Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heels: The colorful Larry Brown (pictured), Dante Calabria, Kris Lang, Ademola Okulaja, Butch Estes, Will Johnson, Vasco Evtimov and Henrik Rodl.


* From Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News at the NBA Predraft Camp in Chicago:

"We aren't in this classy Italian restaurant [Rosebud on Rush] five minutes when Larry Brown walks in with Sixers assistants John Kuester and Dave Hanners.

The scouts are in a spirited debate about the merits of Creighton's Kyle Korver. Jimmy Lynam and his daughter, Dei, walk in to Rosebud. Are we still in Philadelphia? Dinner ends. I hang with the Lynams, who promise to walk me back to my hotel because I have no clue where it is. I stop by to chat with Larry.

Brown seems unaware that he is not the most popular man in Philadelphia these days. We talk about the wild weekend just past. Larry orders dessert, says something about "playing the right way" and heads into the night. The Lynams walk me to the hotel."

* From Brian Hendrickson's UNCW Notebook at Starnewsonline.com:

"A post on an Internet message board last week reported that UNCW men's basketball recruit Dejan Grkovic [a 6-9 forward living in Canada] was seen playing with Seahawks players in the school's recreation center and looked "very impressive shooting around with some of the team." But there was one problem: It wasn't Grkovic.

Apparently it was Dante Calabria, a former starter at the University of North Carolina who was a freshman on the 1993 national championship team. Calabria has worked out at UNCW for the last couple summers to prepare for the upcoming European season.

The confusion apparently was due to Calabria's long, dark hair, which bears a resemblance to Grkovic -- although he's three inches shorter and 11 years older than Grkovic."


* Kris Lang and Anwil Wloclawek split games three and four of the Polish League Finals with Sopot last week to leave the best-of-seven series even at two games apiece.

Game 3 went to Wloclawek 73-61 on Thursday. Lang played 21 minutes with four points (2-6 FG) and four boards. Sopot bounced back on Saturday with an 86-72 road victory in game 4. Lang scored six points (3-4 FG) and claimed three rebounds.

Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday (6/12) in Sopot, with game 6 back in Wloclawek on Sunday (6/15).


* Last Monday, Ademola Okulaja and Unicaja Malaga, down 61-55 in the final minute, needed a late 7-0 run to win 62-61 and take a 3-2 quarterfinals victory and move into Spain's ACB league semifnal round.

Okulaja had six points, seven rebounds and set-up the game winning basket with a long outlet pass to Louis Bullock (Michigan) for a fastbreak layup with six seconds remaining.

After two games with Pamesa Valencia on Friday and Sunday, the best-of-five semifinal series is tied at 2-2.


* Tar Heel grad Butch Estes ('71) announced on Friday that he is leaving his coaching job at Guilford College and will become the head men's basketball coach at Miami-Dade Community College.

Estes has been at Guilford College (Old Dominion Athletic Conference - Div. III) for the last four years and had a record of 43-58. Estes played freshman basketball at North Carolina and was also part of the basketball program as a student-assistant to Bill Guthridge with the JV team until he graduated.


* Will Johnson and the Hickory Nutz have started the Carolinas Basketball League with a flourish. The season opener at Hickory last Thursday saw the Nutz shellack Wilmington 137-84 with Johnson contributing seven points and, according to the Salisbury Post, getting a pregame high five from Hickory's squirrel mascot.

It was another offensive explosion for Hickory, and Johnson, on Saturday. The Nutz improved to 2-0 as they blitzed and bewildered the Charleston (W.V.) Bombers by 156-88 with 24 3-point field goals. Nate James (Duke) led the Nutz with 33, Will Johnson had a new season high of nine points.


* Former Tar Heel Vasco Evtimov pulled down 13 rebounds and added eight points to help Asvel Villeurbanne win a deciding game 3 French Pro A quarterfinal, 80-62.

* Henrik Rodl has been sidelined since the quarterfinals with a severe knee injury, but even without their captain ALBA Berlin was able to sweep the German League Finals 3-0 and claim their seventh consecutive championship over the weekend.

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