CS: What are some high school sports matchups you look forward to?
BN: Anytime you have county rivalries that’s a big deal. Jacksonville and Northside is a newer rivalry, but that’s developed into a really nice rivalry. Jacksonville-White Oak has always had great games in soccer, basketball and football through the years … Anytime you get those county rivalries together it’s really cool. In Craven County, it’s the same deal. You have three quality teams in Havelock, New Bern and West Craven. When those three teams get together it’s always high quality football … I don’t know how many other counties in the state or in the country have three county teams that all have guys playing in the NFL right now.
CS: Who are some of the more standout athletes from this area?
BN: Eastern North Carolina has had so many great athletes that have gone on to college and pro careers. Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams were guys (from Jacksonville) who went on to play at North Carolina and had really good careers. We’ve had a ton of guys in the NFL from around these parts … Pharoh Cooper, Bruce Carter, Montario Hardesty, Mike Hughes, Andre Brown (and) Marcus Jones.
Then you’ve got NBA guys - Bam Adebayo, Ky Bowman, Brandon Ingram and Reggie Bullock. In baseball, there’s Lonnie Chisenhall, Adam Warren (and) Rookie Davis … The list goes on and on. You start thinking about it and you’re afraid you’re going to forget somebody, but when you have time to reminisce the names keep coming up and they’re all just really great. … The athletic talent that has come out of this area in the 22 years I’ve been here has been ridiculous.
CS: Have any predictions on what sports will be like when they return?
BN: I think you are going to see extreme caution (and) extreme circumstances, but I think within a year or a year and a half things will be back to kind of normal. I am curious to see what the new normal is going to be, because things are going to change. Some of the things we did in life will not be the same going forward … I am curious as to how it is going to go, but I think after a while we will eventually get back to where we were. It will be different in some form, but I’m curious as to how they are going to get to that point.
Sports Talk is a Q&A series in which sports writer Calvin Shomaker talks with people who work in sports media.