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HIGH ON THE HEELS
Curry Kirkpatrick
December 12, 1988
North Carolina rose to the occasion at the new Tournament of Champions
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December 12, 1988

High On The Heels

North Carolina rose to the occasion at the new Tournament of Champions

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Of all the Carolina surprises, it's Madden's improvement that is most welcome to the Tar Heels, primarily because they've been awaiting it ever since Madden came to Chapel Hill from Staunton, Va., billed as "the next Michael Jordan." He was never that—will anybody be?—and poor grades, attitude and motivation thwarted him until now. Because of Reid's absence, North Carolina needed somebody—anybody—to take on some scoring responsibility; Madden, now a junior, has responded with 18.9 points per game on 61.2% shooting.

If a tournament is judged by its consolation game, this one was surely proud to have two teams that, between them, held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 12 weeks last season. Unfortunately, it was this season's Arizona club that beat this year's Temple club in a 68-50 stinker that saw All-Americas Elliott and Macon miss 19 of 31 shots.

If a team is judged by its response to adversity, however, North Carolina appears to be in good shape. With no stars on the horizon and no cigs in his pocket, Smith continues to pile up the numbers: 14 straight years in the NCAA tournament, 18 seasons of 20 or more victories, and 16 seasons of 25 or more victories—all NCAA records. And counting. While chalking up last week's tournament title, Smith moved into seventh place on the career victory list with 644, 23 away from none other than John Wooden, another coach once criticized for limiting his players' creativity.

Finishing second in recruiting is nothing new to Smith; he points out that in the past he has lost Tom McMillen, David Thompson and Ralph Sampson to other ACC schools. And he's not about to take any guff from a lost recruit. Reacting to remarks by the loquacious Anderson after the Georgia Tech-bound high schooler used the term "handcuff" in describing the North Carolina system. Smith snapped last week, "Where was Kenny Smith [the ex-Carolina playmaker] drafted by the pros? Where was Pearl Washington [ex- Syracuse freewheeler] drafted?" (The answers are sixth in 1987 and 13th in 1986, and the former has clearly outshone the latter in the NBA.) "Somebody's putting ideas into Anderson's head."

Said Tar Heel senior Steve Bucknall, " Anderson also said he didn't want to be 'just another horse in Dean Smith's stable.' It's not Coach's fault we didn't get Anderson. It's the kid's fault, his own loss, his bad luck. He's the one who'll be missing out. Anderson may be a great horse—but we're the ones with the great trainer."

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