Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wertz answers your questions

Langston Wertz Jr. answers your sports-related questions. To ask one, go to the bottom of this blog or email lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

Q. Do you really think Knotts could thrive at a private school? If he went to one of the non-traditional private powers (Country Day and Latin) and won off the bat, then once again the whole private school recruiting athletes would come up. On top of that, if he went to a school, could he really attract talent from outside with such barriers as cost and limited size classes?

Yes, I think Knotts would do phenomenally well at a private school. I think his presence would attract more athletes to visit and would raise the profile of the school he’s at. Eventually I think kids would come early and get into what would become his middle school program. Think of it. If you’re a quarterback or a receiver, you could learn from Knotts from fourth or fifth grade potentially, instead of just 9-12. Cost would certainly be an issue for some families, but most privates have financial aid programs that mirror colleges. And if he went to certain privates, the costs are one-third of those at the more well known ones.

Q. Dude, don’t take this wrong but you overdid greatly some funeral. The way it was made out we thought it was a player but it was a player’s mother. OK, that’s real life and sad things happen but this is not a reason to make a big deal about it and mention it on TV, unless it was a player and we are glad it wasn’t. There are other players and coaches who lose parents or siblings all the time.

You’re right, we all lose people all the time. It’s a terribly sad fact of life. But I thought the Independence piece was a unique story: a teenager suddenly became an orphan and some neighbors had taken him in and the school community was lining up to support him. That, to me, made this a special story. And I don’t think I overdid anything and I don’t think I led anyone to believe anything other than what it was: a young man who had lost his mother. I’m sorry if somehow you thought it was the kid who passed.

Q. I have to disagree. I thought both Hodges pieces were about the best things in the paper in a long way. I feel for the kid and I made a donation to his fund. I was happy and sad to read that. Good work Mr. Wertz Kudos.

Thanks. To me, those are the kinds of stories that matter.

Q. What are your thoughts on Aaron Brand and Jalen Simmons after Friday?

I think West Charlotte’s schedule – Butler and Indy on back-to-back weeks – is quite the gauntlet. I would not judge the Lions by that, and they basically played Butler even for a half. I think Brand is about the best choice they could make. I worry the guy may burn himself out. He’s got a young child at home and is pushing it hard at work, but I love his passion and his personality. The kids there really seem smitten with him. Scoot Simmons? I think he’s a stud. He’s fighting some ankle problems, but I think you’re looking at a top 100 national guy in two years.

Q. What do you think of the private school state title race? You talk alot about public schools so we need equal time right?

Sure, you do. Hmm, to me it looks like Charlotte Christian and Country Day are your favorites. Christian beat Country Day twice last year and returns a lot of that team, so right now I’d lean towards the Knights.

Q. Again the main underlying reason for CMS 1990s weakness except for WCs only state championship in 1995 under TK was dilution with the opening of new schools. The same scenario is occurring now as did then when 3 new schools opened with Providence, Butler and Vance. PHS opened in 1989 as the first CMS since Olympic in 1968, grad its 1st class in 1990. Butler and Vance opened in 1997. Recent dilution hurting PHS and SM was Kell and VHS & NMHS with MCreek. There is absolutely no doubt that CMS football will and is suffering a thinning of the talent pool from what will be 4 new schools after 2010. The true dilution effect wont be known until the decade of the 2010s.

I have to disagree a little. Back in the ‘90s, we weren’t opening schools like we are now. Charlotte football was simply behind everyone else because we weren’t working the way others were. Knotts learned a lot of the offseason work from Richmond Senior coach Daryl Barnes, but that came after he won the state in ’95. Knotts was always a little ahead of many people and could’ve easily won the state in ’91 as well (his teams were blown out in ’87 and ’93).

Today we’re seeing schools opening at rapid rates but the population here is growing rapidly, too. Schools today are bigger than schools 13 years ago and the talent pool is deeper. I think we’ll see an initial dropoff in talent at some schools as they are broken up to create new ones, but in the past eight years we’ve seen CMS football explode to levels it has never reached – and this was seen during an era of explosive school building, too.

Q. Langston. I thought Taylor Caldwell was going to be Indy's main running back this year. However, it looks like he is just playing defense. Your thoughts?

Well, I did, too, but Taylor has bulked up quite a bit. He looks like a real LB now and he’s pretty good, too. Given Indy’s troubles running the ball and Knotts relaxing his standards a little bit (guys going both ways), I think we’ll see “TC,” as they call him, at running back before the season is done. Butler does it some with their stud LB, Hawatha Bell. But if I were Indy, I would be practicing with TC at RB, but I might not be showing it in games (and to other coaches on film) until I had to.

Q. Hey LW - there is a nice private Christian school in Charlotte who is doing pretty well in football. Why does the CO refuse to give them their due? NO mention in the Sweet Sixteen this year, no mention of their talented players, no mention of their outstanding defense. What gives? I know they have never been a school you like, but do you hate Christian that much?

Hate the Knights? Naw. It’s early in the year and I haven’t seen them yet, but I’m sure I will. Christian appears to have a special team. Their schedule has been a little easier than some of the other privates, so it’s been a little hard to gauge them. I’ve voted for them in the Sweet 16 for the past two weeks though and to me, I’d look at the Knights as the NCISAA favorite.

Q. I think the reason people don't take Christian seriously is because in their first 3 games they played schools that their middle school team probably could have beaten. If you match up CD and CC, look who they play out of conference. Christian plays Augusta Christian, Westminster Catawba, a home school team and Asheville HS who has 0 wins. Country Day plays Catholic, who is a top 3A team, McCallie (TN), Crest and Bluefield (WV), who are WV 2-A State Champs. Even when CCDS loses, like they did to McCallie, it probably looks better than if they were to go play some random private school in Rock Hill and blow them out. I'm sure Christian will be ranked this week, so relax

Christian, if it continues to win, will only move up in the polls, both ranking and opinion.

Q. We are well aware the despot running this forum will disagree because he is one of the perceived guilty but the fair and equitable way to have handled CMS is a lottery system like the NFL. We believe CMS needs to consider implementing a lottery taking the best 100 players and divy them up behind closed doors with the coaches based on the schools individual records so true equality and fairness and the way even most youth organizations operate including the pros. It is always so hilarious to watch these hypocrites, including these at the CO, demand equality in the classroom but turn their heads to equality on the football field.

To quote one of my favorite athletes of all time, Mr. John McEnroe, ‘Sir, you cannot be serious.’ You want a sports-only lottery? How would you get those students to and from school, and practice? And equality in the classroom is needed here. Football is an extracurricular activity. Education is not.

Q. Yes, Asheville is now 0-2 since AC Reynolds (#6 in 4A poll) beat them 17-10 and Christian beat them 31-3 this year. They were 11-3 last year and lost in the state semifinal. They would probably beat Catholic and CCDS this year. Augusta Christian has played in the last 3 SC Region 1 3A state championship games, was 10-3 last year, is 3-1 this year and is ranked #3 in the SC state 3A poll. Their only loss was to Christian, 28-0. They would probably beat CCDS and Catholic this year as well. But don't let the facts influence your perception. Or your prejudices.

OK, but the good news is we don’t have to play the they beat him and we beat him so we’d beat you game. Christian will play the CISAA teams and probably move to the playoffs. If they’re good enough, they’ll win it all.

Q. Yeah, everyone knows Langston is certainly impartial . . .and nothing about how bad the Asheville football team is every year? You're proving my point . . . Christian is still ignored and their talented athletes ignored . . . every year. But a non-partisan publication like the Charlotte Weekly picked Christian third in this area. But the CO pretends they don't exist.

The Charlotte Weekly does its own thing. We do ours. Our ranking is a regional ranking of 122 teams, theirs is a county ranking of 30. I wouldn’t compare the two. Am I impartial? Yes, I think so. I just want the best story. If you have a good story I’ll tell it. I told Willis Hall’s story last year when he was a junior at Christian, and we splashed it all over the front page. We had a huge photo of Luke Bard in our football Friday morning preview a few weeks back. We have covered Christian this year. I guess I don’t get all this Langston-hates-Christian talk, but you see what you want, right?

Q. The real Ardrey Kell has arrived? The real Mallard Creek has arrived? Lets just say the real Providence and South Meck have arrived and the real Vance North Meck has arrived because we know these other teams are now suffering because of these two "new" schools stealing all their players but life goes on ...

Stealing? It’s just growth, dude. What do you want? 500 trailers on campus; lunch rooms so overcrowded you cannot move? Wait, that happened at North Meck last year. We NEED more schools here. It’s just what happens when your city adds what amounts to a small city’s population annually. Get used to it. In 10 years, there’ll be 8-10 more new schools here, I’d say.

Q. Love the Q&A. You need to answer more frequently.

I promise to do better. Thanks for the love though. We have fun with this.

Q. l don’t hear you say much about Anthony Carrothers, when you do its something negative before something good. How about a little press? He has earned it dont you think? He is a good kid.

What did I say negative about Anthony? He’s having a good season and if Indy wants to win a state title (and they’d better watch out for Fayetteville Britt if they get there; Britt runs a pretty cool spread offense), they’ll need AC to play well to help get them there. This kid has had plenty of press, some of it unwanted because he was a central figure in the eligibility investigations. We’ve written about him this year (he was one of my Little Big Men in the preseason preview) and we’ll write about him some more. He plays the glamour position for a glamour team.


Anonymous said...

Not a fan of Country Day, just curious about something. How do they beat a 2A public school defending state champion by 3 touchdowns and fall from #13 in the Sweet 16 all the way to the fourth team receiving votes? Would they be better off scheduling private schools from Salisbury or the home school team from Pinehurst next year?

Anonymous said...

langston, wanted to ask you about two games this week: Kell-Butler (and are we still YOUR Purple Knights?havent' seen that this yr) and East-South. SW4a baybee!

Anonymous said...

Even still Langston, I've got to think if he starts bringing in kids in 4th or 5th grade he is going to have some issues. One still would be space. Two, that's some parents putting some serious eggs in the basket if they want to put a kid in a new school in the 4th grade for a sport he may end up hating, or he may end up being 5'8" and 260lbs. I don't know, I got to think he would have to go to a boarding school if he wants to be able to get his kind of team in, and it would probably have to be a place like Fork Union Military Academy or Oak Hill or something like that.

PatriotsClassof79 said...

LW, is this REALLY TK's last year at Indy. I saw him on TV and read hm in the paper and sounds like it. Give me a school(s) where you think he ends up. Can Myers Park hang with us Friday. I'm a little worried.

Patriotsclassof79 said...

LW, one more question, what do you think of Chadwick? I thought he was going to UNC.

Anonymous said...

LW, we were talking about the highlight shows over at CarolinaVarsity. I know you're on GameTime, but step away and tell me strengths and weaknesses of each one....Also could gametime go to an hour?

Rebel-yelling said...

Langston, speaking of the GameTime show. We can see it down here at Byrnes. C'mon dude, NW above us in the Carolinas rankings and Indy? 31-14 ring a bell? You used to show us some love, LW. C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Langson, you Knotts pretty good, right? I read peeps on here say he doesn't care bout his kids. True or false? Recruit? True or false? Overboard? True or false?

Anonymous said...

Langston, why do you make it so hard to find this Q&A. Honest, its good and inforrmative. It is too hard to find, tho. You click whatever the lead story is on this blog and you do not get anything but that story. Do not make us work so hard dude!

Anonymous said...

Oh ye of little faith. Traditionalist conservatives need to think outside the box. Some would keep Bush in DC if they could. Do you want change or to continue the current failed system? CMS needs a rotation draft. If you are worried about transportation for only 100 select players or so this is a minute issue. We are talking the bigger picture and as far as equality in the classroom rest assured once schools excel on the football field then classroom interest returns. Winning produces winning. Cities in pro sports are no different than schools. Everyone gets a chance to be a winner and football is the #1 high school sport for the past 50 yrs.

Those players selected should be quality students and good athletes. The pros are selective in talent and intelligent.
Students would find their own transportation or schools could make arrangement. CharMeck road system is the best ever and the last segment of the beltway will greatly help. This system would take a while but the ultimate goal would be worth it.

The NBA draft has been in effect since 1957. The NFL in 1967 and MLB in 1965. Would either return to a failed system where one or two rich bigger cities used to dominate for ages? Today all teams in the pros are capable of winning because of the draft and cap.

Think outside the box ... There is always room for improvement. Everything is a work in progress. CMS needs change that people can depend on. The draft is a proven success.

Darealdondawg said...

Langston is Butler REALLY No. 2 in the state? I was shocked when I read that and I'm a dawg fan.

Anonymous said...

Dude, they are roasting you over at CarolinaVarsity. You don't know much. You only say what you're told. You don't research. What's up, L-Dub. You slippin?

James T Kirk said...

Langston, break down Catholic-Olympic for us and Butler-Ardrey Kell. Those look like the 2 best in town. U agree?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a middle school coach from up east and we were having an argument about the best teams. Could you tell us who you think is in the state finals all classes this year?

Anonymous said...

Please list our new school as Harrisburg Hickory Ridge and not Concord Hickory Ridge since it is located in the city of Harrisburg NOT Concord. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yea, who would have ever thought in a millions yrz that a rural mediocre school like Independence would have created a dynasty before 2000? IHS was in the stix fed by small Matthews and Mint Hill for ages since 1966 drawing from East and Garinger. Demographics changed but the real reason was TK bringing half of CharWest players and a biggie from South named Leak from the same clan in east Union and west Anson where the name dominated at Forest Hills winning titles and Bowman aka Anson once a power. Bowman was the only team who could whip Richmond Cty way back with a Leak QB or RB.

This is why as new schools open and steal good players fully trained and ready from old schools the complexion of the landscape changes and the new dawg in town gets a free ride free lunch.

With WC sinking and players hitting the new burbs changes will be more pronounced. Charlotte West HS had been the perenial power for decades getting all 2nd Ward dawgz in '69 when the big steel ball hit all 4 wards. 2W took WC to a new level of play yet never got credit.
CharCentral started it all as the original NC & nat powerhouse winning 8 state titles in 16,17,23,29,30,32,36,43.
WC did win its lone title in 95 but it is only fair to notate that was RU in 78,86,88 & 91 losing close 10-7 to Byrd.
Old downtown Harding won in 52,53 & TKs RU in 87.
Garinger won in 59 but had 3 RUs in 61,65,66. MP won in 65,66. EM won in 77 and RU 75. Oly was RU in 70 with BH as AC and JW HC.
IHS 00,01,02,03,04,05,05, RU 07.