Thursday, April 2, 2009

Best-ever Tar Heels: PGs and SGs

With North Carolina in the Final Four again, we thought it would be a good time to list our choices for the Tar Heels’ top five players at these positions: Point guards and shooting guards, which are below, and small forwards and post players, in Friday’s O List.

Point Guards

5. LARRY BROWN (1960-63): The current coach of the Charlotte Bobcats is better known for his long and here-there-and-everywhere career, but Brown had game. He was All-ACC in 1963, and would go on to win a gold medal with the 1964 Olympic team.

4. KENNY SMITH (1984-87): Lithe and lean, Smith led the Tar Heels to 14-0 ACC regular-season marks both as a freshman and a senior. A consensus All-American in 1987, he dropped a career-high 41 points on Clemson that year. Smith left North Carolina with then-school records of 768 career assists and 195 steals.

3. RAYMOND FELTON (2002-05): A blur of a point guard who brought Roy Williams’ feared transition game to peak efficiency, Felton guided the Tar Heels to the 2005 national crown. The only North Carolina player to finish his career with more than 1,000 points, 600 assists, 300 rebounds, 100 steals and 100 3-pointers.

2. TY LAWSON (2006-): If Lawson, the deserved ACC player of the year, can push the Tar Heels to the national championship, he can make a legitimate case for the No..1 spot on this list. The quickest player in school history; just try to slow him on the break.

1. PHIL FORD (1974-78): The master of Dean Smith’s Four Corners delay offense; you simply could not take the ball away from him as he dribbled away the clock to protect a lead. When he helped the Tar Heels upset David Thompson and N.C. State in the 1975 ACC tournament final as a freshman, it was just a taste of what was to come. In ’78, he would be the national player of the year.

Shooting Guards

5. DONALD WILLIAMS (1991-95): Suffice it to say that without his sweet jumper, the Tar Heels would not have won the 1993 national championship. He played the best basketball of his career at exactly the right time.

4. RASHAD McCANTS (2002-05): He was up and down as a player, but when he wanted to impress, he was almost unstoppable. He knocked in 221 3-pointers at North Carolina and was a key to its 2005 title run.

3. WALTER DAVIS (1973-77): Davis, from Charlotte and South Mecklenburg High, played more SF with the Tar Heels. He was called “Sweet D” for his smooth and sleek game. The master of the difficult mid-range jumper, he was also an excellent passer, decent rebounder and tough defender. And he made “The Shot,” that 30-footer that capped the Tar Heels’ incredible eight-points-in-17-seconds comeback against Duke in 1974.

2. CHARLIE SCOTT (1966-70): North Carolina’s first black varsity basketball player could score inside and out, and had the ability to carry a team. A quick example; in the 1969 ACC tournament final, he torched Duke for 40 points, 28 in the second half on 12-of-13 shooting as North Carolina wiped out overcame a nine-point halftime deficit.

1. MICHAEL JORDAN (1981-84): Do we really need to explain this? While the accepted wisdom is that Jordan really didn’t explode until he reached the pros, he was a two-time consensus all-American in Chapel Hill, and national player of the year in 1984. Then he went on to be the best basketball player of all time.

-- Stan Olson

Disagree with any of the choices? Remind us who we left in the comments section below. No matter how much you beg, though, Rich Yonakor doesn’t make it.


Anonymous said...

how do you leave Ed Cota off this list?

chuck said...

My list:
Point Guards
1. Phil Ford
2. Kenny Smith
3. Raymond Felton
4. Ty Lawson
5. Jimmy Black

Shooting Guards
1. Charlie Scott
2. Walter Davis
3. Michael Jordan
4. Donald Williams
5. R. McCants

I choose not to confuse the fact that Jordan was a pretty good college player, not a great one, and that he became the greatest basketball player in the history of the game as a professional.

Michael said...

Not a UNC fan, but this list is pretty bad. Ed Cota, the all-time assist leader in school history, isn't even on the list. Ty Lawson #2, really? He got a jump shot and became a legitimately well-rounded permiter player about what, 2 months ago?

A little research would go a long way. Don't tell me the oldest public school in the country has had 2 of their 3 best PG's in their history during the last 4 years.

Anonymous said...

My opinion: Reading about 'best-ever' lists is painfully boring. Doesn't Carolina play Villanova or somebody...this Saturday or sometime...any chance we could get some breakdown on that???????????

Anonymous said...

As an NC State fan, I have no argument with your rankings, but I believe you wrongly attributed the Heel's 1975 conference championship win against my Wolfpack to Phil Ford's play. Let me tell you that it was Walter Davis' smothering defense of David Thompson that made the difference. (Thompson suffered leg cramps during the second half and played intermittingly, but it appeared that Davis' pressure contributed to this condition.)

Jack Watson

Anonymous said...

I get tired of people's revisionist history that Jordan was not a great college player just because he was the greatest pro player ever.

In college in 1984, he was the Wooden and Naismith National Player of the Year. In 1983, he was The Sporting News player of the year. Also, first team in 1983 and 1984.

Pay attention to facts.

Anonymous said...

Also, it appears Al Wood is missing as a SG as far as overall career v. Williams/McCants

Observer Sports said...

Al Wood was more of a small forward, although like Walter Davis, he was interchangeable. He just might pop up on tomorrow's list...

Anonymous said...

Ditto. How do you leave Ed Cota off the list?

Anonymous said...

Dave Colescott
Mike Pepper
Curtis Hunter
Razino Smith
King Rice

Observer Sports said...

Love the last list, especially Mike Pepper and Ranzino Smith.

As for Cota, who would you guys leave off to get him on? Larry Brown is the only viable option, in my opinion, and my opinion is that I would rather have Brown...

Anonymous said...

How about Lennie Rosenbluth and Tommy Kearns. Like to see any of your list jump against Wilt!