It has to be some way to do that as opposed to creating a negative for one and maybe an opportunity for the other.”

Boston College coach Jim Christian, who has said he would advise star guard Olivier Hanlan to leave this year if he projected as a first-round pick, agreed with the NABC proposal.

“Anything that can help young people make the right decision is what it’s all about,” Christian said. “It eliminates the unknowns. The late (withdrawal) date for us is a little bit difficult, but it is all about the people, whether it’s Olivier or anybody else.

Christian said the proposal provides “a factual basis so they can make sound decisions. Everything should be on the table so they can make sound decisions.”

The proposal could be presented for a vote by the NCAA as early as January and could be adopted in time for the 2016 draft, so it would not apply to Hanlan, who is a junior.

For his part, Hanlan shied away from NBA projections.

“I don’t really want to talk about that right now,” he said after the Eagles’ season-ending 81-63 loss to North Carolina in Wednesday’s second round of the ACC tournament. “There’s a lot of time to make that decision. I’ll just take it day by day.”

UNC State? When fans at this week’s ACC tournament peruse the official tournament program, they might think one of the conference’s members has undergone a name change.

Page 39 lists the Team Stat Leaders in various categories, ranking the 15 ACC schools in scoring, rebounding, etc. N.C. State is not listed in the rankings – but “UNC State” is.

Many N.C. State fans attending Wednesday night’s second-round game between the Wolfpack and Pittsburgh didn’t know about the printing goof until it was pointed out to them. They weren’t exactly pleased to read it.

N.C. State sophomore Austin Fishel, a drummer in the Wolfpack pep band, said, “I guess someone is not familiar with the rivalry. It’s definitely pretty disrepectful.”

Said Stacy Houser of Lincolnton, NCSU class of ’91, “Typical for N.C. State. No respect. When you pulled out (the program), I knew it was going to be something bad. We’re used to it now.”

Derek Overcash of Salisbury, class of 2008, gritted his teeth when he read the offensive page.

“It’s pretty disrepectful to confuse us with (the University of) North Carolina,” he said. “I know they’re the gold standard, but we’re stepping up and have a lot of history (in basketball), too. I don’t particularly care for that.”

Even an ACC official looked askance at the typo. Nora Lynn Finch, an associate commissioner for conference, spent 31 years as an assistant women’s basketball coach and administrator at N.C. State before joining the conference office in 2008.

“Oh no!” she said, laughing. “Who did that? As a longtime Wolfpacker, I can say we should not have made such a serious publishing error.”

Syracuse fans travel: Ken Hutton and Gaither Shaw, both 67, might be the only two Syracuse fans at the Greensboro Coliseum this week. Hutton, a retired management association executive from Kennett Square, Pa., and Shaw, an investment adviser from Mountainside, N.J., are Syracuse class of ’69 alums who bought their nonrefundable tickets in Section 122 before the university announced its self-imposed postseason ban in advance of NCAA sanctions for violations in the football and basketball programs.

It didn’t matter to them, however. As college basketball fans, they were coming anyway.

And it’s not like Hutton and Shaw don’t have a rooting interest. They were roommates in graduate school at Virginia’s Darden School of Business from 1969 to ’71.

“We started out going to Virginia games, then we started going to the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden,” Hutton said. “Nobody in the Northeast knew what they had in that tournament, but coming from the ACC, we did. So we got courtside seats for almost nothing.”

Since Syracuse joined the ACC, it has made Hutton and Shaw’s postseason plans more convenient so they can follow both of their orange-clad teams. They have been in the Greensboro Coliseum for every game this week.

“Why wouldn’t you come for the whole tournament?” Shaw asked.

They will be back next year when the ACC tournament moves to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and plan to attend the event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., after that.

“That will be a rude awakening for ACC fans,” Hutton predicted. “There’s nowhere to stay in Brooklyn. You have to stay in Manhattan.”

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