Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senior Night: UNC to start 3 walk-ons vs. Maryland

North Carolina coach Roy Williams remembers with fondness the final time he played a basketball game at home in high school. He remembers his mom walking out on the court to meet him before the game, and he remembers the emotions that came along with the moment.

Those memories, in part, are why Williams believes senior days are special. The Tar Heels will host their senior day on Wednesday, when Maryland visits the Smith Center for a 7 p.m. game. It will be the final home game for UNC seniors Tyler Zeller and Justin Watts, and for walk-ons Stewart Cooper, Patrick Crouch and David Dupont.

As is the tradition at UNC, all five seniors will start on Wednesday night.

“You know, I’m corny,” Williams said on Monday during his weekly portion of the ACC teleconference. “And you’ve  heard me say that many, many times. And I think that playing in the Smith Center, the last time in front of those fans that have supported you for four years, is extremely important.”
Williams described the festivities that come with senior day as “good stuff” and said, “We don’t emphasize the good stuff enough in college athletics.”

“I think that being able to walk over there and give your mom a rose and hug your mom and dad and walk out on the court and have those fans be able to say thank you and for you to be able to say thank you for the way that those fans make you feel for four years – all that is good stuff,” Williams said.

Other notables from Williams’ teleconference:

--Asked specifically what he hoped senior day would mean for Watts, Williams said, “I hope it means a heck of a lot to him, I really do. Because he’s meant a heck of a lot to our basketball team – so much more than someone would interpret just by looking at numbers. So I’m hoping it’ll be a special moment for J-Watts. And he’s done so much for us.” Watts has averaged 1.2 points per game in about six minutes of playing time per game this season, but he has been an important leader for the Tar Heels.

--Williams, of course, is pleased that the Tar Heels have a chance to win the ACC regular-season championship, which they would win if they beat Maryland on Wednesday and Duke on Saturday. “It’s all I ask for,” Williams said of being in this position with two games to play. “You’ve put yourself in position to be in the NCAA tournament. You’ve also put yourself in a position to get a fairly good seed in the NCAA tournament. So if you take care of your business against the teams in your league, you’ve put yourself in a good position.”

--Williams said Virginia “really made us look bad at times” during the Tar Heels’ 54-51 victory in Charlottesville on Saturday. “We didn’t get very good shots except for Z’s dunk down the stretch,” Williams said. “So we’ve got to get better in late-game situations. But Virginia exposed us I thought defensively. We weren’t tough enough, or patient enough to guard for the 35 seconds. And then we’ve got to do a better job with our motion and our screening and our execution of our set stuff on the offensive end.”

-- Andrew Carter


Buckshot Jenkins said...

I've always enjoyed this tradition. I know it means a lot to the walk ons who normally only see garbage time that they get a start on their final game.

Anonymous said...

I bet they remember finishing up that game at FSU a lot more than starting this one....hahaha.

He treated them like shizzle that day.

Anonymous said...


pay per head software said...

like Buckshot Jenkins who commented first on here, I have always liked that tradition as well and it is part of my and the whole city, so I hope they can keep it for many more years