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Obligatory “SOK & Wears Offer Weak Excuses For Leaving UNC” Post

We all figured this was coming at some point, it was just a matter if any of the three really offered any substantive reasons for leaving. Turns out they didn’t.

For the three Southern California natives, nothing could be finer than to play for North Carolina - except leaving to come home to play for UCLA.

The Wear twins, who played at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, left Chapel Hill last spring after only one season. Drew, who starred at Woodland Hills Taft, left in February after 21/2 years, though the point guard often contemplated leaving before that.

All three said playing time wasn’t the primary issue. There were several factors, including fickle fans, a breakdown in communication with the coaching staff and a failure of the Carolina experience to meet expectations.

Drew’s emotionally charged departure came after he lost his spot in the starting lineup to freshman Kendall Williams. But there was much more to his unhappiness.

Who the heck is Kendall Williams? Seriously you cannot even get Kendall Marshall’s name right? And no, playing time wasn’t the issue. In fact all three of these player ended up on the court more often than most UNC fans cared to see.

“I was there for 21/2 years and I didn’t play my whole freshman year, so it’s not if I’m playing or not playing,” Drew said. “It was just a buildup of things since I first got there.”

The Wears didn’t wait nearly as long to make a change. Their freshman season came on the heels of Carolina’s 2009 national title, and after losing five of their top seven players from that team the Tar Heels went 5-11 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and were relegated to the National Invitation Tournament.

“The energy just wasn’t there as in the years prior, it seemed like,” said Travis Wear, a 6-foot-10 forward who averaged 3.5 points in 10.1 minutes a game. “It just wasn’t that fun of a year.”

The Wears also endured what David described as the “shock” of a different culture in Chapel Hill, and they missed being around family and friends who had supported them since childhood. They couldn’t always count on encouragement from Tar Heels fans, especially when the team struggled.

“When you’re winning, everything’s good. When you’re losing, it’s opposite,” Drew said. “Going to a school like that, I was aware of the potential for how things could be. I wasn’t aware to the extent

Holy crap, they cannot be that naive. So when a team is winning fans are mostly happy but if the team is losing they can be a little nasty. Really? Really guys? You didn’t know this? I guess this is the “fickle” part but if they think the treatment at UCLA is going to be any different then are they in for a shock. Yes, expectations at UNC are incredibly high. I have never thought we, as a fanbase, was as nuts as say Kentucky’s but every group of fans has their share of crazy people. Add to that a fan base accustomed to Final Fours watching UNC finish 10th in the ACC and chances are people might get a little crazy. This was a palatable shock to the fans and unfortunately the players on that team took their share of criticism. Some Other Kid got the brunt off it partly because there is some inequity in the blame were PGs are concerned but also because his attitude sucked. The Wears ended up being not quite what folks thought they would be or at best no one understood why Roy signed two players who did the same thing. So if Carolina did not meet their expectations the feeling was mutual as far as the fans were concerned. However the only place you can expect fans to behave how these guys wanted are at Fantasy University.

Drew alluded to the way he was used during a birthday rap he performed in March at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, saying, “They tried to tell me just to play my role, but who’s really trying to stick to a script full of typos?”

More recently, Drew explained that he had written the rap “to vent,” and didn’t intend it as a parting shot at the Tar Heels. “I didn’t mean it as a diss or anything like that,” Drew said. “It was just something I had to get off my chest.”

North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said he tried to shield Drew from criticism he faced during his sophomore season, when the team’s fortunes plummeted.

“I explained to everyone he wasn’t throwing the ball to Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington,” Williams said, referring to the stars from the national championship team.

Roy not only tried, Roy risked rebellion in his own fan base keeping Some Other Kid in the starting lineup well past the sell by date. The Wears did not hang around long enough to find out if things would get better the next season. In 2011, when it became clear that the team was probably better off with Marshall, Roy kept telling anyone who would listen how important Some Other Kid was to the team and how everyone was wrong to lay the troubles 2010 on him. It was both maddening in how stubborn was being and admirable he went to bat for him so often. And for all his troubles he got a slap in the face. Oh and if I say that perhaps Some Other Kid was a lazy, thin-skinned, thinks-he’s-better-than-he-actually-is selfish player I am not trying to “diss” him I am just venting.

Drew’s troubles transcended the fans. Larry Drew Sr., the Atlanta Hawks coach, said his son contemplated leaving after a freshman year in which he barely played. As a sophomore, playing alongside the Wear twins, Drew started 36 of 37 games and averaged six assists, tied for second in the ACC.

But Drew never felt completely comfortable, his father said. And the family became upset about the way the change in the starting lineup was handled.

“Nothing was said to Larry, nothing was said to me,” Drew Sr. said. “That was a little hard to swallow.”

Williams disputed Drew’s claim, saying he talked about the lineup change “openly in front of the team before it happened. It was not a surprise to Larry. In fact, the day before the (next) game I talked about making three changes in the starting lineup.”

And Roy is right. If you look at my game preview for the first Clemson game in January which game two days after the debacle in Atlanta(in front of SOK, Sr. no less) the rumor was out there Roy was changing the lineup. Roy later confirmed that he had three lineup changes in mind not just one. Leslie McDonald was supposed to start in place of Dexter Strickland and Roy also looked at pulling Tyler Zeller for Justin Knox. The Knox for Zeller move was the reason the McDonald for Strickland move was considered because Roy need to compensate for the loss of Zeller’s offense in the starting lineup. On top of those two moves, Roy was also ready to change PGs with an eye of jumpstarting the offense. McDonald’s lung injury kept him out of the Clemson game which nixed two of the lineup changes but the PG switch was a go(as it should have been.) Now, SOK, Sr. has a beef that(emphasis mine) “Nothing was said to Larry, nothing was said to me.” The latter half of that statement tells you all you need to know about the SOK family and their expectations. As for whether Roy told Some Other Kid about the lineup change, I suppose they thought Roy would tell him in private before making it. That is not Roy’s style or at least not so in this case. If memory serves, Roy really needed to light a fire under his team after the 20 point loss to Georgia Tech. The three proposed lineup changes were part of that and done so in front of the team to make it clear 2011 was not going to go down the same path as 2010. You could make the argument it worked though the change to Marshall is what people talking about most.

Another former Carolina player said communication issues between Drew and Williams were a running theme.

“Coach Williams wanted to put a lot of trust in Larry because he has a special relationship with all his point guards, but they bumped heads at times,” said Deon Thompson, a former Torrance High star who was a teammate of Drew’s for two seasons with the Tar Heels. “He was just a laid-back kid, so it was hard for Coach Williams to light that fire in him at times.

Yes, Deon Thompson just called Some Other Kid lazy.

What surprised Williams most wasn’t that Drew left, but the timing of the decision - in the middle of a season and after a 32-point victory over Boston College in which Drew had nine assists and only one turnover.

Drew Sr., who informed Williams of his son’s decision in a telephone call, described the situation as “not salvageable.”

Drew said he had no reservations about the timing of his exit. “I feel like if I have other options, I should be able to explore them,” he said. “By transferring, if I feel like if there’s something out there better for me that I could pursue, I’m going to do it.

Poppycock. Leaving in February gained Some Other Kid very little in the way of exploring other options. In fact when Some Other Kid left everyone pretty much assumed he was heading to UCLA which is where he ended up as the season was wrapping up. In fact as the article concludes Some Other Kid talks about how great it was to be back in L.A., blah, blah, blah. Excuse me if I think this talk of exploring other options is complete garbage.

At this point it dawns on me that I probably spent way too much time discussing the weak tea being served by three players who (1) UNC was better off without and (2) who now consider themselves better of without UNC. However some of these reasons were operating at such a level of naivete or under the impression everyone is stupid that it at least merits discussion. I think Roy deserves credit for answering the reporter’s question on the subject. Granted that is as much about not tainting the southern California recruiting grounds he is so fond of but at least his comments gave balance to the article. Hopefully this really is the end of the Great Transfer Saga of 2010-11. Well, until the NCAA sticks UNC and UCLA in the same bracket for the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

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34 comments to Obligatory “SOK & Wears Offer Weak Excuses For Leaving UNC” Post

  • qcheel



    That was so clutch!

  • Doc

    Hopefully this really is the end of the Great Transfer Saga of 2010-11.

    Until UNC takes the massive APR hit for having three transfers…

  • Andy In Omaha

    All I will ask is this….at what point did a player’s PARENT(S) get this involved that it screws with the coach’s job? I’m far from young (I’m 33) and I can’t recall anything like this…and it’s happening in more places than just UNC.
    I know Larry Drew Sr. is an NBA coach, but what the hell gives him the right to call Roy and say that his kid is leaving because the situation is “unsalvagable?” Should Roy be calling Drew Sr. up and start criticizing him on the way he’s using or developing Marvin Williams?
    As far as the Wears, I feel for these guys. Their dad was probably contacting U$C and UCLA when it was evident UNC had no chance on making the tourney (maybe even earlier), and the kids have postseason meetings with Roy, then….poof after their dad does the dirty work for them.
    But, it’s all good. UNC is definitely on the rise with a good shot at cutting down the nets next year, and UCLA, while improving, isn’t anywhere near there.

  • chapelhillfan

    Three college-age players who are controlled and coddled by their parents and who AREN’T MEN and never will be. I’ve said it before and will say it again…good riddance. The program is better with out them. They will always be viewed as selfish cowards and quitters. Those labels will follow them all their lives.

  • Tarheel 4 Life

    Larry Drew II heartless quitter for the way he cowardly left the coaching staff and his teammates(friends) stealth style.As for the Wear twins, overrated out of high school.The only reason they were rated so high (4 stars) was because of their name of their high school Mater Dei, which supposedly churns out high profile athletes(NOT!!!!)Good luck UCLA with Carolina’s scrapps,you will need it, because they will quit on you too.

  • TheUNCFan

    After around 40 years of consistent success, isn’t the “failure of the Carolina experience to meet expectations” most likely on the part of the occasional student athlete with issues and not Carolina itself? Most basketball players want to wear the Carolina uniform and do anything to be on a team like Carolina. If you can’t get enthused about Carolina basketball, you’re obviously not in the right place (or right sport).

  • lviveiros

    All three are COWARDS… they will be hearing ALOT of carolina basketball and seeing ALOT of carolina highlights because the heels will be college basketball next season.
    Interesting how the reporter seems not to ask why they left in the middle of the night, never said bye to teammates , and never informed coach face to face like a men as I said COWARDS…
    Good for Deon Thompson speaking up and probbaly stating the facts about SOK…

    LD11 and the Wears will always be remembered as the transfer story becasue any transferee will be compared to them…that will be their high in life ..
    Not sure if it is true but have heard that actually one of the Wear boys not sure which one like it at UNC but dad was a 100 percent or nothing no 50 percent acceptable…

  • nativeheel

    Great article and analysis, THF.
    The fact is that neither the Drews or SOK were mature enough as players or as people to ever be regarded as assets to Tar Heel Nation. The left coast mentality does not play well in Chapel Hill especially when Mommy and Daddy are still the authors of your destiny. Goodbye and good riddance to all three. Addition by subtraction made for a better TEAM! On to 2011-2012. The year of the Ram!
    Go Heels!!

  • Doc

    All I will ask is this….at what point did a player’s PARENT(S) get this involved that it screws with the coach’s job? …I can’t recall anything like this…and it’s happening in more places than just UNC.

    Uh, Scott May and Matt Doherty ring a bell?

    Heavily-involved, helicoptering parents are becoming more the rule than the exception in sports in general. When I coached college, I really only remember one run-in with a parent, but that was 15 years ago and it was at least understandable.

    I think Roy may have learned a lesson and will be recruiting parents as well as players these days.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Just three guys who are no longer worth worrying about. All of them would be stealing playing time from vastly superior players if they were still in Chapel Hill. Marshall, Zeller and Henson would all be losing minutes to those guys just to keep their overbearing parents happy. I’m glad that some other school is stuck dealing with that instead of us.

  • makeitWayne22

    Everyone knows the 2010-2011 team MVP is Larry drew 11.

    Last I’ll say on drew…. Its gonna take a special player to knock him out of the spot for least like tar heel ever.

    Wears I can understand, but at least should of called the coach themselves.

  • heels1fan

    I think they did us a favor in the long run by freeing up scholarship spots. Stillman White will be a net plus; Knox cleaned up the Wear mess and it opened the door for Hubert and other bigs to come in. Hubert will be a better player than the Wears inside.

    These transfers will do far better in the Howland grind it out system that is nominally basketball because their lower skill level will not be as noticeable in a low scoring game where 6 or 8 points is a higher contribution.

  • Andy In Omaha

    “Heavily-involved, helicoptering parents are becoming more the rule than the exception in sports in general. When I coached college, I really only remember one run-in with a parent, but that was 15 years ago and it was at least understandable.”

    If you don’t mind me asking, what sport did you coach and in your experience when did the helicopters start hovering over coaches to the extent that the do now?
    As a parent, I certainly understand that you want to make sure your kid isn’t completely miserable, but has parenting really gone down the tubes this much that you have to act like your kids’ sports agent more than their parent?

  • Doc

    Andy, I coached basketball in high school and small college for 14 years.

    I really noticed the increase in parental influence in the early to mid-2000s. I blame a lot of that on the AAU culture that permeates basketball at the high school level and is seeping into the college level.

    There was a time that, in high school, you played who you played for and you sucked it up through good and bad. But as AAU and summer ball became more prevalent, if you didn’t like your AAU team or coach or how much time you were getting, you just jump to another team. There’s always another team in the AAU world. Then that mentality crept into high school ball. Don’t like your high school coach? Transfer to another school. And that seems to be the way college is headed. Not saying that things sometimes don’t work out, but that’s the point of a 2-3 year (and sometimes more) recruiting process.

    Parents are increasingly the facilitators of this entitlement mentality because there is someone constantly in their ear (AAU coach, agent front man, etc) telling them their kid is so much better than anyone sees and what an idiot that coach is for not playing their kid the right way. Parent is then in the coach or AD’s ear. And if coach and/or AD won’t budge, then they’ll take their under-appreciated basketball prodigy somewhere that will do what they want. Parents of 7th graders these days have their kids chasing the elusive “scholarship”, not only for the financial advantage but the prestige. And any coach that might mess that up for their kid has to be dealt with. And I guess it’s the same way in college, except it’s playing in the NBA and not a scholarship.


  • Andy In Omaha

    Thanks, Doc!
    A former boss of mine had a son at an AAU team that played with Creighton stand out guard Antoine Young, and she said there was a “waiver wire” of sorts with kids transferring teams BOTH on the AAU level AND at the high school level because in a lot of cases they were the same coach, or if they wanted to play at the high school their AAU coach was coaching, you would see that as well.
    Even though Omaha is hardly a high school basketball capitol, you see your fair share of kids that get fed up with playing for a losing team that all of a sudden are allowed to transfer to teams that are consistently playing at the state tournament.
    It just sucks that accomplished coaches like Roy Williams and others are getting hampered by overbearing parents…..I know if I were a kid who was blessed with the ability to play for UNC, my parents would have said tough $#@T if I wanted to leave because things got a little tough.

  • Andy In Omaha

    And I know it’s off topic…..but how in the name of Charlie Justice did UNC just get a #3 national seed?

  • PRGuy

    All I need to know about these three is that they weren’t “man enough” to tell the head coach of the college they selected that they were leaving. I have no idea what their athletic futures hold but they should know that Daddy will not be there for them all their lives.

  • faustus1500

    What’s wild is that I was best man at a wedding with a guy who knew some the Carolina players. He said SOK’s mom consistently on Williams case after the John Wall incident.

  • When SOK is riding the bench for the Izmir Pashas in 10 years, wondering if he’ll get paid, I hope he doesn’t mind playing backup PG behind Some Kid from Istanbul. Of course, he could always jump ship for the Tashkent Tajics & finally get the PT he deserves.

    Hope the Wears are minoring in flipping burgers. They’ll need a marketable skill after graduation. Maybe Daddy has a Fat Burger franchise.

  • chaucer1350

    Just spent the weekend with my 10 year old in Hickory, playing in the Great Smoky Shooutout.

    Our kids wore their rec league jerseys. Everyone else had “professional” jerseys. Half the teams had paid coaches. One team had a bus. 10 year olds!

    They went 2-3, and it’s clear that they have a lot of work to do to beat a press. One team kept pressing and throwing elbows all the way to a 40 point win in the first round of pool play. Totally classless.

    I’m blown away at how much money and emphasis are put on these players at this age. We had a good time, and we’ll do it again, knowing that we’re not going to be able to compete with the programs that do it year round.

    But yes, I can see how that system produces entitled kids and parents who think they know the game and their kids better than a Hall of Fame coach.

  • scl11

    “Well, until the NCAA sticks UNC and UCLA in the same bracket for the 2013 NCAA Tournament.”

    We know it won’t be 2012 because that would require the Wear twins to be good enough to replace UCLA’s two best players that just left early for the NBA draft in order for UCLA to even make the Tournament. Or maybe SOC is so inspiring in practice that he motivates his teammates to greatness. Both I find unlikely, but don’t really care considering UCLA and UNC won’t even belong in same sentence more less the same basketball court next season, and if the latter happens I’ll be looking forward to players from UNC’s Blue team like Simmons and Hubert dunking on the Wear Stiffs.

    The Wears and SOC are so irrelevant to North Carolina Basketball past and future that I agree that we try to stick to this statement as much as possible “Hopefully this really is the end of the Great Transfer Saga of 2010-11″.

  • CarMichael

    “keeping Some Other Kid in the starting lineup well past the sell by date”-nice writing, THF, & a good critique overall.

    However, I don’t agree that we are better off without the Wears, or at least one of them. They are going to be better than people think.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    ^No amount of potential productivity from the Where? Twins will make up for the productivity we lost when Tyler Zeller sat on the bench for so many minutes (prior to getting injured) in 2010 in order for those two guys to get more playing time. Everyday, I am so grateful that it wasn’t Zeller who decided to transfer after Roy mismanaged those minutes…

  • scl11

    “However, I don’t agree that we are better off without the Wears, or at least one of them. They are going to be better than people think.”

    Considering that having only one was impossible and therefore a fantasy, you need to decide which is better:

    1) Two mediocre post players taking up 2 scholarships for the next 3 years that would take substantial minutes from Henson, Zeller, and McAdoo


    2) 2 Free scholarships to use on 2011 Post project and another potential post star in 2012, and plenty of post minutes in 2011/12 for post stars Henson, Zeller, and McAdoo to operate.

    Unless your ‘better than people think’ comment means you believe the Wears will be as good or better than Henson, Zeller, and/or McAdoo; I don’t see how you would assess situation #1 to be better than situation #2. Jackson Simmons has the same potential and upside as the Wears without the future scholarship guarantees.

  • makeitWayne22

    no lie i forget the wears were even on the team in 2010…. I blocked that season out of my memory…

    I just cant wrap my head around a coach (larry drew senior) bitching about how he (as a parent) was not informed of a line up change.. That is the strangest part about the whole article… And doesnt he not know hes kid is terrible? bc an average fan can tell right away hes doesnt have the goods.

    Kendall def saved Roy’s recent PG recruits bc without Ty it was a full bunch of misses. QT, Bobby, and Larry

  • “Kendall def saved Roy’s recent PG recruits bc without Ty it was a full bunch of misses. QT, Bobby, and Larry”

    I don’t follow. I am not sure any of these are “misses” since they were all essentially transitions between elite PGs. Frasor was good enough in 2006 and QT’s sub work for Lawson in 2008 possibly saved that season. SOK was the last of very few options when Roy was looking at Lawson possibly leaving after 2008.

    Roy got Lawson then he got Marshall and hopefully he has another top flight PG in Marcus Paige. Seems like a solid streak of recruiting PGs for someone not named John Calipari.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    So…here’s what I want to know: does Larry Drew Senior talk to Marvin William’s mother or Al Horford’s parents prior to making any roster changes?

  • logic

    ^come on 850…your’e missing the point. The 1st Drew doesn’t need to talk to anyone - HE knows what’s best. It is everyone else that needs to talk to him. When are you gonna learn that the Drew genes are superior?

  • Silent Sam

    I would have been astonished if we’d gotten REASONS from the Wears or SOG. On the other hand, I expected excuses from the Wears (not WEAK excuses) and I expected pathetic excuses from SOG, if we got anything at all.

  • OldSchool

    Good riddance, once and for all. Drew was a scrub…period, and the Wears were glorified role players. Why even think about those malcontents when we have such great players and personalities on the current team. Go Heels. Good riddance to the scrubs.

  • faustus1500

    The 2008 point guard class stunk for a lot of teams….Let’s face it. The Bruins had a point guard prospect in Jerime Anderson who was ranked ahead of SOK and stunk up Pauly Pavillion. DeAndre Liggins came in as a point guard and was instead converted to a defensive stopper at the 2 and 3. Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas has been very frustrating for Jayhawks fans. Once you get past Rivals Top 5 point guards in the class of 2009, it was a complete mess.

  • joemags52

    Senior should’ve told Junior to come out in this years draft and drafted him and he could come in and get the Hawks past Chicago and the Heat. To bad the Wear’s didn’t go to dook, them and the dumblees would’ve have been a very formidable front court vs. our 4 top 20 draft picks. The 3 of them leaving really helped turn UNC around, bring the team together, and who knows who would’ve stuck around for 2012. The Wears’ playing time would’ve cut into Barnes, Henson, and Zeller and very easily could’ve made it pretty easy for them to leave and UNC could’ve been in a lot of trouble (NIT) again. Think how Barnes came a long this past year and imagine if the Wears’ were he and how much less time he would’ve got. Thank you Wears’ for leaving.

  • faustus1500

    I just read in recent Andy Katz blog entry that Kendall Marshall stated he wasn’t ready to start his freshman year. Was trying to nip and controversy in the bud or did he really believe that?