Tar Heel Fan's summary of the last twenty-five years of Carolina basketball finally reached the 1998 season, one of the most frustratingly talented teams of my lifetime. He misses one aspect of the team that I've always felt cost the team the championship - Vasco Evtimov's stint in the French army.
Evtimov never got the playing time his brother Illian later did at N.C. State, and wouldn't have logged that many minutes on the court in 1998, either. But when Makhtar Ndiaye fouled out of the Utah game embarrassingly early in the second half, the Heels had no one to put in the middle but freshman Brendan Haywood. And as Haywood was considerably thinner than he would eventually be at UNC and in the pros, he was pushed around pretty handily by the Utah front line. What Carolina needed was a more physical presence, and Evitmov, a harbringer of the style of play Julius Peppers would bring to the court in the years to follow was just what the doctor ordered. I'm telling you, with him on the court, UNC advances to play Kentucky on Monday night and wins it all.
And then the next five seasons are still pretty dire. But there's another piece of hardware in the trophy case. So in honor of the elder Evtimov, I leave you with his biographical page from a strange internet encyclopedia, in probably the most tortured English I've encountered in quite some time:
Vasco Evtimov, born the January 30th 1977 with Sofia in Bulgaria, is a French of Basket-ball, evolving/moving at the station of interior.
Wire of Ilia Evtimov, brother of Ilian Evtimov, it chooses to play for the Équipe of France. After a career NCAA with North Carolina disturbed by a six month old suspension to have played in France with Pau-Orthez during a sasison between two academic years, it returns to Europe, evolving/moving in many clubs. It has indeed evil to be fixed, victim often choices of trainer which arrive in the clubs for which it signed before the arrival of those.
Very massive player, it brings a motivation out-standard, a great combativeness and a great activity with the rebound. These qualities, in spite of a great awkwardness with the charity tosses, are at the origin of the choice of Climamio Bologna to make of it its captain for the season 2006.
In February 2007, it joined its compatriot Joseph Gomis with the Spanish club of Valladolid.
I too have evil to be fixed, victim often of choices of trainer which arrive in the clubs for which it signed before the arrival of those. As do we all.