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Ryan Craig

Drew leaves himself, Carolina in bad spot

Posted February 4, 2011

By now, it’s clear that Roy Williams, Kendall Marshall, and the rest of the North Carolina basketball program were shocked by the sudden departure of backup point guard Larry Drew II.

Even those that weren’t shocked by the end result were certainly caught off guard, so to speak, by the timing.

February?

With the meat of the conference schedule looming?

It seems that everyone was stunned by the decision – everyone other than the Drew family, that is.

Before his team’s game Friday night, Larry Drew Sr., the head coach of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, stated that the decision to leave the program was actually one the family had arrived at before the season.

Huh?

Rumors swirled towards the end of the 2009-2010 campaign that the younger Drew, then the team’s starting point guard, was contemplating a change of scenery. The buzz had gained so much momentum that Drew found himself having to address the claims during a number of postgame interviews.

The team was in the midst of a season that would ultimately end with an NIT finals loss to Dayton, and Drew was one of the fan base’s favorite scapegoats.

Those who had become accustomed to the wizardry of Felton and the pace of Lawson were eager to take their rage out on someone - and that someone was Larry Drew, the California kid that rarely showed his emotions on the court.

Despite the denials from the coaches and players, everyone thought a transfer was in the making.

When it didn’t happen after the season, the impression was given that whatever fence was broken had been mended.

Apparently not.

By waiting until February 4th to make his wishes to leave the North Carolina basketball program known, Drew and his family ensured that there would be no winners in this transaction.

Sure, the Heels rid themselves of someone who clearly didn’t want to be there and with that gain valuable “us-against-the-world” team chemistry.

But in terms of X’s and O’s, one would have to imagine the Tar Heels will suffer.

Out of necessity, Dexter Strickland will likely return to the backup point guard spot that he manned with little success last season. Kendall Marshall has proven to be a very capable ACC point guard, deserving of the starting role coach Williams bestowed upon him four games ago, but he can only play so many minutes.

And while Carolina won’t see much of a decline (if any) on the offensive end of the floor, the loss of arguably the team’s best on-ball defender will make Marshall’s struggles in that area tougher to mask.

Of course, that’s just this season.

The ramifications of Drew’s deliberate decision will also spill into next year.

All of the Carolina-worthy Class of 2011 point guard recruits have signed on with their school of choice by now, meaning that unless the Heels pull another Justin-Knox-like rabbit out of the hat, or sign a junior college player, the team is staring at a 2011-12 campaign that once again features a singular point guard.

As for Drew, his options are incredibly limited. His late-season change of heart means that he will only take one year of eligibility with him to his next school instead of at least one and a half.

“Sometimes things come to a point where a decision has to be made,” the elder Drew said Friday night.

He’s right.

But because he didn’t take his own advice and act on the decision when it was originally made, both parties are going to suffer the consequences.

15 Comments

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  • tarheelscan Feb 6, 5:57 p.m.

    WRONG!!!Larry left Carolina in a great position.GO HEELS!!!

  • mrbigt032j Feb 6, 4:48 p.m.

    GOOD FOR TEAM THEY PLAY BETTER WITHOUT HIM GO UNC

  • slayerhil Feb 6, 3:00 p.m.

    Also, it's doubtful he would get any respect from players in the NBA, that's for sure.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Feb 6, 8:16 a.m.

    ^^^I read that the Mom tweeted that Drew is going to play for "The Association". Ha. Like he's ready for the NBA. Good luck with that one.

  • mccpry2 Feb 5, 4:39 p.m.

    And then Daddy changed Larry's diaper.

    — Posted by TarheelTurtle

    From all I have read, I think mom might be the one changing the diaper.

    Makes very little sense to me since it was past the point in the season where he loses the rest of the season. Maybe dad won't be able to justify drafitng a backup PG when the d r a f t comes around, so, he has to get him starting for someone....

  • eoglane Feb 5, 4:09 p.m.

    Whether it was the Dad's decision, the kid's decision, or a family decision is beside the point.
    View More

    — Posted by fiveonourside

    TARHEELS WILL DO SO MUCH BETTER WITHOUT HIM. WHILE HE WAS A BENCH WARMER THE GAME IMPROVED FOR THE HEELS. GLAD THE BUTTER FINGER IS GONE BACK TO MOMMY AND DADDY.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Feb 5, 3:31 p.m.

    Yeah, this was pretty dooshey of him. The timing couldn't be much worse.

  • carolinagirl1976 Feb 5, 3:16 p.m.

    This was LDII's middle finger at the UNC coaches, team, fans, and school. He knew what the fans thought of him and had probably been reading all the comments on-line. He has only confirmed what the fans thought of him - actually worse.

    I really think LDII's main problem all along was his father. If his father had just let him be and play, he would have been fine and most likely played much better. You just can't disregard the fact that the team as a whole, both last year and this year, didn't play well when he was in the game. However, like Roy said, in the last 4 games not being the starting PG and playing less minutes, LDII was playing much better, as was the team when he was in the game.

    He's hurt the team, for sure, but he has also hurt his own basketball career just as much, if not more so.

    Right back at 'ya, LDII !!! Can't say I wish good things for 'ya!!! You're going to reap what you sowed!

  • dookh8r Feb 5, 3:00 p.m.

    ^of course it was - which is what has UNC fans so upset. There's no way POSSIBLE you can... View More

    — Posted by UNCmonkey

    A coherent and well thought out post. Thanks.

  • UNCmonkey Feb 5, 2:15 p.m.

    ^of course it was - which is what has UNC fans so upset. There's no way POSSIBLE you can convince me that this is in ANYONE'S best interest - not UNC's, not Larry's, not anyone's. And I'm sorry but if you're a parent - how do you encourage your son to quit on his teammates, quit on his coach, and quit on the UNC program - withOUT talking to anyone and being upfront and honest about it? That does nothing but make him look bad and it has a negative impact on his college eligibility and the perception of him as a player and teammate. Who would want this kid? Who will be willing to try and take him on and all the baggage he brings with him? This to me is nothing short of either a calculated under-handed move designed to cause the most turmoil and damage - which really would speak volumes of the character of the individuals involved - or it's a knee-jirk reaction to what I can only assume was some perceived slight on the part of the Drew family that their golden child was being unfairly "subjugated" to a back-up role. I won't go into what wild and rampant speculation I THINK might be the case - that is pointless (no matter how logical an assumption might seem), but I will say that when a kid is playing arguably the best ball of his CAREER and is still SPLITTING minutes with another quality PG then the only thing that is in "his best interests" is to continue working hard to show everyone that he is capable of handling some mild adversity (mild at best IMO) and is willing to do whatever is asked of him that most benefits the TEAM. That's what would have served his best interests IMO

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