UNC seniors Melvin Scott, Jackie Manuel, Jawad Williams
“I’d like to thank the coaching staff for helping me find myself,” Jackie Manuel said.
That’s when those tears came for the head coach.
You’d have to know the history behind the seniors’ time at UNC to understand why winning the ACC title in their last year was so great. For a perennially good basketball program, it was a chaotic four years for guys who are growing up at the same time.
Thanks, Jackie, Jawad, and Melvin, for sticking it out. I’ve been an UNC fan for a long time, and have seen a few special players who stood out as good people above and beyond any basketball skills, and y’all definitely take a place in that group. (And let’s not forget Charlie Everett and C. J. Hooker, two members of that fan-favorite group, the non-scholarship walk-on players.)
Update: Got to get this in here: Jackie Manuel went 5-6 from the field and scored 12 points. He was the second-leading scorer, behind Sean May’s incredible 26-point, 24-rebound performance. 🙂 BTW, here are links to the senior speeches after the game, at least in part, and to other quotes.