Despite two years of college basketball experience, junior forward Harrison Ingram felt nervous ahead of his first regular-season contest in the Dean E. Smith Center.
Once he realized it was just another game, though, he was ready to make an impact, as were the rest of the transfers.
In North Carolina’s 86-70 win over Radford on Monday, the transfers in UNC’s starting lineup showcased why head coach Hubert Davis brought the group to Chapel Hill — to fix the issues of last season, notably the Tar Heels' assist rate and the outside shooting.
North Carolina ranked 310th among Division I teams in assist rate, per KenPom, and ranked 318th in 3-point percentage.
“It was crazy, man,” Ingram said, later adding "But at the 15-minute mark, I locked in a little bit. For the first 40 minutes, just looking out there, I saw fans way up there [in the stands], like we were in the NBA or something like that. It was a good experience.”
Unlike Ingram, graduate guard Paxson Wojcik was a bit more accustomed to the Smith Center. His dad, Doug, coached at UNC and Wojcik played in the Smith Center when Brown visited the Tar Heels in 2021. However, something came flying Wojcik's way before the game that he wasn’t prepared for – Armando Bacot’s elbow.
Coming off of a screen in a shoot-around, Wojcik was getting ready to receive the ball when Bacot inadvertently made a defensive play to stop the transfer from getting his shot off.
"All I know is he hit the ground and there was blood coming out [of his forehead]," Bacot said. "I was like, 'Wow.'"
10 stitches, a bandage and a headband later, he was ready to play. And 36 seconds into the game, Wojcik showed no signs that the incident impacted him, nailing a 3-pointer from the corner and eliciting a strong response from the crowd.