Still, Marbury, who watched his cousin one night at the camp, bristled at the suggestion that Sebastian might be ill-served by the publicity he's generating at such a young age. "He's an eighth-grader and he's dominating," said Marbury. "You should write about him. Why does that have to be a negative? All it's going to do is make him work harder because he'll want it more."
Marbury is not Sebastian's only family tie to basketball. Sebastian's half-brother, Jamel Thomas, starred at Providence from 1995 through '99 and is now a reserve forward on the Trail Blazers. "When I was real young, my mother would leave me with the two of them, so they would have to take me wherever they went," Sebastian said. He was a frequent visitor at Providence's basketball camps when he was younger, and last summer Marbury flew him to Atlanta so they could work out together. Sebastian also appeared to soak up the advice he received last week from the coaches and players who worked at the camp.
"He doesn't think he knows it all; he's very attentive," says former Lincoln High coach Bobby Hartstein, who coached Marbury but had never seen Sebastian play before last week. "People told me how good he was, but it's still amazing when you actually see it. I hope the adults around him keep things in perspective."
Matt Doherty Takes Over
Carolina Shops At Wal-Mart
When Matt Doherty received his initial call from North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour on July 6 to feel him out about taking the Tar Heels' vacant coaching position, Doherty stood in the paper products aisle at a Wal-Mart in Mishawaka, Ind., thoroughly stunned. He considered his one year of experience as a head coach, a 22-15 season at Notre Dame in 1999-2000, and asked himself, "Am I ready?"
His definitive answer came a few days later at the Nike camp in Indianapolis, where he had a chat with Roy Williams, his former boss at Kansas and the man who had recently shocked Tar Heel Nation by turning down the North Carolina position. Williams assured his prot�g�, "You can do that job." After fellow Tar Heel alums Eddie Fogler, Larry Brown and George Karl all melted away as candidates for one reason or another, Doherty became the school's third coach in 40 years almost by default and then vowed to try to continue the lofty legacy of his predecessors. "I can't be another Dean Smith or Bill Guthridge," Doherty said. "I'll have to be Matt Doherty and hope that's good enough."
Doherty, 38, is known as a persuasive salesman. Before getting into coaching he worked for three years as a stockbroker on Wall Street and later showed his skill as a recruiter by helping to lure future NBA players Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce and Jacque Vaughn to Kansas during his seven seasons under Williams. Last week Smith praised Doherty's savvy as a player on the 1982 NCAA championship team and told the story of a Carolina basketball camp one summer in the early '90s when all the other counselors fled to the golf course after workouts, but Doherty, then a Davidson assistant, stole away to the kitchen in the basketball office to make recruiting calls.
Ten minutes after the conclusion of his introductory press conference on July 11 in Chapel Hill, Doherty was already phoning prospective recruits, remaining at the Smith Center until 1:45 a.m. During the next four days, the new Tar Heels coach traveled more man 5,000 miles, from Baltimore to Orlando to Las Vegas, to scout prospects and to introduce himself to North Carolina sophomore guard Joseph Forte at Forte's home in Greenbelt, Md. Doherty averaged three hours of sleep per night in his first week on the job. "I haven't had time to be awed by the responsibility," Doherty says. "But I have noticed how happy recruits are to get a call from the coach at Carolina."
After the staid and stately administrations of Smith and Guthridge, the hiring of the extroverted Doherty and the total turnover of the Tar Heels coaching staff—former assistants Phil Ford, Dave Hanners and Pat Sullivan were sent packing when Doherty brought his own assistants from Notre Dame-represent a jarring new era in Chapel Hill. "It's as if you have a puppy and he turns up missing," Doherty assistant David Cason says. "Your mother and father get you a new puppy, but you can't expect it to take the place of the one you had immediately?'
Clearly, Doherty was not supposed to be Carolina's new puppy. Not yet, anyway. Baddour had assumed Williams would take the job even before Guthridge's resignation, and if Guthridge had known Williams would reject the offer, he might have remained for another season or at least delayed his announcement until after the summer recruiting period. It's easy to joke that after whiffing on several big-ticket candidates, North Carolina settled for finding a coach at Wal-Mart, but don't dismiss Doherty simply because of his lack of seasoning. Remember that when Smith and Guthridge assumed the top job, neither had any college head-coaching experience. Nor did Williams when he began his successful reign at Kansas and, like Doherty, he was only 38 at the time.