UNC Alumni Game
Posted 28 July 2009 - 08:15 AM
Ever since North Carolina won its fifth NCAA title in April, there's been a good-natured debate brewing about which championship team is better: 2005 or 2009?
On Sept. 4, those bragging rights will be on the line.
Nine members of the 2005 team (Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Byron Sanders, Reyshawn Terry, Jackie Manuel, Quentin Thomas, Marvin Williams and Jawad Williams) plus six from the 2009 squad (Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Bobby Frasor and Michael Copeland) are among the two dozen former Tar Heels players who have agreed to participate in the Pro Alumni Game.
The 8 p.m. event will tip off the yearlong 100th-year celebration of basketball at UNC, and the $20-per-ticket (still available at tarheelblue.com ) proceeds will go to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and UNC Children's Hospitals
"The one common thing we all have is that we all ran through that tunnel, we all have the same beliefs on and off the court, and we all share a friendship, whether you played at Carolina five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago," said forward Antawn Jamison, a National Player of the Year in 1997-98 who now plays for the Washington Wizards. "So it's exciting that so many guys are back, ... and no matter how the teams break down, it's going to be a lot of fun."
The game is limited to Tar Heels currently playing professionally (Frasor and Copeland plan to play overseas next season). In February, there will be a second alumni game in which any former player is invited to play.
Nike is providing special uniforms for the four-quarter, NBA-format game at the Smith Center. UNC alums who are coaching professionally have also been invited to the event and could end up on the sidelines.
The toughest decision could be how to split the players into opposing teams (although putting the '05 and '09 title squads on opposite sides for a couple of stretches is an obvious must).
"Those two teams obviously brought Carolina to the top, so of course they think they're the best that ever came through," Jamison said, laughing. "Those two teams matching up against each other ... that's something I may even have to sit back and watch. Who's better? I can't pick a favorite."
Especially because there will be so many other All-American mixes, considering the rest of the pro alumni who have agreed to participate: Vince Carter, Joseph Forte, Brendan Haywood, Jamison, Jeff McInnis, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Shammond Williams and Brandan Wright.
My pick for starting lineups (with caveat that '05 and '09 have to stay on opposite teams): Felton, McCants, Stackhouse, May and Wallace vs. Lawson, Ellington, Carter, Jamison and Hansbrough.
"One thing is certain: No matter how they divide the teams, we're all going to want to win,'' Jamison said. "But the most important thing is to put on a show for the fans and make sure everyone has fun."
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