Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Q&A with the Observer's Langston Wertz Jr.

Observer staff writer Langston Wertz Jr. answers your sports-related questions. E-mail questions to lwertz@charlotteobserver.com or post them at the bottom of this blog

Why is Shelby ranked so high in the Sweet 16?
I know Shelby lost some kids, but they have a lot of kids back. And you have to look at them relative to the field, not relative to Shelby 2007. I think last year the state was particularly strong, maybe not as much this year, so you don't have to be quite as good - at least in our area - to rank high. But I think the poll will work itself out. It always does.

What do you make of Independence this season?
Not quite sure yet. They looked pretty good in a scrimmage against Charlotte Catholic, though they couldn't score much when they got close. They looked better than the 31-14 final indicated against Byrnes, pretty much down seven when the benches cleared, and I hear they beat Northwestern easily. I've never seen this many Independence kids have to go both ways, so injuries will be key. I think they have enough core talent to go to a ninth straight final, but there isn't a lot of depth. A few injuries could hurt. And Independence isn't as big as usual.

Rumor is this is Tom Knotts' last year. You buy that?
Last year coaching? No. He loves it too much. Last year at Independence? Let's see what happens, if anything, in December.

Your high school section was pretty good, but why don't you do team-by-team stories like the Weekly did?
I saw that section. I thought Jemal Horton and his staff did a wonderful job. Our missions are a little different in that they go after a much more concentrated area than we do. I think maybe we could do more with our regional publications in Charlotte to address some of your concerns.

What is up with the mass transfers right now?
I think kids, or their parents, just want to get to winning teams. About the same as always.

Butler girls or West Charlotte girls now?
Well don't forget about East Mecklenburg. They've got an impressive freshmen class in and a wealth of players back. But if I were doing a Sweet 16, my personal Sweet 16, right now, I'd probably go Butler, Concord, West Charlotte. On paper, Butler may have the most talented girls' basketball team ever from Mecklenburg County. They have five legit Division I prospects, and lots of size. The target will be big on their jerseys this year.

Did Reggie Price leave Garinger?
Yes. He's at Lake Norman High now.

What is up at Waddell? We got 21 players. Our new coach didn't come from D.C. for this, did he?
It's an uphill climb there, that's for sure. I think they'll find more kids to come out and play once school gets started this week. Staff writer Cliff Mehrtens went to their practice and talked about how hard the kids worked and played. Said the same thing after their game Friday with East Mecklenburg. You have to admire their spunk.

Will you print your personal Sweet 16 votes here like last year?
Sure just remind me each week.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Langston, your thoughts on Richmond and Dudley Friday and who is the best team in Charlotte? Folks seem stupified by that one right now.

Anonymous said...

Langston, you keep saying Crest is coming. What about Shelby. We're here.

Captain Ds said...

Great previews on soccer and the other non-football sports. I hope you plan to do better w/covering those sports this year. You always seem to wait until late in the year.

Anonymous said...

Langston how far can this young Butler team go?Who do u expect to win the Butler Indy game i knw its early lol?

Anonymous said...

Langston how far can this young Butler team go?Who do u expect to win the Butler Indy game i knw its early lol?

AggiePrideNationwide said...

Aw-right Langston. U got us this morning in Greensboro with "Aggie Slide." We cant' hide from that. I have two questions. You think Smith will beat us and do you think any Greensboro prep teams have a shot at states?

Anonymous said...

LW, glad you brought the Q&A back. I wanted to know about the new QB at Butler, Laymay (??). I heard he has skills. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Langston, break down that East Meck and West Char game Friday. Looks like best in town. You agree?

ProvidenceParent89 said...

Langston, I couldn't believe the girls you left out of the volleyball preview. My daughter was one. Did you do ANY research? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Who are the top 10 teams in the Carolinas right now?

Anonymous said...

this new format stinks..half the fun was bustin on one another..change it back

Anonymous said...

Hey I liked the old format better, 2, but we can still bust. See you stupid, Cole...I just busted on you.

Anonymous said...

If possible, it would be nice if you could do the live scoreboard for the friday night football games as you did last year!