banner
North Carolina

UNC's Blue Steel builds a brand

Posted March 25, 2011

— Six non-scholarship players for the University of North Carolina have made a name for themselves by having a sense of humor.

 D.J. Johnston, Stewart Cooper, Daniel Bolic, Van Hatchell, Dave Dupont and Patrick Crouch – collectively known as "Blue Steel" – are arguably the most famous walk-ons in college basketball this season.

"It's unreal," said Johnston.

Blue Steel earns a following from the end of the bench Blue Steel earns fans from the end of the bench

The nickname comes from an exaggerated pose by male model Derek Zoolander's in the Ben Stiller movie "Zoolander." Head coach Roy Williams used the name in practice and it stuck, Hatchell said.

The starters have nothing but praise for their end-of-the-bench teammates. "I love Blue Steel," said John Henson. "They're kind of our unsung heroes," said Harrison Barnes.

The six have parlayed their lack of playing time and pop-culture nickname into an ironic stardom within the Carolina family. They are on Twitter (twitter.com/real_bluesteel), providing mostly self-deprecating comments.

"It's a movement, I guess," Hatchell said. More than 7,000 people follow their "tweets from the bench."

When Hatchell, a business major, worked up a design for Blue Steel T-shirts, they quickly sold out.

They even have a hand signal, best described as a flap of the fingers. "It's all about respect," Hatchell said.

Blue Steel's on-court highlight came in the last home game of the regular season, when four senior walk-ons started the game against Duke. They left the floor to a standing ovation, holding a 3-0 lead over the Blue Devils.

"I was just like, wow," Hatchell said. "I lived my dream."

 

4 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • five0goat Mar 26, 11:58 a.m.

    BLUE STEEL!! Greatest walk-ons in history!!

  • Krzyzewskiectomy Mar 25, 9:17 p.m.

    Blue Steel shut out dook. Enough said.

  • packfan79 Mar 25, 8:04 p.m.

    What a stretch for another tar heel story.

  • pskunk119 Mar 25, 7:10 p.m.

    Sounds like a ghey porno. Quite apropos.

  • WGC: Bridgestone Invitational

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Manchester United vs Real Madrid

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • WGC: Bridgestone Invitational

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: NY Yankees at Boston

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Buffalo at NY Giants

    Sunday at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Thursday
CHR 3
DUR 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
DET 4
CWS 7
Final
CHC 3
COL 1
Final
SDP 2
STL 6
Final
BAL 0
ANA 1
Final
WAS 4
PHI 10
Final
CLE 5
SEA 6
Final
MIA 1
CIN 3
Final
KAN 6
MIN 3
Final
HOU 5
TOR 6
Final
ARI 7
PIT 4
Final
LOS 2
ATL 1
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
PHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
SEA
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
TEX
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
COL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
CIN
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
ANA
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
SFG
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
MIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TOR
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
MIL
 
9:35pm Tonight
OAK
KAN
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
PIT
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
ATL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
CHC
 
7:05pm Thursday
CHR 3
DUR 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR