And talk about credentials for being the Heels' on-court leader: Wolf, an industrial relations major, is a model student, although, says UNC education professor Gerald Unks, "His girlfriend takes notes for both of them." Wolf is also churchgoing and family oriented—he has six brothers and sisters—and he can be a staunch defender of downtrodden teammates:
Wolf on Popson, who was ballyhooed as the nation's best big man when he came out of high school in '83: "Pop hasn't really had a chance to show what he can do yet. I think he's going to surprise a lot of people this year."
On point guard Kenny Smith, thought by some to have had a disappointing junior year: "I disagree totally. Kenny was the person who was most responsible for our being 21-0 at one point."
Unselfish Wolf might be, but don't confuse that with retiring. Wolf confides that in the absence of the departed big guns, Brad Daugherty and Warren Martin, he'll be able to get more shots per game. And "Brad won't be around to hog all the offensive rebounds, either," he says, "so I'll probably be getting more garbage points."
Smith won't come right out and admit he needs added offense from Wolf, saying, "If we told that to someone, he'd force bad shots." A prime Carolina concern is depth. "If Joe gets hurt," says Smith, "we're in trouble." If he stays healthy, where does that leave the Heels? In New Orleans in late March, probably. A long way from Toilet Town, definitely.