Welcome to Friday Food For Thought, the weekend conversation starter. Each week, this article presents a topic for debate. Whether in the comments section, on the golf course, or around the weekend game table, the goal is to provide enough background that either side could be a winner. In order to facilitate the discourse, a suggested beverage pairing is also be included. So speak up, mix it up, and drink up.
Now that the North Carolina roster is set for the upcoming men’s basketball season, the excitement of certainty can begin. This is an interesting time of the year for college basketball fans as the reflection on last year’s outcome contrasts with the anticipation of the year to come. The dichotomy raises an issue that has been touched upon in this article previously; is it better to be pleased with the previous year or excited with the upcoming year?
Of course, the best answer would seem to be both. But this begs a deeper question to explore today.
Issue: What was your favorite offseason during the Roy Williams era?
The 2015-2016 season did not end well. It was a really good season for about 80,000 seconds and then was really bad for about 1. A devastating loss caused even the most die-hard among us to doubt destiny. Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson both graduated without the rings that they so deeply deserved.
The following season, however, was one of redemption. Perfectly, the Championship was in Phoenix Stadium in the great state of Arizona.
No matter what happened after that game, the summer would have been excellent.
Except a lot more happened. Kennedy Meeks, Nate Britt, and Isaiah Hicks graduated while Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley declared for the draft. Coming back, however, were Theo Pinson, Joel Berry II, Luke Maye, and Kenny Williams. Transferring in was Cameron Johnson. A very talented and balanced freshman class only added to the anticipation.
This was a team that not only won the National Championship, but also was in a position to compete for a second year in a row. The group conquered the pinnacle of the sport in stunning fashion (what a thrilling tournament ride!), said goodbye to a number of beloved teammates, and yet appeared poised to continue the success.
That was a great summer.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the greatest summer followed a heartbreaking loss. The 2007-2008 season ended on a horribly sour note with a terrible Final Four loss to Kansas. By the way, lost in the huge early deficit and significant final margin was the incredible come-back that was waged. Nevertheless, a fiery intensity surrounded the off-season.
Tyler Hansbrough, the National Player of the Year, declined to declare for the draft so fans knew early that he would be back. Entering the draft but withdrawing prior to the deadline were Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green. Other notable returnees included Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, and Deon Thompson. An excellent incoming recruiting class was comprised of five star recruits Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller along with Justin Watts and another guard.
This was an incredible roster.
In fact, this was the only team ever to be the unanimous pre-season #1 ranked team in the history of the Coaches Poll. They were also the only team ever to be the unanimous pre-season #1 ranked team in the history of the Associated Press Poll.
It was a team that literally had everything a college basketball fan could hope for. Returning superstars on a mission. Promising freshmen ready to dominate. Oozing with scoring potential for a fast-paced offense. Plenty of strength off the bench.
Fans did not have to wonder what the season would be like, we just got to contemplate how much fun it would be. That was a great summer.
In need of encouragement to debate – It is time to admit that life is about more than bourbon and beer, sometimes. It can also be about beverages that are light and lively. Sure it may stain your shirt in a nasty way, but the vodka cranberry is an excellent summer beverage. Try it with a lime wedge. Delicious and wards off scurvy.
Can debate without assistance – My oldest has been trying different combinations in a fruit infuser recently won from Dave & Buster’s. Fresh cucumber is the winner so far. As was I at the Tailgate Toss game. Just getting ready for the fall.