The following year, the Tar Heels were ranked #6 in the AP preseason poll, having lost Paige and Johnson but retaining 2016 ACC Tournament MVP Joel Berry II as well as forwards Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks. After early season losses to Indiana and Kentucky, the Tar Heels won their 31st ACC regular season title. Despite never being ranked #1 in the AP Poll and losing to Duke in the semifinals of the ACC tournament, the Heels earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they advanced to their record 20th Final Four and 11th NCAA tournament title game. They beat Gonzaga 71-65 to give Williams his 3rd national championship, surpassing mentor Dean Smith for most NCAA tournament championships at Carolina, and behind only John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski, and Adolph Rupp for most NCAA tournament championships overall. Just as in the previous year, the Tar Heels finished with a 33-7 overall record and a 14-4 ACC record.
Dean Smith was widely known for his idea of "The Carolina Way," in which he challenged his players to, “Play hard, play smart, play together.” “The Carolina Way” was an idea of excellence in the classroom, as well as on the court. In Coach Smith's book, The Carolina Way, former player Scott Williams said, regarding Dean Smith, “Winning was very important at Carolina, and there was much pressure to win, but Coach cared more about our getting a sound education and turning into good citizens than he did about winning.“  "The Carolina Way" was evident in many practices the players would implement, including pointing to the player who assisted in a basket, giving him credit as an act of selflessness. This "Thank the Passer" practice is used throughout basketball today.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Monday the 50 men's college basketball players to watch during the season-long competition for the 2020 Naismith Trophy Men's Player of the Year honor. University of North Carolina freshman point guard Cole Anthony is on the list. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded during the Final Four in Atlanta on April 5, 2020. (GoHeels.com)
Courtney Banghart Live, the official radio show of the North Carolina women's basketball program, debuts Monday at noon the Carolina Club. Banghart will join host Matt Krause, the radio play-by-play voice of UNC women's basketball, for the 30-minute show. The duo will discuss the latest news and notes around the program, as well as preview games. (GoHeels.com)
Greensboro Coliseum plays host to the 2020 New York Life ACC Tournament March 10-14, marking the 27th time the facility welcomes the conference tournament, and the first since 2014. Featuring all 15 ACC teams, the event begins with three first-round games on Tuesday, March 10, before concluding on Saturday, March 14 with the championship game. The entire tournament will air exclusively on the ESPN family of networks. Game times and network designations will be announced at a later date.
Ziaire Williams on UNC: "As far as culture and atmosphere, just the city as a whole, they have everything. The fans are amazing, great support system and of course Roy Williams. He’s a Hall of Fame coach, arguably one of the best to ever do it. Every time I go there it has always been fun. I don’t have a timetable. I don’t want to feel pressured by a certain date." (247 Sports)
With Ed Davis sidelined for at least four weeks due to a fractured left fibula, it’s now time for Tony Bradley to show what he can do at the NBA level. The 21-year-old Bradley has played only 15 games in his NBA career so far, nine in his rookie season, three last season, and three in garbage time this season. Now, though, he’ll get real NBA minutes that matter. (Salt Lake Tribune)
After wrapping up practice on Wednesday afternoon, players from the North Carolina women's basketball team shifted their attention to preparing for Halloween. The team headed to UNC Children's Hospital, where they helped kids get ready to leave being patients behind for a day and instead become Harry Potter, Captain America or Wonder Woman. (GoHeels.com)
Arizona is the leader and Donovan Johnson's official visit earlier this fall could not have gone any better. The four-star wing will play his senior year alongside Arizona commit Dalen Terry and he has a strong relationship with coach Sean Miller. But this weekend, Johnson will officially visit UNC. He could also visit Pitt before signing during the Early Signing Period. (Rivals.com)