Sophomore forward Sean May has a box at home in Bloomington,
Ind., that contains the 500 get-well cards he received after he
broke his left foot last December, dooming the Tar Heels' season.
And for each one of those cards, May has heard, oh, about 50
people say, "Hope you're O.K." You do the math. "I'm happy that
people are concerned," he says, "but I don't want them thinking
our season is about to go down the drain if I roll an ankle once
and have to ice it."
North Carolina jumped to a 5-2 start and won the preseason NIT
with May averaging 15.3 points and 8.5 rebounds. But after he was
injured, North Carolina struggled and missed the NCAA tournament
for the second straight year. Coach Matt Doherty was forced to
resign, and Roy Williams was hired away from Kansas.
May says he's fully recovered, but anyone rating the Tar Heels'
chances can't help but use the words if and healthy. "Underline
it, put it in bold print and italics: Sean May is extremely
important to us," says Williams, who admits he'd probably still
be at Kansas had May played all season. "His hands are as good as
anybody I've ever coached, and he gives us a scorer inside and a
guy who's hard to guard. The way we like to play, that's one of
the two most important positions on the team."
The other is point guard, where rising-star sophomore Raymond
Felton will quarterback Williams's hyperkinetic secondary break.
The system should provide plenty of shots for super sophomore
swingman Rashad McCants, who led North Carolina with 17.0 points
a game last year, but it will require everyone, including May, to
November 24, 2003
The players aren't just doing conditioning drills, though, as
May's father, Scott (a star on Indiana's 1976 national
championship team), learned recently. "Last year he had a lot to
say about the way practice was run," Sean says. "But when I saw
him two weeks ago, he said, 'I have no complaints. That was one
of the greatest practices I've seen from a coaching standpoint.
You're in good hands.'" --G.W.
2002-03 RECORD: 19-16 (6-10, T6 in ACC)
TOURNAMENT: Lost to Georgetown in NIT 3rd round
POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT
SF Jawad Williams 6'9" Jr. 14.9 ppg
SF Jackie Manuel 6'5" Jr. 7.3 ppg
PF Sean May 6'9" Soph. 11.4 ppg
SG Rashad McCants 6'4" Soph. 17.0 ppg
PG Raymond Felton 6'1" Soph. 6.7 apg
an opposing coach's view
"If SEAN MAY stays healthy, they'll be really good--maybe not a
top 10 team right away, but by the end of the year they'll be
right there. They'll run as well as anyone in the country....
RAYMOND FELTON is a tremendous point guard who can break you
down, but he's got to do a better job taking care of the
ball.... RASHAD MCCANTS is an unbelievable athlete who can shoot
the three and put the ball on the floor. You have to guard him
close enough to affect his vision, but not so close that he can
take you off the dribble.... Now that ROY WILLIAMS has their
full attention, they'll be more consistent in every facet of the
Career winning percentage for Roy Williams (418-101 in 15 years
at Kansas), best among active Division I coaches.