Rick Fox:It's special. It's like a trip down memory lane. It doesn't come too often, once you leave your college career behind and move on in life and have other responsibilities, whether it's professionally in the work place or whether you get to play basketball for a living.
Very few times can you come together and see guys that you spent four years with and toiled and came away with your diplomas. There are a lot of good memories, and now to be able to pull all that together and put it towards a good cause to benefit the community and those with diabetes is very special. People in the community should be commended for coming out to support us.
How do your Carolina years carry over to your life after you leave?
Rick Fox:It was a foundation. For me, it was about a foundation that prepared me, not just for basketball after Carolina, but life—the ability to conduct myself in a professional setting and continue on to be a viable part of the community regardless of the city that I'm in, regardless of the team that I play for, and to start a family and provide for them.
It's all about the foundation that you get. A lot of good men who have come through this program will tell you the same thing and were blessed to play for Coach Smith.
What are your feelings on the growth of the event?
Rick Fox: It's grown at an amazing level. I don't think we ever envisioned anything growing as rapidly as this has. I think it's due to what was put in place here and implemented in us as student-athletes, playing under Coach [Dean] Smith, as the majority of us have. And even those who haven't experienced that, they've been a part of the Carolina family and the Chapel Hill community, the area of the Triangle here….
It's about continuing a legacy that was created here and continuing to realize how special the bond is that has formed between individuals from team to team. It's a blessing to be able to turn something that special into something that's beneficial to the community.
What do you think about Roy Williams coming back to UNC as head coach?
Rick Fox:My personal reaction was that it was great. Obviously he was under Dean Smith at the time, but Roy Williams was the point man in my signing at Carolina. I have a much greater appreciation for him and his faith in me when he coached me.
I think we all envisioned that he would eventually be here. No one could have predicted when. I think a lot of people would have predicted he would replace Coach Guthridge, but it wasn't the right time for him. So it afforded Matt Doherty an opportunity—an invaluable opportunity—to come back and coach, which was probably the toughest job in America at the time, to transition from Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge and to bridge the gap between old and new.
And now we've kind of gone back to the old. We only wish Matt the best, and I'm sure he'll be back coaching soon. And he's always a member of the family. So, it's a change, but it's change for the good.
What do you think about Roy Williams coming to UNC as the head coach?
Sam Perkins: When he started here, I was here, so I know all the things he had to do and go through to accomplish what he has now. When he went to Kansas that was a big thrill for him as well, but I think somewhere down deep, he bleeds Carolina blue.
He's back here now and it's an accomplishment from where he started. He'll get this thing right in his own way—not taking anything away from Matt. And that's his mentor, so to speak. With his experience and his knowledge, he knows the guys and the situation and the whole chemistry of Carolina. I think he'll do well. He may have some bumps and bruises, but I think he'll get it straight.
Why is he a good coach?
Sam Perkins: He's hard-nosed. He's got that Southern drawl, and that fools a lot of people, but I think he's hard and tenacious. He wants to get everything right. He doesn't want to leave anything on a bad note. That's just him—he's working at it. He works hard, and he wants his players to work just as hard. Plus, he's strict. That drawl isn't just Southern hospitality. He's got some New York in him.
How excited are you to see Roy Williams back to turn things around?
Sam Perkins: Well, I think they were playing [cat and] mouse with all the decision-making here, but I knew they were waiting for someone. They were talking about going outside the family, but I really believe he was primed.
He was probably the only candidate, for real, that they even considered. Even though they had options, I think that Roy was a compliment to the organization. I really believe that he will turn things around…He's got players here who have to learn him and they have to learn what he brings and what Carolina basketball is all about because it's been forgotten for a minute. He's here, and like Kenny [Smith] said, in 2001 [the banners] stopped. We have to get some more things accomplished this year.
What's it like to get together and see all these guys like this today?
Joe Wolf: I get to see some of these guys and talk to them on the phone, but you are talking about every four years, there's a different generation of Carolina guys. You've got Charlie Scott and Bill Chamberlain here, and you've got guys who just graduated here.
To come back to this, I don't know of any other program that could do this or wants to do this. This is a unique situation and a unique opportunity for everyone who is here. And we realize that we are a part of something special—and that shows on a day like today.
What was different about coming back to day and what was the same?
Antawn Jamison: There was nothing different. To walk out on that court and see all the Carolina blue in the stands and see the jerseys up there, you can't get tired of that. Other than Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge on the sidelines, that's about it. Coach Ford and Coach Hanners were there, and it brought back a lot of memories. To be part of that is special, and it's something to cherish for a long time.
I'm grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this for a great cause. For the guys to come back is what it's all about.
How was it today to be back with all these guys?
Jason Capel: It was great to be out here with a lot of the guys you play with in the summertime, grew up watching some of them, to be out there with some of them was a great experience. To be out there with a guy like Walter Davis, who I've only watched film on was a great experience…
You seem to have a great job in basketball, but hypothetically, if a position came open, could you see yourself as an assistant coach at Carolina?
Kenny Smith:Right now, there are some opportunities in the NBA for head coaching positions, and that's something that I may do later on.
Here, I don't care if you are making $50 million a day and they said that they need you to come coach here as the third assistant, I'm coming back. This is the first obligation. It's like the army or the navy when the government calls you, you have to come, no matter what capacity.