UNC Greensboro's Hero
The Spartans Go the Distance
During the summer 2� years ago, David Schuck was a cadet at the Air Force Academy, hunkered down in the Rocky Mountains on a two-day survival training mission with no shelter, no sleep and only an apple and a slice of bread to eat. Schuck, now a 6'7" junior forward for UNC Greensboro, called upon that experience on Sunday when he took a length-of-the-floor pass with 2.6 seconds left, lowered his shoulder on a drive to the hoop and made the winning basket with 0.4 seconds remaining in the Southern Conference tournament final. That score knocked off Tennessee- Chattanooga, the No. 2 seed in the south bracket, 67-66 and handed the Spartans, the second seed in the north bracket, a bid to the NCAA tournament. "Fortunately, I've been in much more stressful situations than a last-second basketball shot," Schuck says. "My Air Force training really helped me to be as calm as I could be with our season resting on one shot."
Schuck, who grew up in High Point, N.C., transferred to UNC Greensboro in the spring of 1999 after he was told the fact that he'd suffered several concussions would prevent him from becoming a fighter pilot (though he could have flown bombers and other planes). Schuck was one of the first recruits signed by Spartans coach Fran McCaffery, who enticed Schuck with the challenge of helping rebuild a program that had lost 59 games in the previous three seasons. Schuck, who played two years at Air Force and had to sit out the 1999-2000 season after transferring, averaged 14.4 points and 8.3 rebounds for 19-11 UNC Greensboro this year.
In Sunday's final, the Spartans led the entire second half until Tennessee- Chattanooga guard Clyde McCully sank a layup to give the Mocs a 66-65 lead. Then McCaffery called for the Tap Play, and Schuck and freshman guard Jay Joseph made like Christian Laettner and Grant Hill, combining for the full-court miracle. "I'd never hit a game-winner like that in my life," said Schuck, who finished with a game-high 21 points. "I don't really know how to act right now, but I'm sure I've never experienced such an instantaneous feeling of joy in my life."