One of them is the heart of the Tar Heels, the other is the soul. They are both National Champions. It’s hard to accurately put into words how much Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson have meant to the UNC basketball program the last four years.
Both Berry and Pinson chose to ride with Roy Williams and North Carolina through some of the darkest times the program has seen. They have been incredible ambassadors for what it means to put on the uniform. They were instrumental in bringing another banner home to Chapel Hill.
Joel has been pretty much everything you want your point guard to be. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in heart, hustle, and intensity. He’s a fearless competitor who hates to lose pretty much more than anything. Berry is the perfect leader for these Tar Heels. After struggling through two injured ankles in last year’s tournament, Berry shrugged off the pain to shoot his team to victory over Gonzaga. His jersey will hang in the rafters of the Dean Dome forever as a result.
Theo has been criminally underrated in what he is able to do on the court. While he is better known for his comedic relief with postgame comments or crashing press conferences, the ability he has to facilitate is one of the biggest reasons the Heels are in such a good position to close out this season. His presence on the floor has been so important to the UNC offense running at its highest capacity. When he hasn’t been there, due to injury or foul trouble, it’s like everything begins to crumble a bit. Pinson may not be a guy you can count on for 20 points every night, but everything else he does on the floor is just as important. Carolina would be so much worse off without him.
Being a devoted fan of college sports is difficult because you’re forced to say goodbye to a number of your favorite players every year. We have been so damn lucky to get to watch Berry and Pinson both on and off the court for the past four years. We get to see them one more time in the Dean Dome tonight. Here’s hoping everyone in attendance gives them the sendoff that they deserve.
We’ll be back after the game with a complete roundup of the happenings, as always. Until then...