Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Langston Wertz answers reader questions

Observer reporter Langston Wertz Jr. answers your sports-related questions. Have one? Post it at the end of this blog or e-mail lwertz@charlotteobserver.com. Some questions are edited for clarity and brevity.

Missed a Q&A? Click here. Or here.

Q. What do you think of these moves (Independence coach Tom Knotts going back to mainly coaching defense and former West Charlotte coach Aaron Brand coaching offense) at Independence?

It gives a man like Knotts a new challenge and maybe he needs that. He’s won so much and so often and I think he does want to win another ring, but maybe win it another way. I think he’s committed to shoring up Indy’s defense and thinks of Brand as a young Tom Knotts. That said, I think Knotts will still call his share of offensive plays. But with DC Bill Geiler and OC Jon Strong now retired, Knotts desperately needed a No. 2 he can trust. Brand is that guy, obviously.

Q. Langston, what's the deal at Vance and West Charlotte? Also what does this move mean for the rest of the state? Who are the best teams now? I thought TK was out. This changes stuff.

Vance and West Charlotte have important openings. I’m not sure who will get either job. It’s been really quiet on those fronts. What does the Independence thing mean for the rest of the state? It means Indy isn’t dead or going anywhere. The state title road will likely still have to run through the Patriots at some point (though maybe not directly anymore).

Q. Brand is a big loss for West Charlotte. Why would the school let this guy go? What happened?

I was disappointed to see that, but there are lots of internal things that happened at West Charlotte that turned that thing into a bad marriage. The Lions will now have their fourth coach in four years. That’s rough on a young team.

Q. Langston, are u coming back to Hopewell Friday? We've got something for your so-called No.1 team in waiting.

“As you probably know, I did attend the game and your North team played well in the third quarter and rallied from a double digit deficit but was outscored 22-4 in the fourth. Good news for North fans? You’ve got Hopewell and Vance at home next month. Win both, and not be upset anywhere else, and your chance at winning at least a share of back-to-back league titles is great.

Q. You didn't answer the part about your top 5 boys and girls coaches. C'mon Langston. Fess up.

The writer is referring to the last Q&A blog when he asked about, and I answered his query, about top hoop programs. I think down the line, I’ll answer this question, in the paper, in a more definite and historical way.

Q. what does your Sweet 16 for football look like next year, and what do you think of Reggie Price at Lake Norman?

A little surprised that Price isn’t a full-time starter, but he’s playing well for a deep unbeaten team that has a HUGE game Wednesday at West Rowan, likely for a league title. Sweet 16 football? Too early to tell, but thinking back, I’d say Boiling Springs Crest, Butler, Charlotte Christian, Independence, Mallard Creek, Rock Hill Northwestern, West Charlotte (assuming everyone returns and a good coach comes in) and West Rowan look like some of the power teams.

Q. Mr. Wertz, I respectfully disagree with your pick as the best team ever out of West Charlotte (1999). I am a Harding Alum (1988) so my opinion is not favorable to either. I think player for player (starting 5) the '85 or '86 team I can't remember was better.

The ’86 Lions team that went unbeaten was a bit of shock, even to legendary coach Charles McCullough. They were undersized, a little like this year’s Vance team, except in 6-4 center Kevin Reid, they had a dominant post presence. The ’99 Lions were dominant. They lost to Oak Hill and then national power Mount Zion team, two teams that recruited nationwide. The Lions nearly beat Mount Zion and blitzed nearly everyone else. The ’99 team is the best public school team I’ve ever seen.”

Q. I have looked at some of the comments weekly from the beginning of the season and i would just like to add a comment about who you thought were the top 5 schools. You were right about vance and hopewell but east meck was blown out this season by west meck by 43 points and i did not see any comments about that tremendous victory or any comments about the best teams this year. Will you start reporting on what's going on know and give props to the schools that you leave out weekly and the player's in the charlotte area that are putting up the numbers and stats to prove they are the best and stop reporting on the school's that just have the name for past player's. Put the player's in the news that consistantly shine every game i haven't seen any in the news, especially the schools from the west side of Chatlotte. Thanks.

I thought we were. We do a GameDay section twice a week where we talk about a lot of westside kids and we’re covering 3-4 games per week, where we have done West Charlotte and West Meck and Harding. What am I missing?

Q. Langston, is Ruark being fired at Myers Park? This is rumor going round, and what's going on at Indy with boys basketball? I heard Spaz is ill.

That’s a big rumor on Ruark but not true. Former Independence basketball coach Kancho Spasoff is sick. You are correct there. I wish him a speedy, speedy recovery.

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