Michael Jordan had a turnaround fadeaway that was unguardable, Tim Hardaway and Allen Iverson had killer crossovers that left defenders with broken ankles, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar patented the skyhook that led him to a Hall of Fame career. Throughout the history of basketball, these signature moves and others sometimes defined or transcended the particular players who perfected them.
North Carolina basketball fans have seen a number of “go-to” moves of their own by various Tar Heels. Over the years, these dunks, passes, and shots have helped lead UNC basketball teams to various titles in the ACC and NCAA.
Here is a list (along with videos) of some Tar Heel signature moves.
Ed Cota’s “Cota Floata”
When it comes to UNC signature moves, I think this Ed Cota move should always be at the top of any Tar Heel list because it is usually the first one that comes to mind for most fans when thinking of “go-to” moves. Also, it’s a signature move that has its own name, so while there may be more effective moves by other players, very few have their own nickname.
There could have been a number of signature Ed Cota moves on this list, like his lob passes for alley oops or his behind-the-back-fake-pass dribble (which you will see in the video below). However, his floater in the lane is the one I will always come back to and was often reminded of over the last three years whenever Justin Jackson shot a floater.
(I wish Twitter and high definition televisions were around during the time when Cota played at North Carolina because as you will see in the video below, he would have been an even bigger star and more appreciated for his creativity on the court.)
Kris Lang’s Hook Shots
Lang had a pretty effective career for the Tar Heels playing down in the post, and a lot of that success can be attributed to his hook shot. Lang was able to use either hand when shooting his hook shot, which made it twice as hard to defend for opposing players.
Antawn Jamison’s Quick or Flip Shots
Jamison had the ability to get a shot up quicker than a defender had the chance to even react to him getting the ball in the post. His quickness and ability to flip a shot up from multiple angles and heights made him one of the most effective scorers in UNC history.
Ty Lawson’s Quickness
I don't think we ever will see a player at UNC as quick as Lawson was with the basketball. The ability to use his speed and quickness to run Roy Williams’ fast break offense made him extremely effective and such a good point guard for the Tar Heels.
Seventh Woods’ Spin Move
Woods was known in high school for his dunking ability. While he has not yet shown that high-flying ability, he has added a spin move to his game that has left defenders watching in awe as he blows past them.
Wayne Ellington’s Follow-Thru
Anytime Ellington held that follow-thru after shooting a three-pointer, you almost knew it was going in the basket.
Danny Green’s Dancing
It is not necessarily a basketball signature move, and Green did so many other great things for UNC during his playing career; however, one of the first things you think of when you think of Danny Green (other than his dunk on Greg Paulus) is his pre-game dancing. So, this list would not be complete without it.
Kendall Marshall’s Passes
Marshall showed the ability to fit passes into the narrowest of passing lanes, and would find players open in which they didn’t even realize they were open. Much like Cota before him, his court awareness and creativity led to some flashy assists, with many of them being of the no-look variety.
Tyler Hansbrough Bull-in-China-Shop Post Moves
They may not have been fancy but they were certainly effective in helping Hansbrough to become the leading scorer in UNC Basketball history. His strength and toughness around the basket helped him to move defenders for easy dunks or put-backs. Also, he had the unique ability to draw contact, while also being able to finish through that contact for the “and-one”. If you were in his way, he was going to find a way to go through you in order to score.
Phil Ford and Four Corners
Ford and the four corners offense went hand in hand, as he was the perfect guard to run the offense. His dribbling and ball-handling skills, along with his quickness, allowed him to get past defenders for easy baskets or assists to his teammates.
Vince Carter Alley-Oop Dunks
Carter’s ability to jump out of the gym led to the some of the best dunks in UNC history. His teammates knew that they could throw the ball up anywhere in the vicinity of the basket, and Carter would go up, get the ball, and throw it down for a dunk.
Michael Jordan’s “Airness”
It is hard to really nail down a signature move for Jordan during his UNC playing days. Pretty much his entire game was a signature set of moves. While everyone else was running up and down the floor, Jordan glided like he was on ice. His jump shot was so smooth. He had the ability to just hang in the air, take a second to decide what he was going to do, and then either dunk it or score in some other acrobatic fashion. His entire game was just so effortless, in which he played the game with such apparent ease.
What are your favorite UNC Basketball signature moves? Who or what did I leave out?
Leave your thoughts or comments in the comment section below.