LAST SEASON: 28-6; lost to Louisville in NCAA round of 16.
GOODBYE TO: Center Brad Daugherty (20.2 ppg); forward Warren Martin: guard Steve Hale.
SUPPORTING CAST: Guards Kenny Smith and Jeff Lebo.
INTRODUCING: Freshmen 6'9" forward J.R. Reid and 6'10" center Scott Williams.
SEE YOU IN THE SUPERDOME IF: The frosh learn fast; Wolf stays healthy; everyone else shows up.
Hard by the banks of the Sheboygan River in Wisconsin lies Kohler (pop. 1,720), also known as Toilet Town, USA. No insult intended. Kohler's primary industry, you see, is bathroom fixtures. Interestingly, some Kohler products figure large in North Carolina fortunes this season—forward Joe Wolf, a Kohler High grad, for one. "Class of '83," he says, "the largest  in Kohler history." What's more, the 6'10" Wolf proudly points out, "All the toilets and urinals in the Dean Dome were made in Kohler."
Wolf's role in coach Dean Smith's system is similarly utilitarian. For three years he has been an All-Intangible among the All-Americas; a perspiring, bandaged embodiment of the work ethic. Two of his best performances last season, a 16-rebound night against UAB and a 20-point effort against Louisville, were turned in on a bum ankle. Wolf also played a string of games with splints on both pinkies—"I looked like a Vulcan waving goodbye to myself," he says. And when he was asked for an interview, he asked, "What do you want with me? I'm just a white kid from Kohler."
White, ceramic white or otherwise, Wolf is the only experienced big man the Tar Heels have coming back. But ever since the signings of blue-chip bookends J.R. Reid and Scott Williams, expectations in Chapel Hill have been off the charts. One of Smith's hobbies, however, is muzzling high hopes. In this man's America, freshmen are guilty until proved sophomores. Warns the Dean: "J.R. was outrebounded by [6'10" Duke signee] Alaa Abdelnaby this summer.... It's such a big jump from high school. Joe will have to be a leader for us."
Already a two-year starter—albeit one whose name sometimes eludes less avid Heeloholics: Don't tell me.... It's on the tip of my tongue.... Dave Popson?—Wolf is as seasoned as the bratwurst he keeps in his fridge. "Joe knows our system very well, and he's a good talker on the floor," says Smith.
Wolf was warming to his role as Tar Heel youth counselor even before official practices were underway. "Just playing pickup games, when I see J.R. or Scott doing something fundamentally unsound I tell them about it," he says. "And they'll make the adjustment, and do it consistently after that. That's a really good sign."