Remember back to 2009, during North Carolina’s 100th Season of Basketball Celebration, we saw former Tar Heels including Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Raymond Felton, Sean May, Jerry Stackhouse, Ed Cota, Dante Calabria, and many others compete in an Alumni Basketball Game. It was a glorious night. A night many of us wish could be replayed with older and more recent players (in their primes, of course). North Carolina certainly has the former firepower to do so. Here at THB, we are going to relive that game by rounding up our favorite Tar Heel basketball players of all time and drafting them to play a best-of-the-best tournament. Sort of.
Obviously, we can’t bring in Jack Cobb to receive passes from Ty Lawson, but we can imagine what a team like that would be like.
Over the course of a few days, eight of my THB colleagues participated in a Fantasy Basketball Draft. From a pool of over 100 former UNC basketball players, teams of 10 were selected. At the end of the draft, each writer set their own starting five and bench rotation. Each starting five consists of one point guard, two wing players, and two forward/centers. The bench for each team is three deep. Each writer was also able to draft two “walk-on” players.
Over the course of the next several weeks, teams will go head-to-head in a double-elimination bracket. You, the reader, will vote for the team that you believe would win these fictitious match-ups until we crown the first Tar Heel Blog UNC Basketball Fantasy Champion.
Some interesting notes:
- Is anyone shocked that Michael Jordan went first overall? Most believe he is the greatest to ever lace up a pair of basketball sneakers. Al built his team around the G.O.A.T.
- Lennie Rosenbluth was able to sneak into the first round. As a stand-out of the 1957 National Championship team, he holds the UNC records for highest career scoring average (26.9 ppg), highest single season scoring average (28 ppg; 1957), and most points scored in a single season (845; 1957).
- I was positively surprised to see that recency-bias did not play a role in drafting these teams. Out of the 80 players drafted, 23 are from the pre-1993 era. This just proves one thing; UNC Basketball has been exceptional for a really long time.
- There is at least one representative from all of UNC’s National Championship teams. The 2009 team lead the way with 10 draftees. 2005 followed closely behind at seven. 2017 was next with six. 1993 and 1982 each had five selected. 1957 and 1924 both had a single draftee.
- Piggy-backing off of that, only 1982 and 2009 had the entire starting five (of the national championship game) drafted. 1993 was missing Brian Reese. 2005 was missing Rashad McCants. 2017 is obviously missing Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson (who were not included because they have not finished their UNC careers).
- Some notable omissions include Ademola Okulaja, Dante Calabria, Pat Sullivan, Serge Zwikker, Joe Wolf, Jeff Lebo, Pete Chilcutt, Tommy LaGarde, and Pete Brennan.
- The last two rounds were added in to pick two “walk-on” players. These players are ones that each contributor has a connection with or just really enjoyed. Our very own Daniel Bolick was taken 79th overall! Had I been selecting a team, I would have drafted Dewey Burke here and been all but guaranteed a free biscuit.
Here is a breakdown of how each contributor drafted their team. Roster summaries and breakdowns will be available as we progress through the matches.
UNC Fantasy Draft
|1||M. Jordan||2||T. Hansbrough||3||J. Worthy||4||A. Jamison||5||V. Carter||6||P. Ford||7||R. Wallace||8||L. Rosenbluth|
|16||B. Johnson||15||E. Cota||14||T. Lawson||13||B. Cunningham||12||S. Perkins||11||S. May||10||B. Daugherty||9||C. Scott|
|17||K. Marshall||18||J. Stackhouse||19||B. McAdoo||20||R. Felton||21||K. Smith||22||J. Forte||23||D. Green||24||T. Zeller|
|32||D. Williams||31||J. Jackson||30||H. Davis||29||J. Henson||28||R. Bullock||27||H. Barnes||26||M. Paige||25||W. Ellington|
|33||M. O'Koren||34||E. Montross||35||G. Lynch||36||W. Davis||37||B. Wright||38||M. Kupchak||39||M. Williams||40||J. Black|
|48||D. Phelps||47||J. McAdoo||46||E. Davis||45||B. Haywood||44||S. Williams||43||K. Rice||42||P. Hairston||41||K. Meeks|
|49||R. Fox||50||M. Ginyard||51||A. Wood||52||J. McInnis||53||D. Strickland||54||J. Williams||55||I. Hicks||56||L. McDonald|
|64||J. Peppers||63||J. Manuel||62||D. Noel||61||B. Jones||60||D. Thompson||59||J. Reid||58||J. Kuester||57||G. Glamack|
|65||J. James||66||N. Britt||67||J. Watts||68||J. Cobb||69||S. White||70||O. Melendez||71||W. Moody||72||W. Miller|
|80||S. Cherry||79||D. Bolick||78||N. Fingleton||77||M. Doherty||76||J. Tokoto||75||L. Brown||74||B. Frasor||73||T. Bradley|
Next week, each contributor will introduce, and advocate for, their respective teams. It will then be up to you to vote for which team moves on. Who will win this challenge? Does a Michael Jordan-led squad get the nod or will a team full of studs knock the G.O.A.T. off of his throne?