Tar Heel Pros News & Notes


* Dean Smith took some time last Thursday to take some questions from the media. The Tar Heels' former coach covered a wide variety of topics, including his feelings on the success his players' have had over the years.

"I'm very pleased that they've succeeded. I had one who didn't even have a scholarship [offer] out of high school. Shammond [Williams] said to me that that he was going to be an NBA player, and I didn't laugh, but he was 6-1. I'm so happy for him to do so well," Smith said, according to the same-day transcript of the press conference provided by InsideCarolina.com. "And you like to see Bill Harrison is the CEO of Morgan Chase Bank. And there are other guys. Tommy LaGarde helps kids on the Lower East Side [in New York City]. And what I like about all my players is that every one of them has been generous to down-and-out people."


* Ed Cota closed out Euroleague's 24-team 14-game regular season as the leader in assists with 91 (6.5 apg).

Despite 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists by Cota in the season ending game last week, Ed's Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania) team lost at Tel Aviv Maccabi to finish at 5-9 and will not advance to Euroleague's Top 16. Henrik Rodl's ALBA Berlin (4-10) team was also eliminated from further Euroleague play.

Three Tar Heels will still be active in Euroleague's Top 16 phase -- Dante Calabria with Benetton Treviso (11-3), Ademola Okulaja with Unicaja Malaga (7-7) and Vasco Evtimov with Asvel Villeurbanne (6-8). The Final Four of Euroleague will be held in May.


* After being "nearly 40" during his most recent comeback, today is the day Michael Jordan officially turns 40. "Forty years old, it's a number that says a lot," Jordan told the Washington Post. "I'm well experienced. I'm happy to be alive and happy to be playing the game of basketball, and I'm happy to be forty years old. There's nothing negative about that."

His former coach, Dean Smith, also had some thoughts about Jordan reaching 40. "Welcome to the club of 40 and above," Smith said at last week's press conference when he was asked what note he would write on Jordan's birthday card. "What a remarkable first 40 years. And I know he will do well with whatever he chooses," Smith added.

Jordan was scheduled to play today, at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN, on his 40th birthday, versus Toronto at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., but the game has been postponed until March 4, due to the major snowstorm that hit the area on Sunday.

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