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  • gonzologist 3:16 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Art Garfunkle, defense, , , , Tarheelblue.com   

    Deon’s Subtle Dominance 

     

    Adam Lucas published an insightful profile of senior forward Deon Thompson on Tarheelblue.com over the weekend. The article discusses the myriad ways in which Deon has played second fiddle during his illustrious career: acting as one half of the Alex Stepheson/Deon Bash Brothers his freshman year, then having to Garfunkle his way for two years behind Psycho T. Deon even gets seconds here on The Rafters due to our extreme love of Ed Davis.

     

    Lucas points out some interesting facts about Deon’s defense, which I’m sure most of us hadn’t noticed:

    “Sunday, he helped harass Nevada standout Luke Babbitt into a 5-for-18 performance, including completely shutting him out from the 10:31 mark until 19 seconds remained–the key part of the game.”

    “It’s not a coincidence that with Thompson out midway through the second half, a six-point Tar Heel lead turned into a one-point deficit in less than 150 seconds.”

     

    That sort of defensive presence is a necessity, especially considering the high volume of turnovers the Tar Heels are consistently coughing up. While Davis and freshman John Henson come up with the most spectacular blocks, Deon continues to execute the less glorious maneuvers – like hedging on screens and closing out perimeter shots – that enstill an underlying defensive toughness. So far this season he has been the Tar Heels’ leading scorer, and is showing some new moves with the same fluidity his game has always exhibited. Here’s to hoping that Deon’s performance thusfar is the prelude of a well-deserved starring season.

     
  • gonzologist 12:56 am on November 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arnie Stapleton, , Denver Post, George Karl, , , Ty Lawson Dunk   

    Ty Lawson Posterizes 

    We can’t get enough Ty Lawson here at The Rafters. Poor seven-footer D.J. Mbenga of the L.A. Lakers got more than enough Ty Lawson on Friday night.

    Unreal. What might be even better is how the dunk blew the roof off the Pepsi Center. Ty’s teammates love the kid, and the Denver Post published two articles over the weekend that include more of the praise the rookie has been garnering almost as fast as he can run from baseline to baseline. In one article, Ty’s all-star teammates share their shock and awe at his funknasty dunk:

    Yet, all the Nuggets wanted to talk about afterward was rookie Ty Lawson’s first NBA dunk, when the 5-foot-11 guard skied past 7-footer D.J. Mbenga and 6-9 forward Josh Powell for the slam as he was hammered to the floor for a three-point play that had his teammates bolting from their seats and celebrating with the crowd as if they had won just the West.

    “That was nasty,” Anthony said. “A 5-footer against two 7-footers.”

    “That was incredible,” Billups said.

    The other article, also by Arnie Stapleton, gushes with the excitement and satisfaction that the Nuggets have in regards to drafting Ty. His valuable experience in the up-and-down, high-scoring Carolina system is mentioned several times, with UNC alumnus Gerge Karl adding, “Well, when Roy Williams whispers to you that he’s the best point guard he’s ever coached—I mean, he’s had a few good point guards.”

    Roy’s best? I believe it.

     
  • gonzologist 3:02 pm on November 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: C.J. Wilkerson, , Eagles, James Worthy, Joshua Worthy, , Raleigh News and Observer   

    Tar Heels Face NCCU Eagles, 9pm-ESPNU 

    Here’s a short piece from the Raleigh News and Observer about North Carolina Central’s basketball team, who will visit Chapel Hill tonight. It’s a nice story; it’s always cool to see the perspective of young guys playing at a smaller school, visiting the Mecca of college basketball and playing against a team they cheer for when they are off the court.

    visiting eagles

    I think it’s great that Central made the move to be a Division I school. It’s obvious that it’s taken a lot of hard work, and they’ve put in some tough traveling miles over the past two years. It seems to be paying off, though. As junior C.J. Wilkerson puts it, “I wanted to come here because it’s Division I and because of Coach Moton.” It’s also interesting to note that the Eagles will start a senior named Joshua Worthy. He’ll be able to look up into the rafters tonight and check out the jersey of a pretty influential “Big Game” player with the same last name. We wish Central the best of luck. We only hope the Tar Heels fare better against these Eagles than we did against the Boston College birds last year.

     
    • gonzologist 1:34 am on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Have to insert an addendum here: N.C. Central’s Joshua Worthy is, in fact, the nephew of Tar Heel and NBA legend James Worthy.

  • gonzologist 5:36 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Pat Forde,   

    Pat Forde ranks 2005 Tar Heels “Best Champions of the Decade” 

    In his first “Minutes” column of the 2009-10 season, Pat Forde took a retrospective look at the past decade in college basketball.

    “Roy Williams, Gary Williams and Jim Boeheim were ringless. And hearing about it. Mike Krzyzewski was toying with North Carolina and seemingly would forever.”

    Oh how sweet it is to see the changes that have traken place between UNC and the Dookies since 2000. Forde also ranks the “Best Champions” of the decade, with the ’05 Tar Heels taking the number one spot, and the ’09 team taking 3rd place honors, with Florida’s ’07 team at number two, mostly due to the fact that it was a repeat (don’t forget, their Final Four matchup that year was George Mason. I get a stomachache just mentioning that horrible postseason). No doubt that the ACC was the best conference this decade. The “Best Team Not to Win a Title” was Illinois in ’05, which was a powerhouse of a team that just couldn’t hang with the All Star Tar Heels of ’05. Also an entertaining choice: “Worst Title Game” goes to last year’s game at Ford Field.

    Do you have this framed, yet?

    Blowout. Love it.

     
    • Lulu 8:46 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ni-i-i-i-ice!

      • shwineka 11:28 am on November 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I think also worthy of noting, in Forde’s Top 10 College Teams of all time, UNC is ranked No. 2, after the almost inarguable UCLA, but BEFORE, yes BEFORE Kentucky, who has more national championships than UNC. I guess when you have more NCAA wins and more Final Fours than any other team it means something. Suck it, Wildcats.

  • gonzologist 2:08 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bringin' 88 back, , , , , , , Quentin Thomas, ,   

    Luke Winn on Opening Night 

    I enjoy reading Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn. He’s a good writer and seems pretty unbiased in his opinions, which is why I hate to read in his opening night observations that he’s taking Ohio State to roll the Tar Heels in MSG next Thursday. He has some heavy praise for OSU’s 6’7” guard Evan Turner; we’ll see how he fares getting inside against our bigs next week.

    can't see the basket for the trees

    Three of Winn’s other points focused on the Tar Heels’ apparant weaknesses. He cites the lack of a consistent outside threat and the obvious problem with turnovers. The three point shooting was definitely suspect last night, but Marcus and LD both impressed with improved shots. Hopefully Will Graves can live up to his reputation as a dangerous distance shooter. Of LD’s performance as the floor leader, Winn had this to say:

    “While Larry Drew II didn’t put up a triple-double in his debut as North Carolina’s point guard, he acquitted himself quite well with seven points and six assists against just two turnovers. I don’t think many Carolina fans knew what to expect — they just knew their sophomore starter wasn’t going be as good as Ty Lawson (an impossibility), and they hoped Drew wouldn’t be the second coming of Quentin Thomas. Drew showed the Lawson-eque ability to push the ball at a high speed while staying under control on the primary and secondary break, and appeared quicker than I remember him being in brief stints as a reserve last season. He seems to understand that his primary duty is to feed Thompson and Ed Davis, and not force shots; as long as Drew keeps doing that, he’ll be a serviceable point.”

    I agree that LD put in a solid performance last night, looking faster than I remember him being. Though I hate to see the words “acquitted” and “serviceable,” and the evocation of the rhymin’ Quentin Thomas may seem like a low blow, Winn’s summation simply reflects the harsh expectations for LD having to bear the torch passed by the incomparable Ty Lawson. He did have some nifty dishes inside, and will only get better running the break. While Dexter Strickland struggled with 5 turnovers, Justin Watts put in some quality supporting minutes at the point and had one satisfying dunk. The backcourt story will continue to be the most intriguing moving forward in the next few weeks.

     
  • gonzologist 9:51 pm on November 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brandon Wright, , Jawad Williams, Jones Angell, , , , Matt Dougherty, , , Sean May, Tarheel Sports Network, , ,   

    Tar Heel Tipoff Videos 

    Here are some pretty sweet videos to check out when you’ve got about ten minutes to kill. Tar Heel basketball writer Adam Lucas and Jones Angell from the Tar Heel Sports Network host the videos, introducing each clip with around 50 seconds of commentary that is definitely skippable (nothing against the guys, but the videos speak for themselves).

    No Tarheel fan can stand to miss “Summer Pick-Up with the Pros.” The video shows some of the best evidence for UNC being the top NBA talent producer – Brandon, Marvin, Ty, Vince, Rashad, Jawad, Raymond, Antawn – ALL on the same court. Even Hall of Famer Larry Brown is seen chatting up some players. It’s priceless to see Larry Drew II and Zeller describe their attempts at guarding Tar Heel legends. And, in an incredibly surprising and somewhat awkward moment, we see none other than Matt Dougherty clowning around with Sean May at around the 3:12 mark.

    Definitely check out “The Art of Shot Blocking,” as it is the best Ed Davis highlight reel I’ve seen thus far. We here at The Rafters can’t get enough of this kid, and you should expect to see much of the same this coming season.

    no way, jose.

     
  • gonzologist 9:23 pm on October 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: books, John Grisham, ,   

    “Hard Work: My Life On and Off the Court” Out Nov. 3 

    Roy’s (first) autobiography is set to be released on November 3. The book will chronicle Roy’s ascension from a troubled childhood outside of Asheville, North Carolina, to becoming the most successful active men’s college basketball coach. We fully expect a few “gosh durns” and “frikins” to slip past the editors. Should be juicy.

    Also worth noting is that the forward was written by John Grisham. He’s been known to sit behind the UNC bench during a few games, as his daughter was a recent Carolina grad.

    "Buy my book!"

     
  • gonzologist 8:37 pm on October 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NBA Draft, NBA Summer League,   

    Wayne Ellington Garners Early Praise in Minnesota 

    Found an impressive review of Wayne’s summer play with the T’Wolves. It’s great to see an NBA writer giving such solid praise to a guy we all know to be a highly versatile and skilled player. He goes as far as to say that “His intelligence and productivity on the court will surprise several teams who passed on him during the June draft.” Damn right.

    Wayne Twolves
    And the man is still looking smooth.

     
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