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Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Time Out For Sports: Tar Heels Land Big Recruit, College Athletes Can Make Money Off Name, Image And Likeness.

hubert davis.JPG
Hubert Davis is the new UNC men's basketball coach

Student-athletes will be able to cash in on their name, image and likeness. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels add some much-needed firepower to the basketball roster. And the Carolinas lose two well-known coaches. With "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk sports is Langston Wertz Jr, a longtime sportswriter with The Charlotte Observer.

Langston Wertz Jr, a longtime sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer.
Langston Wertz Jr.

Langston Wertz Jr: Hey Gwen. How are you doing?

Glenn: I'm great. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill men's basketball team added a few major players to the Tar Heels roster over the past week. Class of 2022 recruit Jalen Washington committed to the Tar Heels on Friday. Langston, he's from Indiana and Washington is the first five-star player that head coach Hubert Davis has recruited, right?

Wertz: Yeah, yeah. A very big splash for Hubert Davis getting Jalen 6-9, 210-pound rising senior from Gary, Indiana. To come to Chapel Hill, he turned down Stanford, Alabama, DePaul, Louisville, Oklahoma, among others. It's just a huge get for a coach in his first trip out.

Glenn: Yeah, and the Tar Heels also added Dawson Garcia, who will be transferring from Marquette University. What's he going to add to the team?

Wertz: He's very talented. He's 6-11, 225 pounds. He averaged 13 points, 6.6 rebounds. He was All Big East. He's adding a lot of confidence. You know, if he had played for Carolina last year, his 36% 3-point shooting would have been second on the team. Carolina desperately needed 3-point shooting.

Glenn: Well, let's stay with college sports and a topic that happened just before the holiday, and that is the NCAA approving temporary rules to allow college athletes to make money off of their name, image and likeness. Since then, we've seen athletes sign with agencies and some are promoting local products on their Instagram accounts. Langston, explain the new rules and what we're seeing happening.

Wertz: Kids are now able to make paid posts on Instagram. You talk about they can, you know, go represent a car dealership. I think it's something that's been long overdue. I know the kids definitely want it. It is going to change the way recruiting works moving forward. And a guy like a Sam Howell at North Carolina, who's going to be a glamour boy all season, he can make life-changing money in the next year.

Glenn: OK, and again, these are temporary rules until federal rules come into play, correct?

Wertz: Yes. But I think these are going to be permanent.

Glenn: Ok now, before the NCAA decision, UNC Charlotte announced that they would have a program to educate athletes on how to go about this in terms of choosing agents, managing their time and school finances, etc. Tell us more about that program and its significance.

Wertz: I think it's smart because, you know, kids are not equipped a lot of times to handle dealing with businesses that are offering contracts that might be lowballing them or something like that. UNC Charlotte's program is called Green Light. And the university says the customized set of tools to help student athletes pursue the opportunities that come their way. UNC Charlotte's partnered with two companies to help with this. It works through an app. They can put in contracts, they can follow trends. They can even have social following optimization. So you can say a post on my social media account should be worth X. And I think it's a good thing.

Announcer: Missed them both. The final heave from midcourt and beyond. And Nigeria has upset the United States in an exhibition 90 -87.

Glenn: That was from the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, lost 90-87 to the Nigerian team. Many are calling it an embarrassment for the U.S., but Langston, the Nigerian team has eight NBA players in its pool. So they are no joke.

Wertz: No, they're no joke. But it's still a big upset, Gwen. You know, Nigeria has Mike Brown, the Golden State assistant coach, as their head coach. They do have some NBA players, most of them only hardcore fans would know. But the thing was, they made all these three-pointers. They outscored the United States 60-30 with 3-point shots.

The 3-point shot is the great equalizer. And it seems like United States is kind of getting away from that sometimes. But they didn't shoot the ball well in this particular game.

Glenn: And as for the local connection, Charlotte Hornets forwards Miles Bridges and PJ Washington are members of the U.S. Basketball Select Team, the players that practice with the Olympic team to get them ready. Right? Bridges and Washington are in COVID-19 protocols. What's the latest there?

Wertz: They were among the 17 players, to help getting the U.S. Olympic team ready for Tokyo. They were out in Vegas. They got pulled for COVID protocols along with Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, second time both Hornets have been in the protocol. We don't know if the players were vaccinated. We don't know if they actually caught COVID. It could have been contact tracing.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: With the 16th pick of the 2021 MLB draft. The Miami Marlins select Kahlil Watson, a shortstop from Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Wertz: He was picked by Miami in the first round. He went No.16 overall. He's the first North Carolina high schooler to go in the first round since Wilmington-Hanovers' Blake Walston was picked No. 26 by Arizona. This young man hit .513 last season with six home runs and 14 RBIs.

Glenn: Also in high school sports, Hickory Ridges varsity football coach Jupiter Wilson is up for a major award from the NFL. Tell us about it.

Wertz: Every year, the 32 NFL teams offer up a local coach for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award. This year, the Panthers nominated Wilson. Couldn't have gone to a nicer guy. He played at Carolina, played offensive lineman. He's a fourth-year PE teacher. He's the head football coach. He's the head girl's basketball coach. He's a head track and field coach.

Glenn: OK, and finally, Langston, the Carolinas and Charlotte lost two long-time coaches — Eddie Payne, who coached basketball at numerous colleges in the Carolinas, and Johnson C. Smith tennis coach James Cuthbertson. Tell us about them and their legacies.

Wertz: Yeah, Eddie Payne, East Carolina, Belmont Abbey, Greensboro College and USC Upstate. He died last week after complications of a stroke. He retired from coaching four years ago. He played high school ball at East Meck, college ball at Wake Forest, had incredible success as a college coach. He won the Peach Belt regular-season title in upstate in 2005. The conference tournament title in 2016. After he retired, Gwen, the school gave him the ultimate award. They named the basketball arena for him and his wife. It was called Eddie and Ann Payne Arena.

At Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte, James Cuthbertson was just an icon. He was a sports information director for years and years. He coached the tennis team to six straight CIAA championships. He was named conference coach of the year. He was just beloved around that campus. He was a big part of it, you know. Grew up in Charlotte, played high school tennis at Olympic High School. Then he played in college at Charlotte. He worked for us at the Charlotte Observer for many years. You know, a tough loss, two great men that we lost this past week and our prayers out to their families.

Glenn: And I'm sure they'll be missed. Thanks as always, Langston.

Wertz: Absolutely.

Glenn: Langston Wertz Jr, is a longtime sportswriter for The Charlotte Observer.

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