Cream of the crop: A summary of the best players produced by the Tar Heels

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has produced many notable figures over the years. I’m sure you’ve heard of a few of them (I can definitely think of one alumnus that nearly everyone on Earth should’ve heard of by now). Many of these figures have been Tar Heel players, a few of whom have went on to have flourishing careers in professional basketball.

James Worthy

“Big Game James” Worthy was the captain of the 1982 team. Leading from the from, his tenure saw the Heels lose only twice on its way to a national title. He was both National Player of the Year and NCAA tournament MOP. You probably know him as the current assistant coach of the Lakers, the team he played for from 1982 to 1995.

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Worthy earned his reputation leading the same game that featured Michael Jordan’s famous shot. His performance also ranks among the best showings in the team’s history (even better than Jordan’s), with 13-of-17 from the field and racking up 28 points.

Phil Ford

Phil Ford is an icon of the Tar Heels, with his signature slow dribble with four fingers being synonymous with the school itself. He was a master of the four-corner offense, and he used it to great effect during those nascent days of college basketball. Many of his stats remained impressive today, given that they were made before the shot clock was introduced.

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He concluded his collegiate career as the all-time leading scorer and remained so for 30 years. until Hansbrough broke the record some 30 years later. He remains UNC’s second-leading scorer all of all time and was three-time All-American, National Player of the Year.

He would later help Team USA get the Olympic Gold in 1976. His No. 12 jersey was retired in his honor.

Michael Jordan

Come on. You *know* he needs no introduction. His Airness went on to the NBA where he became one of the most decorated players in history. One of the greatest players in the history of the Tar Heels, he was eclipsed only by a few others. His in-school reputation, already impressive as it is, would eventually be surpassed by his performance in the NBA.

John Bradberry here, former resident of Charlotte and lifelong NC native. For more on my thoughts on life, the universe, and basketball, follow me on Twitter.


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