I’m pretty sure by now that you guys have heard all the stories about former Tar Heels returning to Chapel Hill during the summer. The difference between this summer and summers past is the duration some of my Tar Heel brothers have been in town. This summer has been special.
Since coming to Chapel Hill in 2001 I always had sense of how special this place was. I figured it had to be pretty special because I had seen so many guys that had played before me come back to live or visit. Lets be honest, if you’re not college age, Chapel Hill is not the most exciting place in the world to live, but living in the area definitely has its benefits. Since my return from Japan, I have seen a lot of familiar faces in the area. A lot of my Tar Heel brethren have actually officially made the area home. On a Sunday morning my family and I went to a have breakfast at a staple restaurant in the Tar Heel community, Sutton’s Drug Store. As we sit down, in walks Lenny Rosenbluth. For those that don’t know Lenny Rosenbluth, he is a Tar Heel legend. He was a member of the 1957 NCCA championship team, and a first team All-American. Mr. Rosenbluth averaged 29 points per game without a three-point line. As he and I talk I cant help but think, here we are, guys who played at UNC in completely different of eras, but by being Tar Heels there is no awkward moments when we see each other and talk.
Walking into a bookstore, I run into one of my favorite Tar Heels of all time, Phil Ford. Once again, for those who don’t know your Tar Heel history, Phil Ford aka Coach Ford is Mr. Four Corners. He was the elite of the elite when you’re talking about point guards. As with any Tar Heel interaction, it was all love. I’ve known Coach Ford since my freshman year in college, and he has always been a great mentor. No matter what, when we see each other, we share a laugh about an encounter we had on Franklin Street. If you see Coach Ford ask him about what happened. All I can tell you is, don’t tempt me with a good time.
Our summers are pretty eventful. For the last three years I have been invited to be a guest speaker at Sam Perkins’ basketball camp. David Noel and I hosted a Skills Clinic at Southern Durham High School, where he is the head coach. Marcus Ginyard does a community day, Danny Green has basketball camp held at the Smith Center. Justin Watts and Eric Montross bother have Fathers Day camps, Kenny Smith has his annual camp. I’m pretty sure I’m missing some events, but not only are we here, we also try to be about the community.
The people are what make this place special. A lot of guys have moved back to finish up their degrees or to just further their education, and work on their game. Our families are growing up together; our kids come into this world with play dates already scheduled. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool to be at the Smith Center playing pick up games and to look over to the side and see a bunch of miniature versions of ourselves playing together. Speaking of pick up, nothing has changed; we still go hard at each other. Our job as vets is to get the young guys ready for the college season. If they can compete against top-notch pros, they definitely can compete with their college opponents. The young guys job is to keep us vets sharp and they do just that.
As summer wines down, don’t be surprised to see one of your former Tar Heel favorites wondering around. Stop and speak or do the most awkward thing and yell “GO HEELS”, really loud and draw all the attention.
Till next time… GO HEELS!!!!!