For the first time in 12 years, the Charlotte Hornets are bringing their buzz to Chapel Hill. They last visited the Triangle, at PNC Arena, for a preseason game vs LeBron James' defending champion Miami Heat back in October of 2012.
This time, as last, the excitement will be more about the opponents. Yes, Kemba Walker is awesome and yes, the Hornets will practice for three days at the Smith Center from Sept 25-27 but it's the Friday night preseason game vs the Boston Celtics that is undoubtedly the highlight.
Kyrie Irving in the house? Yes, please. Irving never got to play vs the Heels at all, never mind in Chapel Hill during his one injury-abbreviated season at Duke back in 2010-11. He's certainly the headliner, but Jayson Tatum rolling through town one more time should be more than entertaining as well.
The dark horse story line here is Celtics coach Brad Stevens. It's been long clear he's a coaching savant and for that reason has always been loosely linked to either the succession plan at Duke or North Carolina. Now, he'll actually coach in one of the buildings in question. Sure, he's making countless millions as a superstar NBA coach without the headaches of recruiting, but local hoops fans can dream, can't they?