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4Basketball '89The Daily Tar HeelFriday, November 17, 1989
Going back to ba5c
Inside game the key
for 'Team of the '80s'
By DAVE GLENN
In 28 years of coaching, North
Carolina head coach Dean Smith has
seen it all.
Smith's 1989-90 Tar Heels proba
bly don't have as many strengths as
his teams of yesteryear, but they
probably don't have as many weak
On the one hand, UNC has one of
the best frontcourts in the nation; on
the other, the Tar Heels return only
one experienced contributor in the
Last year's 29-8 Tar Heel squad
won with the inside scoring of J.R.
Reid and the long-range bombs of
Steve Bucknall and Jeff Lebo. All
three players are now in the NBA,
yet the new-look Tar Heels may have
their best blend of offensive and de
fensive balance in years.
So are they better or not? Is an
other ACC Championship an impos
sible goal? How about another trip to
the Sweet Sixteen or even (gasp) the
Don't ask Smith, he's just wor
ried about getting invited to The Show.
"Our goal is to make the NCAA
Tournament," Smith said, perhaps for
the 10th and final time this decade.
"We will be a competitive basketball
team, but a lot of things have to go
right for us to have an outstanding
Point well taken, but as far as
the NCAA tourney goes it's a
safe bet that this talented group will
mark Smith's 15th consecutive invi
tation, an NCAA record.
This particular squad can actually
put the icing on another cake that the
UNC coaching staff has been baking
since the start of the 1980s. A Top 10
finish in 1990 would mean the Tar
Heels have finished every year in a
decade's worth of basketball in that
elite group. In that same span, UNC
has won at least 27 games each sea
son for a incredible composite rec
ord of 281-63 by far the best in
the country. Want more? How about
this: In 1990 North Carolina can ex
tend its record-breaking string of 20
win seasons to 20 in a row.
But maybe that's too much to ask
of a team that, statistically speaking,
lost almost half of its points and two
thirds of its three-pointers from a year
"I think we lost our three best play
ers," Smith said, referring to Buck
nall, Lebo and Reid. "Someone had
the nerve to say that we won't miss
J.R., and I thought he was being funny.
We'll certainly miss J.R. We'll also
miss Jeff Lebo, whom I counted on
for so many things."
This year, Smith will be counting
Scott Cherry G
"Denotes Letters Won
Fr. Ballston Spa, N.Y.
Jr. Eutaw, Ala.
So. Burke, Va.
Sr. Rural Hall, N.C.
Jr. Nassau, Bahamas
Sr. Raleigh, N.C.
Fr. Petersburg, Va.
Sr. Marion, N.C.
Fr. Roanoke, Va.
Sr. Staunton, Va.
Jr. Binghampton, N.Y.
Fr. W. Germany
Fr. Pittsburgh, Penn.
Fr. Katy, Texas
Sr. Hacienda Heights, Calif.
Dean Smith (Kansas, 1953)
Bill Guthridge (Kansas State, 1960)
Phil Ford (North Carolina, 1978)
Randy Wiel (North Carolina, 1979)
Dave Hanners (North Carolina, 1976)
on junior point guard King Rice (5.2
ppg, 4.1 apg) to run the show
from end line to end line, and maybe
from start to finish.
"The player we can least afford to
lose (to injury) this year is King Rice,"
Smith said. "He must remain healthy.
You know, like I want (President)
Bush to remain healthy. I won't say
who our Quayle is."
Presidential comparisons aside, the
biggest question for the Tar Heels is
definitely at guard. The Tar Heels
will need immediate contributions
from senior sharpshooter Jeff Denny,
new-and-improved sophomore Hubert
Davis and freshmen Henrik Rodl and
In the frontcourt the coach must
just watch and smile, for most of that
work has already been done.
The Tar Heels return the powerful
quartet of Pete Chilcutt (6.9 ppg, 5.4
rpg), Rick Fox (11.5, 3.8), Kevin
Madden (14.6, 4.8) and Scott Wil
liams (1 1.4, 7.3) in the paint, though
Fox and Madden will also see plenty
of time on the perimeter. Newcomer
George Lynch, a 6-7 forward who
will open some eyes around the ACC,
brings confidence, athleticism and
aggressiveness to this already-potent
mix. Freshman center Matt Wenstrom,
Smith's first official 7-footer, may
also get some minutes this season,
especially now that an appendectomy
(Nov. 10) will sideline Williams for
two or three weeks.
The biggest change for UNC fans
in 1989 may be the switch back from
last year's up-tempo style to more
traditional, conservative Tar Heel
"We will not continue the experi
ment we tried last year," Smith said.
"We only got eight more possessions
a game on the average, and I ex
pected to see a difference of 20. So it
wasn't worth the bad shots that we
took or the gambles we made defen
sively. "This year we'll revert back to the
way we've done it all the other 27
years. We'll push it up, certainly; we'll
take good shots. We'll still get after
them defensively, but we'll be a little
But how will the "old way" work
without the likes of Bucknall, Lebo
"A program means you lose a good
player, but you continue to have good
teams," Smith said. "Maybe not as
good a team, but maybe better."
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