All in the family

Hubert gets the promotion he deserves, plus First Amendment and radio news!

Hello, happy people —

I’ll keep it brief today, because I need to do show prep: I’m joining my friend Donna Martinez, host of the Triangle’s Afternoon News, from 3 to 5 p.m today (and Thursday!) on WPTF 680 in Raleigh. You can stream it here, or tune your dial to 680 AM or 98.5 FM. 

We have many things to discuss, including yesterday’s post!

Hubert Davis, a great hire (I hope!)

I’m delighted UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham chose Hubert Davis to succeed Roy Williams as Carolina men’s basketball coach. Much like Roy, Davis is a fan favorite who outperformed expectations and, with the right support, should maintain the program’s excellence.

I remember Hubert as the skinny freshman who looked too frail to reach the rim with his shots, and also appeared to be the kind of guy who’d get broken in half if he went to the basket. 

He was Walter’s nephew, so wasn’t it nice for Dean to let him play! (In fact, Dean Smith urged Davis not to enroll at Carolina, telling Hubert he probably would ride the bench.)

Some fans saw him almost as a team mascot, like Mike Pepper or Wes Miller — another highly successful hoops coach at UNC-Greensboro — or Stillman White. The sparky but not-as-talented kid who comes off the bench, adds some hustle, and steals a few minutes for the REAL players.

Uh oh

Hubert not only became a starter for the Tar Heels. He averaged 21.4 points per game his senior season, was a first-round pick of the New York Knicks, and played 12 seasons in the NBA. 

For several years, his career, 44.1% 3-point shooting percentage was the second-highest in NBA history, behind Steve Kerr. (Seth Curry, who’s still playing, hovers around the 44.1% mark and at times surpasses it.)

Hubert’s gotten a lot of pixels over the past 24 hours. This terrific profile from 2014 by the News & Observer’s Andrew Carter is essential reading.

An obvious parallel with Roy Willams is that both he and Davis coached the UNC men’s junior varsity teams before getting their first Division I head coaching jobs. And both got them at “blue blood” programs — Williams at Kansas, Davis at UNC.

When any coach has been at it at a prestige school as long as Roy was, questions arise when his teams lose early in the NCAA tournament. Has he lost a step? (At his retirement news conference, Roy said he had.) Can he keep up with innovations in the game?

My buddy Tim Boyum at Spectrum News found this gem:

The days of the traditional point guard, shooting guard, wing forward, power forward, and center are long gone. At least in the major programs. Carolina’s bigs have been mobile enough, but also have been shown up by teams who had athletic interior players who could play inside, drive to the basket, and shoot from the parking lot. 

Hubert’s teams will adjust. He won’t always be in front of a friendly crowd.

Justice Thomas takes on Big Tech?

More to say about this later. But in a concurring opinion yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas seemed to give oxygen to growing concerns on both right and left about the “power” of major social media platforms. 

The lawsuit asked if President Donald Trump could block followers from his Twitter feed without violating the First Amendment. The case was vacated as moot, because Trump is no longer president, and Twitter banned him from the platform anyway.

Thomas weighed in: “On the surface, some aspect’s of Mr. Trump’s Twitter account resembled a public forum.”

On The Advisory Opinions podcast, Sarah Isgur said Thomas was questioning if indeed federal courts should treat Big Tech social media platforms the way it handles a soapbox on a public sidewalk. The court has held that a California law requiring shopping malls to allow space for public expression. If that doesn’t violate property rights, then why can’t dominant social media outlets be treated as public spaces, too?

Sarah’s podcasting partner David French wasn’t so sure. 

Thomas may simply be asking for some clarity from Congress or state legislatures about how to treat social media platforms with huge followings. Or he may be signaling something stronger.

But conservatives who think this is an opportunity to bash Big Tech for canceling viewpoints Silicon Valley lefties dislike may not like where this is heading.

Even if Rep. Ted Lieu of California is wrong about this, we should watch carefully:

Birthdays!

A lot of them today. Billy Dee Williams is 84! Warren Hayes is 60! And John Ratzenberger, who will not be the new host of Jeopardy!, is 74. You blew it, Cliffie.