One of the most memorable images from the Tar Heel’s 87-73 victory over Creighton is the infamous wink from Creighton’s Grant Gibbs. The wink came after Gibbs did his best rendition of “Hack-a-Shaq” defense on John Henson. It was obvious to me (and millions of others who are part of Tar Heel Nation) that Gibbs was intentionally trying to re-injure John Henson’s wrist. This instance did not represent the only time that John Henson was hit on the wrist. In another play, John Henson was hacked on his injured wrist when going up for a shot. Tyler Zeller was also hacked several times during the game.
Aside from our low post players getting mugged, Tar Heel point guard Kendall Marshall suffered a serious injury when going up for a layup. I applaud Kendall Marshall for keeping his cool in his responses to the media and his tweets. Kendall and his family have a great deal of class. I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago discussing Kendall’s humility. I watched the game yesterday, and it was a hard foul that was unnecessary. Actually, it should have been called as a flagrant foul.
Sunday’s game made me think about Kenny Smith’s injury in 1984, and Derrick Phelps injury in 1994. Both individuals were point guards who lead their high profile teams to a lot of victories. There seems to be a correlation here; actually several. Yes, Kenny Smith and Derrick Phelps played for the University of North Carolina. More importantly, their injuries occurred out of a lack of sportsmanship on behalf of their opponents. I do not believe that it is merely a coincidence that these injuries took place in 1984 and 1994. I feel that same way about Kendall Marshall’s injury against Creighton. This discussion should not be confused as being a conspiracy theory. Creighton’s dirty was so obvious that Stevie Wonder could see it (no disrespect to Stevie Wonder, of course). Watching yesterday’s game made me think about the bounty issue in the NFL. The Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints have gotten in a great deal of trouble amidst allegations that players were directed to intentionally hurt football players on the opposing team. The excessive dirty tactics that took place during the Creighton/UNC game are no different than what takes place in football.
In all seriousness, sports have no room for dirty play. One dirty play can potentially end an individual’s athletic career and in some cases, an individual’s life can be at stake. I would like to see the NCAA investigate colleges and universities for having bounties on players. Although I may be a biased UNC alum who loves Carolina basketball, right is right and wrong is wrong. Grants Gibbs and several other players on Creighton played with a lack of respect for the game of basketball. Carolina could have played dirty, also. However, that is not how we do things in Chapel Hill. Aside from using a team concept, Carolina prides itself on playing fair. <Wink>