North Carolina men’s basketball all-time roster: Tar Heel legends

The college basketball season is hitting the stretch run with Selection Sunday on March 12 followed by the NCAA Tournament.

While North Carolina is usually in the tournament and is coming off a run to the national championship game. The Tar Heels are on the bubble this year after a disappointing year. Hubert Davis and his team returned four starters from a year ago but hit a difficult stretch in February that cost them a big chance at the tournament.

Still, North Carolina is a blue blood as one of the most historic programs of all time.

With the number of legends that have played for the program over the years, what would an all-time UNC team look like? We decided to create an all-time roster including a head coach, an assistant coach, and 10 players.


Dean Smith: Head coach (1961-1997)


The “Dean” of college basketball, the late Dean Smith is a coaching legend and the easy choice to be the head coach for our all-time team. Smith coached 36 seasons at North Carolina, finishing with 879 wins which were the most in Division 1 at the time.

Under Smith, North Carolina won the ACC 17 times, the ACC Tournament 13 times, reached the Final Four 11 times and won 2 national championships.  He was the National Coach of the Year in 1993.

Roy Williams: Assistant coach (1978-1988)

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Before he was a head coach, Roy Williams started as an assistant under Dean Smith. He was an assistant from 1978-88. During that time, UNC went 275–61 and won the 1982 national championship.

Williams was a big recruiter for North Carolina as well. He was able to learn under Smith before landing his first coaching job at Kansas and then returning to North Carolina in 2003.

Starting Guard: Phil Ford (1974-78)

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In his four seasons with North Carolina, Phil Ford was a three-time first-team all-American and a three-time first-team All-ACC selection. In the 1978 season, he earned the ACC Player of the Year award by averaging 20.8 points and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 52.7% from the field.

Ford was smooth at the point guard position and a true leader for the Tar Heels in his four seasons. His playmaking ability stood out as he ran Dean Smith’s offense and found ways to get his teammates involved while also being a scorer.

Starting Guard: Michael Jordan (1981-84)

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Before he became the GOAT, Michael Jordan spent three seasons at North Carolina. He burst onto the scene as a freshman in 1982, helping lead the Tar Heels to Dean Smith’s first national championship. Jordan hit the game-winning shot with seconds left in the game and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year.

In three seasons, Jordan was a two-time first-team All-American and was the 1984 Player of the Year in college basketball. He averaged 17.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 54% in his career with UNC.


Starting Forward: Lennie Rosenbluth (1954-57)

You can go a few different ways here at small forward, but our pick is the legendary Lennie Rosenbluth. The forward averaged 26.9 points per game in his three seasons, the most in UNC basketball history. That included his 1957 season in which he averaged 28 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Rosenbluth was the Player of the Year in 1957 helping lead North Carolina to its first NCAA title that year, beating Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas.

Staring Forward: Tyler Hansbrough (2005-09)

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“Psycho T” made his mark early, helping lead the Tar Heels to a big upset at Duke in his freshman season. He went 4-0 in games at Duke over the course of his career.

In four years, Hansbrough averaged 20.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, including a 2008 campaign in which he averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as the National Player of the Year. He was a three-time first-team all-American and ended his career with a national championship in 2009.

Starting Center: Sam Perkins (1980-84)

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Sam Perkins spent time at power forward and center in his four years at North Carolina. But for this team, we are going with him at center.

Perks averaged 15.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game over his four seasons. In the 1984 campaign, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. His play earned him first-team All-American honors and first-team All-ACC honors three times each in his career.

Reserve Guard: Ty Lawson (2006-09)

Ty Lawson
Ty Lawson

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The University of North Carolina has a rich history of point guards and picking the backup here is no easy task. We went with Ty Lawson, a point guard who ran Roy Williams’ offense almost to perfection.

In three years at North Carolina, Lawson averaged 13.1 points and 5.8 assists per game. That includes a 2009 season that was one of the best by a point guard in UNC basketball history. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.6 assists per game, helping the Tar Heels win a national title. He did that with a banged-up ankle for most of March.


Reserve Guard: Charles Scott (1967-70)

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Charles Scott was the first varsity African-American player in UNC basketball program history and is among the best players to ever play in Chapel Hill.

In three seasons, Scott averaged 22.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. In the 1970 season, he averaged 27.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. The 22.1 points per game average is the third-best in program history.


Reserve Forward: Antawn Jamison (1995-98)

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This is another tough one to leave off the starting lineup. Antawn Jamison is a UNC legend and deserves his place on this team somewhere.

The 1998 National Player of the Year averaged 22.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game that season. In three years, Jamison averaged 19 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Tar Heels.

He was a three-time All-ACC first-team selection and led the Tar Heels to back-to-back Final Four appearances.

Reserve Forward: James Worthy (1979-82)

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“Big Game” James Worthy spent three seasons at North Carolina, averaging 14.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. In the 1982 season, Worthy averaged 15.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game helping lead the Tar Heels to a national title.

Worthy picked up accolades along the way. He was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player, a consensus first-team all-American selection and an All-ACC selection in that 1982 season.


Reserve Center: Brad Daugherty (1982-86)

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A Black Mountain, North Carolina, native, Brad Daugherty spent four seasons at North Carolina, averaging 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. In his career-best 1986 season, Daugherty averaged 20.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game while shooting 64.8% from the field.

Daugherty earned consensus second-team All-American honors in 1986 and a two-time first-team All-ACC selection in 1985 and 1986. He became the No. 1 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft.

Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire