Advertisements

The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

2017 UNC Men’s Soccer Preview

While it may be a ‘rebuilding’ year for our men’s football team, the same cannot be said for the Men’s soccer team who has been voted as the preseason favorite to win the ACC title. This is a big complement to the Tar Heels given ACC men’s soccer is a true powerhouse in Division 1 soccer. 9 ACC teams made the NCAA tournament last year with 8 out of that 9 making it to the Sweet 16. Half of the entire Sweet 16 pool was from ACC teams, so being regarded by ACC coaches as the impending ACC champion is no small feat. Wake Forest, Clemson, UVA and Notre Dame represent the rest of the top 5.

In addition to being the preseason favorite for winning the ACC tournament, Carolina was voted as pre-season No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason poll. The ACC comes in strong yet again, lending the most teams from a single conference to the pre-season top 25 by a long shot. 6 schools are ranked in the top 10, with Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson, Syracuse, Louisville and Notre Dame being ranked respectively. In addition to those teams, UVA and Virginia Tech are also ranked within the top 25.

UNC is bringing in a strong and large freshman class with no less than 11 freshman.

  • John Nelson- The Ohio recruit was ranked the No. 1 player in the 2017 class by College Soccer News, and he has been a U.S. National team participant since the age of 14.
  • Lucas del Rosario was ranked the No. 15 player in the 2017 class by College Soccer News, and he too has been a National Team Participant since the age of 14. He grew up in Durham, North Carolina, so is as local as they come.
  • Alex Rose was a nominee for the Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Year. He was called up to the U19 U.S. National team, and he is known for being one of the best goal scorer’s in the country with over 90 career academy goals. Rose too is a local product of Cary, N.C.
  • Liam Williams is not a local product, hailing from Taupo, New Zealand. Williams was a member of the U20 New Zealand World Cup team.
  • Mark Sales is a Dallas, TX native who was the No. 52 Top Drawer Soccer prospect for the 2017 class. He has participated in US Men’s National Team camps.
  • Raul Aguilera Jr. is ranked the No. 19 player in the 2017 class by College Soccer News, and he is a NSCAA All-American. He too has participated in U-15, U-16 and U-18 U.S. National teams. Aguilera is from Sanford, Florida.
  • Alec Smir is an incoming keeper and enrolled at UNC in January of 2017. He has attended U.S. Men’s National Team camps from 2015-2017, and he is from Greensboro, NC.
  • Julius Momkus is a native of Vilnius, Lithuania where he was a top scorer for his club team averaging 20 goals per season.
  • Mason Wittman is a Palo Alto, California native whose club coach on the San Jose Earthquakes Academy team was Chris Leitch, former 2001 UNC Men’s Soccer National Champion.
  • Charlie Forecast was the Captain of the U18 Wigan athletic side and is from Melton Mowbray, England. He is a versatile athlete, having also played Rugby and Track & Field.
  • Prince Agyie is a Takoma Park, MD native and has played on a variety of teams inclusive of D.C. United Academy, Barca FC, and Maryland United.

Our 2017 recruiting class is filled with players who have been on national teams, are top ranked in the country, and have a diverse set of playing backgrounds. It is not surprising UNC has been a pre-season favorite, so now we will see if this freshman class is as good on the field as they are on paper.

This post is supported by The MAIR Agency, a medicare coverage provider.

Advertisements

2017 UNC Football Preview

Google Carolina Football, and you will find that South Carolina reigns supreme as the official Carolina. This is not only unacceptable, but clearly kept under the radar in the Carolina community. While Carolina football certainly isn’t what alumni bet their money on, we still retain ongoing hope that our football team will make it into the top 25. The years of John Bunting and Butch Davis really tested Carolina fans’ loyalty and resilience as year after year, the program ended on a losing note.

2015 was the year Carolina fans restored their faith in UNC football. After a close loss to South Carolina, UNC took off with 11 straight wins, setting a new standard for the football program. It was the longest winning streak in recent program history, and the Tarheels came close to clinching the ACC championship, losing to #1 Clemson 37-45.

2016 was unfortunately not as successful, with the team ending the season with an 8-5 record and losing to Stanford in the Sun Bowl 25-23. While our record wasn’t what fans would have hoped for, one redeeming moment was when Mitch Trubisky came in as the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft going to none other than the Chicago Bears. While the Carolina legacy was not made on the field with our record, at least our star player was carrying it on in the pros.

The 2017 season is upon us, and Mitch Trubisky is not the only talented player the team will not have back on the field. We have lost our top three running backs and three starting wide receivers. We have also lost several crucial defensive players. While 2016 wasn’t a stunning success, 2017 is certainly said to be a rebuilding year for the team whose previous season frankly wasn’t necessarily successful enough to ‘rebuild’ from.

One of the biggest questions UNC faces is who the quarterback will be given the departure of Trubisky. There are four people vying for the position currently with the rumored leader for the job being LSU transfer Brandon Harris. Other quarterback contenders are Logan Byrd, Nathan Elliot, and Chazz Surrat. Brandon Harris has starting experience at LSU, and his main competition for the starting spot will be Nathan Elliot. Elliot is the only player who has been on the field for Carolina, serving as Trubisky’s backup.

With the loss of Ryan Switzer, Mack Hollins, and Bug Howard, there are large holes in Carolina’s talent pool, so 2017 teammates have big shoes to fill. Some incoming players to note are grad transfers Cam Dillard from Florida and Khaliel Rodgers from USC who will contribute significantly to a lacking offensive line. Carolina’s defense will have to compensate for the lack of offensive firepower.

Fortunately on top of the new additions, our defensive line will return 11 of the top 13 contributors. In other positive news, the 2017 team returns its top 5 linebackers from 2016. The last hole in the Carolina lineup is for the kicker’s position, but Freeman Jones is a potential solution to the loss of Nick Weiler. Jones’ in-game experience is limited, so 2017 will be a true test for the kicker.

Ultimately, UNC fans are best served to keep their expectations limited for the 2017 season. UNC will have to hold tight if fans hope to reclaim the title of the real “Carolina” football, but 2017 will hopefully be a building (versus rebuilding) year that takes the team onto future success.

This post is supported by North Raleigh Dentists Wainright and Wassel.

2017 Roundup – UNC Womens Soccer

Fall is upon us, and with that means a new Freshman class at UNC. With the smartest kids in the country descending upon Chapel Hill, so will some of the most athletic. UNC women’s soccer is a dynasty unmatched in collegiate sports, and their freshman class lives up to this reputation. The UNC women’s soccer team will be bringing in nine girls to round out the freshman class.

The majority of the nine incoming freshman players hail from the great state of North Carolina, while two of the players come from outside of the US. Carrboro High School is the breeding ground of two of the nine recruits, making it the only local high school to land girls on the roster. Historically, Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill have been a breeding ground for UNC walk ons, but no former East or Chapel Hill players have made the 2017 team.

Lotte Wubben-Moy: The 5’10 center back is a force to reckon with, having made 35 international appearances for England and 12 for the Arsenal Ladies. Wubben-Moy is a London, England native, and will be enrolling at UNC in August.

Alea Hyatt: Santa Barbara, CA native Alea Hyatt is a U18 Women’s National Team member. She stands at 5’9 and joins her brother who plays for Stanford University as the second collegiate soccer player in her family. She was also a kicker on her high school football team.

Laura Sparling: Laura is a former Carrboro high school attendee where she had 19 goals and 27 assists throughout her high school career. The 5’5 midfielder/forward was an All-State honoree and three-time NCHSAA 2A champion.

Alessia Russo: Alessia Russo is the second incoming recruit hailing from the UK. The 5’9 Russo is from Maidstone, Kent, England, and she has played for England since the U15 level where she has scored 23 goals overall.

Sydney Spruill: Greenville, NC native Sydney Spruill has been enrolled at Carolina since January. She has played for multiple clubs in the area, including CASL which has a history of being a feeder club to UNC.

Sam DeSantis: Sam DeSantis is a sophomore at UNC, and will be joining the soccer team this fall for her first season. The Goalkeeper stands at 5’7 and is a Hickory, NC native. She had a 3.94 GPA her freshman year at Carolina.

Emily Fox: This is not the first time freshman Emily Fox will be playing alongside her UNC teammates. The freshman started at Carolina in January, and fellow Carolina players Jessie Scarpa and Taylor Otto played with Fox at the U20 World Cup in Papau, New Guinea. Fox has been with the U20 national team since 2015. Fox is from Ashburn, VA.

Miah Araba: Carrboro high school’s second contribution to the UNC women’s soccer team is Miah Araba, who was the valedictorian of the 2017 class. She is a three-time 2A NCHSAA state champion, and in 47 career games, she was scored 54 goals.

Brooke Bingham: Laurel Springs, NC based recruit Brooke Bingham enrolled at UNC this past January. The 5’9 player chose to practice with a boy’s team instead of playing high school soccer.

The freshman class will not be the only change coming to the UNC women’s team. The university finalized funding for an entirely new soccer stadium, and the demolishment of Fetzer field has begun. The new stadium will cost $55 million, and will attach via an East-West concourse to the new indoor and outdoor football practice facilities that are also being built. The total bill for these renovations is rumored to approach $98 million. The 2017 recruiting class paired with UNC’s amazing track record and incoming brand new facilities should surely be enough to keep the dynasty going.

This post is sponsored and supported by North Raleigh Dentist’s Office Wainright & Wassel.

The 2017 NBA Draft – UNC Edition

The 2017 draft has come and gone, and so have the dreams of Carolina alumni Isiaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, and Nate Britt to be drafted on draft night. While this was not the end of the former Tar Heels’ journey, it certainly isn’t the start that they could have hoped for. In contrast, Justin Jackson became the 17th Tar Heel from the Roy Williams era to be picked in the first round. Tony Bradley became the 18th, which was unexpected for UNC fans given Bradley was projected to go in the second round.

Jackson was the ACC Player of the year and first team All-America, so his first-round status was not a surprise. Jackson was selected No. 15 overall by the Portland Trailblazers, but his rights were traded to the Sacramento Kings after they traded the No. 10 overall pick to Portland for their 15th and 20th picks. Jackson will be joining the Carolina alumn Ty Lawson at the Kings, which creates a UNC point guard and small forward powerhouse over in Sacramento. Forbes released an article projecting first round pick salaries, and Jackson was forecasted to make $5.2 million through his contract after two years, and $12.1 million after four years.

The Utah Jazz had their mind’s set on Tony Bradley, and they traded both their 30 and 42 picks to the Lakers in exchange for the 28th pick in order to secure Bradley. Bradley surprised the Carolina community with his entrance into the draft given he came off of the bench most of his Freshman year behind Kennedy Meeks. Time will tell if this was the right decision for the player, however being a first round pick was uncertain for him, so his future is looking good. Bradley is projected to make $3.1 million in the first two years off of his contract, and $7.7 million after his first four.

As for the UNC players who went undrafted, Meeks and Hicks became undrafted free agents. Kennedy Meeks did not have to wait long after the end of the draft to sign with the Toronto Raptors. Meeks was named by Yahoo Sports as one of the top five best players to go un-drafted, so The Raptors gained a great asset for a much smaller price then Meeks could have been worth. He signed a partially guaranteed contract. Hicks was also rumored to be a potential second round pick. The power forward ended signing with The Clippers. Nate Britt was called to play with the Atlanta Hawks in their summer league, so he too has the potential to end up in the NBA.

All in all, it was a successful year for the Carolina basketball community. To have two players go in the first round is certainly no small feat. To then have 2 more of our players sign is also a big deal. Coming off of a national championship, the Carolina basketball legacy has certainly been upheld by the 2017 NBA class of Tar Heel alumni. The Trailblazers, Jazz, Raptors, and Clippers have certainly gained a few more fans thanks to their 2017 draft picks.

This article is supported and sponsored by Wells Family Dentistry in Raleigh, NC.

Women’s Sports in Chapel Hill at UNC

As an ex-female athlete and graduate, one thing I know for sure is that the University of North Carolina is a powerhouse for all things women’s sports. While UNC may be known for men’s basketball, the university really becomes infamous thanks to its women’s soccer team reining in 22 national championships. Compare this to men’s basketball, who has just 6 national championships, yet is revered as a dynasty in college athletics. This is not to take credit away from our infamous and deserving basketball team, but it is to showcase how unique our women’s soccer team’s success is. In fact, Carolina women’s soccer is the winningest program in college athletic history if you look at national championships. For additional reference, UConn women’s basketball, who is also revered as one of the winningest programs in college history- has won 11 National Championships. Lastly, what is most impressive about the Carolina women’s soccer team is that they have won 22 out of 36 total national championships, meaning UNC has won almost 2/3 of the total possible number of championships.

This article is not a plea for the recognition of women’s sports over men’s. It is actually to showcase the breadth of women’s sports viewing options fans have in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as compared to the rest of the country. Not only does Chapel Hill have great women’s sports due to the soccer team, it also has a variety of sports for people to watch. In contrast, I live in New York City and my viewing options for women’s sports are not only minimal, but they are not easily accessible. This is partially due to their not being a major division 1 collegiate athletic program in the city (I’m sorry Columbia, you don’t count). It is also partially due to how expensive fields and courts cost, which is doubly a problem when the revenue for women’s sports is so low. New York is the city that has everything, but it is not even comparable to Chapel Hill when it comes to viewing women’s sports.

New York City gives one pro women’s sports viewing option via the New York Liberty who play at Madison Square Garden. They play during the summer after the NBA and NHL season has completed, and on average about 9,000 people attend the games. In comparison, for a good soccer game at Fetzer field, upwards of 6,500 people will attend a game. What is important to think about is the fact that Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people, yet Carolina’s stadium sells out for the biggest games. There is a market for good women’s sports viewing in Chapel Hill that is unmatched elsewhere because of the depth of talent and viewing options UNC provides.

In addition to women’s soccer, field hockey has been a strong contributor to UNC women’s athletic success. The field hockey program matches men’s basketball with 6 national championships, and they landed their latest in 2009. Women’s lacrosse is a new women’s powerhouse sport, having won 2 national championships in the past 5 years. Women’s basketball is also consistently ranked in the top 25, and have a far more accessible stadium for the casual viewer who may not want to battle the crowds or parking decks over at the Smith Center.

I think there is a direct correlation between the abundance of women’s sports at Carolina and the success of female athletes who grew up in Chapel Hill. Every year, there is a girl like me to join the new recruiting class of UNC women’s soccer. The town of Chapel Hill also send athletes to the most competitive schools in the country, and it has even had a few Olympians who grew up in the town. This is not a coincidence, and the breadth and talent of UNC women’s sports is unique to Chapel Hill alone.

This article is supported by Wake Forest pediatric dental office Triangle Pediatric Dentistry. If you are a mother or father to a young child, we strongly recommend taking them to Dr. Porter or Dr. Hollowell in Wake Forest, NC.

A 101 of UNC and the 2017 NBA Draft

Guest Article by Farrell Sweeney

Being a Carolina basketball fan means never settling, so now that we have our National Championship for the year, it’s time to look ahead to our legacy. As excited as Tar Heel nation was for our 2017 National Championship, we are now getting excited for the impending NBA careers of our 2017 graduates and players who will be entering the draft this year. It is always bittersweet to lose players before it is time for them to graduate, but Tar Heel nation is always supportive of prospects who have the potential to be the next Danny Green or Antawn Jamison representing UNC in the NBA. This year, UNC has four players working out in this week’s NBA Combine which is held from May 9-14.

2017 National Champions Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt, Kanler Coker, and Stilman White are the 2017 National Champions whose playing terms are up. Of those graduating, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks will be playing in the combine. Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley are the two players with eligibility left who will be playing in the combine. Carolina has the potential of regaining Tony Bradley, however Justin Jackson has officially left the University to pursue his dreams of playing in the NBA.

Junior Justin Jackson has declared he will be entering the 2017 draft without the option of returning to school for his Senior year. This is after Jackson’s decision to enter the 2016 draft with the option of returning to school, which he ultimately did to play for his Junior year. Jackson leaving this year is not surprising given his 2016 combine participation in addition to his having won a National Championship. Jackson enters the draft having played three years scoring 1,626 career points. He has also scored the second-most career points in the NCAA Tournament of any Carolina player, which is impressive given Jackson only played in the tournament for three years. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year this year joining the likes of Tyler Zeller, Tyler Hansbrough, and Antawn Jamison among others. He is currently projected to be selected in the first round among the top 10-20 picks, and will almost certainly be Carolina’s top draft pick this year.

Tony Bradley has entered into the draft but has not hired an agent yet. Depending on how he plays in the combine, Carolina could regain the Freshman center for the 2017-2018 season. Draft projections have placed Bradley as a late first round or early second round pick. Many are projecting that if the Freshman returns to UNC for his Sophomore year, he will have a good chance of being drafted in the top 15 picks. Bradley played alongside Hicks and Meeks this past year, and for the 2017-2018 season he would have the opportunity to be a standout center and the backbone of the team in a way he was unable to do his Freshman season. Bradley has until May 24th to decide whether he will continue onto the draft or remain at Carolina for another season.

Charlotte born and bred Kennedy Meeks has had an up and down four years at Carolina. He stepped up this past year after the departure of Bryce Johnson and became one of Carolina’s most reliable players. He averaged just shy of a double-double during his senior season with 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He was an integral part of Carolina’s success during the NCAA tournament as well, and we can undoubtedly contribute his performance as an important part of UNC winning the National Championship. While Meeks is not projected to get drafted in the first two rounds as of now, we certainly hope he will get picked up.

Isaiah Hicks, also an NC native, is the other senior to join the NBA Combine with Meeks in the hopes of getting drafted after graduation. In the 2017 season, Hicks scored on average 11.8 points a game, and he was known for his unmatched free-throw shooting ability, having hit 113 out of 145 free throws during his tenure at Carolina. Hicks is also looking to get drafted high in the second round or as an undrafted free agent.

The biggest question mark for Carolina fans is certainly whether Bradley will be staying or leaving. Justin Jackson is has been projected to be picked up by the Heat, so any Miami based Carolina fans could have Jackson to look forward to. Hicks and Meeks are both on the fringe of being picked up late in the second round or as undrafted free agents. Players such as Danny Green have unexpectedly created the Carolina legacy in the NBA, so we can’t count any of these players out as the next alumn to carry on the Carolina legacy in the NBA. Tune into the draft on June 22 to find out where our boys are off to next.

This article is sponsored by Wells Family Dental in Raleigh, NC. If you have any oral health or dental needs, many of the dentists and doctors at Wells Family Dental graduated from the UNC School of Dentistry.

Joel Berry II Returns to UNC in an Attempt to Go Back to Back

Joel Berry II is looking to become one of the most successful UNC basketball players in the history of the program. During his freshman year, the Tar Heels lost to Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. His sophomore year was a Final Four run that ended with a loss in the national championship game to Villanova. The following year, his junior year, Berry was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four as he helped lead the Tar Heels to the National Championship.

That puts Berry’s NCAA Tournament record at 13-2. Another run to the Final Four will put Berry in unchartered territory. While Berry was a highly recruited point guard out of Lake Highland Prep School in Orlando, Florida, most did not see him becoming a player of this stature.

In fact, many were worried that he would be stuck behind Marcus Paige who was UNC’s go to scorer when Berry came in as a freshman. After slowly working into the role of the starting point guard at UNC, Berry could now go down as the winningest player in the history of the program.

With another year in Chapel Hill to pad his stats, it will be interesting to see how Berry reacts to being the most valuable player on the court at all times. For the past two years, Berry has had Paige and Justin Johnson as the leading scorers on their respective UNC teams. Now, it may be time for Berry to step up and take more shots.

We know that Berry is not going back to UNC so he can get into dental school or law school, but it is nice to see a player of his skill set come back for his fourth and final year.

Grayson Allen Will Return to Duke for 4th and Final Season

One of the most hated players in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference will be back for a fourth and final season. Grayson Allen will be a member of the 2017-2018 Duke men’s basketball team. This comes as a surprise to many as it has been well documented that Grayson Allen has had his struggles with Coach K and the Duke staff for not starting many games during his junior season.

Some are saying that Grayson Allen could rival Christian Laettner as the most hated player in the history of the league. If you haven’t had the opportunity, I suggest watching I Hate Christian Laettner which is one of the best ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries on college basketball.

If Grayson Allen continues his “tripping” ways, there is no doubt he will continue to reign as the most disliked player in ACC basketball. With many diehard ACC fans having a strong dislike for Coach K, it comes as no surprise as one of the top players on the Duke team is not a player that is looked highly upon.

In fact, there are very few Duke players that would be considered “liked” by ACC fans. While UNC fans hate all Duke players, it is not all that unusual for other fan bases to have some type of distaste for the players in the Blue Devils jerseys.

So, what do you think of Grayson Allen coming back to Duke? Do you think he will get a few technical fouls for tripping players in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill next winter and spring?

This post was supported by Triangle Pediatric Dentistry. If you are looking for the best Raleigh pediatric dentist give them a call at 919-435-7660.

Was the ACC the Best CFB Conference in 2016?

Tonight is the grand finale and the ACC’s finest will be playing the SEC’s finest. One thing is for certain, the national championship trophy will remain in the South. Another important discussion is the power of the ACC as a, wait for it, football conference. Who would have ever guessed? After adding Pittsburgh, Louisville and Syracuse all the experts thought the ACC was going to be a basketball only league. Boy were they wrong.

The ACC had an outstanding overall bowl record and proved to be the class of college football. In a down year for the SEC and Big 12 it was the perfect opportunity for the ACC to put their best foot forward. Not only did the ACC show up in a strong way during bowl season, they had the top two in votes received for the Heisman Trophy.

So, can the ACC continue as a football conference in 2017 and beyond? It will all come down to quarterback play. The reason the conference was so strong in 2016 was the strength of the QB position which was the weakness of the SEC. If the ACC quarterbacks continue to be the best in the country, the league will be in the top 3 year in and year out.

In my opinion, the Big 10 and the Pac 12 are going to struggle in the years to come. USC has an amazing QB but other than that, things are looking bleak in the Pac 12. We saw just how good the Washington QB was when he went against a great defense. The Big 10 has become a joke. In the last two years they have been blasted 38-0 and 31-0 in the College Football Playoff.

So, what do you think? Do you thin the ACC is going to be a strong football conference moving forward? Were they the best college football conference in 2016?

2017 was a Year of What Could Have Been for NC State Football

Once again, NC State football fans are thinking “what could have been?” A chip shot field goal that goes through the uprights in Death Valley and an easy interception in the end zone against Florida State and NC State would have been 8-4 going into the bowl season. An eight win ACC team with wins over two of the top 15 teams in the country.

This seems to be the thought process for NC State fans almost every year. There were numerous years when Philip Rivers was quarterback and fans were left scratching their heads. How could State beat a top 5 Florida State team and lose to an unranked Wake Forest team. Well, not much has changed in the last decade as State physically dominated Clemson in Death Valley and turns around and loses to a Boston College team that had not one in the ACC in several years.

So, what can we make of the progress of Dave Doeren? It is quite clear that the team is more talented than the Tom O’Brien teams. The defense is very impressive at times and the offense shows signs of being fantastic when they gain momentum. Is this a coach that can get NC State into the top 25 and win 9 or 10 games every year? Or, is this a coach that is going to get to second tier bowl games and continue to make excuses for balls that happen to bounce into the opponent’s arms while they stride into the end zone?

Well, we will get another year to figure that out as Doeren will be back for the 2017 season. Maybe next year will be the year it all turns around for the Pack. Just maybe…

This blog post is supported by Gladwell Orthodontics and their Raleigh Offices. The Lane family is a huge supported of NC State athletics; especially NC State Football. You will notice their logo at many of the NC State sporting events you attend.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: