REESE HOOKED ON COACHING
* ... Former Tar Heel star Brian Reese went undrafted out of North Carolina in 1994 after turning down an offer to redshirt as a senior and instead playing on an injured ankle that reduced his production and draft status. He spent time in training camp with the Milwaukee Bucks before going on to play pro ball in Australia, Asia and Europe through 2001.
The Charlotte Observer ran a story last week, about Reese, now 35, being in his second year as the boys' junior varsity coach and varsity assistant at Porter Ridge High School in Indian Trail, North Carolina. He was at the Carolinas Medical Center Holiday Classic in Wingate last week
Reese told the Observer he's not bitter about any opportunities he may have missed, he cherishes his experiences abroad and enjoys his life that involves tutoring varsity big men, teaching exceptional children at Porter Ridge, and playing pick-up games.
His goal now has shifted to becoming a college coach within five years and has led him to return to the North Carolina family for guidance, according to the report. Former teammates Donald Williams and Kevin Salvadori have advised Reese, and he has attended North Carolina coaches clinics.
"Last year I caught the bug big-time," Reese told the Observer. "I'm a coach now."
Meetings with retired UNC coaching legend Dean Smith, current coach Roy Williams and college coaches such as King Rice, now a Vanderbilt assistant coach, have reinforced the Carolina system -- play hard, play smart and play together, along with offering Reese tips to coach teenagers and providing access to the UNC offensive playbook.
JAMISON GETS IT RIGHT
* ... For thirty years now Antawn Jamison has lived with the spelling of his first name as "Antawn" and the pronunciation of it as "An-TWAN." The former Tar Heel star and current NBA star of the Washington Wizards will continue to do so. But his son, born on December 28, 2006, and given the name of Antwan Cortez Jamison Jr., will not have that to deal with.
"We decided we didn't want him to go through life having to answer that question," Jamison told The Washington Times about spelling his baby boy's name A-n-t-w-a-n instead of A-n-t-a-w-n as his name is spelled. Jamison's parents intended his name to be spelled and pronounced "Antwan" when he was born, but the hospital typed it incorrectly as 'Antawn' on the birth certificate back on June 12, 1976. The error went unchanged leading to confusion since the name went on being pronounced "An-TWAN" by his parents.
"The hospital made a mistake on the birth certificate and they just left it alone," Jamison told the Times. "They just never dealt with it."
According to the article, Jamison is often teased about the spelling of his name in opposing arenas being called "An-TAWN" as his name appears and is pronounced phonetically.
Jamison and his wife, Ione, wanted a junior, but didn't want their first son (and second child) to go through the misspellings, confusion and mispronunciations that Antawn Cortez Jamison has gone through.
"So we made life easier on him," Jamison said.
A news item at Jamison's official Website notes, "Antawn and his wife Ione became the proud parents of a 7 lb., 2 oz. little boy (Antwan Jamison Jr.) on December 28th at 7:30 pm!!! Send Antawn a congratulations email to firstname.lastname@example.org"
NFL TAR HEELS: BY THE NUMBERS
* ... As the current NFL season moves into playoff mode, here's a look at the stats turned in by some of the former Tar Heel gridiron stars --
Sam Aiken, WR - Buffalo (7-9): Contributed six tackles (five solo) on special teams in 15 games played.
Dre' Bly, CB - Detroit (3-13): In 16 games made 58 tackles (50 solo), intercepted three passes, caused four fumbles, batted down 18 passes, returned one kickoff for 27 yards and three punts for 39 yards with a long return of 36 yards.
Alge Crumpler, TE - Atlanta (7-9): Caught 56 passes (38 for a 1st-down) for 780 yards (13.9 per rec.) with eight TDs in 16 games played. Also had two solo tackles.
Ronald Curry, WR - Oakland (2-14): Played in 16 games and led the team with 62 catches (40 went for a 1st-down, one was a TD) and 727 yards (11.7 per rec.). Was 0-2 passing with an interception, had one carry for four yards and made two solo tackles.
Ebenezer Ekuban, DE - Denver (9-7): Credited with 63 tackles (48 solo) and seven sacks in 15 games played.
Greg Ellis, LB/DE - Dallas (9-7): Played in nine games and was in on 31 tackles (24 solo), had 4.5 sacks, one INT and deflected three passes.
William Henderson, FB - Green Bay (8-8): Played in 14 games with 12 receptions (three 1st downs) for 52 yards (5.2 avg.). Returned four kickoffs for 41 yards (10.3 avg.) and had three tackles (two solo).
Willie Parker, RB - Pittsburgh (8-8): Rushed for 1,494 yards on 337 attempts (4.4 avg.) with 13 touchdowns. Had 31 receptions for 222 yards (7.2 avg.) and three went for TDs. Also fumbled seven times and lost five of them, and had one tackle in 16 games.
Julius Peppers, DE - Carolina (8-8): Had a career-high 13 sacks, forced three fumbles, deflected six passes and made 58 tackles (49 solo) in 16 games.
Jeff Reed, K - Pittsburgh (8-8): In 16 games accounted for 101 points on 41-of-41 extra points and 20-of-27 field goals (.741) with a long of 50 yards. Also made three tackles (two solo).
Brian Simmons, LB - Cincinnati (8-8): Had 61 tackles (38 solo), two interceptions and knocked down four passes in 11 games played.
Wallace Wright, WR - New York Jets (10-6): Played in five games and made six solo tackles.
News & Notes Extras... Jerry Stackhouse (Dallas) goes into the new year having missed five straight games due to a left ankle sprain. ... Former Tar Heel David Neal ('96) coached the Apex (N.C.) High School basketball club to a seventh-place finish at the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational tournament last week. Apex was led on the court by Yorel Hawkins with 93 points (29, 25 & 39) going 1-2. Hawkins signed early in November to attend Fairfield (Conn.) rather than wait on offers from the bigger programs, much to the surprise of recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons of All-Star Sports. "He is fantastic. You're talking about someone who could develop into a Josh Howard-type player." Gibbons told the News and Observer. ... Another Glaxo talent that Gibbons thinks highly of was Tony Shaver ('76) and William & Mary recruit Marcus Kitts (6-8, Middle Creek). "He's another one that could have helped an awful lot of teams in North Carolina," Gibbons stated, according to the N&O article. ... WNBA eight-year veteran Charlotte Smith, currently in her fifth season as an assistant coach with the North Carolina women's team, has ended her pro basketball career. Smith, 33, played for Charlotte, Washington and Indiana. ... La'Tangela Atkinson ('06), a rookie with Indiana in the WNBA during 2006, is in her first season overseas with Raanana-Hertzliya (6-4) in Israel. Atkinson has been named the top player of the week, had a game with 20 points and 24 boards, and is averaging 17.9 ppg and 12.3 rpg in 10 games played. ... Minnesota second-year guard Rashad McCants, still sidelined from a right knee injury that required surgery, has been cleared for contact drills, but it is not clear when he will be able to play. "I would say things are pretty frustrating at times, pretty gratifying at times," McCants told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Only time will tell to see if I really come back and I'm able to do the things I was used to. Maybe not. Maybe I'll come back and do things better."
BIRTHDAYS OF JANUARY
- 1: Horace "Bones" McKinney (1919 - 1997) and Max Owens (29)
- 8: John "Hook" Dillon (1924 - 2004) and Jesse Holley (23)
- 8: Michael Waddell (26)
- 12: Jennifer Thomas (26)
- 15: Jason Capel (27)
- 18: Julius Peppers (27), Damion Grant (25) and Camille Little (22)
- 19: Keith Newman (30)
- 22: Lennie Rosenbluth (74)
- 23: Kenya McBee (24)
- 26: Vince Carter (30) and Nikita Bell (24)
- 28: Tony Shaver (53) and Wes Miller (24)