Andy: What's not to like?

GREENSBORO, N.C. –- It's early – oh so early – but if you can find a North Carolina fan that is not beside himself or herself with giddiness over the Tar Heels 4-0 start to the 2003-04 season, then you could probably be of assistance in locating Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.

What's not to like?

At least four players – all underclassmen – are legitimate NBA material. And here's another question to ask yourself: between Jawad Williams, Rashad McCants, Sean May and Raymond Felton, which is more valuable? You see, you can't answer that question, which is the beauty of this team.

Two of UNC's best teams – the '81-'82 and '97-'98 editions – took care of business just fine using no more than eight players on a regular basis. When you've been dealt four aces, rarely is there a need to approach the draw pile. With the help of TV timeouts, seven or so highly conditioned athletes can last the season.

Williams is workmanlike, mature, stronger and with deadly range. Rarely does he take a bad shot, make a bad decision or lose his composure.

McCants is as nasty as you can get at 6-foot-4. He makes all the big shots with an attitude, and now he has taken his game tenacity with him to the defensive end of the floor.

May is silky smooth, deceptively strong and possesses the hands and skill of a surgeon. He's as good as any big man in the nation, including Connecticut's Emeka Okafor.

And Felton makes his case nightly as the finest collegiate point guard in the country. He commands control of the court and has a handle like Phil Ford, is a blur to defenders with an on-demand extra gear like Kenny Smith, and can dish with the accuracy of Ed Cota. And just like Roy Williams was born to coach the Tar Heels, the marriage of Felton and Carolina was surely made in Blue Heaven as well.

And Melvin Scott and Jackie Manuel, along with May and Williams, are all playing at their optimum positions. Scott is most effective at two, Williams at four and May at five, while Manuel has come to grip with his role.

While many may now have to scratch their heads to remember who preceded Roy Williams as UNC coach, the cupboard was not bare, though it was far from a horn of plenty either. But whether it had anything to do with Williams' return to Carolina or not, he inherited one hungry team. Perhaps more impressive than any statistic, is the heart the Tar Heels have shown and the way they have fallen right in line with Williams' coaching regimen.

He was the right man for the job once the decision was made to let Matt Doherty go. And to think had May not fractured his foot last season, Williams would have still been pacing the sidelines in Lawrence, while Doherty continued to jump up and down, waving his arms in Chapel Hill.

Instead, on this day in Carolina, nothing could be finer. The most recognizable college basketball program in the world now has the best man for the job running the show for the first time in seven seasons.

Have you heard the resonating sounds of the media including the Tar Heels among the best teams in the country? Fall and winter viewing of ESPN's Sportscenter is once again an event worth staying up for.

There remains 23 regular season games on the Tar Heels' schedule, so it's too early to award them their fourth NCAA title and fifth national championship just yet. But regardless of how this season turns out, the program has never been on as solid ground as it is now since its legendary patriarch Dean Smith stepped down. And now, rest assured, the era of coaching transition at Carolina is over.

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