We take a break from WRISTWATCH 2012 and UNC's preparations for the Sweet 16 to bring you a story by WUNC's Dave DeWitt that highlights UNC's junior varsity team which ran on National Public Radio's All Things Considered on Tuesday.
As the piece mentions, in the days prior to the early 1970s when freshmen were ineligible for varsity competition, every school had a freshman or JV team. Now Carolina is the only major college in the country to still sponsor a junior varsity program. The UNC JVs play mainly against community colleges and post-secondary prep schools in their 15-game schedule.
That the JV team has survived is a testament to the ideals of Dean Smith who, according to Roy Williams, believed every student should have a chance to try out for the basketball team at Carolina. Players are only allowed to play JV for two years before being given the opportunity to try out for the varsity team. Original Blue Steel members Stewart Cooper, David Dupont, and Patrick Crouch, among others (including Roy Williams' son, Scott), were once JV players who made the cut and played some varsity for the Tar Heels.
Also, coaching the JV team has served as a practicum for aspiring head coaches, as Williams, Phil Ford, and Eddie Fogler famously served as UNC JV coaches. On the current staff, Jerod Haase, who coached the team this season, and C.B. McGrath alternate duties each year as JV head coach.
Take four minutes and listen to a great story about another part of the tradition that is Carolina Basketball.