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More On Omar, Gut

Zeke Martins has a follow-up
interview with Shamek Cook
, Omar's brother, on what many Carolina
fans seem to perceive as a debacle - UNC's taking Adam Boone over Omar Cook.

There is one quote in here which, to our ear, sounds funny - the idea that
Bill Guthridge would tell a recruit that he was passing on him because he felt
pressure. We're not saying he didn't say it, but it's hard to imagine
Coach Guthridge telling a recruit that, for two reasons:

  1. though UNC coaches have a reputation for being straight up with recruits,
    as Dean once supposedly said, he tells the truth, just not always all of it.
    No coach we know of is going to admit that much weakness to a recruit.
  2. if Guthridge was in fact feeling pressure, by which we assume pressure to
    procure talent, he would feel a stronger counterpressure to not say anything
    to the kid about it. We can think of one former ACC coach, and
    supposedly one current, who would crucify Gut on the recruiting trail if he
    believed he admitted feeling heat, because what's the next step after heat?
    They come after your job. Simple common sense suggests that a coach is
    never, ever going to show anyone a sign of weakness or vulnerability,
    because he knows the sharks will start to circle. It's hard to believe Gut
    would "crush" a recruit, and then give him the means to stick a
    knife between his ribs. We seriously doubt he said that. has an update on this, suggesting that Omar
will open things back up again
, and guess who will want to rush in if it's
possible? Why,
Kentucky, of course.
(incidentally, Kurt O' Neill is planning a chat
tonight. If we had heard early enough we would have put it on the front page. Go
over to his site and hit the chat
). Possibly Maryland.

UNC fans are somewhat upset over this turn of events, but they really
shouldn't be too upset. First of all, no one knows exactly what happens, and
Shamek's account doesn't make sense for the reason we listed above. Second, Omar
has been fighting a bad rap as something of a punk. He says he's not,
which is what we would hope he would say, but the perception is there.

In Boone's case, it's the exact opposite. He's a scholar and a
gentleman, in every sense, and while he might not be as gifted as Cook
physically, his gifts are not insignificant, either physically or in terms of
what his character brings to the team. Remember when Roy blew up at JaRon
Rush a couple of years ago after he got too arrogant in the recruiting
process? There could be something like that here as well, but Guthridge
isn't going to address it publicly if there's an issue of any kind. He can't, of
course, under NCAA restrictions, but he wouldn't regardless.

Third, over the last several years, UNC has had some players who were, uh,
somewhat erratic - McInnis & Wallace, Shammond, Makhtar and to a lesser
extent, Cota, who says he's not like that anymore. Now, UNC has Jason
Capel, Joe Forte, Kris Lang, Jon Holmes, Will Johnson, and, soon
Adam Boone. So far, Gut has won consistently, 58 games in 2 seasons, made
the Final Four once, and generally put together numbers most people would die
for. He's building a team with players of significant character and
heart. He missed on a few players this season, and missed on Cook by his
own choice, but he's put together a team of kids who are solid students and who
are picked to win the conference and be a Top 15 team. We don't see anyone
here who is going to steal a stereo from a dorm room, or run from the police, or
get caught in an embarrassing scandal. Give him a chance. He's putting his
own stamp on the UNC program, and as long as he continues to win, which he has,
why not trust his judgment when it comes to potential invitees to the UNC
dynasty? Even if he wins a handful less games, it's not nearly as damaging as what Makhtar Ndaiye did to the program.