Wednesday featured the ACC’s Operation Basketball which was essentially the ACC Men’s basketball’s media day for 2013. Players and coaches from all 14 ACC schools gathered in downtown Charlotte with the credentialed media for a day full of interviews. The guys from The Drive broadcasted from Operation Basketball and were lucky enough to sit down with ACC Commissioner John Swofford and UNC head basketball coach Roy Williams.
Roy, entering his 11th season at UNC, sat down with the guys and answered some tough questions about troubled star PJ Hairston and the rest of his team.
Roy has been criticized for his dealings with Hairston this summer but Coach Williams has looked at this situation as an opportunity to help a young man, “I am in the business of young people….A lot of people have criticized me about what I’ve done with PJ but that’s fine…I’m trying to help guide people from being boys to a young men”.
Roy told us he had a rough summer, especially with everything involving Hairston, saying PJ was “guilty of stupidity” but Roy also was upset with his golf game this summer.
The only documented punishment for PJ Hairston has been the strict running regiment Williams has put him on, “No one has been willing to do what he has done. I asked our trainer if anyone could have done what he did and he said no…I gave him the running and all that stuff and what he’s done since then is amazing…He never said boo”.
North Carolina hasn’t been on top of the college basketball world as of late and he told Taylor and Marc that getting back there starts with recruiting the right type of player and when he was asked if he still believed he could get UNC back on top he said, “Yes…if I didn’t think I could that, I wouldn’t be coaching. I want to win”.
Swofford, entering his 16th year as the ACC commissioner, has now spearheaded two expansions for the ACC, the latest one adding Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Notre Dame this year and next year, Louisville will be added into the mix.
This expansion has seemed a long time coming and Swofford said Wednesday that, “It’s nice to actually be competing against those schools. It’ll be fun, but brutally competitive.”
Swofford told The Drive that after the first expansion to 12 schools, he thought the ACC was done with expanding but “outside events” forced their hand.
A bit of depressing news has been departure of charter ACC member Maryland to the Big Ten, Swofford saying, ”Maryland surprised all of us with their departure announcement”.
Conference realignment has been a headache for many in college athletics but Commissioner Swofford has loads of confidence in the new-look ACC, “I think we’ve landed in a really good place and I’m excited about it”.