In the '70s, the ACC was blessed - and that's precisely the right word
- with a level of talent which was astonishing. Foremost among them -
David Thompson, John Lucas, and Phil Ford, all from North Carolina, all
charismatic, all blindingly brilliant athletes, all ultimately fallen heroes.
Thompson went the highest, setting a standard of athletic brilliance which
was only matched by Michael Jordan, and then only after college (he's
having a tough time adjusting to management, by the way). He had a
cocaine problem. Lucas developed a vicious addiction to coke, overcame it,
and fought his way back to the NBA first as a player then as a
coach. Ford developed an alcohol problem, of course, and that's
turned out to be the more difficult one to control.
The N&O has a where-are-they-now
deal about Lucas which is worth a read, and the N&R has a good, but sad,
article up about Phil
Ford trying to find a basketball job, which is difficult since his drinking
problem re-erupted. It seems to us, though, that he could handle a
scouting job, to say the least.
Anyone who saw Ford play could never wish him ill. The man had it all -
talent charisma, and genius for this game. We hope he finds a way to stay
in it almost as much as we hope for his continued recovery.
In more contemporary ACC news,
the Damon Thornton image makeover is well underway. Having wrecked his
own image in multiple ways, it may be difficult for him to convince people that
he's changed. Best of luck to him, and let's hope that he figures
things out before his star-crossed predecessors did.
Much like last season, a
tough loss has set Wake on its ear, this year's coming at UNC. Bill
Cole of the Winston-Salem Journal says they haven't been the same since.
Odom is promising a different attitude shortly, but emotion is a tricky horse to
And the Atlanta paper has
started to buzz about possible Sendek replacements, mentioning Bob Knight
and Rick Barnes as the prime candidates. And if you scroll down in this
article (there's a bit of Duke news at the top, not much), you'll see Dave Hart
long, careful look at Steve Robinson.
Kwame Brown is showing a lot more maturity than most kids his age. The future
Florida player is committed to college, he says, and
really not in a hurry to get to the NBA. Good thing, because there has
yet to be a high school player to make a smooth transition.