CHAPEL HILL– What a night it was Friday inside the cozy confines of the Dean Dome for the eighth annual Late Night with Roy event that signals the start of another basketball season.
The Tar Heel volleyball team set the stage for the night’s events with yet another victory. This time, Carolina downed the Maryland Terrapins, on their way out of the ACC, 3-2 in a thrilling contest to improve their overall record to 19-1 overall and 8-1 in ACC play.
The dance routines commenced soon after the volleyball match with even Head Coach Roy Williams jumped on the dance floor. The crowd was roaring and cheering on the Tar Heels as they broke it down to popular songs on the Dean Dome floor.
This year, the Blue-White scrimmage returned. And what a thrilling exhibition it was. Ultimately, the contest ended in a 50-50 tie. In the press room, Coach Williams says he was disappointed he wasn’t able to run either team in front of the crowd.
“I loved him [Paige] being willing to come down and take the shot and make it. I was sort of hoping he would miss so I could run somebody in front of all those people. I’ve never had that big of a crowd to watch my guys run, but other than that I was pleased with what went on,” Coach Williams says.
Sophomore Marcus Paige says the freshman are starting to get a wake-up call as to what college basketball level at this level is all about.
“We learned that we have to compete every possession. The freshmen got a little bit of a wake-up call. This is college basketball now. You can’t just use your raw ability to score over people and stuff like that,” Paige says.
Sophomore Joel James, in a joking mood, says the Late Night atmosphere was difficult, because he really doesn’t like playing in front of crowds.
“Honestly, I never like playing in front of crowds. It was a little scary, but full of adrenaline. It was exciting. After I made my first 15,000 mistakes, I calmed down. Coach Williams wasn’t pulling me out for those mistakes, so I was like okay, I can just play regular basketball,” James says.
Some of the standout performers were Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks, and PJ Hairston. Hairston was greeted by an exceptionally loud cheer by the Tar Heels in attendance when he ran onto the court.
The Tar Heels next play an exhibition game against UNC-Pembroke on Friday.