ESPN anchor Stuart Scott (Carolina '87) will emcee the event, which follows a volleyball match between North Carolina and Duke that starts at 7:30 p.m.
"At Kansas it was something that set the stage for how we wanted the fans to be involved," Roy Williams said Thursday. "That is one of the things I want to do here. I want the fans to be more involved than they've ever been. I think that's something I've always felt Late Night sets the tone ... that we're going to have a lot of fun."
Admission to the Smith Center is free (a parking fee of $5 will be charged in lots near the Smith Center). Free "Park & Ride" bus service will run from University Mall and the Friday Center (NC 54) parking lots.
Doors to the Smith Center open at 6:30 p.m. Most seats in the arena will be general admission (first-come, first-served).
This year's event will be much different from the previous three years, as the players will participate in a number of skits building up to the official start of the season at midnight.
"I've always looked at it as a celebration for the opening of the basketball season and I want the kids to be seen in a different light," Williams said. "People see them not being very graceful and not being very athletic, not being very good at some things. So I think that gives fans a different look and the players enjoy acting a fool."
Official introductions of the 2003-04 Carolina men's and women's basketball teams are set for 10:30 p.m.
This will also be an opportunity for the new UNC staff to give recruits a peek into the future of Tar Heel hoops. Scheduled to be in attendance ...
* Dwight Howard - The nation's top post player and perhaps top player overall. The NBA will come calling, but he's giving college a look.
* J.R. Smith - Super-athletic, high-riser committed to UNC, will enroll next year.
* JamesOn Curry - Sharpshooter from Mebane, N.C. will also enroll next year. Was the first 2004 commitment for the Heels.
* Marcus Ginyard - Still two years from being a Tar Heel, but his versatility and athleticism will be welcomed in Chapel Hill in 2005.
* In-state Youngsters - A number of underclassmen from N.C. will be in attendance and will be names to watch down the road. Top names include Williams Graves ('06), Jamie Skeen ('06) and Eric Wallace ('07).