Reggie Bullock has been overshadowed through most of his career at North Carolina. He came in with the No. 1 overall prospect, Harrison Barnes, in 2010. Then as soon as Barnes left for the NBA, it was James Michael McAdoo taking the spotlight at UNC, leaving Bullock in the shadows once again.
Perhaps his ever-humble, team-first demeanor played a part in that, too.
But not today. Today we celebrate Bullock's career as a Tar Heel with five of his greatest highlights from the three years he spent at Chapel Hill.
Just a few days before Bullock's first ACC game against Virginia, his grandmother, Patricia Williams, passed away. She had raised him in her Kinston, N.C. home since the age of six, helping mold him into the hard-working, humble man we see today.
Despite the obvious heartache over her death, he still found his way to Charlottesville to help his team take on the Cavaliers.
"She wouldn't want me home pouting and suffering over her death; she knew that I loved the game of basketball, and she always wanted me to pursue my goal," he said to the News & Observer. "And she would have wanted me to be here with my second family, be with my teammates."
The freshman fought through tears to contribute 14 minutes to that "second family," but he would struggle in the three games following her passing, going just 3-of-16 from the field over that span.
Then the light came back on for Bullock against Clemson on Jan. 18, 2011. In just 18 minutes of action, he put up 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He finished 6-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-7 beyond the arc.
With that performance, Bullock was named ACC Rookie of the Week and dedicated the game to his grandmother.
This is what he told The Daily Tar Heel after the game:
Just coming out tonight and playing for my grandma, that was the main thing I was doing. Back in high school I’d play every game for her, and I just tried to do that tonight. I actually felt her when I was out there playing, and I just knew she was out there watching me.
She would have been jumping out of her wheelchair. She knew that I was hitting shots. I know she was there with me tonight.
This was just the first mark Bullock would leave on Chapel Hill, and one we won't forget for years to come.
In his sophomore season, Bullock pulled off yet another 18-minute masterpiece against Tennessee State. This time, he poured on 23 points in UNC's 102-69 victory over the Tigers.
Bullock was shooting just 6-of-17 from the floor through the first three games of the season. That night, he shot 8-of-10, including a career-high 6-of-7 from downtown that still stands today.
That performance took a huge weight off his shoulders, according to ESPN:
It's a big relief because I've been thinking about my shot so much. I just need to make shots, that's what I'm here for. I just came out tonight and just did not think about it anymore. I'm just catching and shooting from now on.
Bullock also came off the bench to contribute four rebounds, two assists and one steal. Soon enough, we would find out this was a typical all-around performance from the sophomore.
Though his sophomore campaign was sprinkled with some strong performances, Bullock's game against Ohio in the 2012 Sweet 16 made me realize how truly special he was as a player.
The Tar Heels had been without Dexter Strickland since he tore his ACL in January of 2012, forcing Bullock into a starting role. They also lost Kendall Marshall in the Round of 32 against Creighton and John Henson was playing hurt.
The stage was set for the Black Falcon to take over for North Carolina—instead, it was the Silent Assassin.
Bullock did everything you could possible expect from a 2-guard, filling the stat sheet with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. More importantly, he saved some of his most impressive work for the second half.
The Tar Heels were fighting to keep a lead, and just when it appeared they were about to lay down, Bullock was there to pick them back up.
Through the first eight minutes of the second half, Carolina only had four field goals. But during a timeout at the 11:56 mark, Bullock noticed an Ohio coach saying the Tar Heels "couldn't win without Marshall" (see video).
That's when he stepped up as a leader and put his money where his mouth was.
Bullock drilled a three in their first possession after the timeout. He later knocked down two more in regulation and another to start the scoring in overtime, leading the team to a 73-65 victory.
As a team, the Tar Heels made just 14 field goals through the final 25 minutes of the game. Bullock contributed to more than half of those, with four three-pointers and four assists in that span.
Tyler Zeller had a solid game too, but it's tough to say anyone meant more to the team on this day than Reggie Bullock.
And this is the Bullock we would see more of in the following season.
On January 26, 2013, NC State smashed UNC 91-83 in Raleigh. For the first time in his Carolina career, Bullock found out what it was like to lose to the 'Pack.
Apparently he didn't like it very much. The next time the two teams met in Chapel Hill, Bullock put his mark on the renewed rivalry.
The game was tight most of the way, and the Wolfpack had a 53-49 lead with just 8:38 left on the clock. Bullock started a Carolina run just 14 second later with a three, helping propel the Tar Heels to a 76-65 win.
Three of his five treys were dropped in that eight-minute span—and he didn't miss one either. He also scored 12 of UNC's final 27 points.
Bullock finished with a game-high 22 points while pulling in 13 boards and dishing out three assists.
NC State wasn't pulling out the broom on Bullock's watch.
In North Carolina's first of three victories over the Maryland Terrapins, Bullock topped his previous career high with 24 points and five rebounds. Scoring-wise, it was his best game against Maryland.
But he wasn't done with the Terps yet.
In the next game, Bullock dropped 19 points, 12 rebounds two assists and three steals on the Terrapins. Then he followed that up with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and one steal in the ACC tournament.
These games may not have had the heroics of some of his other highlights, but Bullock really did a number on Maryland during his junior season.
Through three games, he averaged 19.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, two assists and 1.3 steals. You just can't argue against those numbers.
Reggie Bullock is the kind of guy nobody can hate. He quietly goes about his business and does everything he possibly can to help out his team.
Not only was he solid player at North Carolina, but he's the kind of guy you'd want your kids to look up to. He defines what it means to be a Tar Heel.
So for all of us in Tar Heel Nation, thanks for three memorable years, Reggie.