2017-09-20 / Living

Sports writer addresses Kiwanis Club; discusses local college teams

Andrew Carter Andrew Carter At the June 19, meeting of the Roxboro Kiwanis Club, Ann Garrard, executive director of the Person County Partnership for Children, spoke about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides an age appropriate book each month to 1,647 local children ages birth through five years old, resulting in the distribution of 15,395 books.

For each local dollar, the Parton Foundation matches it with $3.

Garrard was presented with a check for the club’s annual support for the program.

Andrew Carter, sports writer covering UNC athletics for the Raleigh News and Observer, also addressed the club.

When asked to name the favorite team he has covered, Carter’s answer was the 2016 basketball team, due to the presence of Marcus Paige. After more thought, he said the last two years have really been notable.

He bemoaned the plight of those who cover some of the one-and-done programs, since they never really get to know the players who stay, like Paige and Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson.

He thinks this phenomenon is sad, and indicated that he grew up as a Duke fan in the Christian Laettner era.

Carter noted that there was much talk about “redemption” with this year’s basketball team. He considered that odd, since the University of North Carolina had nothing about which to be ashamed based on last year’s performance.

He mused that perhaps “mission accomplished” would have been a better slogan. Some of last year’s players had an opportunity to leave, but did not do so, including Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

This set the tone for the mission of this year’s team.

Carter asked C. B. Mc- Grath, a UNC assistant coach, what the difference between the two teams was. McGrath’s response was toughness. This was particularly true with regard to Joel Berry.

After UNC beat Kentucky, Berry’s ankles were swollen and he was in tremendous pain, such that he did not even want to talk to the media, but he came through when it counted.

Several years ago, UNC had trouble closing out games and Williams talked repeatedly about toughness; not letting leads slip away.

This past season UNC won all of those close games.

Hicks did not perform well throughout the tournament, yet in the championship game his runner with 30 seconds left was the difference.

Carter contends that sports are a good metaphor for life — learning from mistakes and building resiliency from adversity.

Carter travels to all the road games, which is not all that common presently. None of the other papers, except Raleigh and Charlotte, do this any more.

He recalled a boy from Goldsboro with a brain tumor who was sent to the Maui Invitational tournament by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Carter attended a practice with the team and the family and he enjoyed seeing the interaction.

The Indiana loss this season produced a classic Roy Williams moment. Williams said he wished we could play in an environment like that. There was also a great “time-out” rant from Williams which lasted nine and one-half minutes.

The Kentucky game in Las Vegas was a coming out party for Luke May and showed what UNC could do offensively.

The worst game he covered was the Georgia Tech game in Atlanta, a UNC loss.

The coach and some of the players were sick.

The Sun Bowl was the day before in El Paso, Texas, so Carter had to leave El Paso at 5:30 a.m in order to get to Atlanta in time to make the basketball game.

The two NC State games this year were record setting. This included the 51 point win in Chapel Hill, which marked the end of the Mark Gottfried era.

His favorite game all year was the Kentucky game in the NCAA tournament, and he described the emotional intensity at courtside as dramatic.

He spoke about Stillman White, a 24 year old senior.

White told Carter that he was looking for a job, knowing that basketball was not in his future. Yet he took a future NBA first round draft pick to the rim and scored on a reverse lay-up in the Kentucky game.

He sees next season as rebuilding in football.

UNC lost almost all of its offense.

A transfer from LSU may win the quarterback job, but there will be others competing for that job.

This will be the first time in Fedora’s tenure where the team may be better defensively than offensively, since there are so many offensive unknowns.

Regarding the NCAA investigation, the bogus courses don’t fit the definition of academic fraud that the NCAA uses, which is basically the athlete cheating.

Carter thinks that some of the UNC arguments are sound, but the result is still uncertain. If UNC receives sanctions it regards as unacceptable, the matter could wind up in federal court.

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