Too much of a good thing has led to spoilage in the fan base, says Larry Drew II.
In a recent interview with a local paper, Drew asserted that North Carolina fans were generally spoiled—fashioned into a whine-and-cheese crowd by a golden history.
His actual words offer a more telling perspective and attitude towards the supporters he seemingly dissed. More importantly, it offers context with which to judge his comments.
“To those people, honestly, to those people, I would say that they can’t have their way all the time. Some people are just so spoiled, man. Especially Carolina fans, just because, you know, the whole tradition. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way it is.
"But to those fans: Yes, we haven’t been performing up to the standards of the usual North Carolina basketball team, but we can’t be perfect all the time, and we’re human, too.”
UNC men’s basketball does indeed boast a century’s worth of great moments and achievements, highlighted by five national titles, including last year’s coronation.
Further bragging rights include nine National Players of the Year, 47 All-Americans, 90 NBA draft picks, and five National Coach of the Year awards.
As such, fans certainly have incentive to hold the program to a high standard, and expectations remain lofty after winning two NCAA championships in the past five years, despite this season’s washout.
To be fair, Drew undeniably had reasons for frustration and dejection. After all, he was one of the few who had to actually live out the entire disheartening journey, under public scrutiny.
His words may amount to nothing more than a burst of emotions manifested as a verbal gaffe, the result of the season’s bitter aftertaste still lingering in his mouth.
Drew has since offered an apology on Twitter too, maybe realizing the deeper hole he dug for himself.
However, Drew is absolutely wrong in his overall premise and timing of his comments. With the season effectively over, he basically tells fans to get over North Carolina’s traditions, as if the current team is now exempted from them.
Why make these remarks now?
Gloom presently rules Tar Heel Nation’s skies, and fans are looking toward the future, eager to return to greener pastures.
Most, if not all, want the past season’s memories to fade away—the quicker the better—and survive only in college basketball’s annals as a brief hiccup.
Instead, they want to hear words to instill hope for the future. The last things fans want is to revisit the pains of a disaster, as Drew conjured.
For his part on the court, Drew put up respectable numbers. He averaged 8.6 points and 5.9 assists per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio was nearly 2:1 with 42 percent shot percentage, 38 percent from behind the arc.
Nonetheless, he never developed into a reliable player, especially on defense and in a game’s closing minutes.
More significantly, Drew never played with consistent passion, as his body language digressed terribly to the point where transfer rumors surfaced; Drew quickly denied them.
In other words, he never connected to the fans and fed off their energy. It appears likelier that Drew took them for granted. He was the one spoiled by the adoration poured on by the fans as a green freshman on a NCAA title-winning team.
I highly doubt genuine Carolina fans have ever sought perfection like Drew presumed. Has it even occurred in UNC history?
Fans wanted to witness Drew play with fire, care, and love the game enough to leave no doubt in their minds that he tried his absolute best, like Danny Green used to do.
Unlike Green, Drew’s suspect effort and indifferent body language only spurred more doubt, and thus, lacks credibility and capital to fans over whether his words ring true.
Next season, for the team and for his own sake, I hope Drew plays lights out for all the fans to see.