Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heel hoopsters: Wednesday is NBA draft day for Noel; Surgery for injured McCants; Okulaja returns to German national team; Date set for 2006 World's Greatest Alumni Game ...


* ... After workouts with several NBA clubs and performing at NBA predraft camps in Portsmouth, Va., and Orlando, Fla., David Noel will find out on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN) if he has done enough to be drafted into the NBA or if he will sign as an undrafted free agent.

Roy Williams said at a press conference last week about Noel's NBA prospects: "I spoke to his agent last week, and he felt the clubs were really impressed with David's athleticism and his ability to play basketball. They're not saying that he was the best shooter or the best dribbler or the best jumper, but his athleticism and his all-around ability [have impressed]. And everybody has been talking about what a great, great kid and what great character he has."

The "Prospect Profile" for David Anthony Noel III at NBA.com reads:

Strengths: Exceptional athlete with a chiseled physique. Nice package of all-around skills. Has improved his range, will make the correct pass and rebounds in traffic. Plays within himself.

Personal: Won slam dunk contest at 2006 Final Four. Was a football star in high school, and has been scouted by the NFL, in the hopes that he'll consider a change should basketball not pan out.

The top draft prospects this year from the ACC are Shelden Williams (Duke), Cedric Simmons (NC State), J.J. Redick (Duke) and Guillermo Diaz (Miami). Eric Williams (Wake Forest), Alexander Johnson (Florida State), Craig Smith (Boston College) and Nik Caner-Medley (Maryland) are considered as second-round prospects.

Along with Noel, Cameron Bennerman (NC State), Sean Dockery (Duke), Travis Garrison (Maryland) and Justin Gray (Wake Forest) are among the prospects listed at NBA.com.


* ... Word came from the the Minnesota Timberwolves last week that guard Rashad McCants underwent successful microfracture surgery on his right knee.

McCants is expected to make a full recovery and was given a rehabilitation period of four-to-six months following the procedure.

"It's an unfortunate situation because Rashad has been working really hard this offseason, and was looking forward to playing in the upcoming summer league games," said Timberwolves V.P. of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale.

"He's a very talented young man, and we are going to make sure he is 100 percent healthy before he comes back."

McCants was a first-round pick (14th overall) by Minnesota in the 2005 NBA Draft and averaged 7.9 points in 79 games (12 starts) during the 2005-06 season. He set a Timberwolves franchise rookie record for three-point field goal shooting percentage at 37.2 percent.


* ... Later this summer will mark the return of former Tar Heel Ademola Okulaja to the national team of Germany. Okulaja is among 15 players on Germany's preliminary roster that will start training soon for the 2006 FIBA World Championship event in Japan that begins on August 19.

Okulaja missed Germany's run to the 2005 EuroBasket silver medal in Serbia & Montenegro last summer due to a knee injury.

Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Johannes Herber (West Virginia), Christopher McNaughton (Bucknell) and Jan-Hendrik Jagla (Penn State) are also on the German squad that will be reduced to 12.

Germany is part of Group B which includes Spain, Panama, Japan, New Zealand and Angola.

His former Tar Heel teammate Ed (Eduardo) Cota is still on the Panama national team trials roster that has been cut from 30 to 17 even though he has not attended any practices yet.

Okulaja recently noted at his official website that he has renewed his contract and will play in Russia again for B.C. Khimki located near Moscow. Next season will be his eighth as a pro since leaving North Carolina.

Okulaja also checked in via e-mail with Inside Carolina to inform that his website -- www.okulaja.com -- has been upgraded with a new layout that is more animated than before and features his comments, video clips and lots of photos.

Be sure to visit and let him know if you like his new site.


* ... The 5th annual World's Greatest Alumni Game will be held on Saturday, August 26 at the Dean E. Smith Center, CarolinaPros, Inc. announced last week.

The game will again feature former North Carolina players and former ACC stars as they team up to help others. Be sure to check carolinapros.org for more information about the charity event as it becomes available.

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