Champs!


This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is supposed to be owned by Duke and North Carolina, at least in basketball. They’ve won every ACC Title between the two of them for nearly a decade.

Then the Florida State Seminoles came in and made Tobacco Road their own personal driveway. And the Blue Devils and Tar Heels were hardly more than speed bumps this weekend.

Before Sunday’s 85-82 victory over the Tar Heels was complete, the writing was on the wall. We’re in the midst of a season where Florida State might not be as good of a team as UNC, but they’ve beaten them twice, straight up. And I don’t think Duke is a better team than FSU.

I just don’t see how anyone could make that argument. Not after the Seminoles went 2-1 against the Devils this year.

For the first time ever, FSU had the chance to cut down the nets of an ACC Championship game. Never before had we won the conference, and never before had a black man coached an ACC team to a championship.

Leonard Hamilton changed all of that.

And he has changed so much more during his tenure in Tallahassee. Hamilton has had his head called for, time after time, because people didn’t like how quickly the program was moving in the right direction. People inside the fanbase thought, as recently as this January, that Hamilton needed to go.

Leonard Hamilton changed all of that.

So today, there I stood, flanked by friends I never would have made in college if it hadn’t been for this basketball team, and a girlfriend that was more than gracious to join us for a magical day.

One of those buddies was Brandt Vinson, who was just profiled by FSU’s student newspaper for his diehard fandom of FSU Basketball. He estimated that he’s spent about $7,000 on trips to see the basketball team play, and that’s no exaggeration. I’ve been along with him on most of those trips.

And you’ll never hear me admit it wasn’t worth every penny.

Today is something I’ll remember forever, because I never thought it was possible. I’m as optimistic about this team as anyone because I believe in the kids on the roster — they’re a great bunch of kids that deserve every good break that goes their way.

But when something has never happened before, it’s hard to visualize until it becomes reality.

It’s a reality now. And they can never take that trophy away from us.

ACC Champs, baby.

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