Dear ESPN, Please Give Us Back Dickie V

It was announced yesterday (sort of) that Dickie V will not, for the first time in over 35 years, call the Duke/UNC game when the Tarheels make the 10 mile trek from Chapel Hill to Durham tomorrow evening.

Which is outrageous.

I remember the first time I saw Dickie V with my own eyes.  I'd waited all day outside the graduate student entrance of Cameron Indoor in hopes of getting a good-enough spot for my first Duke v. Carolina game.  I already had a ticket, it's the standing space I waited for. And I waited.  And waited. And waited.

I ended up standing next to a few semi-drunken grad students from (probably) the business program and exchanging skin cells with the 5 other people lodged beside me.  But even in the midst of that horrid experience, it was that night that I peered up into the rafters of Cameron Indoor and saw him: the man they say created the college basketball hype.

The next year my friends and I wised up and waited days instead of hours outside the graduate student entrance. The floor--to stand on the floor--was our goal.  When we stood outside Cameron rubbing our hands together just to keep warm, up pulled a jet-black escalade. From its dark interior with media and fan attention to rival Taylor Swift, there he came.  Jovial, outgoing, loud, and hilarious from the very first step out of that vehicle.

 Dickie V wanted to be with the fans, the Crazies, in a way no other tv announcer had done before.  He held our signs, took picture after picture, handed out autograph after autograph, and made sure to make eye contact with every single Crazie who simply wanted to see him.

Me, in my ridiculous Duke outfit, like you do.

Once we entered Cameron on that day, we had hours to wait on the court until the game began.  He came by handing out autographs and taking pictures, making sure we knew that he knew how dedicated this fanbase is. It was that day that he pointed at me, as I was decked out in a Cameron Crazie shirt and my ridiculous Duke hat, smiled and said, "I love your hat." Thumbs up, too. Day. Made.

So yeah, ESPN, you could say I'm bummed that you'd pull him from this broadcast. No matter how good Shulman and Bilas are (and they are good), Dickie V is a lot more than just a broadcaster. Dickie V is a Crazie hero. And he's a Tarheel hero too.  And a Wildcat hero too. He's a college basketball hero.

Dickie V makes college basketball what it is. And, to pull him from a broadcast such as tomorrow night's is not only the end of an era, it's a signal to the student bodies of these remarkable universities that ESPN's relationship with the students isn't as important as they thought it was.

Please, ESPN.  Fly Vitale to Durham.  The Blue Devil Nation will thank you. America will thank you.



My iPad 3 Event Predictions

Last night sucked.

But, the good news is that Wednesday brings a new day and, perhaps more importantly, a new iPad for the whole world to see and bask in the glory of.

It seems a popular pastime to read rumor blogs and sites on days leading up to the big Apple announcements. I do quite a bit, and I suspect that even Joe I-know-nothing Schmo is even remotely aware of some of the features of the new iPad.

My intention is not to guess feature-by-feature, though I will. To me, the new features seem fairly obvious. While Apple has a history and passion for surprising the tech industry with new innovations (who saw the Smart Cover coming?), I suspect that most of what we will see on Wednesday will not be as shocking as other Apple events. I'd like to take some guesses at how the event will roll out. Then, maybe I'll come back here and judge how I did.

  1. The stage is sure to be set with a giant Apple logo on the screen, as it always has been. They'll be playing a mix of Adele and perhaps some other new, hipster artist over the PA. The room will be dark and there'll be some chairs, just as Steve sat in for the original iPad introduction. There'll be some iPad 3s (or whatever they're going to call them) on a table near the side of the stage for demo purposes. They'll, of course, be covered in black sheets.
  2. The lights will dim and Tim Cook, the new CEO, will come out and greet the crowd. Apple typically begins with news about the company and it has been far enough from their quarterly earnings report that they'll have some updated numbers about the business. Tim will run over how well the iPhone and iPad are doing, emphasizing the recently passed 25 billion app downloads. Apple has sold over 50 million iPads, and I suspect that that'll be a large part of the numbers presentation.
  3. Tim will even speak to how well the Apple TV is doing. I should make this clear, I doubt that we will see an actual Apple television set at this keynote. If there is an update to the product line at all, it will likely be an A5 chips that powers it, 1080p output, and perhaps a few more services integrated in. I suspect that they'll announce a new model Apple TV box (one that connects to your TV via HDMI) but it will be a minimal upgrade. This event is about the iPad, not the Apple TV.
  4. Tim will introduce Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwise Marketing. Tim Cook is a nice guy and definitely a wiz at organizing a company, but Phil is the presenter. Phil is, in my opinion, the only executive that can hold a candle ate Steve's presentation style. Phil will be the one to introduce the new iPad.
  5. Phil will talk a bit about the success of the iPad and present some very high sales numbers that perhaps Tim had eluded to earlier. Don't bet against them talking about how the tablet competition can't keep up. He will absolutely also talk about the popularity of the new iPad Textbooks and present some spun numbers that will actually be very low but will seem high. Phil can spin numbers like few others.
  6. Then, he will begin to talk about the new iPad. He will talk about how great a product the iPad is and how it is changing the way that people interact with content. He will likely show a video about how the iPad is changing lives. Expect the video to be touching to your senses.
  7. "Then, we thought to ourselves, how can we make this magical device even better? We have come up with a ton of new ways, and we will focus on many of them this morning," he might say. What will it be called? My guess is either the iPad 3 or, more likely, the iPad 2S. He will show it and it will look a whole lot like and iPad 2.
  8. "The first revolutionary change...our unbelievable Retina Display. The Retina Display on the iPhone 4, 4S, and iPod touch is just gorgeous. It's something you have to see to really believe. It's the only display that truly lets you read from your phone as if you were reading from a printed page. It is phenomenal. Now, we are bringing that display to the iPad. It doubles every pixel to present things you might never have imagined. It make reading on the iPad the most enjoyable reading experience you've ever had." Apple keynotes are known for their superb use of hyperbole.
  9. Demo of the Retina display a la the iPhone 4 announcement. Hopefully without the "Turn off your wifi" moment.
  10. Next, the dual-core A5X processor. Phil will talk about how fast it is, dual core, with updated graphics. I'd imagine the new graphics will be about 7-9x the graphics performance of the iPad 2. "This thing just screams. And, mixing this with the retina display creates an amazing gaming experience." Also, I expect an update to the iMovie for iPad software.
  11. Demo of the A5X processor, done by game makers like the makers of infinity blade or Electonic Arts. If new iMovie software, a demo would go here as well.
  12. Next, Cameras. The iPad 2 cameras are horrible for everything but FaceTime, so a camera update is entirely needed. I'd expect a camera upgrade to the level of the iPhone 4, but not the 4S. They'll show some gorgeous pictures of what can be done with the iPad cameras.
  13. Along with that, a new app. iPhoto. Scott Forstall will likey come out for this. The photos app for iPad is simply unable to do anything like iPhoto for the Mac can do. Because Apple insists on photos being tied down to apps, the third-party offerings are insufficient. I don't expect this to be a separate purchasable app, this will be an updated version of the 'Photos' app that already resides on your iPad.
  14. Next, Siri. Siri, at least for dictation, makes too much sense to leave it out. Scott will either stay out or Phil will welcome him back out to talk about how much better Siri has gotten and how pleased customers are with it. They'll do a thorough demo of Siri and if I were you, I'd expect several new functions for Siri that will ship on the iPad 2S. Perhaps coming later via a software update to iPhone 4Ss. Sorry iPhone 4 users, I doubt Siri is ever coming to your phone. iPads are used differently that iPhones so this will be an interesting place for innovation on Apple's part.
  15. Next, LTE. Phil will be back. He will talk about the popularity of the 3G iPads and how quickly companies like Verizon are building out their LTE networks. I suspect that the 3G in these models will be like the iPhone 4S and be compatible with both GSM and CDMA. Not sure what to guess about whether or not you will still have to choose Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, like you do on the phone. No contracts though, that's for sure.
  16. Battery life. The iPad 2S will have the same 10 hour battery life. Which, if you think about it, is quite a feat.
  17. Then Phil will talk about price. Price is easy. $499 16GB. $599 32GB. $699 64 GB. Add $129 to each to get the Wifi+3G+LTE versions. Same pricing as before. The iPad 2 will continue to remain available for $399 at 16GB only.
  18. And that'll be it. There could be some sort of surprise attachment or accessory, but for the most part, the event will be pretty standard. Phil will invite everyone to the hands on demo center and a few lucky journalists will go home with loaner models with which to reveal.
  19. Release date? I'm guessing March 16th. If they do a pre-order (unlikely), it will start on the 9th.

I think people are going to feel Steve's absence. The last product announcement was a day before Steve's death and I just suspect that it'll be felt worse here than before.

I think some will come away feeling disappointed with the event, because it won't be as flashy as we expect. The Retina Display is going to be amazing and the device is going to truly scream. The graphics will be astounding and there's surely some exciting new software possibilites coming. All in all though, I wouldn't expect to be blown out of the water.

If all this comes true, would this be a device worth getting? Definitely. Worth updating form our iPad 2? Maybe. One thing is for sure, they're going to sell a lot of them. Millions. And they'll sell them fast.

Would you get one of these iPads?




15-0 @ Maui Invitational

In case you wanted to relive it, dukeblueplanet always does a nice job. [youtube=]

Tyler's shot was epic, even the fourth time watching it.


College Football Makes The World a Worse Place

I went to a tiny liberal arts college in Central Florida. It's not known to many outside the state, except for foreign tourists, and was recently awarded the "US's Most Beautiful Campus" by the Princeton Review.

We had a bunch of national championships (I used to know exactly but I've lost count) in D2 sports and rarely had much of a following from students. At least not like some other schools have.

I've been criticized (getting close to being on a daily basis) for the teams I choose to follow.

I'd like to be clear, though:I've always been a baseball fan and have only recently come to follow football and basketball. I have never claimed to know a whole lot about any sports and am not as addicted to ESPN as some of my friends are. I've dealt with feeling left out of conversations and feeling stupid by many people's conversations. In an effort to NOT make that happen, I've attempted to pay more attention to sports. I've chosen a few teams to pay attention to, some of which my family members follow, some of which are schools I attended or have friends who attended, some of which I've followed for a while, and some of which I simply chose. I don't purchase a lot of team paraphernalia and so I think I'm completely within my right to follow whatever teams I'd like without the criticism from outside voices who happen to disagree. I have a few Duke hats and t-shirts (and by the way, I attend that school) and one Boston Red Sox hat. That's it. If I hear another criticism of what teams I do or don't follow, why, and why you look down upon me for following them, I WILL NO LONGER CONSIDER YOU A FRIEND. HEAR ME LOUD AND CLEAR...IT HAS BEEN ENOUGH, it is no longer funny.

For grad school, I selected Duke University. In case you haven't heard, Duke's basketball team (and this silly one down the street) is pretty competitive. Since going to Duke, I've found a new love for college basketball. I mean seriously, go to one game in Cameron Indoor and you'll love it. I do. I love it.

But Duke students suck. They really do.

Wait, we.

We yell, scream, shout obscenities, boo refs, scream some more, jump up and down, blow out your eardrums, and us Divinity students forget we have a life of faith for a couple of hours once a week or so. We talk a lot of basketball outside of Cameron but most of us leave the rude behavior in the room. Or, at least we try.

But football season is here. While Duke has a pretty awful football team, I am from a state with a few good ones. And the hate circling Facebook (and I admit, I add to it) is again out of control. Rivalries vs. Rivalries, teams seemingly forgotten about trying to prove themselves, teams ranked highly trying to maintain their rankings, teams from the middle of nowhere going 5-0, and certain conferences dominating. It makes for "fun" conversation but the addition of Internet trolls (again, I'm not innocent) has made it worse.

But college football has gotten worse with the advent of social media.

Rivalries that bordered on hatred have developed into full-on hatred. And relationships are hurt and broken. It's no longer about disagreements, it's about who is right and why your loyalty to a team is far better than another person's loyalty. And if you cheer for a team and didn't attend that school, your fandom is somehow less than the other person's fandom (there's a strong argument to be made that this theory is correct...I used it with Duke earlier...but I don't ever think that a Duke fan who didn't attend is less of a fan than little old me who has been here for a year and a half). And if they think about things differently, you're wrong.

And it all comes down to winning and losing.

And I suppose I'm starting to see that this does nothing for unity.
It does nothing for society. Except sell t-shirts when your team wins.

I guess I'm kind of tired of the world taking themselves too seriously.
I guess I'm kind of tired of people not taking jokes.
I guess I'm kind of tired of us acting like winning is everything.
I guess I'm kind of tired of us thinking that our colors define who we are.
I guess I'm kind of tired of us.

We hurt others. We don't have conversations. And we alienate large groups of people. And while we may be unified inside those stadiums, we segregate ourselves.

I'm guilty of it, and I'd imagine many of you are too.


Seriously, enough with the hate on the teams I follow and comment on. It's enough. Really. What do you gain by making fun of me? Like really, what?

Top Five Plays vs. China

[youtube=] You might ask yourself, who is that wearing number 0? Austin Rivers.

You might ask yourself, who was that involved in four of the top five plays? Austin Rivers.

You might ask yourself, who led the scoring game with 18 points? Austin Rivers.

You might ask yourself, who won the game over the Chinese Olympic team? Duke.

Game number (next) is Monday at the silly time of 8:00am.  The whole time thing has got me screwed up. Here's the top five from the second game:



The History of Duke in the NBA Draft

Another great montage by the good folks at Blue Devil Nation. Great stats, great players, great history.


I've been criticized before for not understanding what it is like to go to a big college or university. I've been accused of not knowing what it's like to see people in the cafeteria that go on to play for millions in professional sports. On Thursday, that all went out the window. I saw Nolan on a regular basis in the Divinity School and Kyrie and Kyle on numerous occasions around school too. Kyrie was the number one draft pick and probably one of the best players we've seen in awhile. Yeah, I think I qualify now.

I never have paid much attention to the NBA before. I think that's all about to change.


Too Close For Comfort

"We want to play a little bit longer." [youtube=]

Yeah, I want you to too.

I hate to say it but I think Kyrie's presence, while appreciated, has made the team interact in different ways on the court. After he was hurt, Smith became the definitive leader of the squad and with Kyrie back, some of the mojo is a Here's to hoping that gets worked out before Thursday. K said himself that it was like coaching two different teams this year. But...

If anyone can coach them through it, it's Coach K.


The Show Goes On

Great highlights. Including some from Kyrie. **He's back tomorrow. It's time for the NCAA to watch out. Duke is coming back to the top.** [youtube=]

Don't miss tomorrow at 3:00.