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The Year After
ALAN SHIPNUCK
March 20, 2006
March Madness rekindles plenty of fond memories for these four ex-North Carolina stars, who have gone from national champs and first-round picks to the depths of the NBA standings
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March 20, 2006

The Year After

March Madness rekindles plenty of fond memories for these four ex-North Carolina stars, who have gone from national champs and first-round picks to the depths of the NBA standings

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Four months later Casey says, "I have no complaints about Rashad. His approach, his understanding of the game, his effort, his work habits--they've all gotten much, much better." And yet McCants still provokes plenty of head-scratching. Ask him to name his favorite moment of his rookie year and he cites the sixth game of his career, a loss to Denver. During a taut fourth quarter Minnesota's Kevin Garnett threw down a ferocious dunk on Marcus Camby. "KG's screaming, so I started screaming too," McCants says. "Of course the ref gave me the technical, not KG. Next time down the court I dunked on Camby, so I had to scream again. I got another T and was ejected. That was definitely the funnest thing that's happened this year."

After that game McCants got a lecture from Garnett, who has become a tough-love mentor. "I'm on his ass because I'm not going to let him settle," Garnett says. "He has the potential to be a real special player in this league. I want him to play the game the right way, I want him to always understand that the game don't owe you s---. You owe the game."

Despite KG's support, McCants is getting only 6.6 points per game in 13.7 minutes. "He can play defense," says T-Wolves point guard Anthony Carter, "but it's a matter of him wanting to do it. He needs to pick up his intensity."

A game last month against Phoenix offered a glimpse of McCants at his best ... and most maddening. He whined to the refs, stood around on offense, failed to hustle back in transition and repeatedly got lost on D. But when he had the ball in his hands, he was electric. He carried the Wolves in the second quarter, burying four long jumpers. With 2:14 left in the game, McCants made a gorgeous spin move in the lane and hit a floater to give the T-Wolves a four-point lead. They never trailed again. Yet McCants displayed little emotion afterward, saying, "It's just one game in a long, long season."

But surely this is why he left North Carolina--to be one of the key players in a thrilling NBA game such as this one. "Was it fun?" he scoffed. "No, it was work. Playing college ball is fun. This was business."

The EXTROVERT

It's always an event when Sean May rolls into the Bobcats' locker room. He's known to his teammates as Big Sexy because, says Charlotte forward Melvin Ely, "he likes to walk around the locker room with his shirt off, just in his tights and sandals. I'm not one to say who's sexy and who isn't, but he isn't. We told him if his shirt comes off one more time, he's gonna get fined."

Today, May is turned out in velour sweats and Carolina-blue sneakers. No sooner has he sat down in a stray chair than an unseen teammate shouts from the shower, "Get up--I don't want those damn pants in my chair."

From across the locker room Ely chimes in, "Or them ugly shoes, in that horrible-ass color."

May winks at the abuse. "I got a lot of Carolina stuff in my closet," he says. "I like to wear it to get on people's nerves. I love to joke about it with the guys in here, ask if they want to try on my [ NCAA] ring, stuff like that."

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