Carolina’s Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 60-51

In earlier posts, we’ve counted down 100-91 (+ methodology), 90-81, 80-71, and 70-61.

We’ll pick it up here with #60.

60. Pete Chilcutt: 1988-91, C/PF, 6’10”, 230, Eutaw, AL

  • Peak season (1991): 12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 53.8 FG%, 76.5 FT%, 57.5 TS%, 3.24 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 8.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 53.4 FG%, 71.0 FT%, 56.7 TS%, 6.35 Career WORP, 2.00 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 3rd-team All-ACC, starter on one Final Four team

Chilcutt started his Carolina career off with a bang by hitting a last-second turnaround jumper to send the Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic (vs. top-ranked Syracuse) into overtime. UNC won in OT, capping a 14-point comeback without the services of suspended stars J.R. Reid and Steve Bucknall. Upon Reid’s return, Chilcutt eased into a reserve role as a freshman. He moved into the starting line-up as a junior in ’90, averaging 9 points and 6.6 boards per game. Chilcutt added 17 points in the Round of 32 upset of #1-seed Oklahoma, although his performance was overshadowed by the heroics of fellow junior Rick Fox. In 1991, seniors Chilcutt, Fox, and King Rice led the Heels back to the Final Four for the first time since 1982. Chilcutt scored a career-high 12 points per game that season, shooting 54% from the field and 77% from the charity stripe.

59. Scott Williams: 1987-90, C, 6’10”, 230, Hacienda Heights, CA

  • Peak season (1990): 14.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 55.4 FG%, 61.5 FT%, 57.2 TS%, 3.05 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 10.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 55.1 FG%, 63.3 FT%, 57.3 TS%, 8.77 Career WORP, 2.87 WORP  /1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one All-ACC Tournament team

Here’s some quick trivia: Williams, with 1,508 career points, has scored the most points of any Tar Heel who never made an All-ACC team. His senior season was definitely worthy of All-ACC consideration, though. He was hurt a little by UNC’s (relative) lack of ACC success (8-6, T-3 in the league) and the overall strength of the league that season. Even without all-conference recognition, Williams’s career holds its own in the UNC pantheon. After playing a key bench role as a freshman in ’87, Williams started in ’88, ’89, and ’90, scoring at least 11 PPG on 55% shooting in each of those seasons. He made the All-ACC Tournament team in 1988, averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks over the three games. He carried that momentum into the ’88 NCAAT, leading the Heels with 19 points against Michigan (in a Sweet 16 win) and 13 against Arizona (in an Elite 8 loss). In 1990, a senior Williams scored 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting to lead UNC to a Senior Day win over Georgia Tech’s “Lethal Weapon 3.” Williams ended his Carolina career on a high note by scoring at least 18 points in 3 of the team’s 4 postseason games in ’90. Aggressive and physical, Williams would have had an even better collegiate career without the seemingly constant foul trouble (he averaged 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes).

58. Jimmy Black: 1979-82, PG, 6’2″, 160, Bronx, NY

  • Peak season (1982): 7.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, 2.45 A:TO, 51.3 FG%, 73.8 FT%, 55.6 TS%, 2.99 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 5.7 ppg, 4.1 apg, 50.4 FG%, 73.4 FT%, 56.1 TS%, 5.83 Career WORP, 1.83 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one regional All-Tournament team, starter on two Final Four/one national championship team(s)

In ’82, senior leader Black, had one of the sneakily-best passing seasons in Carolina history. Since 1980, it ranks as the 7th-best UNC season in terms of pace-adjusted assists / 40 minutes (trailing 4 Cota seasons, a Marshall season, and a Quentin Thomas season). Of the top six seasons, only two (barely) maintained a better A:TO than Black’s 2.45 in 1982 (Marshall’s 2.50 in ’11 and Cota’s 2.47 in ’00). He made the ’82 East Regional All-Tournament team, averaging 11.3 points, and 6.7 assists over three games. He also shot 14-of-16 from the field with a 3.33 A:TO during that span. Black concluded his Carolina career with a sterling floor game (7 assists, 2 turnovers) against Georgetown’s stellar defense, as the Heels captured Dean Smith’s first national title.  

57. Darrell Elston: 1972-74, PG/SG, 6’3″, 196, Tipton, IN

  • Peak season (1974): 15.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.6 apg, 50.0 FG%, 87.1 FT%, 54.7 TS%
  • Career averages (3 years): 10.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 50.2 FG%, 83.3 FT%, 54.1 TS%
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-ACC, deep reserve on one Final Four team

After rarely playing as a sophomore on Carolina’s deep and talented ’72 Final Four squad, Elston moved into the starting line-up as a junior and averaged 10 points and 3 assists. Along with guys like Bill Bunting, Ademola Okulaja, and David Noel, Elston had one of the great senior-season breakouts in UNC history. He increased his PPG to 15.3 and his APG to 5.6 on the way to 2nd-team All-ACC honors. True to his Indiana roots, Elston was a terrific shooter; he made over 50% of his field goals and 83% of his foul shots as a Heel. In three close losses (by a combined 15 points) to NC State– the ’74 national champs– a senior Elston was at his best, averaging 19.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

56. Steve Hale: 1983-86, SG/PG, 6’3″, 181, Jenks, OK

  • Peak season (1986): 11.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.8 spg, 53.2 FG%, 82.5 FT%, 58.8 TS%, 3.04 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 7.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 52.0 FG%, 81.3 FT%, 57.8 TS%. 6.06 Career WORP, 1.91 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-ACC

Hale played most of his minutes at Carolina as a shooting guard. But he also served as a back-up PG in ’83 and ’84 (taking over full-time when Kenny Smith went down with a Tudored wrist in ’84). He also frequently slid down to the 3 in ’86 alongside Smith and freshman Jeff Lebo. A gifted and versatile defender, Hale did a solid job at all three positions on that end of the court. As both a junior and a senior, he received the Carmichael-Cobb award presented to UNC’s best defender. Offensively, Hale was an opportunistic and efficient scorer if not a prolific one. He was also a tremendous passer, decision-maker, and complementary ball-handler, averaging 5 assists per game with an A:TO of 2.12 over his final two seasons. Hale’s ability to handle the ball and feed the post would have made him a fantastic 2-guard in Roy Williams’s up-tempo system. 

55. Jeff McInnis: 1994-96, PG, 6’4″, 182, Charlotte, NC

  • Peak season (1996): 16.5 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.18 A:TO, 43.5 FG%, 80.0 FT%, 39.2 3Pt%, 55.4 TS%, 3.04 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (3 years): 11.3 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.18 A:TO, 45.9 FG%, 71.9 FT%, 39.7 3Pt%, 56.4 TS%, 6.56 Career WORP, 2.39 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-ACC, one 3rd-team All-ACC, starter on one Final Four team

A junior McInnis was Carolina’s leading scorer in 1996, taking many of the shots left behind by Stackhouse, Wallace, and D. Williams. His %Shots (the percentage of the team’s FGAs that a player takes during his minutes on the court) skyrocketed from 18.2 in ’95 to 26.4 in ’96. Correspondingly, his FG% dropped from 49.1 to 43.5. While it’s debatable whether one wants a point guard taking over a quarter of the team’s shots, McInnis still managed to dish out 5.5 assists per game in ’96 (up slightly from his 5.3 in ’95). He ended his UNC career on a high note by averaging 22.3 points over his final 4 games in Carolina blue, including a 25-point outburst against rival Duke and a 25-point, 11-assist masterpiece in the NCAAT 1st Round versus New Orleans. McInnis’s legacy is tarnished a little by some off-the-court issues and the nature of his early departure (he remains the only Tar Heel early entrant to be drafted outside the 1st round of the NBA Draft). On the court, though, he was a very solid (and sometimes spectacular) two-year starting point guard (making an All-ACC team in both his years as a starter).

54. Dick Grubar: 1967-69, PG, 6’3″, 190, Schenectady, NY

  • Peak season (1969): 13.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.9 apg, 49.7 FG%, 75.5 FT%, 54.1 TS%
  • Career averages (3 years): 10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 47.4 FG%, 68.8 FT%, 51.9 TS%
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-ACC, one All-ACC Tournament team, starter on three Final Four teams

Along with Ed Cota, Grubar is the only Carolina point guard to lead the Heels to three Final Four appearances. He was a big, physical point guard who was known for his outstanding perimeter defense and fierce competitiveness. Not a classical play-making point guard (Carolina often used Charlie Scott– who led the ’69 team in assists– to create), Grubar broke through as a scorer in his senior season (13.0 PPG on 49.7% shooting after just 8.1 PPG on 42.7% as a junior). After scoring 23 points in the ’69 ACCT semis, Grubar injured his knee in a championship-game victory over Duke, effectively ending his Carolina career. Grubar made the All-ACC Tournament team in ’68, averaging 13.3 points (on 62% from the field), 4.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists as the Heels cut down the nets in Charlotte. 

53. Joe Wolf: 1984-87, PF/SF, 6’10”, 222, Kohler, WI

  • Peak season (1987): 15.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 57.1 FG%, 79.3 FT%, 57.5 3Pt%, 623.6 TS%, 3.33 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 9.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 55.1 FG%, 76.5 FT%, 57.5 3Pt%, 59.0 TS%, 5.91 Career WORP, 1.85 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 1st-team All-ACC, one All-ACC Tournament team

After serving as the top frontcourt reserve on a loaded ’84 squad as a freshman, Wolf spent three seasons as a fixture in Dean Smith’s starting line-up. He was solid in both ’85 and ’86 (9.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 54.6 FG%) before exploding into a 1st-team All-ACC player as a senior. A career 77% free-throw shooter, Wolf used his soft perimeter touch to selectively exploit the new 3-point arc in 1987. He made 23 of his 40 3-pointers that season. Wolf was also a fantastic passer for a 6’10” player. He averaged 2.9 APG with a 1.74 A:TO in ’87; for his career his A:TO was 1.17. Wolf scored 27 points (connecting on 5 of 8 3s) in a double-OT win over Virginia in the ’87 ACCT semis. He made the All-Tournament team that season, averaging 16.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.3 APG. Like the rest of the class of ’87, Wolf’s legacy is hurt a bit by the lack of postseason success. Despite two undefeated ACC regular seasons, Carolina failed to win an ACC Tournament or advance to a Final Four during Wolf’s four years.

52. Danny Green: 2006-09, SF, 6’6″, 210, North Babylon, NY

  • Peak season (2009): 13.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.3 bpg, 47.1 FG%, 85.2 FT%, 41.8 3Pt%, 59.2 TS%, 3.03 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 9.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg, 45.5 FG%, 84.5 FT%, 37.5 3Pt%, 57.4 TS%, 7.51 Career WORP, 2.60 WORP / 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 3rd-team All-ACC, one regional All-Tournament team, starter on one Final Four/national championship team, top reserve on one Final Four team

Despite only starting for a single season, Green was an outstanding 4-year contributor for the Heels. The ultimate stat-sheet stuffer (sorry, Josh McRoberts), Green ended his Carolina career with over 1,000 points (1,368), 500 rebounds (590), 250 assists (256), 150 steals (160), 150 blocks (155), and 150 made 3-pointers (184). Green, whose pre-tip dancing stole the show from the bench, didn’t take long to make his presence felt on the court, either. In the ’08 regular-season finale at Duke– which featured two 13-2 teams with first place on the line– Green led the Heels to victory with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 blocks in 25 minutes off the bench (he’d go 4-0 at Cameron Indoor in his career). Green earned all-regional honors in the 2009 NCAA Tournament with his typical all-around excellence: averaging 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks in the four regional games. He’s also one of only five Heels to shoot 85% from the line and 40% from behind the arc in the same season (joining Lebo (twice), R. Smith, Sh. Williams, and Capel).

51. Tommy LaGarde: 1974-77, C, 6’10”, 220, Detroit, MI

  • Peak season (1977): 15.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 59.3 FG%, 78.2 FT%, 64.5 TS%
  • Career averages (4 years): 9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 58.3 FG%, 76.3 FT%, 62.9 TS%
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-American, one 2nd-team All-ACC, starter (injured) on one Final Four team

After rarely playing as a freshman in ’74, LaGarde (like so many of Dean Smith’s players) improved steadily throughout his UNC career. And, if not for his season-ending knee injury in 1977 that cost him 13 games, he’d rank a little higher on the list. The Heels might have another championship, too. LaGarde led Carolina with 22 points (while chipping in 11 rebounds) in its Round of 32 loss in the ’76 NCAAT. That type of production would have surely come in handy in the ’77 title loss to Marquette. An incredibly efficient scorer, LaGarde is one of only 3 members of UNC’s 1,000-point club to shoot at least 57% from the field and 75% from the line in his career (joining Sam Perkins and Dennis Wuycik). LaGarde joined teammates Phil Ford, Walter Davis, and Mitch Kupchak on Coach Dean Smith’s 1976 Olympic team. In typical LaGarde fashion, he scored 40 points (in 6 games) on just 18 FGAs (13-18 from the field, 14-16 from the line) in helping to return the gold medal to the United States.

Join us for our next installment when we’ll (finally!) crack the top 50.

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.
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One Response to Carolina’s Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 60-51

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