Tar Heels Tidbits: UNC tops Duke, five-star Bacot in attendance

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08: Theo Pinson /

North Carolina tops Duke in Chapel Hill with a five-star prospect in attendance, Brice Johnson finds a new home, and Isaiah Hicks makes his NBA debut

North Carolina played its best all-around game of the 2017-18 season on Thursday night, beating the Blue Devils by a score of 82-78 in Chapel Hill.

After the Tar Heels’ victory, ESPN analyst Jay Williams came home to a playful surprise left by a group of exuberant North Carolina fans.

Ryan Switzer received the university’s highest honor at halftime of the game, capping off a terrific career at North Carolina.

And former UNC big man Isaiah Hicks made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

We’ve got all of that and more in today’s edition of Tar Heels Tidbits.


  • North Carolina put together one of its best performances of the season against Duke on Thursday night, playing physical defense and showing toughness throughout. They out-rebounded the Blue Devils, committed just two turnovers and hit a home-record 11 three-pointers in the 82-78 victory.
  • ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams came home to a Tar Heel themed prank after the game. The former Duke point guard recorded his findings and posted it to Twitter stating that “the rivalry is real”.


  • Former North Carolina wide receiver and current Dallas Cowboy Ryan Switzer received the Patterson Medal at halftime of the Duke-UNC game on Thursday night. The award is considered the university’s highest honor for a student-athlete.

UNC in the Pros

  • Former North Carolina power forward Brice Johnson is on the move again. Just a week after being traded from Los Angeles to Detroit, the Pistons sent Johnson and a 2018 second round pick to Memphis in exchange for small forward James Ennis.
  • Julius Peppers underwent surgery on Thursday to repair his ailing right shoulder. Perhaps Peppers’ decision to have the surgery so quickly after the season is an indication that he’ll be returning to the NFL for at least one more season. The former Tar Heel currently ranks fourth in NFL history in sacks, with a good chance to take over third-place if he decides to come back in 2018.
  • Isaiah Hicks made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks on Thursday night, getting called up from the team’s G-League affiliate in Westchester. He scored five points in 17 minutes of play.


  • North Carolina signed seven players on Wednesday including five three-star players and two four-stars. It was a successful day for the Tar Heels, whose 2018 recruiting class jumped up to No. 23 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.
  • Class of 2019 five-star prospect Armando Bacot was in Chapel Hill on Thursday night for the Duke-North Carolina game. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound big man has offers from three dozen schools, including the Tar Heels and Blue Devils.
  • Nassir Little and Rechon Black are two of the most recent players that LaVar Ball has invited to join the Big Baller Brand’s Junior Basketball Association. Multiple sources reported later that Coby White was also invited, but none have accepted.