What's Going On?

If you are like me, you have been wondering lately what is going on with our basketball team. I'm not talking about their play on the floor but their relationships with Coach Doherty. Ever since the Kentucky game, it seems like there has been a rumor a day about the dissatisfaction of the team with their treatment by Coach Doherty and the most frustrating thing about this experience has been there is no good way to confirm or disprove these rumors. Everybody seems to have an "inside source" who provides them with hot information but it's so easy to pretend to have an "inside source" when, in fact, the information is fabricated, exaggerated or simply not true.

I have tried very hard to avoid taking sides in this controversy, but I will admit I am weary of it and I am concerned about how these rumors/facts may affect future recruiting whether they are true or not. It's reached the point where the facts almost don't matter. Perception is reality and there are bound to be questions raised in the minds of recruits and/or their parents.

So let's take a look at what appears to be the case. Please note I have said appears because obviously I wasn't present when these so called events occurred so I can only respond to what I have heard and read.

The problems seem to have begun after the Kentucky game. Some reports say there was a heated scene in the dressing room after the game centering around the poor defense the team played during the game. It was pretty bad so it is not unreasonable to assume some things were said that were not too complimentary about the team's defensive play.

The next thing to surface was that the team was ready to walk out of practice but it was never revealed what the discontent was over. Many things have been said about Coach Doherty's intense coaching style and again, it is reasonable to assume that if the threat to "walkout" did occur, it may very well have been over what the players regarded as overly harsh criticisms by Coach Doherty. Maybe it's time to discuss what might constitute the harsh criticisms referred to above and what prompted the three sophomores to raise this question originally after last season. Some seem to think it is because Coach Doherty shouts at the players but my theory, based on what I have heard from credible sources, is that it is not the shouting but the kind of things that are being said to the players. Again, no proof. I don't intend to repeat the things I have been told because, quite frankly, if they are true I'm ashamed of them and if they are not true I don't want to be guilty of perpetuating the rumors.

Keep in mind that all this was occurring while the euphoria of the fast start to the season had subsided and we all know that negative things are magnified when a team is not winning. Winning solves a multitude of problems.

Which brings us to the time this article is being written ( Jan. 20th ). There have been several articles in newspapers recently that deal with the problem and ESPN has devoted some time to the issue. Even Coach Doherty addressed the subject at his post game press conference after the Connecticut game. Many Tar Heel fans have expressed the wish that the problem would "go away" but I'm afraid that is impossible. I have given the matter much thought and I have come to the conclusion that one of two things is occurring and it's possible that both are involved. Either Coach Doherty has an anger management problem or there is a well orchestrated conspiracy by parties unknown to create a situation that will result in his ouster. Both scenarios are negative and not likely to change in the near term. In the meantime, Carolina fans are starting to relive the Torbush/Guthridge days when the fan base was divided and constantly bickering at each other. While the reasons for the division may not be the same, the end result is and that is a divided Tar Heel Nation. We have enough problems rebuilding the two high profile sports without battling among ourselves. As someone said to me the other day, "Why can't we just have coaches and an Athletics Director like everyone else. Why does there always have to be controversy?" That a pretty good question and one for which have no satisfactory answer at the present. I just hope the Chancellor is watching this situation closely.

I sincerely hope this article hasn't added fuel to the fire regarding our basketball situation. All I can say is if I have, it was not my intent. I have hesitated writing about this subject for several weeks but it doesn't make sense to totally avoid a subject that every Tar Heel encountered brings up when discussing things going on in Chapel Hill. I'm going to try and put it out of mind, for a while at least, and try to cheer the Heels on against the Terps. Barbecue, East Franklin St. Dean Dome, bus rides and talking with other Tar Heels. Wish you could be with me and my friends as we glide down the Interstate, singing and playing Carolina songs and watching UNC game videos in the Heel Mobile. Sure would be nice to whip the Terps because I can assure you the trip is much further back to Richmond after a loss than it is going down.