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Some Thoughts On Guthridge

Chansky has a column about Omar vs. Adam
with the obligatory Chansky dig at
Duke (suggesting that Duke wanted Boone only because they could shut UNC out of
the point guard market, which is ludicrous, since UNC was widely considered the
leader for Omar Cook, and was fully expected by everyone - including Cook
himself - to pick Omar, and since Duke was recruiting Boone since before Duhon
committed, and long before he became a crucial recruit in Chapel Hill).
However, dig aside, his column is substantially correct: Omar did overplay his
hand, Adam Boone is a great kid, and certainly he would have played at Duke, UNC, or wherever he chose to matriculate.

The better question to ask might be this: what took UNC so long to start
paying attention to stuff like this in recruiting? Over the last 10 years or so,
Carolina has had a number of prominent players who were closer to Omar's
personality than they were to Boone's. Bill Guthridge has suffered from
comparisons to Dean Smith, not least of all when it comes to recruiting, but
when you look at the caliber of person he's bringing in vs. what Smith from time
to time brought in over the last few years of his career, while the talent may or may not be as high, the team chemistry promises to be superb. Guthridge has had a chance now to put his imprint on the UNC program, and while a lot of fans probably wanted Omar, Guthridge seems to have wagered on character and substance, and we applaud him for it.

We'll never be UNC fans, in case you had any question about it, but the odds
of Adam Boone being anything but good news in Chapel Hill are slim. There
won't be rumors about his personal life, there will be no misdirected violence,
and there won't be criminal proceedings. On top of that, the kid's an ace
student. We'll say it again: what's not to like? And put him with Capel,
Forte, Holmes, and Lang, and you have a truly impressive group of young

And who put it together? The much-maligned Bill Guthridge, that's who. In
terms of character, this is the most solid group of kids Carolina has had since
the UNC team we most admire, the '93 team. Despite the criticism he
receives, he has assembled a squad which is very capable of playing as a unit,
and as great teams like Gonzaga, the Unforgettables of Kentucky fame, Weber
State and Utah have proved in recent years, great teams tend to take out
great players.

Chansky's right insofar as he goes, but you can take the basic argument to a
deeper level and suggest what to many is unthinkable: Bill Guthridge is putting
together a better group than Dean Smith had done for years. He's
not compromising and he's not taking the easy way out. And we think that's
great. We hope a lot of people will get off his back and let him continue.
It's funny to talk about building a foundation at a program like UNC, but pretty
clearly that's precisely what he's doing, and he's doing it entirely the right
way. If he were forty years old, we'd predict a Hall of Fame career, but
starting as late as he has, it's realistically a coda (no pun intended) to a
quiet but fabulous career spent mostly in the shadows of a legend.