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Joe Ovies

McCants unites Triangle rivals

Posted June 6

Former North Carolina basketball guard Rashad McCants once compared playing basketball for the Tar Heels to being in prison.

"As my uncle said, I'm in jail right now. You're not allowed to do certain things. You're not allowed to say certain things, but once you get out of jail, you're free," said McCants before the start of what became an NCAA Championship season.

McCants has been free as a bird for a while now, and this bird you cannot change. So McCants singing to ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Friday shouldn't come as a shock to Triangle basketball observers.

Even his claims of taking "paper classes," being steered by academic advisers, tutors doing his work and rarely going to class will induce yawns. Members of the 2004-05 national championship have already been linked to North Carolina's academic scandal. McCants is simply adding context to how it all went down.

North Carolina has since denied McCants' assertions. Head coach Roy Williams, athletics director Bubba Cunningham and former head coach Matt Doherty released similarly worded statements to defend their own integrity and the virtue of academics in Chapel Hill.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

However, there are some interesting twists when it comes specifically to the case of McCants. For starters, his allegation that Williams knew about the enrollment is a damaging salvo to the university. Then there's McCants himself, who was born to be hated and dying to be loved. Calling him an enigmatic personality is an understatement.

McCants has rankled more than North Carolina officials and fans. He's drawn the ire of current and former Tar Heels, along with a couple notable players from NC State and Duke. McCants has been called a straight-up snitch for sitting down with Outside The Lines.

Only the indecipherable McCants could create a bizarro world where Triangle rivals come together to put him on blast. The Tar Heels don't win the 2005 title without McCants, but they cringe at the idea of claiming his brand of crazy. His contemporaries can't believe he's out there giving out the game and potentially ruining it for everyone else. 

McCants might end up being North Carolina basketball's Jose Canseco when the dust settles. The former baseball All-Star was immediately dismissed as an attention starved whacko for publishing a book on steroid use, which was entirely accurate, but his story proved to be a tipping point.

Unfortunately for North Carolina, the level of bonkers coming out of McCants doesn't matter. His story happened. Just like Marvin Austin, Deunta Williams and Michael McAdoo. Feel free to question the motives of the accusers once again, but how many former players need to talk about their experience for folks to realize the individuals aren't the problem?

It's not a question for those at North Carolina who want to correct the mistakes of the previous administration to answer. It's for those who continue to stick their heads in the sand and pretend the experiences of players like McCants never happened in Chapel Hill.

18 Comments

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  • Itsmyopinion67 Jun 9, 2:53 p.m.

    McCants is a head case.

  • Gunnstigator Jun 9, 1:49 p.m.

    Of all the Tweets, Bomani Jones' is my favorite: McCants may very well be telling the truth, and at the same time he's a vindictive snitch and "a few brews short of a six pack".

    I question the timing of McCants "coming out party", and wonder what he has to gain. At the end of the day, this isn't good news for Carolina, and this won't "all be over by Friday."

  • Objective Scientist Jun 8, 5:19 p.m.

    If anyone needs convincing that there is a LOT of "illegitimate stuff" going on virtually everywhere... and that UNC folks are not "just deflecting and denying" when that is stated - this should do it! When you have some "bitter rival" players, as well as some former UNC players, calling out McCants for "snitching" and possibly "ruining future opportunities" for those who follow him to "benefit" in the same way - what does that literally SCREAM at all of us? They were doing much the same as McCants. The ENTIRETY of intercollegiate football and basketball needs to be CLEANED UP! It is my thinking that a great deal such shenanigans would "go away" if universities did not admit "academically deficient" athletes - NO MATTER how fast they may be, how high they can jump, how well they tackle, or catch, or throw, or dunk... or how big they are. NONE of that has anything to do with getting a legitimate degree.

  • carrboroyouth Jun 7, 11:34 p.m.

    Look no further than PJ Hariston to see what type of player Roy brings in.

    — Posted by jacobjjacobs

    You do know that Roy started at UNC after McCants was recruited right?

    — Posted by goode88

    Oh come on. Look at Zeller - brilliant and talented - and Marcus Paige, smart as a whip on and off the court. PJ was trouble, but every team has an athlete that does something wrong.

  • scousler Jun 7, 2:55 p.m.

    After reading that whole article, I'm still unclear about what the point is. Who is the person... View More

    — Posted by dmccall

    Kendall Marshall posted the picture as a comparison of McCants to an obvious felon giving suspect testimony on the witness stand.

    They have no sympathy for athletes that bite the hand that fed them. Sure McCants could've played at another school and done well. But UNC gave him the name recognition and basketball pedigree that contributed greatly toward his 1st round NBA draft status and millions of dollars.

    This kid has always been about himself - believe me he is not 'outing' UNC in an attempt to fix anything, but simply because he likes to see everything around him or about burn up.

  • 903 Born 2 B Hated, Dying 2 B Lo Jun 7, 12:35 p.m.

    Look no further than PJ Hariston to see what type of player Roy brings in.

    — Posted by jacobjjacobs

    You do know that Roy started at UNC after McCants was recruited right?

    — Posted by goode88

    You do know that comment was in response to the following comment, right?

    "Matt Doherty did... View More

    — Posted by allenmga

    Roy Williams never would have offered.

    Funny how Roy "never would have offered" McCants, but when he walks into his office with 2 F's in Fall 2004, Roy swaps out the Fs with summer session As to keep him eligible...

    Wouldn't he have just let him go ineligible and kick him off the team if he was a guy that he "never would have offered"?

  • dave437 Jun 7, 9:00 a.m.

    all this after UNC tried so hard two years ago to pretend it was all Butch and Nyang'oro's fault, limited to football only....

  • TTCP Jun 6, 9:24 p.m.

    I have no problem with McCants and what he said and the probability that it happens (though not... View More

    — Posted by 903 Born 2 B Hated, Dying 2 B Lo

    Are we up to year 4 or 5 now?

    — Posted by KT has Shaniqua's SNAP card

    Try working on 6... '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14.
    Oh, the last 2 paragraphs of this article/ story....SLAPPED with the TRUTH !

  • trolllordv00 Jun 6, 7:25 p.m.

    Get your popcorn ready folks, this has only just begun.

  • allenmga Jun 6, 5:19 p.m.

    Look no further than PJ Hariston to see what type of player Roy brings in.

    — Posted by jacobjjacobs

    You do know that Roy started at UNC after McCants was recruited right?

    — Posted by goode88

    You do know that comment was in response to the following comment, right?

    "Matt Doherty did compromise standards by bringing in McCants, a guy Dean Smith and Roy Williams never would have offered."

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