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9 North Carolina Forte is again a strong point for the Heels, who also hope height means might


Matt Doherty doesn't want to change the face of Carolina
basketball, but he's not afraid to tweak it a bit. So when Jason
Capel asked Doherty, the Tar Heels' new coach, to lift the
four-decade-old ban on facial hair, Doherty acceded. If he
extends his players a longer leash than did predecessors Dean
Smith and Bill Guthridge, Doherty is also quicker to give that
leash a sharp tug. That was apparent during a recent practice
when he punctuated a profanity-laced philippic by kicking over a
trash can. "We'd never seen that before," center Brendan Haywood
says. "I'm not sure Coach Guthridge could get his leg high
enough to kick a trash can."

Still, it won't be easy for Doherty to fill the shoes of a guy
who guided Carolina to two Final Fours in three years. Doherty's
top priority will be to get more consistency from Haywood, who
was spotty during the 1999-2000 regular season but averaged 15.8
points and 9.6 rebounds during the NCAAs. With the 6'8" Capel,
6'10" junior Brian Bersticker and 6'11" junior Kris Lang joining
the 7-foot Haywood up front, this will be one of the nation's
biggest teams.

The Tar Heels will therefore be vulnerable against smaller,
quicker foes. They'll rely heavily on Joseph Forte, who last
year became the first freshman ever to lead Carolina in scoring.
Forte worked hard on his ball handling this summer, and is a
candidate--along with freshmen Adam Boone and Brian Morrison and
sophomores Ronald Curry and Jonathan Holmes--to replace Ed Cota
at point guard. Doherty hopes to select a permanent quarterback
soon. "If I start jerking these guys around, it'd be like
yanking a young pitcher before he gets his confidence," he says.
"I'm going to have to live with some mistakes early."


COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN FIRST-YEAR FIRST Forte did what no Tar Heel had ever done before: lead North Carolina in scoring as a freshman.



SF [**]Jason Capel 6'8" Jr. 12.3 ppg
PF [**]Kris Lang 6'11" Jr. 8.4 ppg
C [**]Brendan Haywood 7'0" Sr. 13.6 ppg
SG [**]Joseph Forte 6'4" So. 16.7 ppg
PG Adam Boone 6'2" Fr. 7.5 apg*

1999-2000 record: 22-14 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 11
[**]Returning starter *As a high school senior