ACC Barnstorming: Local stars shine against ACC stars

 Jeffrey Taylor, standing at 6-foot-5, took one glance at the ACC basketball all-stars as they walked into the gymnasium at The Epiphany School of Global Studies.

“Man, those boys are big,” said Taylor, a senior forward on New Bern’s basketball team.

A group of 15 assembled high school basketball players got an opportunity to showcase their talents against some ACC stars on Friday evening in the ACC Barnstorming event.

“I feel like if I do good against Division I players, I should be in my own comfort zone when I play in college,” said Taylor, who signed to play in college at Lenoir Community College.

Taylor scored eight points as the local players lost to the ACC All-Stars, 84-79.

D.J. Lewis, from Pamlico, and Jones Senior’s K.D. McCall also added eight points.

The team was coached by Pamlico head man Earl Sadler, who brought along assistant Jonathan Mason and Pamlico girls’ coach April Rose.

Sadler wanted his team to run the four-corners offense, a style ACC All-Star coach Phil Ford perfected while at North Carolina in the 1970s.

Most of the players didn’t know much about Ford’s history. Ford is second all-time in scoring at North Carolina.

“They went out and had fun and competed against some of the players in the ACC,” Sadler said. “They’ve been looking forward to it. We gave them a good show.”

Taylor wowed the crowd with a reverse jam during the halftime slam dunk competition. He was a hit with a section of the crowd who cheered for him during warm-ups.

“If feels good, but honestly I just see them (the ACC players) as another person. I’m just playing ball like everybody else,” Taylor said.

Havelock’s Maurice Harris, West Craven’s James Choyce and Kylikke Green and Pamlico’s Arthur Randall all contributed six points apiece. Pamlico’s David Resto had two slam dunks.

West Craven girls’ basketball star Jamie Cherry, a North Carolina recruit, was involved in a 3-point shootout with UNC’s Leslie McDonald.

Cherry, North Carolina’s second all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball, made 4-of-5 in the second round of the competition. She lost to McDonald on a sudden death final round.

“It’s a great event. It’s giving the fans something to see and bringing some excitement,” Cherry said. “It’s great to go up against some of the great shooters and being on the same court with them.”

The local stars, most of them playing on the same team for the first time, gave it their all against some of the ACC’s best.

“This is something they are going to tell their grandchildren,” Sadler said.

Written by:
Adam Thompson

ACC Barnstorming Tour Stops in New Bern

          It was an ACC basketball fans paradise at Epiphany School in New Bern on Friday as seniors from our state's biggest colleges stormed into town.

From Michael Jordan to Tyler Hansbrough, all the greats participate in the ACC Barnstorming Tour. Back in the day, Eastern North Carolina native Phil Ford even took part in the event. Tonight he was back, this time as a coach.

Ford, from nearby Rocky Mount, got the biggest ovation during introductions. When the game tipped off the spotlight moved over to the ACC seniors.
North Carolina's Leslie McDonald, Duke's Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton, NC State's Jordan Vandenburg and Travis McKie from Wake Forest were some of the notables on hand.

The seniors played a pick up game against a group of players from local high schools, then they participated in a dunk contest and 3 point competition.

Coach Phil Ford says it's truly a unique experience.

Video footage can be seen at this WNCN link.

Written By: Cliff Pyron--Sports Anchor



Playing the game with heart

        When a referee drills a trey mid-game, it’s safe to say the competiveness from said basketball contest probably never existed.

                How about the children occupying the baseline seats subbing in for free throw shooters, arunning clock or, most overtly, senior stars from the state’s Atlantic Coast Conferencebasketball     programs squaring up against high school seniors.

                Two Jones Senior guards were on the roster to compete against college players on the last stop of the 2014 ACC Barnstorming Tour, which was held at The Epiphany School in New Bern     Friday night. Fifteen high school seniors competed, and Earl Sadler of Pamlico coached the team.

                UNC legend Phil Fordmanned the sidelinefor the ACC guys who — easily — cruised to a 84-79 win.

                But it wasn’t about the competition for the group of young ballers hooping on the same court as some of their favorite players from the programs they’ve watched on television for years.

                Trojan seniors K.D. McCall and Marcus Staten found a unique treasure in the rare experience.

                Staten, a Duke University basketball fan, took light trash talk from two of his favorite players from the school: Andre Dawkins and Tyler Thornton.
       “They were like, ‘Shoot it, shoot, you got it,’ or ‘Don’t come in here,’ ” Staten said. “We were going back and forth and they can really shoot the ball. I was watching how they shoot the ball     and can take something from them. Andre was a real cool guy. He told me I was good, and he said I’ve got enough to play ball at D-II, D-I.

                “He said I just have to pursue myself.”

                Staten had eight points, four rebounds and an assist in the effort to display his skills before the ACC All-Stars.


                He entered the game guarding 6-foot-5 UNC guard Leslie McDonaldwith a smile on his face. While McDonald had 15 points and was three-of-seven from behind the arc, Staten pressured     the long ball as best he could: McDonald missed his first 3-pointer against Staten.

                “It felt good going up against him,” Staten said of his UNC matchup, “But he worked me, I’m tired.”
       While Pamlico and Havelock names dominated the high school All-Star roster, Staten did have a familiar face on the court with him. He competed alongside teammate K.D. McCall, an All-    Free Press First Team selection.

                McCall had eight points and tied with Pamlico’s David Resto for the game-high seven rebounds, working for each and every one. Duke’s Josh Hairston grabbed a team-high six boards.

                With the ACC All-Stars leading the entire way, the younger seniors did cut it close. They were down by as few as four in the second half, getting Ford into in the game as he asked, “Is that     score right?”

                McCall trimmed the deficit to six with 6:02 left in the game after dribbling behind the back on a breakaway, finishing the drive with a finger roll to the basket.

                He also had his piece of McDonald, having what looked to be an earnest exchange after the UNC star put his arm around McCall during a free throw.

                “I asked him was he going to the NBA,” McCall said. “He said he was, he gotta talk to his agent and see what he has to do. Oh yeah, and I asked him for his socks he had on, too.”

                McCall said the experience helped build his own game and prepared him for the possibility of college basketball.


                McDonald said the ACC stars were no doubt going to win on the scoreboard, but the group of college basketball seniors gave the youth behind them invaluable memories.

                “(It) just gives them the opportunity to meet some of the primary players, being able to see them face up and the experience them up close,” McDonald said of the All-Star event. “I think it’s     a big deal. It’s a good atmosphere. Of course, we knew we were going to win regardless, but it’s just a good atmosphere to play in.”

                The playful air showed as the ACC seniors wrapped up the Barnstorming Tour on Friday.

                “The ACC All-Stars could have scored a lot more than 84 points if they wanted to,” Sadler said. “I think part of it is just being a part of something for the community and understanding it’s     not about winning or losing. I think the guys realized that tonight, and they were playing for the right reasons: to give the kids a good time."

Written By: Jessika Morgan

ACC stars steal show in Barnstorming game

Some of the best players in the ACC took center stage in front of a packed house at East Surry High School on Thursday night in the 36th-annual Barnstorming Tour.

ACC Player of the Year and NBA prospect T.J. Warren of N.C. State headlined an ACC All-Star lineup that also featured 7-foot Jordan Vandenburg of N.C. State, UNC’s Leslie McDonald, and Duke’s Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston.

The ACC team, coached by UNC great Phil Ford, defeated the Surry County All-Stars 168-100. Surry’s team, which had players from East Surry, Mount Airy, North Surry, Surry Central, West Stokes and North Stokes, hung around for a while early thanks to its outside shooting.

Both sides of the bleachers were full of fans — many of which were decked out in their favorite ACC team’s color.

Area star Scott Meredith won the 3-point contest at halftime. Zach Wilmoth of Surry Central had a good showing in the dunk contest, but the winner was Wake Forest’s Travis McKie.

Warren, the ACC’s leading scorer this season as a sophomore, recently declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft in June. He played sparingly in the game. The biggest roar from the crowd came when former Mount Airy standout Wade Moody’s name was announced in the ACC All-Star lineup.

Moody, who walked on at North Carolina, saw a solid amount of playing time, hit a few buckets in the game and participated in the 3-point contest.

In a game that had a Harlem Globetrotters-type atmosphere, the All-Star players treated fans to an array of alley-oop dunks and razzle-dazzle play. Referees got involved in the game — one made a layup and another hit a 3-pointer. Another had an assist to an ACC player for a layup. If a foul was committed, the refs or players would grab an unsuspecting fan out of the bleachers to attempt the free throw.

East Surry Principal Diane Beane was one of the lucky fans picked to shoot during the second half. She knocked down the free throw to the delight of the crowd.

After the game, players and coaches signed autographs and had photos taken with fans of all ages.

The tour’s next stop is Person High School tonight, then the All-Stars finish up at Triton High on April 23 and Epiphany School on April 25.
Written By: Jeremy Moorhouse

ACC storms through West Caldwell

Three pointer after three pointer, dunk after dunk; the ACC All-Stars proved exactly why they are the ACC All-Stars.

It didn’t last long, but the West Caldwell All-Stars did have an early 5-0 lead over the ACC. That was until the ACC Player of the Year TJ Warren (N.C. State) and others began to heat up from behind the arc, ultimately leading to a 144-126 victory over the West Caldwell All-Stars at the ACC Barnstorming Tour on Friday night in Gamewell.

Once the ACC stars started knocking down shots, they became unstoppable. However, the former Warriors kept pace thanks to their two sharpshooters Stoney Polite and Landon Bowers.

“It’s great for a lot of people to see these guys that played at West Caldwell, that maybe they never got to see before,” said West Caldwell Athletic Director Stephen McMasters. “Then to get these ACC guys here in the community is not something you see every day or even every year. It was a great night here at West Caldwell.”

While both teams were their to win a basketball game, the ACC Barnstorming Tour is about a lot more than just winning a game.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said UNC senior Leslie McDonald. “The big thing is a lot of kids and people here aren’t able to come to the Smith Center or Cameron (Indoor Stadium) or buy a ticket. It’s just fun for us to come to their environment at a local high school and just play, and they can come and watch.”

ACC fans got a whole new perspective on ACC basketball on Friday night at West Caldwell. Some of their favorite players were now teammates with some of their most hated player. However, from an ACC point of view, it’s all just fun and games.

“We’ve been going against each other all year and now we’re on the same team,” Duke’s Josh Hairston said. “It’s really a blessing to be able to play with all these guys.”

McDonald had plans to win the three-point contest at halftime, however, Polite (2006 West Caldwell graduate) had other plans. Polite hit four of his five shots in the contest, while McDonald hit just two. In the dunk contest, it was Duke’s Andre Dawkins taking home the title when he took the ball off his own bounce pass and turned into a reverse jam.

Rounding out the West Caldwell roster with Polite and Bowers were Brandon Dula, Jeremy Harper, CJ Genwright, James Watts and Jacob Lail.

Bryant Lilley

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