After going undefeated in the ACC last season behind All-Americas Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan, North Carolina has been reduced to little more than a bunch of guys named Smith. Meet the Baby Heels: sophomore Kenny Smith, freshman Ranzino Smith and 11 other players who would change their names to Smith if it would help Carolina recover from the loss of 61% of their scoring and 57% of their rebounding. O.K., things could be worse. There's still coach Dean Smith. But how many times can a team work the four-corners offense with a 45-second clock running an entire game?
The team's best player, 6'2½" Kenny Smith, is as good as point guards come, but then the pickings get slim. Steve Hale is an erratic shooter, Buzz Peterson and Curtis Hunter have improved. A more troublesome spot could be small forward. Quite simply, there isn't anyone to replace Jordan. At least 6'11" junior Brad Daugherty, the most experienced player at 19, is well suited for center. No one knows how the Heels' offense will be, other than cautious. Kenny Smith and Daugherty averaged 9.1 and 10.5 points, respectively, but opponents didn't worry about them last year. By season's end watch for 6'1" Ranzino Smith, the state's 1984 Player of the Year at Chapel Hill High, where he averaged 30.4 points. The Tar Heels average a spindly 6'5", 195 pounds and 1.1 years of experience. But don't underestimate the Smith factor. North Carolina has finished first or second in the ACC for 18 consecutive seasons. Number 19 would be a tribute to the coaching of a guy named Smith.
November 26, 1984