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North Carolina’s Joel Berry II named Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 NCAA Tournament

Well deserved.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Gonzaga vs North Carolina Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t always pretty — okay, it was ugly for most of the game — but those wins count just as much as the pretty ones. North Carolina out-slugged Gonzaga, 71-65, to win the national championship, one year after losing in the national title game. And they couldn’t have done it without Joel Berry II, who was named Most Outstanding Player.

Berry’s offense was critical in keeping UNC in the game. On a night when the Tar Heels simply could not buy a bucket from downtown, shooting a woeful 4-27 as a team, Berry hit just enough to keep North Carolina in striking distance. Berry finished 4-8 from downtown, pouring in a game high 22 points. He also added six dimes and three rebounds.

Berry was solid all tournament, dropping 26 points in a win over Butler, and found other ways to contribute when his shot wasn’t dropping against Kentucky and Oregon, despite nursing the latest in a long string of injuries.

Finding lots of ways to contribute is the mark of a champion. Thanks in large part to Berry’s efforts, the Tar Heels are champions tonight.