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Scouting Reports 6 No. CAROLINA


STUDENTS OF CHAPEL HILL BASKETBALL noticed a change last year.
Coach Dean Smith allowed his usually tempered Tar Heels to play with
emotion, in part because two of his players had been scarred by
family tragedies. Joe Jenkins was coping with his mother's death, and
Scott Williams had to deal with a horror of horrors, his father's
murder of his mother and subsequent suicide. Williams, in particular,
was permitted unprecedented latitude, pumping his fists after baskets
and the like. In spite of all the anguish, Smith was still able to
guide North Carolina into the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight.
A similar finish is in the offing this season if J.R. Reid,
Smith's inside force, is able to come back, and come back strong,
from surgery on Oct. 28 for a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal
bone in his left foot. Reid's absence -- he's out until at least Jan.
1 -- could be a blessing in disguise if it forces the Tar Heels to
play with more discipline, especially Williams, a 6 ft. 10 in.
junior, who led the ACC with 122 personal fouls and whose nine
disqualifications may be the most ever by a player under Smith. But
if Reid returns hobbled, or, worse yet, if he is lost for the entire
season, North Carolina's fortunes will drop like a stone and Smith
will face his first season finish out of the wire services' Top 10
since 1980.
Another knotty problem for Smith will be in the backcourt. Senior
Jeff Lebo is more effective as a shooting guard, but at 6 ft. 3 in.
he'll have to handle the point to help his pro prospects. King Rice,
a 6-foot sophomore, could pick up the tempo as the playmaker, but as
a shooter his track record is nearly nonexistent: He attempted only
56 shots in 34 games last season and hit a mere two of 12 from
three-point range. Besides, pairing him with Lebo could kill North
Carolina on the boards.
Off the court Smith faces another nasty tangle. After two terrible
recruiting years and with Duke still on the rise, the question is
fast becoming, Can Smith and North Carolina keep up?