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UNC Tar Heels Champions Again. Now On to 2011

April 7, 2009

Okay, now that destiny has been fulfilled . . .

This was an inevitable result. My four point prediction was all about college basketball, the tournament, the energy, the unpredictability, everything fans of the game love about the game and about college sports. Still, on paper no team was better than the Tar Heels this year. And like numerous prognosticators said, if they play the way they’re capable of, no one can defeat them. It would be great to end the paragraph with “and no one did,” but given the losses of focus that plagued the team last year and early this season you had to doubt that an undefeated season was going to happen.

The Hansbrough haters couldn’t wait to begin their predictions of his failure at the next level. That he won’t have ‘Sheed’s career doesn’t take a genius level sports analysis. He will make a team and he will contribute to some NBA team with rebounding and low double figures in scoring per game. And he is one of UNC’s greatest players, certainly one of the best big men ever to come out of the program (Can you name great Carolina big men who had a great pro career? Perkins? Daughterty? May? Injuries. Reid was kinda of a bust). How could a team pass on a kid with his work ethic, strength and free throw shooting?

The questions now begin for next year. Lawson was likely gone whether they won the tournament this year or not. Ellington, with his performance in the tournament this year, increased his NBA value and likely feels there’s nothing more to prove. I think Davis stays; he didn’t get enough touches and needs to put on some muscle. The team will be weak in the back court, at least for next year.

Roy Williams has two championships in the last four seasons, this most recent one with his own recruits. All he really needed to do, besides the tactics and strategy stuff, was get the kids to focus and play to the best of their abilities. It’s conceivable that there will be two coaching legends in the UNC basketball program.

It’s his job, or the job of any D-1 coach in today’s environment, to recruit players interested in the collegiate experience, or at least get players who see value in staying in school for more than a year. It’s fine for kids to skip college if professional sports is to be their avocation and they have the skills at 18 to apply to the profession. It won’t hurt any athlete to play a few years in college, though. For the few big time success stories of athletes who have become stars without college ball, or even with only a year of college experience, there are hundreds now who were wash-outs.

Now, which t-shirt do I pick?

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