When he was a baby, Paxson Wojcik had a picture taken of him on the baseline of the Dean E. Smith Center wearing a Santa hat with a basketball between his legs.
When he got the opportunity to play in the Dean Dome in 2021, as a guard for Brown, Wojcik recreated the picture — albeit with a Bears practice jersey on.
In March, after the graduate guard entered the portal, Wojcik became the first player to transfer to UNC for the 2023-24 season. Now Wojcik gets the opportunity to take that picture from the other side as a Tar Heel.
“[It’s] pretty special seeing myself here when I was younger,” Wojcik said. “I didn’t even really remember, I was so young. And then being back here, it’s a full circle thing.”
The Smith Center is familiar to the Wojcik family. Wojcik’s dad, Doug, was an assistant coach for the Tar Heels under Matt Doherty from 2000-2003.
“It was an environment that Paxson certainly remembered,” Doug Wojcik said. “But at the same time I don’t know if he really remembered, you know what I mean? And how big the Smith Center is and how great the fans are, how nice the Carolina blue is.”
But when Paxson got his chance to play in the Smith Center for the first time, it wasn’t for the Tar Heels. As a junior at Brown two years ago, he posted 14 points in a seven-point loss to UNC.
“It was such a close game and competitive game,” Paxson said. “It gets brought up a lot. It’s really funny now just being here and being in the locker room with RJ [Davis], Armando [Bacot], guys who I’ve played since high school.”