Day Two: Ten Heels We Love to Hate – Part II

Welcome back to Heel Week, everybody! Yeehaw!

What a great day to be a Duke fan. Shortly after our Blue Devils punked the petulant Bumble Bees of Georgia Tech, Roy, um, led his Tar Heels to another loss, this time on the road in Blacksburg against Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech Hokies. I have never liked Greenberg so much.

While Greenberg celebrates a somewhat anticlimactic win, Roy had this to say: “I thought it was two teams that tried awfully hard.” Another gem from sophomore point guard Larry Drew:

Q: Does it get tiring hearing about opposing guards scoring 20 points on UNC?

Drew: “Yeah. Yeah, it gets old. But it’s up to us to stop that from happening.”

In light of Carolina’s string of defeats—that’s six of the last eight—here at Crazie-Talk we decided to take it easy on the men in sissy blue and focus on some of UNC’s former, more successful players. It was easy to hate these five players. Mostly because they were good (ok, there’s one exception.) All of them, despite their talent, ground on my conscience and made me want to throttle the television screen. They cry, whine, pound their chests, bleed, get ridiculous tattoos, take awkward jump shots…am I giving up too much?

Presenting the top five most hated Tar Heels of the past 10 years. (If you missed it, you can check out numbers six through ten here).

5. Marcus Ginyard (Guard, 2005-forever)

I know I said I wouldn’t pick on current UNC players in this top 5. But as Ginyard is essentially a dinosaur, aka fifth year senior, he has provided enough vitriol in his overlong stay at Chapel Hill for me to squeeze him into the top five.

No, no, Marcus. The 'crouching tiger' defensive posture only works when you're facing the offensive player.

The irony here is that I once respected Marcus Ginyard. He took a job in Chapel Hill delivering pizzas at one point, something I did not expect out of any college basketball player, let alone a Tar Heel. (I wonder how much he made in tips from them Carolina faithful?). Ginyard always seemed to fade into the background among his more talented teammates, particularly when in 08-09, when an injury forced him into a medical redshirt.

This past summer, however, Ginyard decided to take a more proactive role as a Tar Hole. With Hansbrough and Co. gone to the league, Marcus found himself the elder statesman of the Dean Dome, and thought he’d school the rookies in Karolina Klass.

Before basketball even started, Ginyard was positioning himself as a Cameron Crazie favorite. In an interview with WRAL, he revealed his true feelings on his rival down Tobacco Road.

“A lot of their players walk the line between a good, tough player and like a little shady, dirty…I have a strong dislike for most of the players who play at Duke.”

What you want, cookie?

Ginyard was not done, though. After Duke’s loss to Wisconsin in the ACC-Big 10 challenge, he tweeted this message: “Big 10 can have this challenge. Duke loses, we all win…” Big words from a man named “Number 1 cheerleader” during his UNC’s 2009 title run.

Side-note: while looking through Ginyard’s twitter, @MG1NYARD, I found this gem:

Way to look out for your own, Marcus.

4. Danny Green (Guard, 2005-2009)

One reason:

Maryland won that game.

Danny, did you learn your style from another former UNC moron?

There’s also the infamous incident at Cameron in 2008, when the Crazies donned baby blue ribbons in memory of UNC student body president Eve Carson, who had tragically passed away days earlier. After defeating Duke in Cameron, Green went out of his way to pop his jersey towards the crowd.  Way to represent your school, Danny. Have fun bench warming for the Cavs, maybe LeBron will put him in one of his pre-game routines. That’s about all the attention you’re going to get.

3. Brendan Haywood (Center 1997-2001)

Where'd you get your...friends...Brendan? Brendan? You asleep big fella?

Ah, Haywood.

Brendan Haywood came to UNC in 1997. Like Kris Lang, he was a local yokel (Greensboro, NC) and earned a spot as a Burger Boy on the McDonald’s All-American team. At UNC, he averaged a respectable 10 points per game over his four year career. He blocked a lot of shots and set a few Tar Heel records. (Does that mean he gets his jersey in the rafters? No, can’t tell, too many worthless things up there).

It’s not Haywood’s game that drives me nuts. It’s his attitude. The guy complained about every call in college, flailing his arms around and screaming after the officials. Like Danny Green, he was a dancer. He would jump up and down after he got called for a foul, tapping his toes like Fred Astaire. I distinctly remember Brendan being named “College Hoops Biggest Crybaby” after his senior season. That same issue had Shane Battier on the cover. Haywood should have learned from Shane how to take it like a man.

What makes Haywood’s antics all the funnier is his recent call-out of LeBron James during the 2008 playoffs. Haywood plays for the Wizards, one of the worst franchises in sports, who had somehow managed to make it to the post-season. The Wizards employed “Hack-a-Lebron,” fouling James extremely hard to try to get him out of his rhythm. When James fought back in the media, Haywood had this to say:

I love Jay Mariotti’s response in that video: “Who is Brendan Haywood to talk about Lebron James like that?”

Like his number (and probably his UNC GPA), Haywood is a zero in the NBA. He has averaged a whopping 6 points over his career, and only gets burn because the Wizards literally have no better big men.

The irony of Haywood, the world’s biggest whiner in Tar Heel blue, calling out a superstar is stifling. Take a seat, Brendan. Or go back to Carolina, I’m sure an assistant coaching spot will open up for you soon.

2. Tyler Hansbrough (Forward, 2005-2009)

Wait, my socks are still on?

Hansbrough is a college basketball legend. He was a great player at North Carolina. OK. I said it.

Tyler Hansbrough will go down as the most polarizing player in ACC basketball history. (JJ Redick may be #2) He was devastatingly effective at playing basketball in the ugliest possible fashion.

"Photo grapher! Get me some more mousse!"

Unlike many of the previous players on this list, Hansbrough did not piss me off out due to his off the court antics. It was his incredible feats of awkward basketball that drove me out of my wits. I cannot deny his intensity, or his desire to win a championship. He was the face of college hoops for at least two years, and he set a good example by staying for four years.

But really, can you fault me for hating the guy? He created a new era in ACC officiating, drawing hundreds of undeserved fouls and traveling to his heart’s content. His stumbling monotone voice during interviews made me cringe. And when things didn’t go his way, he got all teary.

Since graduating from Carolina, Hansbrough has gotten some attention from the ad world. What was AT&T thinking? At least they didn’t let him talk, unlike the geniuses at Performance Acura. TEST WOW!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful Hansbrough finally moved on the NBA. Just don’t make me watch him flounder his way to the free throw line for the Pacers.

Oh, and he celebrates like a Jesus Lizard.

1. Rashad McCants (Guard, 2002-2005)

And the winner is…RASHAD!!!

McCants, before he got stole on by Lamar Odom.

Let me explain why Hansbrough is not number one. Hansbrough deserves my respect. Even if he plays the game like an angry kangaroo, he gets the job done.

On the other hand, I have absolutely no respect for Rashad McCants. He was an absolute punk during his three-year stay at UNC. I’ll admit my personal animus against Rashad here—he hails from Asheville just like I do. It’s sad that he represents my town.

The main thing that separates McCants from the rest of this list is simple: everyone hated him. He even gave his own fans a reason to resent him, comparing Chapel Hill to a prison: “You’re not allowed to say certain things, but once you get out of jail, you’re free. (I’m) in my sentence, and I’m doing my time.”

Why celebrate McCants? Why hang his jersey among the rafters with illustrious stars like Jordan and Worthy? I don’t understand it.

Since his “prison stay” at UNC, Rashad McCants played a few years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and was recently traded to the Sacramento Kings, black hole of bad contracts. Apparently they didn’t want him, so they traded him to the Rockets. New beginnings? Not quite. The Rockets have dropped him, and now McCants has fallen off the face of the earth, along with his legendary website.

Rashad’s most notable achievement since leaving Chapel Hill Penitentiary was briefly dating MTV-star Khloe Kardashian. It didn’t pan out, though—she is now married to Lakers star Lamar Odom. I guess Kardashian wanted a guy with a steady job.

I’ll leave you with a sample of Rashad McCants’ bizarre poetry. It puts JJ’s to shame:

“Love Thief” by Rashad McCants

I’m not a Grinch that stole love but I’m a thief with no love.
Eyes bright like city lights when she enters my life.
Every morning after yawning we make love to sweet nothing and birds chirping.
My tongue lurking for that spot that says stop and makes ya mouth drop.
I’d spit you out just to taste you again.
And again I’d have this dream during the day where my eyes lay wide shut.
Love has culture shocked my brain and blindsided my heart,
my skin crawls with butterfly touches that tickle my smile.
Her eyes drown me in her deep blue sea. I openly swim naked in her fresh water.

So natural she smells like rain….

Poignant, Rashad.

*     *     *

Wait, I forgot someone.

Honorable Mention: Harrison Barnes (Forward – 2010 – ?)

This guy could one day end up at the top of this list. But he hasn’t stepped foot on campus as a student, so we’ll write him in as an honorable mention. In one of the most public recruiting battles between Duke and UNC in recent memory, Barnes led the Duke coaching staff to believe that he was theirs (for a long, long time), only to commit to Roy Williams via Skype on Friday, November 13th. Many of the student efforts designed to lure Barnes to Duke were organized by the Crazies who run this very site. Duke fans, coaches, and players were all, in essence, betrayed by Barnes & Ignoble, Backstabbers Inc. And it is for that reason that Harrison Bryce Jordan Barnes will be considered (by us, anyway) as one of the most hated Tar Heels ever.

As UNC throws their season away before our very eyes, we hope Harrison is wondering if he has made a huge mistake.

Day One: Ten Heels We Love to Hate – Part I

"What?! Dagnabit what's that say?! Graves get my Sprite or you'll ride pine all next week!" (graphic by Catherine Stanley)

Welcome to Heel Week, everybody!

In the next seven days leading up to February 10—when Duke plays UNC in Chapel Hell—Crazie-Talk will be adding a daily post commemorating the many things we love about this rivalry, which we consider the best in American sports. The posts will range from comical (like today’s) to critical. But we’ll err on the comic side, because although this is UNC, we’re not sure how seriously to take Roy’s Boys this year.

Since we have a week and two big conference tests before the team bus rolls down 15-501 to the Dean Roy Dome, we’re starting off the week with a bit of acerbic humor. As young Duke fans (all born in the years before our first two titles), our collective memory centers on the past 10 years of the Duke-UNC rivalry. Many Tar Heels passed through the tutelage of Guthridge, Doherty and Roy Williams under our watch.

We have seen them all, respected few, and hated many. Here we’ll focus on the latter category: the Ten Heels We Love to Hate, all from the recently concluded decade (the 00’s? the oughts?)

10. Tywon Lawson (Point Guard, 2006-09)

Lawson was an extremely frustrating player to watch, particularly as a Duke fan. By his junior season, his once speed-driven game had come full circle: he could shoot the three, make the right pass, and conduct his team with aplomb. I still think—and many Heels agree—that UNC would not have sniffed a title in 2009 save for Lawson. Say all you want about Tyler Hansbrough (and we will soon) but Lawson made UNC tick all the way to Detroit.

I respect Lawson’s game. And I’ve heard through reliable sources that he is a nice guy. But the entire situation of his return to UNC is maddening. After a June ’08 misdemeanor for underage drinking, Lawson withdrew from the NBA draft and completed the UNC ‘dream roster’ along with Tyler, Wayne Ellington, etc. The irony is infuriating to a Duke fan: if Lawson had been smart enough not to drink and drive, he would have probably gone pro, leaving UNC with a gaping hole at point guard. After a minimal suspension at the start of the 08-09 season, Lawson tore through the ACC, winning league Player of the Year en route to a National Title.

Personal anecdote #1: in the final seconds of Lawson’s dismantling of Duke in Cameron, I watched as he flipped the ball over his head, looked directly at the Crazies, and screamed “F*** You!” That’s what you call “Karolina Klass”.

9. Makhtar N’Diaye (Forward, 1996-98)

I know, I know, N’Diaye didn’t play in the past 10 years—he was one of Bill Guthridge’s “six starters” on the 1998 team that miraculously lost to Utah in the Final Four. The rap on N’Diaye in his short stint at UNC, though, was extensive. He accused Maryland fans of yelling racial slurs, had to be restrained by Guthridge after fouling out of a game against Duke, and made obscene gestures during UNC’s second round game against Charlotte. The icing on the cake was his accusation of Utah player Ben Johnsen after losing to the Utes—N’Diaye again claimed racial slurs. (Johnsen on the other hand claimed that N’Diaye spat on him, which is entirely probable).

N’Diaye was a fool then, and he apparently hasn’t lost his knack for acting like a buffoon in front of millions of people. During UNC’s national title game against Michigan State last year, N’Diaye appeared on the coattails of his actually famous former teammates. The picture says it all.

I bet Roy was wondering, “Who is that guy? Who gave him Carolina tickets? Cheer for us or out you go!”

8. Kris Lang (Forward, 1998-2002)

My feelings for Kris Lang are a mixture of hatred, pity, and schadenfreude. Lang was the ubiquitous moron of ACC basketball: always on the floor, and always looking like a complete tool. He was the Matt Doherty era embodied—ugly, angry and horrible at basketball.

A 1998 McDonald’s All-American, Lang was a local hero, hailing from Gastonia, N.C. He averaged 14 points in Carolina’s trainwreck 2001-02 season. I’m pretty sure all of those points came from his awkward jump hooks and flailing layups. Think Tyler Hansbrough. Except no skill, more complaining, and significantly more mouthguard. I always wondered if he and Neil Fingleton had ugly contests in the locker room. Maybe after losing to College of Charleston?

Personal Anecdote #2: Kris Lang once played for the Asheville Altitude, the short-lived NBDL team in my hometown Asheville, NC. One day the Altitude showed up at my school to run a basketball clinic. Lang was there, smiling like a moron and showing us fifth graders how to do jump hooks. Poor guy, I thought, what had he been reduced to?

7. Matt Doherty

To put it lightly, Matt Doherty was a disastrous coach. After Roy Williams turned down his alma mater in 2000, UNC Athletic director Dick Baddour hired the unproven Doherty. The first season went well: 26-7, number 1 seed, and second round exit. Oh, and National Coach of the Year. (???)

Then the ball dropped on Doherty. The next year brought a delightful 8-20 record, which most Tar Heels conveniently forget when bashing Duke for its “horrible” 22-11 campaign several years ago. Doherty was apparently a control freak: he fired legendary UNC point guard Phil Ford from the coaching staff. What, was he uncomfortable with having another former star on his staff?

Doherty also took a potshot at the Duke cheerleaders in his tenure. I guess he was working on that ‘competitive edge’ that landed him at 10-22 ACC record in his final two seasons at Carolina.

Although Doherty has ‘landed on his feet’ at Southern Methodist (where he has compiled a 33-58 record in three seasons) he will always be known as the guy who just didn’t come through at the helm of UNC. For Baddour’s sake, I’m glad Roy ‘gave a s***’ about North Carolina after all.

6. Sean May

Sean May just should have just stayed in Chapel Hill. He had it all: great teammates, a coach who loves him, cover of Sports Illustrated, unlimited brownies. Because once he left the friendly confines of North Carolina, his once promising career went spiraling down.

May likes to eat. And party. But mostly eat. He became so out of shape that Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown deemed him physically unfit to play. That’s Larry Brown, former UNC player and coach, and Tar Heel apologist extraordinaire. Larry Brown told one of his own that he was too fat to play on his team. Now that’s not the Carolina Way!

Luckily for May, the Sacramento Kings had a spot at forward this past season after trading former Duke star Shelden Williams to the Celtics. May signed a one year deal for nearly a million dollars, contigent upon him passing his physical (aka lose enough weight to fit into his uniform).

Why do we pay professional athletes so much money if they need the Atkins diet as bad as the average middle aged mother? I guess we’ll just have to ask May.

Check Crazie-Talk tomorrow for our final five most hated Tar Heels. A little hint—a certain Muppet look a like made the cut.

Crazie Talk's Midseason Top 25

So today is February 1st, which only means one thing: we’re only a month away from March. With no more undefeated teams standing, it’s time for a shake up in the Top 25.  All four pollsters ranked their version of the top 25 teams in the country, awarding 1 point to the team ranked twenty-fifth, and 25 points to the team ranked first.

A few notes:

– In our preseason poll, Syracuse was in the ‘also receiving votes’ category with a whopping three points. Whoops.

– Also in our preseason poll, North Carolina was ranked ninth. How delightful.

– Others that dropped out: Connecticut, Dayton, and California.

– This dunk by Mason Plumlee was the highlight of my weekend.

1.  Kansas (99)

Sherron Collins earned himself a First-Team All-America spot with his performance against Kansas State. Dude has a sick crossover.

2. Syracuse (96)

The Orange have the best team in the best conference in the nation. To think they were unranked at the beginning of the season. Funny what a victory over UNC can do for you, isn’t it?

3. Villanova (93)

‘Nova has coasted through the competition thus far. Can the deepest backcourt in the country book Jay Wright a flight to his second straight Final Four?

4.  Kentucky (88)

What a shame. UK didn’t get to wear their ‘badges of honor’ – which is what Cal called the No. 1 ranking – for very long. Too bad their fans can’t wear these anymore either.

5. Georgetown (81)

With their beatdown of Duke in front of the Commander In Chief, Georgetown vaults into the top five. Despite what Duke fans want to believe, this team is pretty damn good.

6. Michigan State (81)

Honestly, this team is way overrated. But we voted them as the No. 6 team in the country anyway. But one thing’s for sure: Tom Izzo gets his Spartans to play when it counts.

7. West Virginia (74)

WVU made a ridiculous comeback against Louisville, and Da’Sean Butler hit yet another game-winner. This team will be very dangerous in March.

8. Texas (70)

Rick Barnes has an absurdly talented 13-man rotation (Dexter Pittman is so beastly, he counts twice). Rick Barnes also has a team that lost to Baylor – at home. This team is fantastically enigmatic.

9. Purdue (69)

Somehow none of the top teams in the Big Ten seem like legitimate contenders, Purdue included. But Robbie Hummel is nice at ball.

10. Duke (60)

Eek. Road struggles continued in the nation’s capital. How this team reacts to being embarrassed by Georgetown will determine how deep this team can go in March.

11. Kansas State (59)

Frank Martin had KSU ready to play on Saturday. Despite the loss, the Wildcats should be a dark horse come tournament time. They can hang with (and beat) the big boys.

12. BYU (53)

Pat Forde thinks BYU can win it all. We don’t. No idea why we ranked them No. 12. Sidenote: I wish I was as creative as Pat Forde when it comes to coming up with corny names for columns.

13. Gonzaga (50)

The ‘Zags had quite a winning streak going for them after their demoralization by Duke in the Garden. That ended fast with a bad, bad loss to an 8-14 team in San Francisco. But the numbers put Gonzaga at 13, so they’re here.

14, Wisconsin (40)

The Badgers had a chance to take out Purdue on the road last week. Look for them to push Michigan State to the limit in the Kohl Center this Tuesday.

15. Ohio State (39)

Evan Turner is one of the five best players in college basketball. With him, this team can potentially make the Elite Eight.

16. Tennessee (39)

Tennessee has responded well to the dismissal of leading scorer Tyler Smith by handing Kansas its only loss, but recent losses to Georgia and Vanderbilt have not helped things.

17. Pittsburgh (30)

Pittsburgh should not be this high, as they lost to Seton Hall last week and South Florida this past week. But they certainly have surprised with their success after losing all 5 starters.

18. Mississippi (29)

Seems like no team ranked from 12-20 last week wants to win, Mississippi included. The Rebels dropped a home tilt to Arkansas after we made our poll. Safe to say, they’ll be close to dropping in this week’s poll.

19. Georgia Tech (26)

Georgia Tech thrashed Kentucky State (who?) in a game only played because Kentucky State’s coach is a former Yellow Jacket. Not exactly what you’d call a warm up for their biggest test of the year on Thursday.

20. Baylor (25)

Baylor had a strong week after taking down Texas in Arlington as well as taking Kansas State right down to the wire. The Big 12 has been much more than Kansas and Texas.

21. Temple (20)

Temple lost at Charlotte, not exactly a powerhouse. The loss muddles the Atlantic-10 picture, as Temple, Charlotte and last season’s winner Xavier are all tied at 6-1.

22. New Mexico (19)

New Mexico took care of business against BYU at home, handing the Cougars their first conference loss of the season. Apparently, “the Pit” is a tough place to play.

23. Vanderbilt (19)

Vanderbilt knocked off Tennessee on the road before giving Kentucky a good game over the weekend. They should be ranked higher than this.

24. Butler (14)

Butler continues to run right through the Horizon League. Anticipate an undefeated conference season from them, although they have yet to have a signature win.

25. Clemson (6)

Clemson rebounded from a tough loss at BC by defeating Maryland at home. Their win over UNC two weeks ago looks less and less impressive by the day. When you’re not the only team from South Carolina to have beaten the Tar Heels, that’s saying something.

Also receiving votes: Connecticut (5), Florida State (4), Mississippi State (4), Maryland (3), Northern Iowa (2), UTEP (2), Cornell (1), North Carolina (0)