Carolina’s Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 90-81

If you missed the first installment, it’s right here (including a description of the methodology):

Jumping right back into it:

90. Kevin Salvadori: 1991-94, C, 7’0″, 220, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Peak season (1992): 5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 54.5 FG%, 74.2 FT%, 59.0 TS%, 1.42 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 4.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 52.2 FG%, 69.7 FT%, 55.6 TS%, 4.25 Career WORP, 2.32 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: key reserve on one Final Four/national championship team; deep reserve on one Final Four team

Salvadori didn’t have a true “peak” season– his value (from a WORP standpoint) stayed very consistent over his final three seasons (two off the bench, and one as a starter). He wasn’t a terrible starter in ’94– he just wasn’t Rasheed Wallace. An efficient scorer (lay-ups, dunks, and jump-hooks) who was reliable from the line, Salvadori never tried to do too much on the offensive end. Clearly, though, his greatest attribute was as a shot-blocker/changer. His single-season Block% of 11.2 in 1992 ranks 3rd in Carolina history (among player-seasons with 10+ MPG), just ahead of John Henson’s 11.1% in 2011. His ’93 and ’94 seasons also rank in the top 13 in that category for UNC. My favorite Salvadori performance remains his 12-point, 6-rebound, 2-block effort in 22 minutes in the 1992 home win against Duke (“The Bloody Montross Game”).

89. Ed Stahl: 1973-75, C/PF, 6’10”, 225, Columbus, OH

  • Peak season (1973): 12.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 47.6 FG%, 83.0 FT%, 52.0 TS%
  • Career averages (3 years): 8.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 49.2 FG%, 83.2 FT%, 52.8 TS%
  • Accolades: none

Stahl was a skilled big man who passed well and had good touch from mid-range and the foul line. His finesse style also contributed to his mediocre rebounding and poor rate of getting to the free throw stripe (a career FTA Rate of just 22.2). Stahl’s peak season was as a sophomore in 1973 when he started alongside Bobby Jones in the frontcourt. As younger bigs Mitch Kupchak and Tommy LaGarde began to develop in ’74 and ’75, Stahl’s role in the post was diminished. He remained a valuable part of the post rotation throughout his tenure in Chapel Hill, however.

88. Steve Previs: 1970-72, PG, 6’2″, 183, Bethel Park, PA

  • Peak season (1972): 5.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.9 apg, 41.5 FG%, 63.8 FT%, 47.1 TS%
  • Career averages (3 years): 5.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, 40.0 FG%, 65.5 FT%, 45.0 TS%
  • Accolades: starter on one Final Four team

A tenacious defender with an appetite for floor burns, Previs won consecutive Carmichael-Cobb awards (as UNC’s best defender) in ’71 and ’72. He was also one of the senior leaders and co-captains of Carolina’s fantastic 1972 Final Four team. As a scorer, Previs combined low usage and low efficiency (never a good thing). His free throw shooting was also problematic for a primary ball-handler. But his combination of play-making, defense, leadership, and intangibles helped to offset his lack of scoring and earn Previs a place on the list.

87. Charlie Shaffer: 1962-64, SF, 6’3″, 190, Chapel Hill, NC

  • Peak season (1964): 12.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 52.9 FG%, 71.0 FT%, 55.8 TS%
  • Career averages (3 years): 11.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 54.4 FG%, 65.7 FT%, 56.9 TS%
  • Accolades: none

Shaffer played on some undersized and often over-matched teams at UNC– the 1962-64 teams compiled a record of just 35-27 (23-19 in the ACC) in Dean Smith’s first 3 seasons as a head coach. As an undersized forward, Shaffer fought hard on the backboards while scoring efficiently. After tearing up his knee in a freshman football game (Shaffer, a quarterback, considered football his best sport) in 1960, he quit the sport to focus on basketball and tennis at Carolina. He joined the basketball team in the spring semester of ’62 (after rehabbing the knee for over a year), and immediately lit up Clemson for 25 points in his first career start. Shaffer remained in the starting line-up for the rest of his UNC hoops career, a solid contributor on some less-than-stellar teams.

86. Harvey Salz: 1958-60, PG/SG, 6’1″, 183, Brooklyn, NY

  • Peak season (1960): 13.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 41.0 FG%, 76.7 FT%, 49.0 TS%
  • Career averages (3 years): 11.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 40.7 FG%, 75.9 FT%, 47.3 TS%
  • Accolades: none

After joining the varsity in 1958, Salz was a 3-year starter for the Heels. As a sophomore, he slid into the backcourt next to Tommy Kearns before taking over the point guard reins in ’59 and ’60. Salz had a signature game against Duke in the ’59 regular season finale, pouring in 21 points to led the Heels to a 10-point win. Despite the presence of All-ACC teammates Doug Moe, York Larese (1st-teamers in ’59) and Lee Shaffer (a 2nd-teamer), Salz was voted Carolina’s MVP in 1959. While he never earned All-ACC accolades, he had clearly earned the respect of his teammates (who voted on the award). He was UNC’s sole captain in 1960, and scored a career-high 13 points per game that season.

85. Al Lifson: 1952-55, SG, 6’2″, 187, Elizabeth, NJ

  • Peak season (1954): 14.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 39.2 FG%, 76.3 FT%, 45.4 TS%
  • Career averages (4 years): 14.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 39.4 FG%, 63.3 FT%, 44.5 TS%
  • Accolades: none

Lifson’s first two seasons were in the Southern Conference with his final two in the ACC. We’ll relax the guidelines a little to consider his entire Carolina career (not just the ACC portion of it). He led the team in scoring in both ’52 and ’53, earning the team’s MVP award for the ’52 season. Those UNC teams combined for just a 29-25 record, however. Things didn’t get any better upon entering the ACC, as the Heels went 21-21 in their first two years in the league. Lifson continued to get his points (although Jerry Vayda and Lennie Rosenbluth became the top guns), albeit on plenty of shots. Despite being a 4-year starter who averaged close to 15 PPG for his career, Lifson is ranked in the 80s due to his inefficient volume scoring (sub-40% shooter for his career) on mediocre teams.

84. Kris Lang: 1999-2002, PF/C, 6’11”, 247, Gastonia, NC

  • Peak season (2002): 14.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 50.2 FG%, 64.6 FT%, 52.9 TS%, 1.45 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 10.9 ppg, 5,3 rpg, 53.4 FG%, 62.0 FT%, 55.2 TS%, 3.08 Career WORP, 0.95 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: starter on one Final Four team

A 4-year starter, Lang’s Carolina career began with a bang when he scored 21 points against Georgia in his third career game. As a freshman, he shot 58% from the field and 67% from the line–marks he’d never again reach in his UNC tenure. Despite his promising debut, Lang never developed into an All-ACC player as illness and injury conspired to stunt his development. His signature move was a jump hook with either hand that could oscillate between unstoppable and unwatchable. Like Jason Capel, Lang’s legacy was marred in the eyes of many by being a senior co-captain/leader on the 8-20 disaster of 2002. Lang and Capel played hard in ’02; they were just badly over-matched as primary scoring options.

83. Reyshawn Terry: 2004-07, SF, 6’8″, 232, Winston-Salem, NC

  • Peak season (2006): 14.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 47.4 FG%, 80.0 FT%, 38.1 3Pt%, 59.8 TS%, 1.94 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 7.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 48.5 FG%, 75.0 FT%, 41.9 3Pt%, 60.1 TS%, 3.97 Career WORP, 2.19 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 3rd-team All-ACC, deep reserve on one Final Four/national championship team

A Matt Doherty recruit, Terry caught on slowly to the Roy Williams system. Mental mistakes and solid wing depth kept him buried on the bench for most of his first two seasons. After the mass exodus following the ’05 title, Terry was called upon to deliver scoring punch in ’06 and came through admirably. He averaged 14.3 PPG in 2006 (trailing only a freshman Hansbrough) on 47.4/80.0/38.1 shooting, earning 3rd-team All-ACC recognition. By his senior season, Terry had emerged as a clutch shooter and a lock-down wing defender. One of the best physical specimens to ever play the 3 at Carolina, Terry’s basketball IQ grew by leaps and bounds while in Chapel Hill. Bonus points, too, for claiming that he’d “bust (Billy Packer’s) ass.”

82. Warren Martin: 1982-86, C, 6’11”, 222, Axton, VA

  • Peak season (1985): 9.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 59.6 FG%, 68.0 FT%, 62.2 TS%, 2.73 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 5.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 59.4 FG%, 67.8 FT%, 61.8 TS%, 5.36 Career WORP, 3.19 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: deep reserve on one Final Four/national championship team

Some Carolina fans might be surprised to see Martin ranked so highly, but he was an absolute WORP darling. The combination of endurance/stamina issues, foul-proneness, and the presence of Brad Daugherty made Martin a career reserve. On a per-minute basis, though, he was an incredibly productive player. Here are Martin’s career pace-adjusted stats per 40 minutes as compared to some great UNC centers of the past 30 years:

Player MPG PA Pts/40 PA Reb/40 PA Bl./40 PA PF/40 TS%
Martin 14.1 16.3 11.1 4.6 6.4 61.8
Montross 25.2 17.0 10.1 1.8 4.4 60.0
Daugherty 29.4 19.3 10.3 1.5 4.1 64.1
Wallace 25.5 19.8 11.2 3.4 3.9 63.8
Haywood 23.6 17.1 10.2 3.7 4.2 63.4

As seen, Martin’s scoring efficiency and rebounding stack up well with these greats. And no Tar Heel has ever blocked shots as frequently as Martin (Henson is currently 2nd at 4.4 pace-adjusted blocks per 40 minutes; Martin’s Block% of 12.7 in 1986 is the best single-season mark in school history). Martin, never a vision of grace on the basketball court, did commit significantly more fouls than the others on the list. But, in his role as a 15-20 MPG bench reserve, Martin was wildly successful. Thriving in that role will earn you a spot near the bottom of the top 100, though– not a spot in the rafters.

81. David Noel: 2003-2006, PF/SF, 6’6″, 230, Durham, NC

  • Peak season (2006): 12.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 53.2 FG%, 62.5 FT%, 42.4 3Pt%, 60.4 TS%, 1.34 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 6.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 53.2 FG%, 58.7 FT%, 35.4 3Pt%, 58.6 TS%, 2.71 Career WORP, 0.92 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-ACC, key reserve on one Final Four/national championship team

For three of his four years in Chapel Hill, Noel was used as an undersized power forward to bolster some thin frontlines. Only during the ’05 championship season was Noel used at his true position on the wing. A versatile defender, talented passer, and hard-nosed competitor, Noel was a guy who could impact the game (and the box score) in many ways. He’s one of only 4 Tar Heels since 1980 to average at least 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in a single season (O’Koren in 1980, Fox in 1991, Forte in 2001, and Noel in 2006). As the senior leader in 2006, Noel inspired a young and inexperienced group of freshmen and ’05 leftovers to a 12-4 ACC finish and a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament. By a strict WORP interpretation, Noel would be too high at #81. But intangibles matter, too.

Click here to view numbers 80-79 on “Carolina’s 100 Greatest Players of the ACC Era” »

About Adrian

I'm the editor of Maple Street Press's Tar Heel Tip-off, and live in Raleigh with my wife and 2-year-old daughter. I grew up along the banks of the Allegheny River, and terrorized the WPIAL as a pass-first point guard. Follow me on Twitter @FreeportKid.
This entry was posted in UNC and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *