Some personal news: Why I'm launching HeelsMaven

Brant Wilkerson-New

TruSee that guy in the pink shirt with the sweaty student in full body paint leaning on him? 

That's me.

And while I loved that shirt, I didn't love it nearly as much as what I'm told is my "job." For the past three years, I've had the best seats in the house for nine Carolina-Duke games, three ACC Tournaments and countless other moments I'll never forget while working for the Greensboro News & Record. 

I wasn't looking for anything a month ago when this opportunity came up. In fact, I was hustling around ACC Kickoff in Charlotte when I decided to hop on a demo session to see what this Maven thing was all about.

Needless to say, I was blown away and when I officially had the chance to launch HeelsMaven, I didn't waste a second to jump onboard.

In launching this site, I’m bringing the same passion I’ve had for storytelling from the first lacrosse matches  I covered for as a college student in Wilmington, all the way to racing to beat my deadline after Super Bowl 50.

Ultimately, the games are the same but the people are what make us all sports fans, whether it’s watching summer league basketball or a Final Four game.

meed
Owning this holiday sweater that I wore to Carolina's win over Gonzaga is a privilege, as was sitting beside Ed Hardin for the past three years.

I was fortunate to grow up in the greatest place in the world for college athletics. From when I was old enough to walk, I had a basketball in my hands, emulating the great ACC point guards in my driveway and begging my mom to stay up just a little later watching Raycom broadcasts.

One year in high school, I carried the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook around in my bookbag from November through April. Perhaps related: I didn't have my first date until I was 16.

I’ve got the greatest job in the world, and every time I walk into Kenan Stadium or the Smith Center, I think about what kind of stories I’d read or what videos I’d be hoping to see after a big win.

I’m going to do my best to deliver that to you every day, whether it’s a long read on Theo Pinson finding his place at Carolina or a silly investigation of why college basketball players wear tights. Alongside quick videos and injury updates from football practice, I’ll have stories on how head injuries have affected football players in the big picture.

Most of all, I want to create the sports website that I always wanted to read, with intelligent conversations via podcast and even more intelligent analysis in the form of film study. And since we can’t be all work and no play, expect plenty of the lighter side: the funny moments, the Roy-isms and uniform details.

There are so many great journalists covering Carolina athletics, and I'm honored to join the bunch. I hope you'll add HeelsMaven to the list of sites you check out for Tar Heel news every day.

Big things are on the horizon for Maven after making a deal to operate Sports Illustrated this summer. We'll have more details on that in the coming weeks, but it's a huge win for us publishers and what we're going to be delivering readers.

As for what I'll be delivering, we're going to look at the picture beyond the court, we're going to analyze the big (and small) moments, and most importantly, we're going to have some fun.

Be sure to follow HeelsMaven on Facebook and Twitter.

branthair
Was my hair better than Lonnie Walker's? Tough to say.
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