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The Daily Tar Heel

Daugherty Stays on Court With Mic in Hand

The bright-eyed freshman had no intentions to return to his hometown.

But now, after four successful years as a Tar Heel, eight seasons in the NBA and stints living on the beach and in Atlanta, Brad Daugherty relishes settling his family where he grew up.

"I never thought I'd end up back here when I was younger," he said. "But I've got two young kids, and I just really wanted to ground those guys, give them a good foundation."

Way back when, Daugherty had only recently received his driver's license (he skipped eighth grade and had an early birthday to graduate at 16) and was already starting for the defending champion Tar Heels. Daugherty is the eighth-leading scorer and sixth-leading rebounder in UNC history.

Under Dean Smith's deft tutelage Daugherty played beyond his age and prepared for a fruitful NBA career -- he went first in the 1986 draft at age 20 -- and after averaging 19 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, Cleveland retired Daugherty's No. 43 jersey. He was forced to leave the league after eight years because of nagging back problems.

But Daugherty said what impacted him most while he was "growing up" at UNC was Smith's profound affect on his ideals.

"The things I learned from Coach Smith are things I still apply in my every day life," he said. "Even in my business life, and how I deal with my children. ... the impact he had on my life, my philosophies and how I look at things was so tremendous, that today I emulate a lot of those things."

Daugherty didn't take to the sidelines like some of his former teammates.

Well, at least not on the sideline next to the bench. Instead, Daugherty picked up a microphone and put his communications degree to use. However, Daugherty considers his "real job" running five car dealerships in the Cleveland area.

"Brad's a very smart person," said UNC coach Matt Doherty, who played with Daugherty for two seasons. "Just look at what he's done. ... Brad, when he was in the NBA, understood that the ball would stop bouncing someday."

Outside of his business endeavors, Daugherty spent two years as an NBA analyst, following which ESPN asked him to do college hoops. He gladly agreed and calls about 40 games a season.

"This is my opportunity to get my basketball fix," Daugherty said before UNC's Preseason NIT matchup with Rutgers on Wednesday, a game he called for ESPN. "It allows me to stay around the game. Because I love basketball, and it gives me a chance to participate. And I get to go home at the end of the day, and I'm undefeated behind the microphone."

Daugherty's biggest challenge comes when he commentates on his former team. Last year, after Daugherty worked a Duke-Wake Forest game, he asked Blue Devil Jason Williams, "Are you going to take it easy on my Tar Heels?"

"I ask the producers every year not to give me any Carolina games, but they always give me four or five," Daugherty said. "It's really hard. You never want to appear biased when you're doing something like this because you want to establish and keep credibility, but I'm a Tar Heel through and through. ... I'm usually emotionally spent after doing these games, as opposed to any other games."

Last year was particularly hard, with UNC missing the NCAA Tournament.

"As a Carolina basketball fan, you are very spoiled," he said. "But (last year) was a reality check."

Maybe it really struck home when Doherty approached Daugherty's son last season after a game and asked him if he would be coming to camp that summer. Daugherty's son promptly informed the coach he was a Duke fan.

We'll see what his dad does about that.

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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