College basketball is right around the corner, and Womble Carlyle had something special to get fans geared up for the 2015-16 season.

On October 28th, the firm hosted the Womble Carlyle Countdown to Tip-Off at the Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary. The event attracted nearly 100 attendees.

The panel of speakers reads like an All-Star team of the ACC sports media:

  • Eric Montross is a former basketball standout, and Academic All-America at the University of North Carolina (UNC), member of the 1993 UNC National Championship Team, and a nine year NBA veteran. He is currently a Major Gift Director at UNC’s Educational Foundation Inc. and radio color analyst on the Tar Heel Sports Network. Eric is well-known for his philanthropic work benefiting children as he is an ardent supporter of the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, and current projects in which he sits on the board are BeLoud! Sophie Foundation, Super Cooper’s Little Red Wagon Foundation and Vaccine Ambassadors.
  • John Roth has served as the radio analyst for the Duke Blue Devils since 1999. During that time, he has been on the mike for five Final Four broadcasts. As the Senior Editor/Producer of the Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, John is deeply involved in Duke athletics on many levels, serving as the producer of Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s weekly TV show, the editor of GoDuke magazine and the pregame and halftime host for Duke Football’s radio telecasts. He also is the author of The Encyclopedia of Duke Basketball.
  • Dereck Whittenburg joined North Carolina State University as the Director of Player Development in 2013. He joined ESPN, Inc. in 2010. His work included the program Buzzer Beater and select games appearing on ESPNU. Dereck was a starting guard on Jim Valvano’s 1983 NCAA Basketball Championship team at N.C. State. He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 1983 NBA Draft and later established a coaching career of his own. Dereck spent seven seasons as head coach at Fordham University and has held coaching positions at Wagner College, NCSU, George Mason University, Long Beach State, University of Colorado, West Virginia University and Georgia Tech.

Dwayne Ballen moderated the panel. Dwayne is an award-winning sportscaster and author. His experience includes serving as the lead studio anchor of The Golf Channel, as well as covering college basketball and football for CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports Net and the ACC Network/Raycom. He is the host of the upcoming show “SportsThought with Dwayne Ballen,” which will tackle more substantive issues in the sports realm. From 1985-94, he was a sports anchor and reporter for WTVD-TV in Durham. A public advocate for autism awareness, Dwayne is the author of the recently published book Journey With Julian, which shares the story of his family’s life with an autistic son.