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The Daily Tar Heel

COLUMN: Me, 2K and Berry's injury

Joel Berry v Gonzaga
North Carolina wing Theo Pinson (1), forward Kennedy Meeks (3) and guard Joel Berry II (2) defend Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) in the 2017 championship game.

With 0.3 seconds remaining, I thought it was over.

I was embarrassingly close to the TV in my room, clutching an Xbox 360 controller. An NBA 2K15 online game stared back at me.

I can still remember what I assumed was going to be the game-winning sequence: Magic Johnson took the ball up the court and burned some clock. With about six seconds left, Robert Parish set a screen for him. Johnson drove and took a layup that rimmed out. Parish was there for the rebound putback on the left side of the basket.

Trailing by two, my opponent called a timeout. This was the height of my 10th-grade 2K phase, and I was far too emotionally attached to the game already. But, even though I’d seen the replay of Derek Fisher’s 0.4-second shot against the Spurs plenty of times, I made a mistake and let my guard down.

The inbound pass came from the sideline and hit Detlef Schrempf in stride at the top of the key. The release was quick, the shot a desperation heave. I watched the 3-pointer swish and end the game.

A prerecorded Kevin Harlan started to yell, “Oh, he put it down!” but was cut off before he could finish. I turned off my Xbox and flopped onto my bed. There were pillow punches and — enough time has passed so I don’t care to admit this — some angry tears. To this day, I know that tiny animated Schrempf didn’t get the shot off in time. It was a stupid thing to get worked up about, but that’s what 2K will do to you.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman gave the first report that North Carolina guard Joel Berry II broke a bone in his right hand punching a door after losing a video game. The story became more clear as the ACC men’s basketball media day progressed.

Berry was playing 2K18 with Theo Pinson and a student manager, and, after he lost, he punched the door in frustration. Berry led UNC with 14 points in a closed scrimmage against Memphis on Friday afternoon, so the incident likely occurred sometime in the two days after. UNC announced the injury on Monday afternoon.

If Berry’s recovery takes four weeks as expected, he would only miss UNC’s first two games: home contests against Northern Iowa on Nov. 10 and Bucknell on Nov. 15. He’d be healthy in time for the Tar Heels’ Nov. 20 game at Stanford.

With Berry out, sophomore Seventh Woods or first-year Jalek Felton will likely slide into a starting role. Head coach Roy Williams also told reporters on Wednesday that Pinson could see time at point guard.

The team shouldn’t be in this situation. Berry will take some flak for this, as he probably should. But it seems like the Tar Heels will survive this injury and give some young guards valuable experience while they’re at it.

I saw something else in the situation too. I’ll still get a little worked up over 2K games to this today. My brother had a love-hate relationship with "Plants vs. Zombies." He’d always end the game crying because one level was too hard but be back playing it again the next day. One of my friends still has AA batteries stuck in his basement wall from an angry Wii remote throw.

To see Berry get frustrated over a video game shows he’s human like the rest of us — and that’s OK.


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