Dizzy: Tommy Roe Helps Explain the Roller Coaster Last Week in UNC Basketball

The past week has been a whirlwind of postseason activity for Carolina Basketball.
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My mom drove me to elementary school every morning. Not just because it was on her way to work, but because it was her work.

En route, she typically picked the music we listened to on the radio. I can still hear the jingle of the oldies station in my hometown of Stockbridge, GA ringing in my ears: “Good times and great oldies. Fox 97.” While I didn’t appreciate the indoctrination at the time, today I’m eternally grateful for the musical education those daily commutes provided me.

The Beatles. The Mamas and the Papas. Stevie Wonder. The Turtles. The Association. The Monkees. The Temptations. The Beach Boys. Simon & Garfunkel. Herman’s Hermits. Elvis. Sam Cooke. Otis Redding. Three Dog Night. Creedence Clearwater Revival. Harry Belafonte. Nat King Cole. 

I could go on and on and on.

One song that has always stuck with me is “Dizzy” by Tommy Roe.

Here’s a refresher for you:

For those who’ve never heard the song before, you’re welcome.

The chorus says:

I’m so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it’s you girl making it spin
You’re making me dizzy

Such has been the emotional, physical, and spiritual state of the UNC basketball fan base over the course of the past week. Only in this case, the object of affection is not a girl, but rather the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The news this past week has come in droves and left even the most rabid Tar Heel supporter scratching their head wondering what will come next.

Let’s recap, shall we?

  • Friday, March 19 – Carolina loses to Wisconsin 85-62 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament
  • Monday, March 22 – Walker Kessler enters transfer portal
  • Wednesday, March 24 – Day’Ron Sharpe declares for the NBA Draft
  • Friday, March 26 – Sterling Manley announces he will graduate and transfer
  • Also Friday, March 26 – Caleb Love announces he will return for his sophomore season

So, yeah, that’s a whirlwind of a week. Like Tommy Roe said, that’s enough to make one’s head spin or feel like one is in a never-ending whirlpool.

Imagine what Roy Williams and the coaching staff must be going through as they engage in postseason conversations to try and figure out who will be back next year, who won’t, how many players they need to bring in, etc.

For the record, in case you’re wondering, the current number of available scholarships is four. That number can (and likely will) change, but is currently at four. See the picture below for the breakdown (followed by further explanation):

Screen Shot 2021-03-28 at 12.07.54 AM

Each Division I team is allowed to grant 13 scholarships in men’s basketball.

From what we currently know (meaning: only currently public facts, no guesses or projections), seven scholarships will go to returning players: senior Leaky Black, junior Armando Bacot, and sophomores RJ Davis, Anthony Harris (redshirt), Puff Johnson, Caleb Love, Kerwin Walton.

Scholarship players on their way out are Garrison Brooks (graduate, but more on him and other seniors in a moment), Walker Kessler (transfer), Sterling Manley (grad transfer), Andrew Platek (graduate), and Day’Ron Sharpe (NBA). Walker Miller and KJ Smith are also graduating, but neither were on scholarship, so don’t factor into this count.

The returners plus the departures equal 12 scholarships. The 13th this season went to walk-on Ryan McAdoo, as is often the case when the total allotment of scholarships isn’t used by “scholarship-level” players. The year prior, KJ Smith received that honor.

All scholarships are one-year commitments and so, similar to Smith this year, McAdoo won’t be awarded a scholarship again next year. If there happens to be the 13th available, past precedent suggests it would be granted to another walk-on.

All that calculus means seven scholarships are spoken for and six remain. Two of those six will go to incoming freshmen D’Marco Dunn and Dontrez Styles.

That then is how we arrive at our total of four available scholarships. Those could go to any combination of incoming freshmen and transfers.

What about Brooks and the other seniors who can take an extra year of eligibility due to COVID if they so choose? The best understanding of the so-called “Super Seniors” is that their scholarships wouldn’t count against the 13 scholarship threshold; so as to not confuse roster construction for coaches more than has already happened between the extra year and the new transfer rules.

Because student-athletes can now utilize a one-time transfer in which they are able to play right away without penalty, this offseason is going to be a free-for-all unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

No big deal, ho-hum, it’s just the most turbulent off-season ever coming off of arguably the back-to-back wackiest seasons in college basketball history.

The good news is that, regardless of whatever craziness happens between now and next November, the Tar Heels will have their starting point guard returning to campus for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

Everything else is up in the air at this point. So I guess it’s time for me to go listen to some more Tommy Roe to see if maybe he can make some sense out of this whole mess.

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