Leon Kerry leaned back on a leather couch at Bobcats Arena in Charlotte and smiled as the first game of his basketball tournament tipped off this week.
“I’m the big dog here in Division II,” the CIAA commissioner said. “We’re the biggest event in Division II NCAA. I like that.”
Kerry has been the boss of the nation’s oldest league of historically black colleges for 17 years. This week’s CIAA tournament is expected to bring 20,000 fans, and the men’s final Saturday will be the only nationally televised Division II conference championship game.
But Kerry also faces several significant issues, the biggest being the steady stream of CIAA schools moving up to Division I. Winston-Salem State left a year ago, and N.C. Central will depart at the end of the school year, leaving the league with 10 schools.
Kerry is convinced those schools are making the wrong decision.
“The thing is, when they go, they play .500 basketball,” he said. “You never hear from them again. They won’t be winning 28 games and playing in the national championship. They will never win a national championship in my lifetime.”
ILLINOIS: Senior guard Rich McBride pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. McBride was charged Sept. 29 with DUI and improper traffic lane usage in Savoy, Ill. He is averaging 10.1 points this season.
NAISMITH AWARD: Alison Bales and Lindsey Harding of Duke and Erlana Larkins, Ivory Latta and Camille Little of North Carolina were among 30 finalists for the Naismith Award, given to the top women’s player.
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE: UNCG forward Kyle Hines, already voted conference player of the year by coaches, won the same award from the media. Joining him on the media all-conference team were D.J. Thompson of Appalachian State, Stephen Curry of Davidson, Nick Aldridge of Western Carolina and Dontaye Draper of the College of Charleston.
Kristen Boone of UNCG made the media all-conference women’s team along with Whitney Tossie of Appalachian, Monique Dawson and Chevon Keith of Western Carolina and Alex Anderson of Chattanooga.