(With apologies to Oliver Stone.)
A young basketball coach checks the sports page for scores as he stands at the foot of Barclays Arena. Inside, the ACC tournament is just buzzing to life. The first person he runs into inside the building is Jim Boeheim.
“Get out while you're young, kid,” the Syracuse coach says. “I came here one day, and look at me now.”
“Look at you now,” the young coach says.
The coach gazes across the river at Madison Square Garden, where the Big Ten rearranged its entire schedule to play its tournament last week. Why so unhappy with Brooklyn, he is asked.
“I got to play in Manhattan to be a player,” the young coach says. “There's no nobility in poverty anymore.”
Brad Brownell composes himself before leading his best Clemson team yet onto the court.
“Life all comes down to a few moments,” Brownell says. “This is one of them.”
In a glitzy office, the young coach listens as a rich Pittsburgh booster screams at his entourage.
“What is Kevin Stallings doing giving a lecture tour?” the booster asks. “He must give lectures on losing basketball games. If he owned a funeral parlor, no one would die. This turkey is totally brain dead.”
In a fancy restaurant, Roy Williams lectures the young coach about his wardrobe.
“Buy a decent suit,” the North Carolina coach says. “You can't come in here looking like this. Go to Alexander Julian, tell him I sent you.”
Tony Bennett lectures the young coach in the art of basketball.
“I don't throw darts at a board,” the Virginia coach says. “I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”
Leonard Hamilton tries to teach a few fundamentals.
“Remember, there are no short cuts, son,” the Florida State coach says. “Quick-buck artists come and go with every NCAA tournament bid. The steady players make it through the losing seasons.”
Early morning. The phone rings. John Swofford is on the line. The ACC tournament is in Brooklyn. Across the river, Wall Street buzzes to life.
“Basketball never sleeps, pal,” the commissioner says. “Just got 15 teams in the conference. You've done good, but you gotta keep doing good. I've showed you how the game works. Now school's out.”
Mike Krzyzewski is speaking to an audience of Duke fans wondering where the Blue Devils' traditional in-your-face man-to-man defense went.
“I am not a destroyer of defenses. I am a liberator of them!” Krzyzewski says. “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that zone, for lack of a better word, is good. Zone is right. Zone works. Zone clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the defensive spirit. Zone, in all of its forms; zone for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of basketball. And zone, you mark my words, will not only save Duke basketball, but that other malfunctioning conference called the ACC. Thank you very much.”
Meanwhile, David Padgett follows along with the athletic director search at Louisville.
“You'll have the shortest executive career since that pope that got poisoned,” he is told.
At the end of the day, Kevin Keatts is asked how he managed to beat Duke and North Carolina (and Arizona) in his first season at N.C. State, and whether that will feel like enough whether N.C. State wins or loses this week.
“It's not a question of enough, pal,” the N.C. State coach says. “It's a zero-sum game. Somebody wins, somebody loses.”
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock