EAST BEND — ACC All-Stars and Legends will be making a stop in East Bend as the ACC Barnstorming Tour will be coming to Forbush High School. On Tuesday, ACC basketball players from UNC, Duke, Wake Forest and NC State will travel to the Forbush gymnasium to take on local high school basketball players.
“I come and look at the schools, so I came up here in December,” said Event Coordinator Pet Sumner. “It’s a great school, a great environment, and it seems like a good small town. Small towns usually do well. I came up here, looked at the venue and thought we could sell out pretty easily.”
In addition to the basketball game, there will be a dunk contest and a three-point shootout. These breaks in the game allow the ACC All-Stars to have fun with the crowd while also showing off their skills on the court.
“The whole point is to have the crowd involved. We want people to come out and enjoy themselves,” said Sumner. “This is my favorite thing to do as part of my job. I think my favorite part is interacting with the guys. You forget what you see on TV. When you sit on the bench you realize they are real people, and you don’t care about the logo on the shirt anymore.”
The ACC All-Stars will take on local high school basketball players in a game that is bound to be full of fun and energy. Sam Crews will be the head coach for the high school basketball team when it takes the court.
“You just don’t know how excited I am, you just don’t know,” said Crews. “I didn’t want to bother (Pet) about it, but I bothered him about it enough to where I wanted him to remember my name and remember our school. We’ve been so excited. Being a coach here at Forbush, and with the word getting out, the kids are excited, the community is excited, the middle and elementary schools are also excited. Even on the other end of the county, Starmount, is excited. I’ve invited one of their players down so he is going to play with us. Plus we have kids from West Stokes, South Stokes, Surry Central, Forbush and Carver.”
The roster for the ACC All-Stars includes UNC’s Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and Aaron Rohlman; Duke’s Grayson Allen; NC State’s Abdul-Malik Abu, Lennard Freeman and Allerik Freeman. Wake Forest seniors are scheduled to complete the roster for the All-Stars.
“Nolan Smith always helps out, he’s from Duke. He’s our assistant coach, and sometimes he plays if he’s feeling up to it,” said Sumner. “Some of the Duke fans like to see him and he puts on a pretty good show. We’re pretty talented this year. Our roster changes every year so it’s always different. I think the only constant is Nolan and Phil. I think the one thing is that the players know about it. People always ask me if certain players are going to come. We can never guarantee a player can come, because anything can happen. There is nothing we can do about it, but they say they are going to come. Ninety percent of the time every player shows up.”
The ACC All-Stars will be coached by UNC legend Phil Ford. This will be Ford’s fifth year coaching, and he is as excited as he was when he first started.
“It gives me an opportunity to meet some guys that I normally wouldn’t get the chance to meet,” said Ford. “I’m an ACC basketball fan right now, that’s all I am. For me to have the opportunity, and see the guys from other schools come together in a nice environment, I look forward to it every year. I’m real excited about this year as I think we are going to some super places and we have some super guys on the team. It’ll be fun sitting over there on the bench watching them play.
“Also, I get a kick out of the look from the fans,” he said. “This is more of a family game than a basketball game. At some point we will have a kid taking a free throw for Grayson Allen, or they will run up and down the court with them. It’s a nice family outing and an opportunity for fans to get up close to them, and see what great guys they are. I really look forward to this time of year.”
The game is meant to be a night where fans can see some of the best players come together on the court while battling with local high school players. Ford is carrying an undefeated record heading into this year as the Barnstorming coach.
“The referees dress in my locker room,” said Ford. “I feel very confident going into these games. When I see the referee putting on his shoes beside me in the locker room, it’s a good feeling.”
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at carolinabarnstorming.com. Tickets also can be purchased in person at Forbush High School, Modern Systems, and Johnson Modern Electric. Tickets are $12 in advance, and $15 the day of the game. There is also the option to buy VIP tickets for $50. The VIP tickets include a post-game reception with the ACC All-Stars, front-row seating during the game, and a photograph/autograph session. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the game tips off at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s just a family fun time even if you aren’t a basketball fan,” said Ford. “It’s just an opportunity for your kids to be in a great environment, and for you to see some of the most popular guys in North Carolina do what they do best. If you are a basketball fan, and you don’t have the opportunity to go to the games and meet the guys this gives you that chance. You can come up and get Joel Berry’s autograph, if you choose the VIP route you can eat pizza and wings with Berry, Grayson Allen, and Theo. There are a lot of opportunities if you’re a fan, but even if you’re not it’s just a nice fun night with the family.”
“It’s a family event, it’s almost like a Globetrotter game,” said Sumner. “These guys, you get to watch them relaxed. They interact with the kids. It really is a totally different atmosphere. We have music playing the whole time, a dunk contest, and a three-point contest. I think everyone goes home pretty happy.”
For updates on the tour, follow them on Facebook at ACC Barnstorming Tour.