UPDATE: ACC Now's J.P. Gilgio was there and had high praise for Reggie Bullock:
None of the freshmen, on either side, disappointed but Bullock, who pumped in 30 points, stole the show.
The book on Bullock, a 6-6 wing from Kinston, is that he can shoot, sort of a newer version of Wayne Ellington, the shooting guard on UNC's 2009 national title team.
Based on Tuesday's performance, Bullock's got more game than that, more like a senior-year Danny Green than just a spot-up shooter like Ellington. He can handle the ball and create his own shot off the dribble.
It was billed as UNC vs NC State and by all account it did not disappoint. On Tuesday at the NC Pro Am, Team Stackhouse with Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, John Henson, Justin Watts and commit P.J. Hairston defeated Team McGladrey which included NCSU players Tracy Smith, C.J. Leslie, Ryan Harrow, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Williams. The final was 82-72. Bullock had 30 points and Barnes had 25. Henson posted eight points and nine rebounds.
The game had been hyped for a couple of weeks as a preview of UNC-NCSU games during the upcoming season. John Henson originally planned on not playing seeing that his index finger is in a splint having been broken by Sean May during pick-up games. However, Henson said he got so many text messages and phone calls than he decided to get on his scrilla and represent the Heels. THF reader badbadleroybrown managed to get into the gym at NCCU(capacity 3100) before they ended up turning over 600 people away. His report after the jump.
I was fortunate enough to attend the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-AM at McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium tonight at NCCU. While it is extremely difficult to make heads or tails of anything in summer league games given the lack of defensive effort the main event between Team Stackhouse (UNC) and Team McGladrey (NCSU) lived up to expectations. While it was close early on the level of talent and number of UNC players on Stackhouse overwhelmed Leslie and Harrow. In the first two periods the scoring was primarily the work of Barnes, Bullock, Harrow and Leslie. The man to man play between Leslie and Bullock, Harrow and Barnes was the highlight of the evening. Barnes is everything I had hoped for, he makes great decisions, has a smooth fluid motion and shot that makes the hoop look huge. He's just too smooth. Bullock was the surprise of the night, he took over the game and pretty much took the challenges from Harrow and Leslie to heart and let it be know that he's the man. He was all over the court and there were at least two plays he drove past the defenders and following his shot cleaned up the rebound for a basket. If you make him take a tough shot, he will rebound and get the put back. Barnes was as impressive with the ball as you would expect. Henson threw down a few dunks and in the 4th period had three devastating blocks that cannot be unseen if you are a State fan. PJ Hairston was also impressive but overshadowed by Bullock and Barnes.
On the State side of the ball, CJ Leslie is the real deal. He loves the crowd and may well be the next Greivis Vasquez. He has the skill to back it up though and with Harrow, Brown, Wood and the rest of the Wolfpack cast they will be trouble this season. Leslie is a very good player and though Barnes and Bullock both took him down at times, he had his moments on offense and defense as did Harrow. While the final score is a bit lopsided the first and second periods were close with the third and fourth characterized by UNC leading by 10 or more points. The State faithful may not be able to point to win tonight but what they saw on the court was better than anything over the last three years.
In addition to the Bullock show Duke had a nice showing tonight with Kyrie Irving definitely showing that he can handle the ball and shoot. He is going to be trouble but he doesn't make great decisions all the time like Barnes and isn't as physical as Bullock. Still he can shoot and I would assume he'll only get better with time at Duke. Miles Plumlee was a force to be reckoned with while he was on the court, he has a great touch and was dunking with excessive power tonight. He didn't really have anyone near his size on the court to defend but it was impressive nonetheless. Seth Curry also looked good and as you would expect he worked well, too well, with Plumlee.
I'm sure there will be plenty of analysis regarding the strengths and weaknesses of ACC basketball in the coming months but having watched the games tonight I think the NC teams look to be in good shape. It's hard to say what will ultimately happen with State but Leslie looks like the player and leader they need to make some serious progress. While Duke lost some players, Irving is twice the player of anyone they lost and Plumlee seems to have something to prove. I went to the UNC players and was not disappointed, I'm less guarded about the season having watched Barnes make the right decision nine out of ten times and deliver on all the hype. The heart and passion that Bullock showed was well over my expectations and I've seen him play twice previously. He's very fast, follows his shots, gets his own rebounds and played with a passion and intensity that we would have killed for last year. The intensity he showed tonight should make him a starter day one.
If you go be sure to avoid trying to park near the gym, the student union has a large lot at the intersection of Fayetteville and Nelson. It's a walk across campus to get there but the hassle factor is much lower and the parking lot is safe and well lit. Overall the gym is pretty decent at NCCU, all the seats are good though few in number. If you are going be sure to get there no later than the middle of the first game. Nice old school wooden seats, good leg room and a nice AC system. The signage and generally use of red throughout the campus had me comparing NCSU to NCCU but it was cleaner and nicer than State just to be fair to the Eagles.
I think the most important thing to take away from this is how competitive players from both teams were. According to the Twitter traffic, players on each side were taking this game seriously which will hopefully result in some epic games when UNC and NCSU meet up during the basketball season. From a UNC perspective, it sounds like Barnes, Bullock and Henson showed up to take care of business bringing an urgency to the floor that was not seen last season by the Heels. If that is the case in a summer league game, you can only hope it will be magnified along with the stage.
One more thing. How about the passion for basketball fans have around here? Filling up a 3000 seat arena and having people turned away on a summer night? It is good to be a basketball fan in the Triangle.