NEW YORK – If North Carolina beats Dayton for the National Invitation Tournament title tonight, the Tar Heels will become the first team to win an NCAA championship and NIT championship in back-to-back seasons.
NEW YORK — One thing is for certain in Thursday's NIT title
game, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said today: senior Deon
Thompson will start the final game of his career. And the forward will
set a new record for NCAA games played with 152, surpassing Florida’s
Walter Hodge and Kentucky’s Wayne Turner.
UPDATE: Astute reader points out that this year's games at MSG
were in the 2K Sports Classic, not the Preseason NIT ...
changes are below.
North Carolina senior Deon Thompson, whose team will face Rhode Island on Tuesday in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament, is no stranger to NIT games at Madison Square Garden.
He's played four contests there, including two in the pre-season form of the NIT as a freshman -- and hopes to have a better outcome this time around.
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina coach Roy Williams went to watch signee Harrison Barnes win a high school state championship in Iowa over the weekend, and constantly had to avert his eyes from the television showing college teams qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
“I’ve been like a spoiled little brat, I’ve taken my ball and gone home,’” Williams said Monday. “I haven’t watched one play. And it’s the most unusual feeling I’ve ever had; it’s a feeling I never want to experience again. It’s painful, it’s frustrating … my first year, we were not eligible to go. And since then, in our mind, there was ever
any doubt we were in.”
DURHAM — It was hard to hear above the jeers, but about five minutes into Saturday’s game, a familiar phrase – from a familiar fan – came out of the student section at Cameron Indoor Stadium:
“Miss it, Deon!"
Brian King – the Presbyterian supporter who now infamously got booted out of the Smith Center last December after screaming those words at North Carolina senior Deon Thompson during the Tar Heels blowout victory – was on the front row with the Cameron Crazies, cheering on the Blue Devils during Duke’s 82-50 blowout win. He was invited, he said, by the students.
CHAPEL HILL — In a season that has seen eight different North Carolina players miss at least one game because of injury, it wasn’t all that surprising to learn that two Tar Heels – Deon Thompson (sore back) and Will Graves (who has been in a walking boot because of a sprained ankle) -- are hobbling entering Saturday’s game at No. 4 Duke.
Coach Roy Williams said he is hopeful that both will play, although it will be a game-time decision.
But Thompson – who has never missed a game, and missed the first practice of his career Thursday – said there’s no question about his status, even if he’s hurting: “I’ll play tomorrow.”
If he does, it will mark his 146th game as a Tar Heel, surpassing the mark set by Danny Green last season. Thompson is 3-0 for his career at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
From today's College Basketball page:
Since the ACC was formed in 1954, North Carolina (14-14, 3-10 ACC) has
placed at least one player on one of the All-ACC teams. That's another
streak that could end this season.
Deon Thompson leads the Tar Heels in scoring (14.1 ppg) entering
today's game at Wake Forest - but considering his inconsistency, he's
going to have to put on quite a show this week to earn media votes.
Remember when North Carolina's frontcourt was going to be the strength of its team? With sophomore Ed Davis out for six weeks — essentially, the rest of the season — with a broken bone on his left wrist, the Tar Heels are going to be scrambling for big bodies when they play N.C. State on Saturday.
Reserve 7-footer Tyler Zeller, who has already been sidelined five weeks with a broken bone in his right foot, isn't due to return until the end of next week at the earliest. Reserve freshman forward Travis Wear is still out with a severely sprained ankle and will not play against the Wolfpack.
That leaves normal starter Deon Thompson at one slot in the post, David Wear or John Henson (who has recently moved from small forward to power forward) starting in the other slot, and Will Graves (usually the starting small forward) to fill in.
CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams tried to take the blame for his team’s 2-4 ACC start on his shoulders Sunday night, saying he needed to find a better way of coaching.
But after being blown out by Virginia 75-60, senior Deon Thompson said the blame rests with the players: “Guys just need to care more. [They] just need to care more about this jersey, the name, that we wear on the front of our chest. It just means so much in the history, and it represents so much, and we’re just not representing Carolina basketball that way right now.”
TAKAAKI IWABU - email@example.com
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina forward Deon Thompson never thought he’d get dunked on so many times in the span an hour. “But it was great,’’ the senior said, laughing. “It was so just much fun doing it.”
“It” was the UNC’s annual clinic for Special Olympics, a two-hour event at the Smith Center on Sunday afternoon that put as many smiles on the faces of Tar Heels players and coaches as it did the 100 athletes from across the state.
Carolina, which will certainly tumble Monday from its 12th spot in the Associated Press poll, has lost two straight games, and three of its last four — but the Special Olympians didn’t care. Not as they dribbled around 7-footer Tyler Zeller, who was helping out at the ballhandling station even though he’s in a walking boot to protect his fractured foot.