Coach Roy Williams is in his 18th season as the Head Coach of the Tar Heels and just recorded his 900th career win (the fastest coach to 900 wins). During that time Coach Williams has been spoilt with guards, and if you know North Carolina Basketball, it is well known as the Point Guard University.
Acknowledging Coach Williams milestone record, I would like to highlight some of the best guards to have worn Carolina Blue since 2003. I’ll admit it was hard to decide the order of the Top 5, so if you think someone should be higher or lower on the list, or even someone that should have made the list, tweet me at @britishtarheel and I want to hear what you have to say!
There have been some amazing point guards who have played in Chapel Hill and some who have astounded everyone in their Freshmen Seasons. Cole Anthony and Coby White are two of those guards.
Coby came in the 2018/19 season out of Goldsboro, NC and amazed everyone during his one and only season at UNC. Coby scoring a high of 34 points against Syracuse was one of many of his highlight games. Cole Anthony was the star of a poor 2019/20 season, although spending a lot of his time the sidelines due to injury. Cole had the reputation of not giving up and ended the season averaging 18.5 points a game and made the All-ACC Freshmen Team during his one season. Cole and Coby both tied the most 3 point field goals in a game for UNC with 7 during their time in Chapel Hill.
5. Raymond Felton (2002-2005)
Raymond Felton was one of the fastest point guards to grace the floors at UNC. Felton’s pace fitted perfectly into Roy Williams Carolina offence and was his first starting point guard when Coach Williams came back in 2003.
Felton has the fourth most assists for University of North Carolina with 698 throughout his three seasons. He also is the leader of steals per game over a UNC career with 1.9 SPG. Obviously the highlight of his time at UNC was teaming up with Sean May and Marvin Williams in 2005, winning the National Championship and this being Coach Williams first title at UNC. Felton was awarded the Bob Cousy Award that same season.
Raymond went on to declare for the NBA Draft in 2005 foregoing his final season at UNC. He went on to play over 1,000 NBA games over his career with Charlotte Bobcats, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
4. Kendall Marshall (2010-2012)
I will admit this was very hard to not put Kendall higher than this, but that is because he is my all-time favourite Tar Heel (if he stayed an extra year or didn’t break his wrist, I’m still not over it!). Kendall Marshall lit up College Basketball during his two seasons with his pass first style that broke record after record.
Marshall recorded 351 assists in his Sophomore Season with an average of 9.8 APG (both records for a UNC player in a season). His 311 assists in the ACC is also an ACC record. Marshall played with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson and many believe if the injury didn’t happen in the game against Creighton, then that team could have gone all the way.. oh what if!! The PassFir5t movement was loud in 2012 and trending all over Twitter with the number 5 wrote on our wrists. Who remembers?
Kendall Marshall was another Tar Heel (and last Tar Heel) to receive the Bob Cousy Award in his final season before declaring for the NBA Draft. The game away at Dook with 20 and 10 has to be one of his greatest UNC moments, you can read more about that game by clicking here.
Kendall’s NBA career took him to Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and more teams in the NBA G-League. Marshall retired at 25 years old and is currently the Assistant Director of Operations for UNC Basketball after being hired by Coach Williams.
3. Joel Berry II (2014-2018)
Joel Berry II was the Most Outstanding Player in the National Championship 2017 and his career at UNC was no different. Joel played for four years under Coach Williams at Chapel Hill and finding himself in the Top 10 for minutes and games played for UNC. Berry was also a great scorer from distance and ranks second in career three point field goals made with 266.
Joel was the leader of the team in 2017 that cut down the nets after their game against Gonzaga and his award of MOP was totally deserved. The 2017 Championship was Coach Williams third title at UNC. You also have to acknowledge that Joel was also a part of the team that reached back-to-back National Championship Games in 2016 and 2017.
I’ve been following UNC since Summer 2010, so Joel helped bring the first national title that I saw for Carolina and I will forever be thankful for that life long memory of screaming for joy at 4am. Joel is now playing professional basketball overseas in Turkey after some time in the NBA G-League. Joel has a big career ahead of him in professional basketball.
2. Marcus Paige (2012-2016)
Marcus Paige came to University of North Carolina with the probable expectation to be the back up Point Guard to Kendall Marshall. Then Kendall declared for the NBA Draft early and Paige had to step up.. boy did he step up!
Paige was known for his second half performances with ‘Second Half Paige’ trending all over Twitter regularly when Paige would heat up from distance. Paige broke the UNC record for three point field goals made with 299. Marcus wasn’t surrounded by All-Stars during his time at UNC to the same levels of the 2005 and 2009 teams, so he was the go to option and he didn’t disappoint (plus he always loved it against NC State). He is one the greatest leaders to wear the Carolina Blue over recent years and a big reason to why he is so high up on my list.
Marcus made the greatest ever ‘What If’ shot with his game-tying adjusting in mid air three pointer against Villanova in 2016’s National Championship Game.. sadly there was a few more seconds left in the game. Paige’s four years at Chapel Hill were personally some of my favourite years as a UNC fan and that is always going to help with my opinion to have Marcus as one of the best Point Guards of the Roy Williams era.
1. Ty Lawson (2006-2009)
ACC Player of the Year, Bob Cousy Award winner and NCAA Champion. There’s no denying that Ty Lawson’s three years in Chapel Hill were legendary. Lawson winning ACC’s highest individual award was the first time a Point Guard won the award since Phil Ford in 1978.
Ty broke the record for steals in a Championship Game with 8 steals with 22 points to go along with it. Lawson teaming up with Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington brought Coach Roy Williams his second National Championship. Lawson is probably the most talented Point Guard to run the floor for Coach Williams.
Ty then went on to a very strong NBA Career with a lot of his time spent at the Denver Nuggets before playing in Houston, Indiana, Sacramento and Washington.
I’m assuming a lot would consider Ty Lawson as the best Point Guard since 2003 for the Tar Heels, and not many can dispute it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this countdown of the best point guards over the past 18 seasons during the Coach Roy Williams era at the Point Guard University.
Now I’m sure you have your own personal opinion on who should be on this list and that is why I love these type of discussions. Who would be in your Top 5 Point Guards since 2003? Follow and tweet me at @britishtarheel and I would love to hear your Top 5’s.