It all started with ESPN College GameDay broadcasting from Chapel Hill that entire day, focusing on the Heels and their game with Georgia Tech that night. First impression is that Gameday is a "hurry up and wait" event. They tape segments, you go wild. Then you sit down and wait for 20 minutes for them to tape another one. We got there at 10 am during taping, but it wasn't until 11 am until they signed on. The coolest part of GameDay was watching Alex Bloom, a UNC student absolutely can a shot to win $13,000. I wish Blogger could post video, but I can't figure out how. But I do have a picture of him getting the check.
Then we got out of there in time to run back to the hotel. Some of the guys wanted to see Duke, so we went, but our next order of business was our game on the floor of the Smith Center at 6:00 p.m. against the North Carolina JV team. Before hand, we got to meet Coach Roy Williams. The background story is that our AD, Gary Kempf (guy to the side of Williams in the photo) worked with Roy at Kansas for 15 years until Gary retired from being the swim coach and Roy left for Carolina. It was a personal favor, but Roy gave us five minutes of his time only hours before his team would take the floor. My impression of Williams was of the lovable coach who perhaps cried too much at the end of NCAA Tournament disappointments, but just to hear him talk about loving the game and wishing us well changed my view of the man. He is a genuine, nice guy. He was the epitome of the class act treatment by all of the Carolina basketball family.
So we took to the floor in order to get some warmup shots. Let's just say we knew we weren't here for life or death (see first photo), but the boys did perform well considering the 9 hour drive only 24 hours before we were to play. The guys ate it up, constantly looking in the rafters at the retired jerseys and championship banner. Yours truly got a good shot of one of our guys throwing it down in the Dean Dome. Ian immediately asked to have that picture emailed to him.
The boys are still warming up, but lo and behold Dickie V shows up! Believe it or not, he comes over and asks me if I can take some pictures of him with the mob of kids when our game goes to half. Send to me he says... I get his business card and suddenly I became Dick Vitale's personal photographer for his halftime taping of a segment.
So, we go down in flames, 90-63 but the guys didn't care. We had so much fun just with the experience and everything. The last thing we waited on were the 30 free tickets we receive for the night's featured event, Georgia Tech at North Carolina. We get the tickets, hike up to our seats and go from courtside to nosebleed. Carolina won 77-61. It was just a great day.