Sights and sounds from ACC Operation Basketball

The ACC held its annual Operation Basketball media day in Charlotte on Wednesday, with two players and a coach from each of the leagues 15 teams in attendance to talk about the upcoming season

Jim Dedmon—X02835
Oct 26

The ACC held its annual Operation Basketball media day in Charlotte on Wednesday, with two players and a coach from each of the league’s 15 teams in attendance to talk about the upcoming season. Here are a few of the sights and sounds from that event …Going with the ‘flow’ By far the best hair among the participants at Charlotte’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Wednesday was Virginia’s London Perrantes. The senior point guard was sporting a do that can best be described as a hybrid between the high top fade made famous by the R&B group Kid ‘n Play from the 1990s and the Duke Starting Five high taper from 2015. Surprisingly, the distinctive style isn’t as high maintenance as it might look. Perrantes said his hair stands up like it does without the benefit of product. “I put water in it this morning and that’s how it is,” he said. “I get a good amount of comments on it.” Perrantes has been growing his hair out since last season, thanks to a joint venture with former teammate Anthony Gill. “Me and A.G. kind of just started to grow our hair out and his went down, mine went up,” Perrantes said. “He still hasn’t cut his. We talked about cutting it next summer. I think it’s kind of fitting me, so I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I’m just kind of going with it.” Or in this case, going with the flow.’Sweetheart’ wants to be a bully Wednesday’s event wasn’t just the media’s first opportunity to get to know N.C. State freshman star Dennis Smith Jr. It was also an opportunity for the young point guard to learn a little something, too. For one thing, he was surprised when someone told him of a Sports Illustrated item that compared his style of play to that of NBA All-Star — and Wake Forest alumnus — Chris Paul. “I wasn’t aware of that,” Smith said with genuine surprise. “That’s high praise to be put in the same category as Chris Paul. I believe he’s still the best point guard in the league. He’s just a guy I looked up to a lot, literally. I had a poster of him in my room.” In addition to the comparison with his boyhood idol, Smith was also enlightened about the nickname his coach Mark Gottfried has for teammate Abdul-Malik Abu. It’s Sweetheart, a not-so-affectionate reference to the fact that Gottfried wants Abu to become tougher inside. “I was clueless,” Smith said after being informed of the nickname by a reporter asking about Abu. “I kept hearing Sweetheart and I didn’t know where it was coming from.” Although Abu playfully embraced the moniker, scribbling the world “Sweetheart” on the cardboard name plate at his table, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound junior says he’s ready to take on a different persona this season and become … a bully? “One dynamic as a team this year, and people may be surprised about, is we are going to be bullies and may not be nice,” Abu said. “I’m a smiler. I’m a teddy bear. On the court this year, it’s going to be gritty.”K is ‘Plum’ happy Mike Krzyzewski has sent dozens of players to the NBA during his 37 seasons at Duke, including 21 that are currently on league rosters. Of that group, no one has made the Hall of Fame coach as proud as Marshall Plumlee. The third member of the Plumlee family to graduate into the pro ranks, Marshall is a rookie center with the New York Knicks. Unlike older brothers Miles and Mason, however, his matriculation to the NBA was anything but a foregone conclusion. His improvement during his five seasons with the Blue Devils — from redshirt, to seldom-used reserve to a key backup on a national championship team to starting center and respected leader — was one of the most dramatic in ACC history. “He’s with the Knicks. How cool is that?” Krzyzewski said. “He does fundamental things. He adds to the atmosphere of success because of the attitude he brings.” Tattoo you It’s no big deal for a college basketball player to have a tattoo. These days, there are more that do than don’t. As for their coaches, well, let’s just say that Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams is probably in the ACC minority. The always-entertaining Hokies coach showed off his ink to the gathered media on Tuesday It’s an image of Mickey Mouse dribbling a basketball, indelibly etched into his right bicep since his freshman year at Navarro College. “From my first weekend as a college student in Waco, Texas,” Williams said of the tattoo. “It was the first time and last time I ever drank liquor.” When asked what he learned from the experience, Williams answered with a mischievous laugh. “Let’s not do that (again),” he said.Postseason back in the Cards Louisville’s case before the NCAA is a long way from being resolved, but because the Cardinals imposed a postseason ban on themselves last spring, they’ve already begun the process of putting their problems behind them. For junior guard Quentin Snider, that means looking forward to returning to the NCAA tournament, something last year’s seniors Damion Lee and Trey Lewis weren’t able to do. “It’s definitely motivation,” Snider said. “Last year it was heartbreaking for Trey and Damion for not going to the tournament. But this year we’re definitely motivated. You can tell this team is very hungry, because we want to go back to the ACC Championship and NCAA. So that’s the main focus, just try to win it.”