UNC Basketball: Top 5 UNC shooting guards of all time
UNC is one of the best basketball programs in the nation and has produced a number of memorable shooting guards throughout its history
My bias has a great deal of supporting evidence in this article. Many scholar-athletes have walked through the doors at North Carolina. When you consider the numerous great players who have played for the Tar Heels, it’s difficult to disagree.
Many players deserved to be on this list. However, there was only room for the five best UNC players to man the shooting guard position.
In this article, we look at the top five UNC shooting guards all-time. Many great names were left off this list. However, it doesn’t minimize their greatness.
Joseph Forte, UNC (1999-2001)
Joseph Forte had an impressive two season for the Tar Heels. As a freshman, he led UNC to the 2000 Final Four as an 8-seed where they eventually lost to the Florida Gators. Forte holds a lot of records for the Tar Heels. And keep in mind, he accomplished these feats in just two seasons.
He was the 2001 co-ACC Player of the Year (along with Duke’s Shane Battier). This year marked one of only two seasons in which there were co-MVPs in the ACC, 2013 being the other.
Forte holds the record for most points in a season by a UNC freshman (600 points in 1999-00 season). He has the third highest scoring average ever for a UNC freshman (16.7) and ranks second all-time in points scored by a UNC freshman (594).
Forte set the record for most rebounds by a guard in a single game against Duke on February 1, 2001 (24 points, 16 rebounds). He ranks fourth all-time in field goals attempted at UNC (558).
His trademark mid-range bank shot has not been duplicated by another UNC player since his departure. If Forte would have stayed for another season, his name would be amongst the top 10 or 15 UNC scorers of all-time.
Rashad McCants, UNC (2002-2005)
Love him or hate him, Rashad McCants was a force to be reckoned with for the Tar Heels. As a freshman, McCants started his college career with a bang. In his first game as a Tar Heel, McCants scored 28 points against Penn State in the Preseason NIT, a record for most points in a freshman’s first game.
Likewise, he scored the second-most points in a season by a freshman (594). He holds the record for most double-figure games to start a freshman season (20) and second-highest scoring average as a freshman (17.0).
McCants is tied with five other UNC players for most three-point field goals in a game (eight versus Clemson March 2, 2004). This record corresponds to the record for most three-pointers in the Dean E. Smith Center.
Also, No. 32 ranks 16th all-time in scoring (1,721 points), 12th in UNC career scoring average (17.6), fourth all-time highest career three-point percentage (41.9%) and tied with two other players for most consecutive games with a three-pointer (34).
As a sophomore, McCants led the ACC in scoring and narrowly missed winning the 2004 ACC Player of the Year Award. He averaged nearly 20 points per game that season. This helped him become the leading vote-getter for the All-ACC first team in 2004. He was an Associated Press (AP) third-team All-American that season as well.
Despite what McCants has said or done in the past, he sacrificed personal accolades which helped the 2004-05 Tar Heels win a national championship. He deserves to be on this list. His body of work speaks for itself.
Bob Lewis, UNC (1964-1967)
Bob Lewis is arguably one of the best scorers to ever play for North Carolina. Lewis was a two-time first-team All-American in 1966 and 1967.
He’s 12th all-time in points scored at UNC (1,836). And Lewis did so in three seasons because he could not play basketball as a freshman.
It’s safe to say that he could’ve and would’ve probably been second all-time in scoring if freshmen could play varsity college basketball in the 1960s. Likewise, Lewis has the second-highest single-season scoring average at UNC (27.4).
He has the most 40-point games for a UNC shooting guard (two; 49 points, 43 points) and holds the record for most points in a single game by a UNC player (49 points against Florida State December 16, 1965). He holds the record for most consecutive 30-point games (five; December 4-16, 1965) and ranks fourth at UNC for points scored in a single season (740). He ranks top-10 for UNC players who attempted the most free throws in a season and career and ranks top-10 for most games scoring in double figures during a UNC career (40).
Lewis ranks fifth all-time at UNC for most free throws made (512) ranks fifth for most free throws made in a season (222 in 1965-1966).
Bob Lewis does not get the recognition that he deserves. His shooting and scoring prowess while at UNC has stood the test of time.
Larry Miller, UNC (1965-68)
Larry Miller was was a two-time first-team All-American in 1967 and 1968. Miller was also voted the ACC Tournament MVP and ACC Player of the Year in both seasons. In addition to that, he was the 1967 ACC Athlete of the Year. In 2003, he was on the ACC’s 50th Anniversary team.
Miller ranks seventh all-time at UNC in scoring (1,982 points) and has the fourth-highest scoring average at UNC (21.8 points per game). He’s tied with Charles Scott for the third all-time highest scoring average during a UNC career (22.1) and ranks in the top-10 for most games scoring in double figures during an entire career (64). Miller accomplished this feat twice during the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons.
Moreover, he ranks seventh all-time in scoring at UNC (1,982 points), eighth in field goals made in a season (278; 1966-67) and seventh in field goals made in a UNC career (765). He ranks fifth in field goals attempted in a season (553), fifth in field goals attempted during a UNC career (1,498) and 16th for most career rebounds (834) as a Tar Heel. Miller is the only guard amongst the top 20 rebounders in UNC Basketball history.
If you did not know about Miller, now you do. Keep in mind that he accomplished all of these things in just three seasons. He could have easily been UNC’s best shooting guard of all-time if it was not for someone who has a Jumpman logo on the front of the school’s basketball jerseys.
Michael Jordan, UNC (1981-1984)
Michael Jordan influenced North Carolina’s basketball program and all sports, although his statistics do not measure up to other great UNC basketball players. Jordan’s skill, level of talent and stardom surpass any statistical category.
The ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team had Michael Jordan as the number one male athlete in ACC basketball history. He single-handedly revolutionized how athletes are marketed and become dual businessmen and stars.
Here is a list of Jordan’s greatest achievements while at UNC:
- 1982 ACC Freshman of the Year
- 1983 and 1984 ACC Player of the Year
- hit the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA national championship game
- Naismith and Wooden Award winner in 1984
- first-team All-American (1983, 1984)
- ranks 13th all-time scoring (1,788 points)
- holds record for most points in a single season by a sophomore (721 points)
- sixth most points scored in single season (721 points during 1982-1983)
Michael Jordan is the most influential person in the history of sports. EVER. North Carolina’s basketball uniforms don Jordan’s signature Jordan Brand logo, since Jordan Brand is under the umbrella of Nike.
In addition to being the top UNC shooting guard of all-time, Jordan remains the face of UNC basketball as the best player to ever play at the University of North Carolina.
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