At halftime of the Georgia Tech-North Carolina game, the ACC honored 11 of its former standouts -- one from each team.
Each school, including the two newest members Virginia Tech and Miami, nominates a player for the honor. This year's class included five players with Washington ties: Duke's Danny Ferry, Maryland's Walt Williams, North Carolina's Bobby Lewis, North Carolina State's Kenny Carr and Virginia's Wally Walker. The other members: Clemson's Bobby Conrad, Wake Forest's Skip Brown, Miami's Rick Barry and Virginia Tech's Allan Bristow.
"It's a great feeling [to be honored], especially with the guys who were out there with me," Williams said.
Williams had fond memories of the ACC tournament. "Tough competition, great fan support and an atmosphere much different than the regular season, comparable to the NBA playoffs," he said.
Ferry, a former All-Met Player of the Year from DeMatha and a two-time ACC player of the year, was attending only his second ACC tournament since he last played in it.
"It was nice to come home," he said. "I got to see my mom, my dad and my high school coach, Morgan Wootten. It's a pretty neat thing in general [to be honored]. They are all very, very good players. It's nice to be in that company."
Ferry now works as a scout for the San Antonio Spurs. It's his job to watch basketball these days.
"When I come to the ACC tournament, it's not work," he said. It's particularly hard for him to focus when his alma mater is playing. "Those aren't good games for me to get work done."
ACC FAQs at MCI
With plenty of out-of-town fans at MCI Center for the ACC tournament, the guest services desk was bound to get its share of questions.
The most common? "Where's the Metro?" followed by inquiries about restaurants and how to get a cab, according to Gary Handleman, vice president of facilities.
The most unusual?
"Do you have a diaper?" Handleman said.
Peek-a-Boo, I See Who?
It wouldn't be an event in Washington without some political types. Former presidential candidate John Edwards, who went to law school at North Carolina, sat behind press row, cheering for the Tar Heels. Elizabeth Dole stopped by to watch her alma mater, Duke. Two Washington power couples -- Calvin and Janet Hill and Al Hunt (Wake Forest alum) and Judy Woodruff (former Duke Board of Trustees member) -- were spotted in the crowd. Eleanor Holmes Norton joined Abe Pollin in the owner's box. Former Secretary of the Army Cliff Alexander took in the action. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of Capitol Hill's biggest hoops junkies, was in attendance along with Tom McMillen.
Big Day for Bynum
Georgia Tech senior Will Bynum's career-high 35 points against North Carolina were the most ever scored by a Yellow Jackets player in the ACC tournament, surpassing Mark Price's 33 against Virginia in 1983.
Bynum wiped away tears as he spoke about his accomplishment.
"It was big, but I would rather have scored two and won anyway," Bynum said. "As long as we get the win, that's what counts."
Coach Paul Hewitt interrupted: "It was fun watching the 35, I'll tell you."
-- Kathy Orton
and News Services