The first McDonald’s High School All-American game was held in spring 1977. Since then, the North Carolina Tar Heels have scored a total of 123,248 points. Of those, nearly two thirds—81,909 (66.5 percent) have been scored by former McDonald’s All-Americans.
Not every Tar Heel standout has been an elite high school recruit, however. New UNC head coach Hubert Davis is a prime example. Before talking Dean Smith into taking a chance on him with a scholarship, Davis had just two scholarship offers from mid-major schools.
“Hubert Davis was an overachiever as a basketball player,” Roy Williams said. “He wasn’t a McDonald All-American and he ended up scoring 1,600 points here at North Carolina.”
In fact, in the McDonald’s All-American era (starting with the 1977-78 college season, when the players selected for the first McDonald’s game were freshmen), Davis’ 1,615 career college points are third most by a Tar Heel who wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American. Here’s a look at the top 10.
10. Steve Hale, 1982-86, 953 points: Hale arrived with McDonald’s recruit Curtis Hunter and finished with 448 more points. He was also in the same recruiting class as McDonald’s player Brad Daughtery (1,912 points)
9. Dante Calabria, 1992-96, 1,098 points: Calabria outscored fellow 1992 recruit and McDonald’s All-American Serge Zwikker, who finished with 834 points.
8. Ademola Okulaja, 1995-99, 1,254 points: Okulaja played high school ball in Berlin and, as a non-American, it’s perhaps understandable why he wasn’t chosen as a McDonald’s All-American. He was also in the same class as Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter, which caused him to be overshadowed.
7. Garrison Brooks, 2017-present, 1,276 points: The Tar Heels didn’t have a recruit chosen for the 2017 McDonald’s game. Brooks could still choose to return for a fifth year and threaten to pass Davis on the list.
6. Luke Maye, 2015-2019, 1,392 points: Maye committed to Carolina without a scholarship to start (although he was quickly awarded one after arriving) during the depth of the Tar Heels’ recruiting woes during the NCAA investigation.
5. Deon Thompson, 2006-2010, 1,414 points: One of three players on the list (Calabria and Maye are the others) to win an NCAA title while with the Tar Heels, Thompson outscored fellow 2006 recruits Ty Lawson and Brandan Wright, both McDonald’s players (although Wayne Ellington outscored him)
4. Shammond Williams, 1994-98, 1,445 points: UNC was shut out of the 1994 McDonald’s game, and, when Williams averaged 1.7 ppg as a freshman, it appeared to be the correct decision. He developed into one of the best shooters in school history and averaged 16.8 ppg as a senior.
3. Hubert Davis, 1988-92, 1,615 points: McDonald’s All-American Kenny Williams was committed to UNC in 1988 but didn’t get admitted. That may have helped open up a scholarship for Dean Smith to offer the future Carolina coach.
2. Rick Fox, 1987-91, 1,703 points: Like Okulaja, the Bahamas-born, Canadian high school alum wasn’t an American, making it difficult for McDonalds to name him an All-American. He scored nearly twice as many UNC points as 1987 McDonald’s All-American King Rice. In fact, Fox would play with 13 McDonald’s All-American teammates while at Carolina and outscored 12 of them. Only George Lynch (1,747) finished with more points.
1. Brice Johnson, 2012-16, 1,716 points: Johnson and 2012 McDonald’s All-American Marcus Paige just missed a national title at Carolina. Paige was one of just 17 Tar Heels in program history to finish with more points than Johnson.