CNN Time Free Email US Sports Baseball Pro Football College Football 1999 NBA Playoffs College Basketball Hockey Golf Plus Tennis Soccer Motorsports Womens More Inside Game Scoreboards World
EVENTS
MLB Playoffs
Rugby World Cup
Century's Best
Swimsuit '99

CENTERS
 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Multimedia Central
 Statitudes
 Your Turn
 Teams
 Cities

AD PARTNERS

  Power of Caring
  presented by CIGNA


SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
 This Week's Issue
 Previous Issues
 Special Features
 Life of Reilly
 Frank Deford
 Subscriber Services
 SI for Women

FEATURES
 Trivia Blitz
 Free Email

TELEVISION
 CNN/SI - TV
 Turner Sports

SHOPPING
 CNN/SI Travel
 Golf Pro Shop
 MLB Gear Store
 NFL Gear Store

SI FOR KIDS
 Sports Parents
 Games
 Buzz World
 Shorter Reporter

SITE RESOURCES
 About Us
 myCNN
 
College Basketball

Carolina carry-over

Tar Heels align offense without last season's punch

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Monday October 19, 1998 05:14 PM

  Filling a void: Cota, who averaged 8.1 points a game last season, is the Tar Heels' leading returning scorer Craig Jones/Allsport

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (AP) -- The scene was familiar last season -- Ed Cota or Ademola Okulaja with the ball on the perimeter, the defense inching its way back into the lane with North Carolina fans pleading for the pair to "Shoot! Shoot!"

Expect both to let it fly this season.

With the losses of NBA lottery picks Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter, and shooting guard Shammond Williams, it's likely that Cota and Okulaja will be asked by coach Bill Guthridge to pick up their scoring.

"We did lose a lot," Guthridge understated Sunday during preseason media day. "One of the problems with every team when you have players back is their roles change from year to year, depending on who is on the team.

"I thought Ed and Ademola played their roles great last year, and their roles may change somewhat this year. That will take place through the course of practice. We'll just have to see how that all evolves."

Cota, like most North Carolina point guards in the past, has been asked to be more of a floor general than a scorer, but he did average 31 points one season in high school.

It is not common, but point guards have been asked to score at North Carolina before, all-time scoring leader Phil Ford and Kenny Smith being the two most prominent in the past 25 years.

"I've always been a team player and they didn't need me to score," Cota said, referring to his first two seasons with the Tar Heels. "It wasn't really a problem. That's why I can't wait until we start [this season], to just be able to get the ball back after I make a couple of passes will be nice."

Jamison, Carter, Williams and Makhtar Ndiaye accounted for 73 percent of North Carolina's points last season en route to a second straight Final Four and a 34-4 record. Cota and Okulaja combined for just 16.1 points a game, and neither shot better than 50 percent from the field.

Okulaja, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, struggled with his shot at times last season and hit only 41.4 percent, but averaged 17.7 points this summer playing for the German National team.

Okulaja said there was no need for Cota and himself to take many shots last season with the star offensive players the Tar Heels had in the lineup.

"I have confidence in my shot, confidence in my game," Okulaja said. "I have all my life but if you have these kind of players on your team you're not going to get many shots. The ones you have, it's a mental thing.

"The shots are up for grabs now, you've got to go out there and earn every shot like [Jamison, Carter and Williams] did when they were here."

Guthridge was quick to point out that the North Carolina offensive system will remain similar, even if Cota or Okulaja are asked to take 15 shots a game.

"Any good offense has a lot of different options on it," Guthridge said. "It depends on what is open."  

Related information
Stories
Check out CNN/SI's coverage of Midnight Madness!
Inside College Basketball with Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis: Midnight Madness is upon us
Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis kicks off the season by answering your questions!
Georgia Tech's Glover tears ACL in 1st practice, out for year
Multimedia
Click here for the latest audio and video
Message Boards
Take your shots!
Talk Tar Heel hoops on the CNN/SI College Basketball Message Board!
Join the discussion

Search our siteWatch CNN/SI 24 hours a day

Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call 1-888-53-CNNSI.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



To the top

Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.