Talking Hoops With Bob Harris
Bob Harris
Bob Harris
TDD Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2013

The Voice of the Blue Devils offers his thoughts on the new ACC, and how Coach K changed the game on Tobacco Road.

When you have worked in one place for as long as Bob Harris has, you can offer a bit of perspective. In light of the conference realignment, I sat down with him and talked about the new-look ACC as well as how Duke basketball (and Coach K) have influenced the conference through the years.

People compare the 15-team ACC to the old 16-team Big East Conference. Bob said the leagues differ in their depth.

“I think this ACC from 1-15 is better than the [old] Big East from 1-16,” he said. “You had the haves, you had some have-nots, and some in the middle that could go either way. We don’t have a lot of have-nots in the ACC.

He said the new teams (Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame for everything but football—a whole different story) will have to adjust to a new style of play.

“I think the ACC has always played a more exciting brand of basketball,” he said.

Then he laughed when I asked if he liked the Big East football-on-hardwood physicality. His answer was simple: “Nope.”

“Naturally I’m prejudiced,” he said. “I’ve been watching the ACC for 50-something years.”

He remembered how Coach K changed how ACC basketball was played when he started in 1980.

“Man-to-man defense all the time,” he said and paused. “Not some of the time. All the time. [Previous coach] Bill Foster played a 2-3 matchup zone for the most part. Other teams played zones, matchups, and they’d throw in a little man-to-man every now and then or junk, like the box and one, things like that. But nobody ever said we’re playing man-to-man and you’re going to try to beat us. But he did. Pretty good record too.”

He chuckled after the last sentence. Now, most teams in the ACC play man-to-man all the time. In a twist of the past, incoming Syracuse only plays a 2-3 zone.

“That’ll be interesting, very interesting,” he said. “It’ll take a while, but I think we’ve got some pretty good tacticians in the league. I think they can figure it out.”

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