Sometimes from over the top. Sometimes from three quarters. Sometimes, it seems, sidearm. Maybe Michael couldn't hit. But Antawn sure can pitch.
Against Duke, Jamison made a play that seemed to bespeak the ascendancy of his game and of his team. Cota is so unpredictable when he light-foots it into the lane that one time when he penetrated into the paint late in the first half, the home crowd momentarily muzzled itself in anticipatory wonder. Cota then sent a floater short off the rim. The fans hadn't yet had reason to renew their roar when Jamison sprang up, claiming the rebound with a sudden clap of his second hand on the ball. The Smith Center was still quiet enough to permit this report to make its way to the building's farthest reaches, up even to the powder-blue beam from which Jordan's retired number had hung until being stolen over the previous weekend. Jamison then spun and sprang right back up again, tossing the ball into the basket, and the Tar Heels faithful threw up their wall of sound anew.
Nonetheless, for a few beats the Smith Center had been silent as a chapel, and one man had every parishioner's ear. What he said with that rebound wasn't so much a valedictory for the fans, although this may well be Jamison's final collegiate season. It was more an address to the blue heavens: If something's needed to fill that space where 23 once hung, another number is on its way.