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ACC Basketball

8:05 AM, Dec 6, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Fred Barnes reviews ACC Basketball by J. Samuel Walker in the Wall Street Journal

At a home game in Chapel Hill, a North Carolina fan sneaked behind the bench and stuck chewing gum in the hair of South Carolina center Tom Owens. During an entire Virginia game, a local Charlottesville writer shouted insults at South Carolina coach Frank McGuire. The coach had to be physically restrained.

Novelist Pat Conroy was on The Citadel's basketball team when it visited Clemson. As he waited on the sidelines to make an inbound pass, two fans pinched his rear end and two others put out cigarettes on the back of his legs. He protested to a referee, who merely shrugged.

These incidents, culled from J. Samuel Walker's "ACC Basketball," are offered as evidence that a book with so dull a title—and covering the basketball activity of a newly formed conference between 1953 and 1972—is far from uninvolving. Mr. Walker, a retired history professor at the University of Maryland, has written a lively account of the ACC's rise as a basketball powerhouse. He says that, with the book, he has attempted "to capture the impressive progress made on both academic and athletic fronts without blinking when discussing more unsavory aspects of ACC basketball." He has succeeded.

On the athletic side, it's important to know the author is the brother of Wally Walker, a basketball star at the University of Virginia in the early 1970s, an NBA player for eight seasons and the president of the NBA Seattle Supersonics for a dozen years. Just as important, Mr. Walker has been attending games in College Park, Md., since Charles (Lefty) Driesell became Maryland's coach in 1969.

Whole thing here

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