Summer pick-up games are something that get talked about a lot when it comes to Carolina basketball. From anybody from the outside looking in, it probably seems like a casual affair that doesn’t mean a lot, but traditionally these games are highly competitive battles for pride that usually end with alumni teaching current players a thing or two. During Carolina’s annual summer basketball camp game, that is exactly what happened.
Minus Elliot Cadeau and Zayden High, who were attending freshman orientation, the current team went head-to-head with UNC alumni in a first to 70 contest, and ultimately the game came down to one play. Here’s what happened per UNC’s Adam Lucas:
In a close, basket-for-basket contest, the score was tied at 68 in a game played to 70 points. During a timeout, Cole Anthony drew up a play designed to utilize the alum team’s big men. But some good defense by Seth Trimble—Anthony singled out Trimble for his impressive defense after the game, and you’ll hear much more from the Magic guard in a fun interview on Friday’s Carolina Insider podcast, which will include much more on the sights and sounds of camp and pickup this week—blew up the play and forced Anthony to improvise.
That’s an area where the point guard, who will enter his fourth season in the NBA this fall, shines. He drew plenty of defensive attention, then lofted a lob pass to James Michael McAdoo cutting down the lane. McAdoo grabbed it very close to the rim and slammed it through for the game-winning points.
Lucas said that current players argued after the game ended that McAdoo’s basket was goaltending, but Cole Anthony was quick to whip out video and not only show them that it wasn’t goaltending, but that it’s perfectly legal in the NBA. Seniority rules during these games, so ultimately the alumni team came away with the win. Overall it’s been a highly competitive week, and players like Anthony, Tyler Zeller, and Marcus Paige have all been giving the current team pointers and made it a point to challenge them every chance they got.
One can only hope that we hear more about these kinds of games happening throughout the summer, because infamously last summer there wasn’t a lot of activity outside of the camp game. It goes without saying that the 2022-23 team had way more issues than getting to play against former players, but I do believe that it is valuable for them to learn from/play against players that have played with the best players in the world. If nothing else, the most valuable thing that can come out of this summer is the newcomers creating a bond with former Tar Heels, which would be huge in this current college basketball landscape. There’s a lot of new players on the 2023-24 roster, and making them feel like they are truly Tar Heels may go a long way in helping them on and off the court.