As you are well aware, the North Carolina men’s basketball program has a rich history of success and is counted among the “blue-bloods” of college basketball. Much of that prosperity is due to the accomplishments of the young men who have suited up the Tar Heels.
There are many ways to measure the top players to come through a program. You can look at basic statistical numbers. You can evaluate next level data. You can utilize the eye test. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as “let’s see who shows up in the record book a lot”.
The two most foundational statistical categories to signify success in a basketball game are points (who’s putting the ball in the basket) and rebounds (who’s securing extra possessions for their team). A look at the top 20 players for Carolina in both career categories reveals a veritable “Who’s Who” of Tar Heel greats.
Carolina has an NCAA-record 77 players who scored 1,000 or more career points (by the way, Garrison Brooks is nine points away from making that number 78 players). Six different Heels have 2,000 or more career points.
Below is a list of the top 20 scorers in Carolina history:
Shifting our focus to rebounds, nine different Tar Heels have recorded 1,000 or more career rebounds.
Here’s the list of the top 20 rebounders in Carolina history:
Having looked at both lists, here’s where things get really interesting.
Do you notice anything curious when you compare these lists?
Many of the same names appear on both lists. In fact, an astounding nine Tar Heels are in the top-20 in both career scoring and career rebounding. That means that just shy of half the lists are comprised of the same names (45 percent).
Those players, and their ranking in career points and rebounds, are:
- Tyler Hansbrough (#1 in points, #1 in rebounds)
- Sam Perkins (#3, #2)
- Larry Miller (#7, #18)
- Antawn Jamison (#8, #7)
- Brad Daugherty (#9, #9)
- Mike O’Koren (#15, #20)
- George Lynch (#16, #3)
- Brice Johnson (#18, #6)
- Billy Cunningham (#19, #4)
You were probably already aware of Hansbrough’s absolutely ridiculous numbers during his career, but perhaps you didn’t realize that the other eight men were so high in both categories.
The points and rebounding crossover doesn’t just stop at the top-20. I won’t list all the names, but when we expand the scope of our investigation, 30 different Tar Heels are in the top 50 of both career stats and career points. That’s a 60 percent mark!
This list of nine Tar Heels is certainly not comprehensive of the nine best Carolina players to ever play. To say so would be to leave out guards who weren’t strong rebounders but are high up in the record books for both points and assists, for example. At the same time, we can definitely say that, while these aren’t necessarily the nine best Tar Heels of all time, they are nine of the best Tar Heels of all time.
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