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Morning Links: Let Luther Vandross Heal Your Pain

A few links for you to read while you bunker down for the remainder of the Harrison Barnes NBA watch…

  • Although, unfortunately, this year ended with UConn taking home the men’s championship (shudder…), one of the few upsides of the title game came in the form of Luther Vandross returning to his rightful place as the singer of One Shining Moment. After last year’s universally-panned edition with Jennifer Hudson, it was nice to see CBS go back to the traditional cheesefest. Below was this year’s edition, with a brief appearance by Kendall Marshall, and Duke making it in mostly courtesy of the number of sick dunks Arizona threw down against them.

  • With a number of rumours floating around that he’ll return to Carolina next season, including several thoroughly confident tweets from an Iowa radio host, Harrison Barnes has already been removed from a few NBA mock draft sites, for whatever that’s worth.
  • Meanwhile, Duke recruit Austin Rivers gives opposing student sections some premature ammunition for next year by trying to “rap” during a halftime segment of the McD’s All-American game. When will these kids learn???
  • Down the road, NC State finally managed to land a head coach in former SEC COY Mark Gottfried, who was last seen on the Alabama sideline in 2009. Considering they were shot down by Sean Miller and Shaka Smart, among others, the ‘Pack seemed to do fairly well for themselves under the circumstances. Here’s hoping he does well - the ACC could use a few better teams to contend with on a regular basis.
  • Lost Lettermen catches up with Duke great Christian Laettner, who is out there searching for a coaching gig. Also, he still seems to love taunting and pissing opposing fans off (see the quote about discounts he offers to certain kids at his basketball camp).
  • UNC’s pro day went well for several of their NFL prospects, especially Robert Quinn, who at 265 pounds still managed to run a 4.59 40. That is the stuff of nightmares for opposing QBs. (Speaking of QBs, surprised to read that no UNC player has ever taken snaps in the NFL. Here’s hoping TJ Yates finds a spot on a roster somewhere and maybe changes that.)
  • The hot topic this week seems to be NCAA President Mark Emmert admitting that the NCAA will at least “look into” the idea of paying their athletes in some form or fashion, after several in-depth investigative reports from Frontline and HBO on the Heels of a season riddled with investigations, of which UNC was a major part.
  • And finally, this video from the Daily Tar Heel has been making the rounds, with what’s looking like a weekly tradition on UNC’s campus; the men’s basketball team tweets out a location they’ll be at to play pickup ball against all comers, and a crowd of a few hundred students suddenly materializes to watch and/or take part. It’s a blast to watch and shows that regardless of who stays or goes, at least they’re having a blast with their college experience for the time being. As Kendall Marshall points out in the video, it’s also a fun way for the students to connect with guys on the team - when I went to Carolina, everyone always had a story or two about the time they happened to get on the court to play with Ray Felton, Sean May or Jawad Williams. (Also, when is John Henson gonna break out that 3-point range in a game?)