By R.L. Bynum
You’ll no longer be able to watch Joel Berry II play basketball but can get his insights on television.
Berry announced his retirement as a player in August. He, along with another former Tar Heel guard, K.J. Smith, have joined ACC Network as analysts.
Berry’s first appearance on the network was on Tuesday morning’s episode of “Packer and Durham” with Mark Packer and Wes Durham.
“Life is crazy how it works but I’m happy to be here,” Berry said. “You know, I had a great professional career. I enjoyed it. Basketball means so much to me. But now I’m with you guys and I’m excited and I’m looking forward to it.”
Berry will appear weekly on “Nothing But Net” and Smith will be part of the “All ACC” show.
Berry said part of the reason he retired as a player was his daughter, who was born last month.
“I’m a family man,” Berry said. “Family has always been something that’s huge. She’s amazing. She’s bought nothing but joy to our family. But I’ve always been a family guy. During my time playing basketball, my family was huge for me. You see the product on the court. But, behind the scenes, it was a lot of times I was struggling. But it was my family [that helped], so family is everything to me. And that’s why I made the decision to stop playing to be there for my family.”
Smith’s father, legendary UNC point guard Kenny Smith, is an NBA analyst on TNT and also is part of Final Four coverage.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Joel and KJ to our ACC Network family. Their engaging personalities and knowledge of the game will be immediate assets to our studio coverage,” coordinating producer Aaron Katzman said. “Joel makes our ‘Nothing But Net’ team even more decorated with two Most Outstanding Players and NCAA champions in Joel and Luke Hancock and national champion, NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Carlos Boozer, while KJ will elevate both our studio programming and the content on our ACCN social platforms.”
Berry scored 1,811 points and dished out 451 assists in his Carolina career, highlighted by a Most Outstanding Player performance in leading the Tar Heels to the 2017 national championship in Glendale, Ariz.
He became the first player to score 20 points in successive NCAA title games since Bill Walton did it in the 1970s.
Berry played two seasons in the G-League, one each with the South Bay Lakers and the Greensboro Swarm, before playing his third and final season with Beşiktaş in the Basketball Super League.
K.J. Smith played three seasons for UNC after transferring from Pacific, scoring 42 points in 51 games.
“I’m thrilled to be joining ACC Network,” Smith said. “During my time at UNC, I fell in love with ACC basketball and now I can’t wait to cover it. It’s going to be a fun season and I am excited to contribute.”