Roy Williams Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery

UNC men’s basketball coach Roy Williams is “resting comfortably” following knee surgery on Friday, according to the university.

Williams underwent knee replacement surgery on his right knee. Dr. Walt Beaver says the surgery went very well, the university tweeted.

Recovery time following knee replacement surgeries varies among different patients, but Williams previously said he anticipates being back in action in July during a busy recruiting season.

UNC to Play Indiana in Bloomington for ACC/Big Ten Challenge

UNC men’s basketball announced in a release on Tuesday afternoon it will travel to Bloomington, Indiana on Nov. 30 for a Sweet 16 rematch against the Indiana Hoosiers.

The game will be played in historic Assembly Hall as part of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and televised on the ESPN family of networks.

Although no start time has been announced yet, that information will be available later in the summer.

UNC defeated Indiana 101-86 in the East Regional Quarterfinals in Philadelphia this past season on its way to the National Championship Game.

Junior point guard Joel Berry will lead a new-look Tar Heel team that will spotlight some different--but familiar--names next season. (Todd Melet)

Junior point guard Joel Berry will lead a new-look Tar Heel team that will spotlight some different–but familiar–names next season. (Todd Melet)

Senior guard Marcus Paige led the way that night with a vintage performance that saw him score 21 points thanks to going 6-for-9 from three-point range.

Paige’s classmate, forward Brice Johnson added 20 points and 10 rebounds that night–as each of the Tar Heels’ five starters tallied at least 14 points in the high-scoring affair.

Next year’s game will look a bit different, however, with Paige and Johnson–as well as Indiana’s star point guard Yogi Ferrell–each graduating from school.

Indiana got a boost in early April when talented freshman Thomas Bryant, a 6-foot-10 big man, opted to return to school for his sophomore season rather than enter the NBA Draft.

The Tar Heels received similar news when Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson chose to skip the draft as well–meaning every non-senior on last year’s Final Four squad will be returning to Chapel Hill.

It will be the first time UNC has played at Indiana since the 2012-13 season, when it lost 83-59.

In their other two previous appearances all-time at Assembly Hall, the Tar Heels won each time–back in 1979 and 2004.

The Hoosiers are now tied with Illinois as the Tar Heels’ second most common opponent during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as this is the fourth time the schools have been matched with another for the event (Indiana leads the series 2-1).

Only Michigan State, with five games against UNC, has played against the Tar Heels more often since the event began during the 1999-2000 season.

Although the Tar Heels lost each of their first four ACC/Big Ten Challege appearances, they have improved to a much more respectable 9-4 since head coach Roy Williams arrived in 2003.



Chansky’s Notebook: Blue Bloods Running Red Hot

Man, the Carolina-Duke rivalry is heating up in May.

While the rest of the basketball world focuses on LeBron James winning his 17 straight Eastern Conference playoff game and a probable sweep of Toronto to await the winner of the brutal Golden State-OKC western finals, the blue blood rivalry is dominating the off-season around here.

The Tar Heels are buoyed by Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson returning to school, giving Carolina three returning starters and another roster that will go at least 10 deep with experience and quality youth. And Duke just keeps adding five-star recruits to another No. 1 class with the signing of 6-10 center Marques Bolden.

It is Mike Krzyzewski’s pleasant problem to decide who plays next season among a loaded recruiting class and returning starters Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones.  UNC assistant coach C.B. McGrath could not help himself from needling the Blue Devils on Twitter, reminding his followers that despite all the hype Duke has won ZERO ACC regular-season championships in the last six years and his coach Roy Williams has won 6 in the last 10 seasons.

Of course, Duke also won two national titles in the last seven years, while Carolina’s top-ranked team of 2012 lost two starters in the post-season and in April Williams’ 13th Tar Heel squad fell seconds from sending the NCAA final against Villanova into overtime. McGrath commented about the sensitivity of opposing fans who must follow him and took offense at his brash tweets.

Personally, I like McGrath standing up for his team, which will have more experience than Duke. Fans go bonkers over the most recent five-stars but forget that Joel Berry and Isaiah Hicks were also the players of the year in their respective states and now have a combined five years of college basketball experience. McGrath was reminding people not to forget the Tar Heels, who won’t back down from anyone next season, least of all their arch rivals from Durham.

UNC Assistant Coach C.B. McGrath Goes After Duke on Twitter

The college basketball world was whipped into a frenzy on Thursday afternoon when five-star center Marques Bolden (DeSoto High School, DeSoto, TX) announced his commitment to play for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils next season.

Bolden now gives Duke four five-star recruits in its six-man 2016 class, according to

While it’s no doubt Krzyzewski will have plenty of talent to work with next season, many analysts have already been quick to proclaim the Blue Devils as favorites for next season’s national championship.

C.B. McGrath was not one of those people.

An assistant on head coach Roy Williams’ staff for 17 years–including the last 13 at UNC–McGrath took to Twitter to make his feelings on the situation loud and clear.

And while yes, Duke hasn’t won a regular season ACC championship since 2010, the Blue Devils did win national championships in 2010 and in 2015–which is two more than UNC has won during the same time period.

The 2015 Duke team won the title on the strength of another similarly skilled recruiting class–a group led by the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow.

Next year’s Blue Devils will have a similar makeup, in terms of raw talent.

First off, two of the nation’s top five high-school players, 6-foot-10 forward Harry Giles (Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, VA) and 6-foot-8 wing Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep, St. Louis, MO), will each spend a year in Durham.

Point guard Derryck Thornton announced his decision to transfer last month after just one year at Duke, but he’ll be replaced by another five-star player in the explosive Frank Jackson (Lone Peak HS, Highland UT).

Krzyzewski also brings back a few major contributors from past seasons.

Junior Matt Jones, a 6-foot-5 wing player, is a solid defender and three-point shooter who has made 53 career starts.

Senior forward Amile Jefferson, who was granted a medical redshirt after breaking his foot a year ago, provides the young squad with some much-needed experience.

And then there’s Grayson Allen–a First Team All-ACC pick last who also tripped a couple people last season. He too, decided to skip the NBA Draft process and return to school.

Any objective observer of basketball would agree that the Blue Devils will be oozing with talent next season, regardless of whether they win a single game.

The 40-year-old McGrath, however, sat on his original thought for just over 15 minutes–before returning to Twitter for more thoughts on the ACC regular season championship disparity between UNC and Duke.

While his intentions were certainly pure–he’s standing up for a university and coach he loves dearly–it can be construed as a bit petty.

After all, the Tar Heels are expected to be pretty darn good themselves.

Every non-senior from last season’s Final Four squad is coming back. Three new recruits–Tony Bradley, Brandon Robinson, and Seventh Woods–will also make their way to Chapel Hill.

But hey, this is the type of stuff that makes the Duke-UNC rivalry so great isn’t it?

Chansky’s Notebook: Jackson’s Back and Better For It

Reading between the lines, Justin Jackson was always coming back to school.


Kennedy Meeks had a short-lived stay in the NBA draft pool. When Meeks was not among the 63 players invited to the NBA Combine, he got the hint and withdrew from the draft and, hopefully, got back in the gym to work on his conditioning, his strength and his hops.

Justin Jackson WAS invited to the combine, along with UNC seniors Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, and while scrimmaging and going through a battery of tests Jackson interviewed with a half dozen pro teams and was set to work out for San Antonio next week before he withdrew from the draft late Monday.

The experience solidified Jackson’s decision that he needed another year in Carolina blue. He was told he has to improve his outside shooting, especially from the NBA three-point range. Anyone who watched Jackson play knows that he’s a streak shooter who ended his first two college seasons on hot streaks. Danny Green is a streak shooter for the Spurs, but has greater range and stays hot for long stretches of the NBA’s 82-game schedule.

Jackson was also told he must get stronger, along with everyone who hopes to play in the NBA some day. Tyler Hansbrough, who ran rough-shod thru college basketball, doesn’t get off the bench for the Charlotte Hornets because he is not big or strong enough for the NBA game. Psycho T probably knew all that when he never considered turning pro before his record-breaking Carolina career ended.

Regardless, the draft combine has been great for Jackson and others with the option of going back to college. It gave them an up-close measuring stick of where they need to be to get drafted and make the NBA. On the positive side, teams learned what a quality kid Jackson is, how hard he works and what an unselfish team player he is. It’s easier to get more selfish than the other way around; just ask Carmelo Anthony if he’d like to give up 9 or 10 shots a game.

So, my educated guess all along was that Justin Jackson would return to UNC for his junior season, and be a much better player for the experience.

Justin Jackson Returning to UNC for Junior Year

After taking advantage of a new NBA rule which allows underclassmen more time to receive feedback on their pro draft status before choosing to return to school, UNC small forward Justin Jackson decided Monday evening that he’ll be sticking around in Chapel Hill.

The wiry, 6-foot-8 Jackson–a native of Tomball, Texas–averaged 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game as a starter for the Tar Heels during last season’s run to the National Championship Game.

With this decision, Jackson joins teammate Kennedy Meeks, who announced his own return to UNC back on May 4 after he was not invited to participate in the NBA Draft Combine.

Jackson was the only Tar Heel underclassman to take part in the Combine, joining departed seniors Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson in Chicago for the event.

He decided afterwards that the professional ranks can wait.

“I’m glad I had the chance to enter the Draft and attend the Combine where I was able to meet with a number of NBA executives, and test my game against some of the top players in the country,” Jackson said in a statement issued to the press.

Jackson's length and wingspan have had him on NBA scouts' radars for a while, but his perimeter shooting has been inconsistent. (Todd Melet)

Jackson’s length and wingspan have had him on NBA scouts’ radars for a while, but his perimeter shooting has been inconsistent. (Todd Melet)

“But after discussing it with my parents and coaches and praying over this decision, the best choice for my basketball future is to return to school and play for the Tar Heels next season.”

Although he has been a major contributor for head coach Roy Williams in each of the last two seasons, pro scouts have long wanted to see a more consistent long-range jumper from Jackson–who often relies on crafty drives and floaters to score his points in the half court.

After shooting just 30 percent from three-point range in his first year on campus, Jackson’s shooting from beyond the arc fell to 29 percent last season–leaving some doubts as to how much improvement he’s made in that area of his game.

According to, a site that specializes in the NBA Draft, Jackson’s perimeter shooting (or lack thereof) is what had him ranked as the No. 72 overall prospect–which left him out of most mock drafts.

In today’s NBA, where offenses routinely space the floor with multiple shooters surrounding one big man, a solid three-point shot can make all the difference in how much value a player provides to an organization.

Now, though, Jackson will have at least one more year in the college ranks to work on his game–and possibly get another shot at tournament glory.

He’s expected to be part of a talented starting lineup at UNC that will likely feature Joel Berry II and either Theo Pinson or Nate Britt in the backcourt, with Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks in the post.

“Justin certainly did the right thing in entering the Draft, because it helped him and his family make the decision with the most complete information possible,” Williams said of his small forward. “Justin is a terrific player and an even finer young man.

“He’s going to be a big part of our basketball team next year.”

Johnson, Jackson, Paige Receive NBA Combine Invites

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, three Tar Heels have received invitations to the NBA Draft Combine, which will begin next week.

Justin Jackson, Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson will all participate in the annual event which gives NBA teams a chance to scout and interview potential draft picks.

Kennedy Meeks, who announced he would enter the draft, was not on Goodman’s list of 64 of the 70 players invited to the combine.

Jackson and Meeks are both  underclassmen who have yet to hire an agent. They will have until May 25 to decide whether they will return to school or stay in the draft.

The draft will be held June 23.

Jackson, Meeks To Enter NBA Draft, Berry, Hicks Stay

Sophomore Justin Jackson and junior Kennedy Meeks have declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, but neither will hire an agent at this time.

Sophomore Joel Berry  and junior Isaiah Hicks will return to school.

“Justin and Kennedy have our complete support in taking this step,” head coach Roy Williams said. “Any player who is thinking about playing in the NBA next season should gather as much information as they can about their possible draft position.”

Underclassmen have until April 24 to declare for the draft and may still return to school if they have not hired an agent.

They have until May 25 to withdraw from the draft.

“We will continue to support and assist them over the next month to obtain the information that will help them decide whether they should remain in the draft or return to UNC next season,” Williams said.

Dewey Burke Receives Check From Ed O’Bannon Case

When Dewey Burke played basketball at UNC, he never considered the legal implications of playing as himself in the NCAA Basketball video game series.

“Back then we just thought it was cool,” he said. “It was fun to play NCAA 2005 and play as yourself. I don’t know if funny is the right word but it was such a cool think, I guess.”

Fast forward 10 years, and Burke is receiving a check for $171.72 from the NCAA and EA Sports, the creators of the game.

He is one of thousands of former college athletes, who are receiving checks after former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued because the game used his likeness without compensation or his consent.

Burke on Ed O’Bannon, paying college athletes and Tyler Hansbrough’s Guitar Hero prowess

After seeing a tweet about the case, Burke texted some of his former teammates to see if any were planning on joining the class-action lawsuit. At the time he said all of them either had already joined or were planning to.

“We might put our name in there for this if they’re going to send us a check,” he said. “Jokingly saying that we could spend it on a dinner together. It wasn’t something we took overly seriously.”

The NCAA and EA Sports made a basketball and football version of the game, which has since ceased.

Dewey Burke

Dewey Burke’s check. (Via Dewey Burke)

The two organizations have agreed to a settlement totaling $60 million. Former players were assigned points based on how long they played and what game they appeared in. These points correlated to dollar amounts, with the highest possible payout being $3,563.88.

“The whole thing is kind of silly,” Burke said. “The only person that wins in these cases are the attorneys, which was true in this case. The last I read, of the $60 million between EA Sports and the NCAA that they had to pay out, a third of it went to attorneys and the remaining balance was split by some 25,000 athletes.”

But the settlement is a victory for those pushing for compensation for student-athletes, something the NCAA does not allow outside of scholarship money.

Burke said he doesn’t think the schools should pay their athletes, but the students should be able to participate in the free market and get compensated for jersey sales or endorsements.

“There would be a market to put a Tyler Hansbrough or a Ty Lawson in a commercial for a restaurant or a car dealership or a retail store,” he said. “It doesn’t seem American, quite frankly, to not allow that to take place.”

And while the NCAA and student athletes continue to battle over the right to be paid, Burke and his teammates prepare for the dinner they promised themselves.

“Tyler, Bobby (Frasor), Deon (Thompson), Marcus (Ginyard), Danny (Green) those guys, we’ll all get together hopefully this summer,” he said. “One of the guys is getting married so hopefully it’ll happen then.”

Roy Williams Anticipates UNC Underclassmen Will Declare For NBA Draft

Expect UNC basketball players to declare early for the NBA Draft this year.

“I think that some of our guys will try to go to the combine, will declare and not hire an agent,” head coach Roy Williams said. “Then see how they play in the combine and I have no problem with that.”

Williams did not name any specific players he expects to declare, but there are a number of Tar Heels, including Isaiah Hicks, Justin Jackson and Joel Berry, who have pro potential. He said he wants a definitive answer from his players next week.

More players are expected to declare this year than previous years because of a rule change made by the NBA, which allows players to workout with a team and go to the combine without losing their eligibility. The combine is an event hosted by the NBA where potential draft picks get to showcase their skills and meet with team officials

“I think this should be better,” Williams said of the rule changes. “Especially if the NBA does what they say they’re going to do. If they will really be straightforward and honest with the kids and say ‘you’ll probably be top 30 or top 60’ or whatever.”

Previously players had to decide in April whether or not to forgo their remaining years of eligibility. This year, if they don’t hire an agent, underclassmen will have until 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine in May to make their decision. Williams said with the way the new rules are set up, more players should go to the combine.

ESPN reported on Wednesday evening that Jackson is expected to enter the draft and not hire an agent.

Not hiring an agent allows Jackson to go through the process and leave open the option to return to Carolina.

“If you play two minutes a game I don’t think it’s really necessary to do that,” he said. “But if you’re a good college player, why would you not?”

Players taken in the first round get two years of guaranteed money, as opposed to second-round picks or undrafted players who are guaranteed nothing.

“I mean I’ve had an NBA team took one of my players one time said ‘we don’t want anybody, but we had to take somebody,'” he said. “To me you should go to have some guaranteed money. I don’t think anybody should go not really feeling strongly they’re going to be a first-round pick.”

Players have until April 24 to declare and those that don’t hire an agent will have until May 25 to return to school.