CHAPEL HILL — If North Carolina is going to turn the season around, the Tar Heels will do it with the kind of pitching that Wednesday threw them into the exam break in dominant fashion. With nearly a week in between games, Coach Scott Forbes used his top two starters, right-hander Max Carlson and left-hander Brandon Shaeffer, and they followed up good outings last weekend by holding Liberty in check.
The good news just keeps pouring in for Carolina basketball and Coach Hubert Davis, the latest being Wednesday’s commitment from five-star Class of 2023 power forward Gregory “GG” Jackson. The 6–foot-9, 210-pound star announced in an afternoon press conference at his Columbia, S.C., school that he picked the Tar Heels over Duke, Auburn, Georgetown, South Carolina and Massachusetts. He also considered playing for the G League’s Ignite team.
The 283 players who have filed as early-entry candidates to the NBA Draft includes a player from Carolina, but not one you would expect. Kerwin Walton, a 6–5 wing who played sparingly down the stretch for the Tar Heels as a sophomore, submitted his name before the Sunday deadline and appears on the list that the NBA released late Tuesday night.
Cameron Johnson struggled with his shot on Tuesday night, but came up with a big driving dunk in the final two minutes to ignite a key 8–0 run in the Phoenix Suns’ 112–97 Game 5 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Phoenix takes a 3–2 lead in their first-round series heading to New Orleans for Game 6 Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (TNT).
Danny Green played his best game of these NBA playoffs and moved up the all-time playoffs 3-pointers list but it wasn’t nearly enough for his Philadelphia 76ers to close out the Toronto Raptors. Reggie Bullock had a good all-around game before being ejected in a skirmish as his Dallas Mavericks moved one win away from winning their series with the Utah Jazz. In 25 minutes, Green collected 14 points, four rebounds and two steals in the Sixers’ 103–88 Game 5 loss at home to the Raptors. Philadelphia still leads the first-round series 3–2, and gets another chance to win the series when it resumes in Toronto at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Every North Carolina national-championship team had two qualities that next season’s Tar Heels will share — veteran guards and at least three of the top five scorers returning. After having three starting point guards in three seasons (Joel Berry II in 2017–18, followed by freshmen Coby White and Cole Anthony), UNC will have the same backcourt duo for the third consecutive season. Like most freshmen, RJ Davis and Caleb Love had their struggles but showed marked improvement as sophomores. History tells you that seasoned backcourts are important, considering only one of Carolina’s six national champions started a freshman guard. Let’s throw in a quick asterisk: It was the greatest player in the history of the game. If you’re reading a story on this website, you should know who that is. If not, read on. With four starters and four of the top five scorers