Nash Central's Aaron Spivey finds spot with Wake Forest

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Nash Central's Aaron Spivey, left, is fouled by Northern Nash's Raymond Bullock during the Nash County Christmas Tournament Wednesday at Rocky Mount High School.


Sports Writer

Sunday, January 14, 2018

DURHAM — During the last few minutes of the fourth quarter on Saturday, when Duke already had its game against Wake Forest wrapped up, a certain walk-on got a call from Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning.

And with that, Aaron Spivey made his Cameron Indoor Stadium debut.

“When he called my name, I was like, ‘Oh man. Here we go,’” he said.

Spivey, a Rocky Mount native and an all-conference player as a senior in 2015 with Nash Central, walked on to the team last season as a sophomore after playing club his freshman year.

He didn’t get a chance to take a shot in that last stretch of the game, but in making the roster for Wake Forest these past two years, he’s made appearances in several games. He’s also been able to check a few things off the bucket list.

“It’s been different, playing here,” said Spivey, smirking. “It’s been a dream come true to play ACC basketball, to travel, to see some of the best players in the country in the best conference. I’m just fortunate.”

Spivey said he contacted Manning before coming to Wake Forest as a freshman and was invited to try out, but because of a packed roster, didn’t make the cut that first year.

But during October of 2016, he got a call from associate head coach Randolph Childress, and he’s been a Demon Deacon ever since.

He made his first basket of the season in early December against Army West Point, a two-pointer with his family watching.

“It was definitely cool,” said Spivey, who still keeps in contact with Nash Central coach Renny Taylor and his former team. “My parents were there so I was happy to be able to get in and get a basket.”

Allen finding other ways

For a moment in the second half of Saturday’s game, it looked like Duke’s Grayson Allen had finally broken through.

He swished a three in transition, but right before came a whistle: an offensive foul on a screener trying to get him open.

It was that kind of afternoon for him, at least from a scoring standpoint, emblematic of a recent stretch where points have come at a premium for the senior. He finished with just two points, missing all eight field goals.

But the woes were not the focus on this day, because Allen managed to affect the game in other ways against Wake Forest, flirting with a double-double despite the two points, finishing with 12 rebounds and eight assists, both game-highs.

“Grayson’s a scorer, he’s been as good a scorer as we have in this league for the past few years. That’s what he does, and he's struggling with that right now,” said associate head coach Jeff Capel, who was filling in for a virus-ridden Mike Krzyzewski. “Sometimes if you struggle with it, you can get into you. It shows tremendous growth in him as a young man that he’s into the team. He understand he can do other things. He's not jealous.”

On short notice

The news that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski would not be coaching came as a surprise to everyone -- including the coaching staff.

Capel got the news this morning that Krzyzewski had a virus that would keep him out, which transferred over the reigns for the day to the Fayetteville native. With the victory, Capel has now won a game in three straight years under such circumstances.

“It was different. It was good. We were prepared as a coaching staff, as a team,” he said. “All of us wanted Coach out there, but we respect his decision. He felt like he couldn’t be at his best.”