North Carolina Basketball: 11 Guys We Wish Stayed All 4 Years
The University of North Carolina has seen some amazing basketball players throughout its history. It is truly a storied program, but could it possibly have been more prestigious?
As a general college trend, players tend to get better as they get older. So, with some guys, it’s a little scary to think about what kind of talent they could have had as seniors.
With the Tar Heels, there are plenty of those types of players.
There are some, such as Michael Jordan or Antawn Jamison, who could have been insanely good as seniors, and fans hated to see them go.
There are also players like Joseph Forte, Sean May and Brandan Wright, who bombed in the NBA, and it became apparent that staying all four years would have not only benefited fans, but also themselves.
Here’s a look at the top 11 Tar Heels we would have liked to see stay around.
Rasheed Wallace, an eccentric player to say the least, would have been fun to watch in Chapel Hill for two more years.
Wallace left after his sophomore year and was drafted by the Washington Bullets, before going on to Portland.
During that sophomore year, Wallace was an integral part in leading the Tar Heels to the Final Four. If he would have stayed, he would have been a part of another terrific Final Four team.
Wallace could have possibly formed one of the most exciting trios in college basketball history had he stayed. In 1997, he could have teamed up with Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison and possibly led UNC further than the Final Four they actually got to.
While at North Carolina, Raymond Felton established himself as possibly the best point guard in the nation.
As a junior, Felton was the main piece of North Carolina's title run. He averaged seven assists and two steals per game that season, and hit a couple key shots against Illinois during the final.
Lots of floor generals have made their way through Chapel Hill, and Felton probably ranks near the top of the list. One more year would have been gravy.
Sean May may have been a bust in the NBA, but he established himself as one of the best big bodies to come through Chapel Hill. And he did it in just three years.
The center-forward averaged a double-double throughout his career and was often unstoppable in the middle.
May walked into Chapel Hill a year after Carolina went 8-20 and, as a sophomore, helped them return to 19-16.
By his junior year, May led UNC to a national title. Much to the dismay of Tar Heel fans, he decided to forego his senior season. I'm sure that May later regretted the decision as well.
Vince Carter spent three years in Chapel Hill, averaging over 12 points per game on 55 percent shooting.
Under new head coach Bill Guthridge, North Carolina had question marks going into the 1998 season. Carter, however, along with Antawn Jamison and Shammond Williams, proved to be enough to carry UNC to yet another Final Four.
One of the main reasons Carter finds himself on this list is because of his pure explosiveness. For a while in the late '90s and early 2000s, Carter was easily the best dunker in the country.
Just getting more opportunities to watch "Vinsanity" jump over weaker competition would have been a welcomed sight for fans.
During his sophomore year, James Worthy was a key part of a North Carolina team that lost in the championship to Bob Knight and Indiana.
The next year, Worthy was the leading scorer on a national championship team that featured Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. Big Game James was named the tournament's most outstanding player, and was probably the most irreplaceable part on that team.
Worthy, who was chosen first by the Los Angeles Lakers, had people wondering what could have been in the 1983 season. Without Worthy that year, UNC still had Jordan, Perkins and Brad Daugherty, but failed to make the Final Four.
Worthy scored over 13 points per game as a rookie, and surely would have brought North Carolina another national semifinal appearance had he stayed.
Joseph Forte was a scoring machine during his time at North Carolina, averaging almost 19 points per game.
He was also a great rebounder for a guard, as he pulled down about six rebounds a game throughout his career. Throw in two steals per contest, and Forte was an all-around machine.
The years in which Forte would have been a junior and senior were North Carolina's worst in a long time.
Had Forte stayed all four years, Tar Heel fans may not have had to endure that 8-20 season in 2002. They also may not have had to watch their star player turn into a bust in the NBA.
Antawn Jamison was easily one of the best players to grace the courts at Chapel Hill—after he led UNC to two straight Final Fours, he decided to forego his senior season.
Jamison's departure was probably felt the most during the following season. While Jamison was lighting it up in Golden State, the Tar Heels suffered a first-round exit.
Carolina fans would have loved to watch Jamison's explosive scoring ability for one more season.
There might not be anyone more disappointed in Marvin Williams' early exit than me.
I had my shirt signed by Williams when he was in high school, and I was ready for that puppy to skyrocket in value. Sadly, it never happened.
For his one and only season at North Carolina, Williams, who had Kevin-Garnett-type talent, was primarily the sixth man. He averaged 11 points and almost seven rebounds.
It's scary to think what Williams could have done with more development and more playing time. Unfortunately, we'll never know.
Instead, we got to see Williams' talents covered up in the middle of Atlanta's "offense."
Jerry Stackhouse only stayed at Carolina for two years, and Tar Heel fans wish that number were doubled.
Stack was only one of two players in North Carolina history to hit the 1,000-point mark in just two years. He often times drew comparisons to M.J., which was unfair, but he was explosive in his own right.
In helping bring Carolina back to the Final Four during his sophomore season, Stackhouse averaged 19.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. He shot over 51 percent in one of the best all-around seasons in UNC history.
Imagine what he could have done with two more years in college.
Brandan Wright had possibly one of the best freshman seasons in North Carolina history.
Wright averaged 15 points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks while shooting 65 percent.
With Wright's talents, and with the talent that came after Wright, North Carolina could have been unfathomably good.
Like, better-than-the-two-Final-Fours-they-went-to good.
But of course, we never got to see what could have been, and Wright went on to have a so-far disappointing career in the NBA.
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, and there's no question that Tar Heel fans would have liked to see him in Chapel Hill for another year.
M.J., along with Sam Perkins and Brad Daugherty, led UNC to an Elite Eight in 1983 and a Sweet Sixteen in 1984. He was named the national player of the year both years.
It's scary to think what Jordan could have done during his senior year, especially when you consider he scored over 28 points per game as a rookie. Carolina went on to the Elite Eight that year, and it's not too far fetched to think they would have won another title with His Airness.