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Fantasy Friday: UNC Basketball Challenge

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THB Contributors draft all-time Tar Heels onto eight new squads; Readers’ vote determines the outcome.

2009 UNC Alumni Basketball Game

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.

The Draft:

THB Fantasy Basketball Draft (Click image to enlarge)

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.

The Squads:

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

Pick Al Pick Tanya Pick Chad Pick Jake Pick Brandon Pick Chris Pick Akil Pick Andrew
Pick Al Pick Tanya Pick Chad Pick Jake Pick Brandon Pick Chris Pick Akil Pick Andrew
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
THB Draft by Team

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?