Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s weekly update on former Tar Heels now playing in the professional ranks.

MONTROSS ON THE MEND

* Eric Montross is trying to maintain a positive outlook during his lengthy recovery from a series of foot fractures (talus and calcaneus bones) that have kept him inactive for the Toronto Raptors since the end of last season.

"I try not to think negatively about it because I think the power of positive thinking can pull you through some things," Montross recently told the Toronto Globe and Mail about his injury situation.

Montross describes the lingering problem as a feeling of a persistent dull ache in his left foot. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that publicly the Raptors are uncertain when Montross will be able to play again. But, the Globe and Mail quotes an unnamed team source to say, "It's not looking good. He's just not healing at all."

"All sorts of different scenarios cross your mind. From getting back in the next four weeks to the potential of having to deal with this for a long time. But I try not to dwell on it," Montross said.

Because of his injury status Montross was able to spend the Christmas holidays with his wife and two children. The long term plan is for Montross to live in Chapel Hill when his pro career is over. His 11-year, $21-million contract runs through the 2004-05 season.

COTA, OKULAJA TO MEET AGAIN

* Ed Cota and Ademola Okulaja will have another Euroleague Group B battle on Wednesday, Jan. 8. In their first meeting as opponents, back on October 23, Cota hit a last-second shot after grabbing a rebound to give Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania - 2-7, Euroleague) a 1-point upset, road win over Okulaja and Unicaja Malaga (Spain - 5-4, Euroleague).

After nine regular season games, Cota is Euroleague's assist leader at 6.2 per game. Okulaja ranks 7th in rebounding with 7.9 boards per game.

CAPEL CONNECTING

* After knocking down 13-of-14 free throws in three games last week, Jason Capel (Fayetteville Patriots, 12-8, 1st-place) is now the NBDL's best free-throw shooter with a percentage of .914 (64-for-70).

Capel has also converted on 20-of-45 three-point attempts for a success rate of 44.4 percent, 3rd-best in the NBDL.

In Friday's win at Asheville, Capel posted a new season-high as he led the Patriots in scoring with 23 (7-11 FG, 2-4 3-pt FG, 7-7 FT), and closed the week averaging 11.8 points per game for the season.

RODL AMONG BERLIN'S BEST SPORTSMEN

* Former Tar Heel Henrik Rodl is among the nominees under consideration to be chosen as Berlin, Germany's 2002 Sportsman of the Year.

Voting for the award will take place over the next couple of weeks as 13 Berlin media outlets seek the help of sportsfans to decide on a winner.

Rodl was a member of the German National Team, along with fellow Tar Heel Ademola Okulaja, that placed third at the 2002 World Basketball Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is currently the team captain of ALBA Berlin, the reigning German League champions. This season Rodl has played ten German League games and is averaging 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 23.6 minutes per game.

Voting can be done online at www.champions-berlin.de according to Telebasket.


Inside Carolina Top Stories