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Family Moment

As in a Carolina Family moment.

Adam Lucas shares an interesting story from last weekend concerning Rashad McCants and a scene that sounds like one you would find in an actual family:

As McCants knows, and as Tar Heel fans know, and as everyone in that room in Chapel Hill last week knows, McCants is a better basketball player than end-of-the-roster filler. In a room of his fellow Tar Heels, Makhtar Ndiaye spoke up.

"Shut the door, man," he said.

The door was closed. Vince Carter, Shammond Williams, McCants, Ndiaye and a handful of others remained.

"OK," Ndiaye said, turning to McCants. "Why don't you have a job?"

What followed was a frank hour-long discussion of the McCants saga. The good, the bad, the rumors, and the future. Everyone in the room agreed there had to be a future, that McCants was too talented to allow himself to be out of the league in just four seasons.

"Those guys weren't in my class and they didn't know me before last weekend," McCants says. "They had a perception of me, and it wasn't a very good one. When we talked, I explained some things that maybe they didn't know.

"I was so impressed and humbled and honored that they would do that. Them sitting down to talk to me, I felt like they appreciated my talent. I felt like they appreciated my character. Vince Carter was my basketball idol. And to have him say he likes my game and take the time to give me some advice, that means a lot."

Two things are striking here.  The first is the fact that a group of UNC players who were separated by at least five years in their Tar Heel careers spent an hour having an honest conversation with McCants about his struggling NBA career.  Secondly, is it just me or has Mahktar Ndiaye turned out to be a respectable guy after a tumultuous career in Chapel Hill? We saw Ndiaye show up at the Final Four holding the "Where's Dook?" sign while sitting with Jamison, Carter and Julius Peppers. Now here he is again being...well...a big brother in the UNC family to McCants.

I have said this before.  Many programs talk about being a family and UNC has carried the idea of the "Carolina Family" for many decades.  It is one thing to say that and another to practice it.  In this case you have former players taking the time to talk with another former player in an effort to understand his situation and encourage him.  The common bond of having worn the name NORTH CAROLINA on their jerseys allows this sort of honest and humble discussion.  Along with that bond you have the values of the Carolina Way that was taught to these players by Dean, Guthridge, Roy and even Matt Doherty. That bond and those values create a unique familial atmosphere.

These kinds of moments are clearly the stuff of families. This is no different than four or five biological brothers sitting around their parents kitchen encouraging one in the midst through a tough situation.  McCants said he was humbled and honored by what happened. Probably even more so he counts himself blessed to have brothers like these to lean on.