AJ's Monday Musings

In this week's edition of the Musings it seems appropriate to talk about the many basketball experiences of former North Carolina star Rick Fox. I'll also discuss Phil Ford's involvement with an AAU team and Bosley Allen's demise.

The Epitome Of Hoops, And More

Few will deny that Rick Fox has lived a charmed life. Consider the path that has taken him to what will likely be a third consecutive NBA title, and one must sit back in awe.

Fox grew up in the Bahamas, a place many Americans only dream of visiting.

Basketball took him to the United States where he landed in Indiana, a state in which high school hoops is a way of life and where it means more than on any other dot on this sports-crazy nation.

He then played his college ball in the Atlantic Coast Conference at UNC. Only the closed-minded will argue that basketball matters more in any other conference and that there is a better place to play than Chapel Hill, and for Dean Smith. He also earned a degree from one of the nation's top 20 universities.

After leading Carolina to the Final Four in 1991, Fox headed to the NBA where he has donned the uniforms of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, the two greatest franchises in league history. His stint in L.A. has included two world titles (a possible third to come) and he has played for Phil Jackson, who has eight rings and will likely earn a ninth in the next few weeks.

Add to that he is married to one of Hollywood's finest babes in Vanessa Williams, has worked in the film industry where he clearly has a future, and all of this by the age of 32. Only a fool would argue that Fox hasn't experienced the epitome of hoops and has lived a charmed life.

No Foul On Ford

There has been plenty of speculation recently about UNC basketball legend and former assistant coach Phil Ford's involvement with the AAU team, the N.C. Gaters. But for those who believe Ford and UNC has done something wrong, it's time to get off that boat, 'cause it don't float!

Because Ford is not a part of Carolina's current coaching staff, his spot as an assistant with the Gaters, whose point guard is future Tar Heel Raymond Felton, is not a violation of any kind.

"He's not a member of the coaching staff," said Steve Kirschner, UNC Associate Director of Athletics. "So there is no rule that prohibits him from that (coaching)."

Many ACC fans have been up in arms over Ford's role and that it puts him in regular contact with rising seniors who have not decided on a college. But according to NCAA rules, Ford and UNC have not committed a foul on this one.

Boneheaded Bosley

Bosley Allen has a great deal of potential and from all accounts, including personal contact, is an intelligent and nice young man. But there is no denying that over the last six months he hasn't chosen to use his smarts, and it has cost him a spot on Carolina's football team, and possibly a place in next spring's NFL Draft.

Head coach John Bunting permanently dismissed Allen from the football team last week after his third violation of team rules since December. The bizarre manner in which these infractions have taken place has tainted Allen's image, and certainly all NFL general managers have taken note of his behavior.

Allen now plans on attending a I-AA school so he can play this fall, but his stock will clearly go down because of the incidents, regardless of how well he does on the field. He has also hurt the Tar Heels - his buddies - as well as the fans.

UNC planned on Allen, a gifted athlete who overcame an ugly knee injury a couple of years ago, being a prominent part of its offense next fall. With him gone, Carolina's depth has been depleted but fortunately for Bunting, the team and all who love Saturdays Among the Pines, the Heels are deep enough to eventually overcome Allen's absence. It will also allow the exciting Jawarski Pollack to get more reps early in the season, which in the long run will be a positive.

For Allen's sake, hopefully he can learn from his actions and move on in a positive manner.

Andrew Jones is entering his seventh year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a drive-time radio show on ESPN Radio, WMFD AM630 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.

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