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"What record?"

That's how North Carolina coach Dean Smith responds to questions
about his pursuit of college basketball's alltime victory
record. Smith, who needs 26 wins to reach 877 and pass Kentucky
coach Adolph Rupp's mark, suggested to his players in October
that they should answer any inquiries about the record by
changing the subject. Nice try, coach.

"I can't wait for that night because I know the whole world will
be watching," says sophomore forward Antawn Jamison, not
changing the subject. "Everybody on this team wants to be a part
of history, part of a feat that might never be erased from the
record books."

It's a testament to Smith's adaptability to a changing world
that he built his remarkable success with players such as Phil
Ford and James Worthy from Tar Heel towns like Rocky Mount and
Gastonia, yet he takes aim on the record with a senior from
Maassluis, the Netherlands (Serge Zwikker); a sophomore from
Nigeria who grew up in Berlin (Ademola Okulaja); a freshman from
Sofia, Bulgaria (Vasco Evtimov); and a junior transfer who's
from Dakar, Senegal (Makhtar Ndiaye). "There's about a dozen
languages in our locker room," says Zwikker, the 7'2" non-flying
Dutchman, "Sometimes it sounds like the United Nations in there."

This isn't to say that there aren't a few Tar Heels who were
made in the U.S.A. Jamison, from Charlotte, led the ACC in field
goal percentage (62.4%) and offensive rebounds (119) last season
and was the first North Carolina player ever selected first-team
all-conference as a freshman. Swingman Vince Carter, a '94-95
consensus high school All-America from Ormond Beach, Fla.,
returns after a disappointing freshman year; Smith believes
Carter will have a breakthrough season. But the most important
returnee may be Carolina's scramble defense, which Smith
virtually abandoned during the last two seasons because his team
lacked the necessary depth and quickness.

The key question is who will replace point guard Jeff McInnis,
who left after his junior season and now plays for the Denver
Nuggets. Freshman Ed Cota is the playmaker of the future, but
the immediate successor looks to be junior Shammond Williams,
who has his own Web site, Shammond's World
(, where he fields queries from
E-mailers about whether he can lead the team to the historic
26th win and maybe even an NCAA title. "Everybody on this club
wants the record and a ring," Williams says. "We may be from
exotic places all over the globe, but eventually we all want to
end up in the same place."