Tough times on Tobacco Road

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 09:50 PM

This past Saturday was rough for Tobacco Road basketball teams.

When Monday rolled around, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest combined were 3-9 in the expanded Atlantic Coast Conference after losing on the same day perhaps for the first time, according to the Association Press.

UNC is at the bottom of the ACC, and Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest are part of an eight-team tie for next-to-last place in the league.

Possibly paying student-athletes

INDIANAPOLIS — NCAA president Mark Emmert said some who opposed the idea of providing stipends to student-athletes are warming up to the idea. He said that Monday at the American Football Coaches Association luncheon just ahead of the NCAA convention that starts this week in San Diego, where members are expected to discuss changes in the way legislation is passed, including giving the five most powerful conferences the ability to create their own rules. Highlighting the agenda among the wealthiest conferences is the pending discussion about providing stipends to athletes.

Emmert also told coaches that participation in football is declining among boys, and it has to do with both competition from other sports and inactivity tied to an online culture. Part of the solution is assuring parents that football is safer than ever, Emmert said.

Cutcliffe piling on awards

DURHAM — More honors for Duke’s David Cutcliffe.  The American Football Coaches Association on Monday announced that he’s the organization’s National Coach of the Year. That’s Cutcliffe’s fifth coaching honor since guiding Duke to a 10-4 season that included the ACC Coastal Division championship. Duke had never won that money games in a season, and it’s part of the reason why Cutcliffe repeated as the ACC’s coach of the year.

Prime-time talker touts NCCU

DURHAM — Today’s edition of N.C. Central’s “Eagle Talk” (12:30 p.m., will feature CBS Sports broadcaster Tim Brando, who called the NCAA Division II basketball national championship for ESPN on March 25, 1989. NCCU won that game, beating Southeast Missouri State 73-46.

Brando on Twitter recently sent a shout-out to NCCU broadcaster Chris Hooks, who hosts “Eagle Talk.”

UNC’s DeShields for real

GREENSBORO — North Carolina guard Diamond DeShields is the  ACC rookie of the week  after averaging 23 points and 8 rebounds in wins against Florida State and N.C. State, both nationally ranked teams.

The Norcross, Ga., freshman leads the No. 9 Tar Heels with 15.9 points per game.

Duke’s Henson up for courage award

DURHAM — Duke redshirt freshman Amber Henson is among two finalists for the United States Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award battling back from six knee surgeries in two years.

Kirsten Moore of Westmont College is the other nominee.

The award will be presented at the NCAA Final Four in Nashville, Tenn., in April.

Henson’s brother, John, was a forward at North Carolina and now is with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Duel at the DBAP

DURHAM — National college baseball powerhouses N.C.  State and North Carolina will “Duel at the DBAP” on April 15 at 7 p.m.

This one-time, neutral-site meeting at Durham Bulls Athletic Park will not count as an ACC game.

The Wolfpack and the Tar Heels played at the DBAP on May 25, 2013. UNC won 2-1 after 18 innings, the longest game in ACC Tournament history. The 11,392 folks who saw it comprised the largest crowd that ever witnessed a college baseball game in this state.