What a weird day in Chapel Hill. It was pretty generally understood that Larry Drew considered transferring last year, but decided to stick it out.
|Saturday's ACC Action!|
|Clemson @ Georgia Tech||1:00||ACC Network|
|Wake Forest @ Maryland||1:00||ACC Network|
|Virginia Tech @ Boston College||1:00||ACC Network|
|Virginia @ Miami||2:00||Nope|
So what is the point of transferring in February? As a junior, he'll only have one year left to make his mark.Â And the mark he made on Friday will follow him for a good while
Apparently, according to his father, Drew had been planning to transfer for some time:
"This was a decision that was made long before this season even started to be perfectly honest,ââ his dad said. â We'd been contemplating it for awhile. Sometimes things come to a point where a decision has to be made. It had gotten to that point."
That makes Friday's actions even more bizarre and stupid.
Everything seemed normal.Â His teammates had no idea and didn't either until after he'd cleaned out his locker and left that he was leaving. Some found out from Facebook and Twitter; Tyler Zeller said he got a text message.
Drew has a right to live his life however he sees fit, and it's not the worst departure ever.
But it was bad enough
In basketball, like any team sport, people depend on you. Carolina now is forced to go with a freshman point guard with no meaningful backup. We're not knocking Dexter Strickland who is a promising player, but his point skills are minimal.
Kendall Marshall is a born point guard, but his athleticism is much less than most of his rivals, and while he has shown that he is far ahead offensively, now he has to run the show and also play defense, which has not been a strong point to date.
We're obviously not Carolina fans here, but we are basketball fans and understand something about being part of a team.Â Walking away like this is truly bad form.
Aside from until his teammates, he didn't tell his coach, instead letting his father call.
All things considered, this was very poorly handled.
As numerous people have pointed out, this is the fourth Californian in a row to bail on Ol' Roy Williams (the Wear twins and Alex Stepheson preceded him).
Finally, one of the things that hasn't been commented on is one line in his farewell statement:
âOver the last three years weâve accomplished a lot as a team and those experiences will help me not only on the court, but off the court as well. Iâd like to thank the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play at one of the nationâs top colleges in UNC, and my teammates for their support as well. It is unfortunate my career didnât meet expectations in Chapel Hill, however, I do look forward to continuing my collegiate and athletic career in the near future.â
It's not clear whose expectations he's referring to here.Â It could be his own or perhaps his coaches.
Or maybe, it was partly referring to fans. The world that Dean Smith created, which nearly fetishized upperclassmen, once extended to fans as well. Apparently not anymore: whatever his faults, Drew took it in the shorts from fans on more than one occasion.Â It wouldn't be any fun at all to log on to some web sites and see the sort of things they've said about him.
Certainly that's not the only reason, but you wonder if it became a factor.
Like everyone else, Drew worked hard and criticism eventually is bound to sting.
As we said, it may or may not have played a role, but even a Carolina fan can't miss the irony: after ripping him, insulting him, demeaning hisÂ contributions, many of the same fans are stunned that he left.Â Hurt and angry probably applies too.
But really, in one sense it's poetic justice.Â It's definitely bad form, but for those fans who spent 2 1/2 years ripping him, well, apparently you got what you wanted.
In Saturday's ACC action, Clemson travels to Georgia Tech, Wake Forest heads to Maryland, Virginia Tech hits Beantown and Virginia goes down to Miami.
Like Carolina, Virginia lost a player to a February transfer in Billy Baron, who willÂ head back to Rhode Island to play for his dad.