UNC Basketball: Joel Berry is officially back

GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 19: Joel Berry II /

UNC point guard Joel Berry has a big game against Stanford and he’s officially back

In just his second game back from a broken hand, point guard Joel Berry announced to the college basketball world that he is back.

The University of North Carolina star put on a show in the team’s win over Stanford on the road Monday night. It was a treat for those of us who stayed up all night to watch the game as Berry made it worth it.

The Tar Heels are one of the few big programs that actually plays a true road game during the non-conference schedule. They played at Northern Iowa in 2015 before the CBE Classic and then at Hawaii in 2016 before the Maui Invitational.

This year, head coach Roy Williams scheduled a game at Stanford ahead of the Tar Heels appearance in the first-ever PK80 Tournament.

Williams saw this as a golden opportunity to give his former assistant, Jerod Haase, a big non-conference home game. Haase spent years as an assistant under Williams and considers him mentor.

Meanwhile, teams like Duke and Kentucky are playing teams like Furman and Troy. But that’s a different story.

Berry was fantastic for the Tar Heels in a big road game on Monday night, scoring 29 points in the 96-72 win.

His 29 points were two short of a career-high and it appeared as if the point guard was going to hit that mark.

While Kenny Williams scored 17 of the Tar Heels first 26 points, Berry didn’t get on the scoresheet until the 10:41 mark in the first half when he hit a jumper to extend UNC’s lead to 28-15.

But after that, he found his groove.

Berry finished the game 10-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-11 from behind the three-point line and making all four of his free throw attempts. He dished out three assists and only committed two turnovers.

After a rocky opener against Bucknell, Berry knew he had to get going. Berry scored just 8 points on 1-of-11 shooting in the win over the Bison but he didn’t look his normal self.

It was nothing a little extra time at the shoot around wouldn’t fix.

The point guard showed up to Maples Pavilion 30 minutes earlier than any of his teammates to get some shots up. It worked.

Berry looked like the player took home the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player award, helping lead UNC to its sixth national championship.

Next: UNC cruises past Stanford

This is the Berry UNC fans hoped they would see all year long and if he plays like this, the Tar Heels will be in great shape.

Welcome back.