McCants unites Triangle rivals
Posted June 6, 2014
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.