Most North Carolina players could give a brief rundown on what they know about Ohio State guard Shannon Scott heading into Saturday’s game with the Buckeyes in Chicago.

The significance of his father? That was a bit harder for the young Tar Heels to remember, even though Charles Scott’s journey is extremely significant.

Willie Cooper was the first to integrate the Tar Heels freshman team in 1964. Scott was the first black scholarship basketball player at North Carolina in 1966. He paved the way for them all: Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison, Sean May, Ty Lawson.

[+] EnlargeShannon Scott
Kirk Irwin/Getty ImagesShannon Scott might be an Ohio State Buckeye now, but his father Charles was one of the most influential players in North Carolina history.
Scott is the school's sixth all-time leading scorer and has his No. 33 jersey among those honored -- not retired -- in the Dean E. Smith Center rafters. He helped lead the Tar Heels to Final Four appearances in 1968 and 1969.

“Did I go with the idea of being a pioneer? It was the ‘60s and at that time you do things because they needed to be done, not with the concept of being a pioneer,” said Scott, who lettered from 1967-70. “It was the era of integration in many circumstances and I just happened to be one of instruments of integration for the University of North Carolina.”

His love for his alma mater and his former coach is unquestioned. Scott’s other two children, Simone and Shaun, both graduated from UNC. He returns to Chapel Hill at least once each year and visits coach Dean Smith.

Scott might not wear scarlet and gray at the United Center, but this is the one time he won’t exactly be “shouting N.C.U.” as the fight song suggests.

“Luckily it has only come up once in four years and I hope it comes up once again, maybe in the NCAA championship,” Charles Scott said. “It’s going to be tough rooting against North Carolina, but that’s my son out there. Make no mistake about it, I will be rooting for my son and his team.”

Scott once envisioned seeing his son follow in his footsteps to Chapel Hill. Many summers he would bring Shannon Scott back for basketball camps.

Shannon Scott, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard, also dreamed of playing in Carolina blue when he got serious about basketball in middle school. Things changed as he got older and he thought about forming his own legacy in a program.

Carolina made the decision easier for him, with a roster that included Larry Drew II and Kendall Marshall. Scott, who was rated No. 34 in the class of 2011 by Recruiting Nation, didn’t want to be the third point guard.

“I had to decide did I want to go and be my own person or the son of somebody,” said Shannon Scott, who currently leads the Buckeyes and is second nationally with 7.8 assists per game. “I felt like trying to have my own name, I had to go somewhere else rather than become ‘Charlie Scott’s son’ had I gone there.”

Truth is, being the son of Charles Scott would carry weight wherever he attended school. Shannon Scott could never really just stay in the background on any team. His dad shared stories here and there, but mostly he heard from other Tar Heels fans of the sacrifices his dad made to play.

Shannon Scott heard about his father being passed over for the ACC Player of the Year award as a junior and senior. He heard the stories of isolation and how his father didn't really form lasting and deep bonds with his teammates because he could not hang with them socially outside of basketball. And he heard about his father playing in front of crowds that threw objects at him on the court and stopping at restaurants that wouldn’t serve the team.

“The server would just never come over, the whole team would be waiting to get their food and they would never have anything just because he was there with them,” Shannon Scott said. “Stuff like that is crazy, but I understand that it happened.”

As inconceivable as segregation is to players who saw Barack Obama elected president in their teenage years, they all respect what Charles Scott went through in order for them to play.

North Carolina freshman forward Justin Jackson met Charles Scott, whom he called “one of the great Tar Heels,” when Shannon Scott came to Houston to work out at a John Lucas’ camp.

“Playing college basketball isn’t easy, let alone having to keep up with your academics, and we don’t even have to deal with the whole race issue and everything like that,” Jackson said. “He definitely made a huge mark on college basketball as a whole and the University of North Carolina.”

Scott joked that when he’s recognized by current players for being the first, it just makes him feel old.

Such was the case when Carolina’s sophomore forward Isaiah Hicks sought out Scott for a project in a history class last semester. Hicks said he got a B on the paper, but talking to Scott about his experience was the real lesson.

“Nowadays you can’t imagine going through that stuff, you can’t picture it because it’s not happening to you,” Hicks said. “Of course, I had to thank him.”
Go ahead. Laugh it up.

I read the comments. I know what you're thinking. And I'm fine with it and I deserve the criticism.

Not only did I fail in my quest for a perfect 5-0 weekend, I didn't even come close.

2-3?!?!?

C'mon, Northern Iowa. I mean, I was right on the overtime thing but not on the outcome. Same with Kansas-Utah. That was a battle.

Just one problem, for the purposes of my limited accuracy: The Jayhawks won that battle.

Kentucky over North Carolina was easy and my 15-point prediction for UK's margin of victory was off by only one. UCLA wasn't in Gonzaga's league. We all knew that.

But I was WAY off on Iowa State-Iowa. Let me explain my pregame reasoning. No Bryce Dejean-Jones for Iowa State in a rivalry road game. An Iowa team that was just over a week removed from that road win over North Carolina. Still, I forgot how personal this game is for the guys involved and disregarded Iowa's challenges in similar high-profile matchups in recent years.

My prediction of a three-point win for Iowa was ultimately a 15-point victory for Iowa State.

This week? I'm asking Santa for anything above 2-3.

Last week: 2-3

Overall: 17-8

UCLA vs. No. 1 Kentucky (United Center in Chicago), 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, CBS: The Bruins aren't bad. In some ways, they've surpassed expectations. Who thought Bryce Alford would evolve into an all-Pac-12ish point guard for Steve Alford? Norman Powell is one of the best all-around players in the country. Kevon Looney is a pro. But they're not capable of solving the Kentucky problem that might perplex every opponent the Wildcats face this season. It's a broken record, I know, but if you're dealing with a shot-blocking crew that protects the space within the arc better than any team in America and throws multiple 6-foot-10-and-up future pros at you on offense, how can you stop that over 40 minutes? UCLA won't have that answer during this CBS Sports Classic matchup.

Prediction: Kentucky 80, UCLA 60

No. 12 Ohio State vs. No. 24 North Carolina (United Center in Chicago), 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, CBS: In North Carolina's three losses, Marcus Paige committed three or more turnovers. He also went 14-for-44 from the field in those matchups. If you can pressure him, you can clog North Carolina's offense. And Shannon Scott (3.0 SPG), now one of the nation's top point guards, is the perfect guy to apply that pressure. Plus, the Buckeyes are a good 3-point shooting team that will stretch UNC's defense in a scrappy, tight game. Also, D'Angelo Russell is the truth. And the college basketball world will see that this weekend.

Prediction: Ohio State 69, UNC 67

No. 15 Oklahoma vs. No. 16 Washington (MGM Grand in Las Vegas), 9 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPNU: A couple of surprising teams here that could make their respective conference races quite interesting. Oklahoma has emerged as a contender in the Big 12. Ryan Spangler and Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas form one of the best frontcourts in the country. The Sooners are holding opponents to a 40 percent clip inside the arc, 29 percent outside it. But the Huskies have Nigel Williams-Goss and a strong offense that has scored 76 points or more in six of its past nine games. But it hasn't faced a team with Oklahoma's balance or a player like Buddy Hield.

Prediction: Oklahoma 74, Washington 70

Indiana vs. No. 23 Butler (Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis), 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Fox Sports 1: The Hoosiers' offense is legit. Their 87.5 PPG is fifth in the nation. But their defense, on a per-possession rating by Ken Pomeroy, is 187th in the country. That's how they lost to Eastern Washington despite scoring 86 points. Butler, which boasts wins over Georgetown and North Carolina, is the opposite. Can't trust the Bulldogs' offense. Roosevelt Jones went 2-for-9 in each of his team's losses (to Tennessee, Oklahoma) and that messed up everything but also showcased Butler's limits. I'll take Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon and a team that shoots 42 percent from the 3-point line.

Prediction: Indiana 77, Butler 71

No. 17 Maryland at Oklahoma State, 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, ESPNU: Le'Bryan Nash (17.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG) is quietly putting together an impressive season now that he's the star of the Cowboys' show. His team's only blemish is a weird 26-point loss to South Carolina a few weeks ago. But Oklahoma State has been one of the nation's best defensive teams. Maryland is still winning without Dez Wells, who will return soon. In the meantime, the Terps have relied on freshman Melo Trimble (not enough folks are talking about him) and Jake Layman. Maryland could be a player in the Big Ten. But it will suffer another blemish in its first true road game of the season.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 79, Maryland 77 (OT)
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Seth Greenberg goes to the game film to preview Saturday's doubleheader, featuring North Carolina vs. Ohio State and Kentucky vs. UCLA.

Game-worn MJ shoes sell for $33K

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
11:48
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A pair of Converse shoes that an auction house says Michael Jordan wore when he played at the University of North Carolina sold for $33,387 on Thursday morning.

Grey Flannel Auctions, which sold the shoes, said they were consigned by a high school teammate of Jordan. The auction house said the winning bidder prefers to remain anonymous.

Game-used Jordan shoes have commanded some serious dollars in recent years.

Last year, Grey Flannel sold an autographed pair of shoes Jordan wore during his famous "Flu Game" in the 1997 NBA Finals for $104,765. A pair of shoes that Jordan wore in his rookie season with the Bulls sold for $31,070 in 2013.

Grey Flannel executives held back a pair of 1984 Converse shoes that Jordan wore for the Olympic gold-medal game for a future auction.

Jordan wore Converse throughout his days at North Carolina because, at the time, the company was paying UNC coach Dean Smith about $10,000 a year to have his players wear its shoes. Converse made a pitch to Jordan when he turned pro after the 1984 Olympics, but its $100,000 a year offer fell $400,000 short of Nike's deal. The rest is history. Nike's Jordan brand sells more than $2.5 billion worth of sneakers annually.

Other highlights in the auction included a Babe Ruth game-used Tour of Japan hat, which sold for $303,277, a record for a non-Yankees cap; a 1937 Joe DiMaggio game-used Yankees hat ($151,652); a 1932 Yankees team-signed ball ($115,242); and a Dr. J game-used Philadelphia 76ers road uniform ($44,428).


(Read full post)


Calipari/SelfGetty ImagesThis will be a key time of year for many coaches, including John Calipari and Bill Self.
Fran Fraschilla and Seth Greenberg got together to discuss what college coaches go through with their program and players during winter break. They specifically looked at what John Calipari, Bill Self and Roy Williams -- always among college basketball's most scrutinized coaches -- will be doing with their respective teams in the coming weeks.

Greenberg: I think this is the most difficult time of the year for a team, especially when you have young players. If you’re playing over Thanksgiving, it’s usually in a pretty good place, so it’s a good experience. But the reality is, when the campus empties up at the end of a semester, it’s basically you and your team for six weeks. It’s really hard on your players -- it’s a balancing act. It’s an important time to develop your team, but it’s also team-building time.

Tar Heels Stomp Spartans

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
9:29
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Kennedy Meeks led No. 24 North Carolina with 18 points as the Tar Heels beat UNC Greensboro 79-56.
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2H (1:21) UNCG Nicholas Paulos made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Diante Baldwin.

2H UNC B. Johnson made Dunk.

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
8:41
PM ET


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2H (8:28) UNC Brice Johnson made Dunk.
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2H (9:48) UNC Marcus Paige made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Justin Jackson.
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2H (16:22) UNC Kennedy Meeks made Dunk. Assisted by Justin Jackson.
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2H (18:24) UNCG Nicholas Paulos made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Diante Baldwin.

2H UNCG R. White Block.

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
8:13
PM ET


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2H (18:32) UNCG RJ White Block.
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1H (2:15) UNCG Nicholas Paulos made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Kayel Locke.

1H UNC J. Jackson made Dunk.

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
7:42
PM ET


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1H (3:42) UNC Justin Jackson made Dunk. Assisted by Marcus Paige.

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