So here I am. Writing on this iMac on deadline one last time -- even though I've had this assignment for four years. They call this a "farewell" column. But I'm not going to because I prefer to say "hello." Hello to the unknown. Hello to finding our niches in this world. Hello to health insurance and the white picket fence. Hello to no more research papers, bubble sheets or cumulative examinations. Hello to that period of life when going out on a Tuesday night will no longer be so socially acceptable.
Floating above the coffee table in the North Carolina men's basketball office lobby is a large, blue balloon with the names of each current player and coach written on it. Sophomore point guard Adam Boone's name can now be crossed out. After North Carolina and Minnesota media outlets reported Tuesday that Boone would transfer, the University made it official Wednesday. Boone, from Minneapolis, did not comment except to state that he intends to remain at UNC through the first summer session.
Dean Smith was fidgety and uncomfortable on July 11, 2000.
The turnover ratio will be even higher than expected. North Carolina's Brian Morrison, a sophomore guard on the men's basketball team, announced Monday he will transfer to an undetermined school. The transfer marks the season's second and leaves the Tar Heels with three scholarship upperclassmen on next year's team after an 8-20 season. Jonathan Holmes and Will Johnson will be seniors and Adam Boone, now the only remaining member from his recruiting class, will be a junior. Redshirt freshman Neil Fingleton transferred to Holy Cross during Winter Break.
CHARLOTTE -- Four Corners and several years ago, North Carolina set forth upon the court and lulled opponents to sleep. Dean Smith's then-heralded Tar Heels played delay and ultimately altered college basketball's pace.
Duke's Jason Williams held a microphone after Sunday's win and concluded his goodbyes to the Cameron Indoor Stadium crowd by pointing to the national championship banners over the basket. "You know, I still think you can move those three banners to the left ...
North Carolina senior Jason Capel fell to the paint as Clemson's Chris Hobbs hammered him Wednesday night. The whistle blew, the layup fell through the hoop, and Capel pointed at Hobbs. In another time, another season, the extended index finger could have been a No. 1, as in ranking. In 2002, the gesture stood for the one streak UNC had remaining by the last game at the Smith Center -- Clemson's complete futility in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina enters the Senior Game eyeing the ACC's bylaws again. Last year, a win against Duke would have given the Tar Heels the regular-season crown outright. Instead, the loss forced them to share. However, UNC kept the top seed in the conference tournament by virtue of the tie-breaking rules. Which brings us to the present -- a time when the Tar Heels need a firetruck ladder to reach the top branch. The Tar Heels (7-18, 3-11) sit alone on the ACC's bottom rung, gloomy faces in hands.
RALEIGH -- North Carolina started to foul out of desperation as time wound down in Sunday night's 98-76 loss. Too bad the Tar Heels had been sending N.C. State to the free-throw line all night. The Wolfpack, a 75.5-percent team from the line, had plenty of chances to perfect its stroke. UNC gave State 37 free shots, 30 of which went down -- both season highs -- as the Tar Heels found themselves in severe foul trouble at the Entertainment & Sports Arena.
Hampton, Davidson, College of Charleston -- not a preview of the NCAA tournament's 16th seeds. They're previous losses on North Carolina's schedule. Hadn't the University of North Carolina learned its elementary lesson? Didn't the one-point squeaker against Binghamton do the trick? And what about the EA All-Stars taking UNC to school? This isn't the Tar Heel basketball of old, and the Tar Heels of all people should know that by now. Right?