Friday night was an opportunity for the North Carolina Tar Heels to honor last year's men's national championship basketball team and look ahead to what the 2017-18 season has in store.
Tar Heels alum Kenny Smith got the party started and served as host for the event:
North Carolina's annual "Late Night with Roy" event is the unofficial start of the new year in Chapel Hill. Head coach Roy Williams won his third title with the program last year, and tonight saw them raise the banner inside the Dean Smith Center.
The Tar Heels were also welcoming their new crop of freshman talent featuring Jalek Felton, Andrew Platek, Garrison Brooks, Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley into the fold.
Felton is the jewel of North Carolina's 2017 recruiting class. He was rated as a 4-star prospect who is the No. 2 combo guard and No. 38 prospect overall, per 247Sports. The South Carolina native has ties to the program as the nephew of former Tar Heel Raymond Felton.
In January, Felton also got the seal of approval from Golden State Warriors star and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry on Instagram:
Brooks is another freshman who figures to be a key contributor for the Tar Heels this season, with Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer thinking he could be in Williams' starting five right away after scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds in the scrimmage:
North Carolina has to replace Kennedy Meeks at center this season. Brooks is young but comes with plenty of hype as the nation's No. 37 power forward recruit, per 247Sports.
Cameron Johnson led the scoring during the scrimmage, scoring 13 of the white team's 30 points. He's in his first season at North Carolina after transferring from Pittsburgh but has picked up right where he left off last season when he averaged 11.9 points in 33 games.
Kyle Boone of CBS Sports named Johnson as the best transfer heading into the 2017-18 season:
"The 6-foot-8 guard, who was third on the team last season in scoring, should be a seamless replacement for 6-8 small forward Justin Jackson -- an All-ACC level player getting paid to play the game for the Kings now. ... He joins a Tar Heels team that finished 151st last season in three-point shooting percentage, which makes this fit -- and his projected impact on the reigning national champion Tar Heels -- a match made in heaven on paper."
The Tar Heels also got to put their best foot forward as they tried to lure in 2018 recruit Romeo Langford, who was in attendance at the Dean Smith Center.
Langford told Sean Moran of Scout.com earlier this week the message he's received from Williams during North Carolina's recruiting push.
“The main message is that he is going to make me the best version of me,” he said. “I think I would fit in really well. They like to get up and down and everyone gets involved. He doesn’t like someone just shooting bad shots.”
This was just an appetizer course for North Carolina and its fans as the Tar Heels prepare to defend their national championship.
There will be an exhibition on Oct. 27 against Barton College for Williams to really show off what his team is capable of, then the real season tips off on Nov. 10 with a game against Northern Iowa.