RONDA — Several ACC all-stars — including UNC’s Marcus Paige and Duke’s Marshall Plumlee — are headed to East Wilkes High School for the 2016 ACC Barnstorming Tour on April 11. This is the 38th year for the Barnstorming Tour, which has traveled all over the Southeast, but this will be the first time it has made the stop at East Wilkes.
Tour Director Pet Sumner said it was a long process before they chose East Wilkes as a tour stop. “We enjoyed the feel of the gym and the surrounding community,” Sumner said. “We know that it will be an exciting event because everyone associated with East Wilkes is passionate about basketball.”
The tour will feature several big name ACC standouts from Duke, UNC, NC State and Wake. Notable players who will be in attendance are Marshall Plumlee from Duke; Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, and Joel James from UNC; Chase Cannon from NC State; as well as Devin Thomas and Cody Miller-McIntyre from Wake Forest. They will be coached by UNC legend, Phil Ford. Facing the all-stars will be senior basketball players from East Wilkes; Brad Davis will be their coach.
Going into his third year as the head coach, Ford said he is excited about this group of talent because it’s one of the best rosters he’s ever seen. “The experience surrounding this group of guys is something special,” Ford said. “They have all stayed at their respective schools for a few years. People know who they are. It’ll be fun to watch.”
While Ford and Sumner were notably enthusiastic for the game, East Wilkes head basketball coach Brad Davis was ecstatic about this opportunity. “Our guys are thrilled for this chance to be able to play against the top ACC players,” Davis said. “We haven’t finalized who is playing, but everyone is really excited.”
What is special about this type of game is that it is appealing to people of all ages. Ford described it as having a “Harlem Globetrotters feel.” The fans will be able to interact with the players, and they will be able to see up-close and personal how talented they are. As for who’s going to win, that’s a done deal. “The refs come with us,” Sumner happily said.
The event will be held in the new East Wilkes gym on April 11. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the game tips off at 7:30. During the game there will be a 3-point shootout and a dunk contest. General admission tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 at the door.
There are also VIP tickets available for $50, which includes reserved front row seating, at least one autograph from a player or the coach, and an after-game reception with the players. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House and East Wilkes.
Tickets can be purchased at CarolinaBarnstorming.com, East Wilkes Middle School and Mazzini’s Italian Restaurant.
Kristian Russell may be reached at 336-258-4052.