Late Night Recap:
Oct. 14, 2005
By Adam Lucas
It's already time.
Although it seems like the Tar Heels just arrived back in Chapel Hill from St. Louis, the 2005-06 basketball season begins today. Doors for Late Night with Roy open at 5:30 tonight, with much basketball merriment to follow.
We'll be refreshing this story throughout the day with various tidbits and stories from the Smith Center. Here's the thing: reader input makes this story work. So send in your emails and we'll try to get to as many as we can. We'll also use numerous emails tonight during the All-Access broadcast of Late Night, so make sure to include your full name and hometown so we can give you proper credit.
And we're off...
8:02 a.m.: Roy Williams gets his first standing ovation of the day as he walks onto the Smith Center floor for the Fast Break Against Cancer breakfast. Approximately 300 people attend the event, which raises roughly $50,000 for the American Cancer Society and the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center.
8:35 a.m.: Williams issues a warning about his young team to those in attendance: "When you come to games this year, you might want to keep your hands up when you're in the stands, because we might throw you the ball."
8:56 a.m.: Reece Holbrook, as usual, steals the show by hopping from the dais down to the floor with a delighted, "Weeee!" Williams watches his young friend and says simply, "That's what it's all about."
9:14 a.m.: The breakfast attendees don't seem to care about lowered expectations for this year's team. Two people bid $4,100 each for four tickets to a closed practice session in November. The very last team-signed basketball from the national championship season goes for $5,000.
9:28 a.m.: The new video boards debut with a showing of the Carolina-centric version of "One Shining Moment" put together by Jones Angell. When Marvin Williams makes the go-ahead shot against Duke (it was so noisy in the Smith Center after that shot that the crowd noise actually had to be turned down during the video's production), it still brings chills--and cheers from the crowd.
10:00 a.m.: The breakfast is over and now a very long day of hard work for the Smith Center operations and maintenance crew begins. They had to set up for the breakfast last night. Now they'll tear down that setup and prepare the floor for Georgia Tech's 4 p.m. volleyball practice and the thousands of expected guests who will pack the building. Then they'll have to convert from volleyball to basketball, and after Late Night is over they'll have to take the arena from game readiness to practice readiness for Saturday's 2 p.m. basketball practice session. Kudos to Angie Bitting, ClaytonWomble, Clara Andrews, Bryant Medlin, Chad Wade, Ron Pendleton, Mitchell Kivett, Eric Quigley, Curtis Cotton, Chris Sparrow, Randy Young, Danny Maddox, and the rest of the building's staff.
10:05 a.m.: Jackie Manuel pulls up in the Smith Center parking lot, limping just slightly from his midsummer foot injury. Jackie's posse is now Jackie and Rhonda's posse, as they were married this summer and are living in Chapel Hill.
1:15 p.m.: Last year the line outside the Smith Center began forming at 1:30 p.m. But if you're heading out right now, you're not going to be first. Massie Minor, a sophomore from Charlotte, has made the wise decision to skip his Friday classes and has been standing in front of Entry A since 10 a.m. "I can't wait to see the new guys," he says. "I'm so excited about this year. Last year we knew how good we were going to be, but this year it's going to be fun finding out."
Meanwhile, at Entry D, Jessica Woltz arrived at 12 noon, coming straight from Italian class. Jessica, who clearly possesses great wisdom due to the fact that she graduated from Apex High (also the alma mater of a certain TarHeelBlue.com writer), is a UNC junior. "I've been a huge Carolina basketball fan ever since I can remember," she says. "I had to be here." Not only will she be here, she'll have really good seats.
1:45 p.m.: Let's hit a quick reader question from Elaine Whitley. The All-Access broadcast will begin at 9:30 p.m. No men's basketball activities will take place before that time, so All-Access viewers will see every second of the men's basketball festivities.
We've got to take a quick two-hour hiatus from updating because the TarHeelBlue.com technology wizards will be transferring all our content to a completely redesigned site. Once that site goes live around 4 p.m., we'll be back to updating.
4:35 p.m.: We're back and all of a sudden we're feeling much more horizontal. Hope you like the new look.
The Smith Center floor is fully converted to the volleyball setup and Georgia Tech is going through a quick practice. That means Wes Miller and Byron Sanders, who were shooting around, had to leave the floor.
The crowd outside has grown considerably, as it's now less than an hour until the doors open. That means it's also less than an hour until the annual "Run For The Front Row," which is annually one of the most entertaining parts of Late Night.
Across campus, Jones Angell and Ken Cleary have put the final touches on the videos for tonight. Don't worry, All-Access viewers, you'll get to see the videos as well, as we'll be running them on the broadcast.
5:29 p.m.: All you can hear in the Smith Center is the sound of volleyballs thumping off hands and the occasional shout from a player. Then you hear Angie Bitting say, "Here come the doors!"
5:32 p.m.: All you can hear in the Smith Center is the crashing of feet careening down the metal stairs. The doors were opened one minute ago and the first fans (including Massie and Jessica, naturally) are claiming their seats.
5:45 p.m.: A seating tip: why do people consistently underrate the Smith Center ring as a place to watch the game? Some fans immediately dashed for the baseline when the doors were opened. You actually get a much better view from the ring (the first three rows of the upper deck) at midcourt than you do from the baseline.
It's getting down to crunch time with the emails, folks. Once the broadcast begins, it's a challenge to keep up with the inbox. So submitting your question/comment/random suggestion now gives it a much better chance of making it into the story or the broadcast. We've already gotten an email from as far away as Cairo, Egypt--thanks to Thomas Moore, a UNC senior studying abroad who obviously realizes it's much more educational to follow hoops live on the internet than to do something less valuable such as, say, visiting the pyramids. Anybody else out there listening near one of the seven wonders of the world? Already today we've spanned the globe from Apex to Cairo. It doesn't get much more highbrow than that.
5:55 p.m.: T-minus 40 minutes until volleyball against Georgia Tech. Intrepid volleyball SID Bobby Hundley provides the volleyball game notes, which include the following nugget about the last pre-Late Night volleyball game in 2003: "16,126 fans--the most to ever watch an NCAA volleyball match--saw the Tar Heels defeat the Duke Blue Devils in five games. Carolina volleyball is now in the NCAA record book for attendance at a match held in conjunction with a special promotion of another athletics event." No one's ever going to accuse the NCAA record book of an overemphasis on brevity.
Volleyball pregame music update: we just had Ozzy Osbourne and Trick Daddy's version of "Crazy Train" followed immediately by Color Me Badd's rocking single "All For Love." That CMB (as we in the know call them) song includes the lyrics, "See everyday in my life without you/Is like a hundred years/The distance between us/An ocean of tears." Those of us in the writing community marvel at such prose.
6:10 p.m.: Ken Cleary just walked by with a set of very long cables in his hand. This is a good sign for All-Access viewers, because it means everything should be hooked up by broadcast time. Ken's the guy who makes much of the video magic at the Smith Center and Kenan Stadium happen (and also one of the driving forces behind the very good Team Carolina DVD).
6:20 p.m.: Last year's readers/viewers will remember that one ongoing theme was the quest for a good place to eat lunch in Salt Lake City, as the next day involved a trip to Utah for the football game. This year it's a football bye week so we're going with a more basketball-themed question: where were you the last time the Tar Heels took the court on April 5? We'll include the most unique national championship memories later in the column.
Oh, and we got a good reader question: where's the basketball team while all this is going on? They're over at the Carolina Club having the pregame meal. So if you're in town and pass 11 tall guys wearing suits--Quentin Thomas was promising to wear a bowtie, but we're not sure yet if he pulled it off--it's probably the Tar Heels.
6:40 p.m.: Volleyball has started and I just realized something very important: I'm in prime get-spiked-in-the-nose territory. There will be a delay in the updates while I put on a Matt Baker-style flak jacket. By the way, Carolina leads the first game 4-1.
6:50 p.m.: An interesting little state-of-the-ACC note you might not realize: there's no ACC Tournament in volleyball. Instead, with the expanded ACC, the league uses that extra weekend to play a complete double round-robin schedule. You might remember that particular scheduling format, as it used to be the norm in men's basketball in the ancient days of 2003.
Carolina leads 15-9 (games are played to 30).
7:10 p.m.: Carolina takes game 1 30-23.
The basketball team is in the building and busy making the folks sitting near the home tunnel very happy by signing quite a few autographs.
8:30 p.m.: No, your fearless correspondent didn't get brained by an errant spike. The Tar Heels won the volleyball match in three straight games. Kenny Smith is officially in the building and the volleyball court is being converted back to a basketball court. We're about 20 minutes away from The Jet's (is there a cooler nickname in Carolina basketball history?) introduction.
8:50 p.m.: Former player check: Al Wood, whose daughter is on the women's team this year, has arrived. King Rice and Hubert Davis have also been spotted.
We've got an update on the teams for the scrimmage. It's going to be the freshmen plus a former player or two against everybody else. Too bad Eric Montross isn't here, as he was last year, to recount the story of what happened when his heralded freshman class challenged the upperclassmen in the first scrimmage of the year. Hint: the rookies didn't win.
9:05 p.m.: Kenny Smith has taken the floor. Good speech from Kenny: "I'm not just representing Kenny Smith. I'm representing all the former players. I'm representing Sam Perkins. I'm representing James Worthy."
Now Kenny's taking on some contest winners in a game of one-on-one. He missesa jumper against the first one and then throws out some kind of behind-the-head move against the second guy. Fortunately, neither of these contestants are as good as Justin Timberlake.
9:20 p.m.: Ivory Latta and La'Tangela Atkinson lead the women's team out for a quick skit. It's very hard to do this skit justice in words. Let's just say that it's set to "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. Let's also say that one day if Carolina needs a host for this event, it'd be hard to do better than Ivory Latta.
A quick observation: Rashanda McCants, who is wearing number-32, looks a lot like Rashad.
9:28 p.m.: We're about two minutes from going live on All-Access. That means it'll begin a couple hours of struggling to talk and type, kind of like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. A word of warning: I was never very good at that. This would be a good time to send in a few quick questions. We've heard from about 10 states so far.
9:50 p.m.: Thought we weren't coming on air, didn't you? A few easily solved computer problems later, all the folks at home are getting to check out the new Tunnel Walk video on All-Access. The coaches have made a brief appearance, we've had the national anthem, and we're just about one minute from the team introduction and the first skits of the night. No surprise here--David Noel's variety of dunks on the video draw the biggest applause from the crowd.
We're getting some reports of choppy audio and they're working on it.
David Noel just took the prize for best introduction by coming out of the tunnel wearing a gaudy, Rasheed Wallace-style, championship belt.
10:00 p.m.: There are some potential dancing stars in this group of freshmen. That being said, as a dancer, Tyler Hansbrough (who has a good sense of humor and therefore can take this) makes a really good rebounder.
10:10 p.m.: OK, audio update. It was an internet connectivity problem. They've shut it down and are rebooting. We'll be back on All-Access in about five minutes.
In the meantime, David Noel is playing Stuart Scott as he hosts a special Carolina edition of the ESPN show "Teammates." Hansbrough, who is quickly becoming the foil for this team, is taking a few more hits. All three pairs of teammates just selected him as the roommate they'd least like to have on a roadtrip.
10:15 p.m.: Thanks to Ken Cleary and Jason Dimberg, the audio is fixed on All-Access. Thanks for bearing with us.
10:20 p.m.: Byron Sanders and Reyshawn Terry win the Teammates competition. Meanwhile, Marcus Ginyard and Danny Green got just two answers correct. As Noel just said, "Hey, they're freshmen. They've got four years to learn."
10:30 p.m.: You know, Bobby Frasor might actually be able to pass for a member of the Jackson Five.
10:40 p.m.: Now it's time for "Dancing with the ACC Stars." This features perhaps the biggest group of celebrity guests yet. Bobby Frasor is playing a certain other Tobacco Road coach, Tyler Hansbrough is a well-loved former Wake player and current TV personality, and King Rice is, well, himself. They're the judges. They'll be judging an illustrious group that includes the return of Divine Noel and the return of Wes Miller imitating Roy Williams.
10:50 p.m.: Wes Miller does an unbelievable Roy Williams impression. And the man enjoying it the most was the head coach himself. Wes actually didn't want to do that particular impression this year for fear of making the first day of practice especially tough, but he was persuaded that it's an essential part of Late Night.
10:55 p.m.: They've just unveiled the national championship banner, and the arena is--as you would guess--going crazy. The dropping of the banner was preceded by a highlight video from the Illinois game. It wasn't just the fans enjoying the memories, as the eyes of every player were locked on the boards.
11:05 p.m.: On the script, it's called "Men's Circle Dance." That means everyone forms a circle and each player gets a turn in the middle to freestyle a few dance moves. There are some high quality dancers on this team. And then there are a few who, well, the scrimmage is coming up soon. The coaches, as always, turned in a few sharp moves of their own, concluding with Jerod Haase doing some type of heel-clicking maneuver.
11:20 p.m.: We're about five minutes away from the scrimmage. We've got Frasor, Green, Ginyard, Hansbrough, Copeland, and Hubert Davis taking on Noel, Thomas, Sanders, Miller, Terry, and King Rice.
11:50 p.m.: Marcus Ginyard actually gets some playing time, Danny Green gets a barrel of rebounds, but the freshmen lose 27-19 to the returning players in a 10-minute scrimmage. The rookie downfall probably came because they never ran a play for "Huuuuu..."