LAKELAND, Fla. -- Cameron Maybin is ready for March Madness on many levels. The North Carolina native might have a minor family crisis on his hands when the NCAA men's basketball tournament starts next weekend, and not just because his wife is due to give birth in the next few
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Cameron Maybin is ready for March Madness on many levels. The North Carolina native might have a minor family crisis on his hands when the NCAA men's basketball tournament starts next weekend, and not just because his wife is due to give birth in the next few days.
"I'm a Tar Heel," he said. "I bleed Carolina Blue."
So what's the problem?
"I married into a Duke family," he said. "My wife's family, they're Dukies."
When the two ACC schools meet up in the regular season, he said, "we watch in different rooms."
With UNC as a favorite this year and Duke with a national title to defend, they'll both have games to watch. Given the circumstances, Maybin might exercise some diplomacy and put up with the Blue Devils for the family good.
While Maybin is a baseball veteran, he's also a basketball lifer. His cousin, Marques, was a star player at the University of Louisville. Before Maybin was roaming center field in the big leagues, he was a star basketball player in high school in Asheville, receiving recruiting letters from schools. He's still involved in the game, coaching a team of third-graders this offseason.
He knows UNC's team in depth, which made him overjoyed when the Tar Heels made a run through the ACC tournament this weekend. He's confident they have a similar run in them coming up.
"Oh yeah, we've got the best team, and I think the most talented," he said. "If they do what they did [in the conference tournament], if they hit the outside shot, I think they're tough to beat. They get more second chances than anybody in college basketball, and they rebound great. It's just the long jumpers, man."
For now, Maybin's baseball season is on hold while his left wrist heals from a hairline fracture, suffered March 1 on a Luis Severino fastball. Maybin has a follow-up exam in a week or so that should determine how much the wrist has healed and provide a better idea how much longer he'll be out.
In the meantime, between Carolina basketball and a new baby on the way, he'll have plenty to follow, even if he has to put up with Duke some more.
"I can't stand it," he said, shaking his head. "They usually get the better of me."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.