UNC Basketball Preview with John Bradberry of Charlotte, NC

Go Tar! This is John Bradberry from Charlotte, NC and I’m currently a sophomore taking up my bachelor’s degree in Sociology. I have been a fan of the Tar Heels men’s basketball team long before Coach Roy Williams’ glorious 2009 NCAA Championship run. The seasons before that were already a tease for hardcore fans like me. Indeed, there was plenty to get hyped up about as North Carolina won its fourth title in 2005 (it was only Coach Williams’ second season as head coach at the time), with a trip to the Final Four in 2008.

Coach Roy Williams started his coaching career in 1973 but only began his stint with UNC in 1978 when he was hired as an assistant to coaching legend Dean Smith. Coach Smith served North Carolina for 36 years with two national titles and 11 Final Four appearances under his belt. On the part of Coach Williams, he finally took the reins for North Carolina in 2003, replacing the controversial Matt Doherty.

Under Coach Williams, I believe the Tar Heels flourished, gaining college basketball prominence. While fans gave their overwhelming support, this also proved to be a double edged sword in my opinion; with support came plenty of expectations for Final Four appearances, if not national championships, and to this day, Tar Heels fans are still used to being winners. For me, the team of Brandan Wright, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Hansbrough, and Deon Thompson was one of the best the school has ever had. Having produced 6 NBA players in the span of his relatively short career thus far, Coach Williams will remain a prominent name in the “Carolina Family” of coaches.

Last season was probably one of the most heartbreaking upsets in recent memory for me—losing to Villanova only by a buzzer-beating three-pointer. Kris Jenkins got lucky, and I stand by this view. Personally, I feel this loss more because I was already accepted at UNC. As a student who’s part of the community (which means I’m exposed to Tar Heels pride 24/7), it’s hard not to get carried away by the drama. Fortunately, UNC is one of the most culturally diverse public colleges in the country, so once basketball season is over, there are other things that preoccupy the students’ time, mine included.

This season, without Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson in the team, I have to admit I feel a little uneasy, especially since Duke is the unanimous favorite. Nonetheless, we still have the likes of Justin Jackson and Joel Barry who might step up to the plate and lead the Tar Heels to the Final Four. From there, the Tar Heels can take it one ball game at a time. Let’s not forget that Coach Williams brings decades of experience so if there’s anyone who’s got a plan, it would be him.

To read my coverage of the games, visit my blog page. There I’ll discuss all about UNC’s athletics, and not just the NCAA.

This is UNC sophomore John Bradberry from Charlotte, NC, signing off for now.