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October 25, 2013

Inside Late Night with Roy

North Carolina's annual 'Late Night with Roy' festivities in the Smith Center was missing some familiar faces who are currently battling cancer, including emcee Stuart Scott and UNC women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell, but each of them were remembered as the event carried on amidst a cheerful atmosphere in the Dean Dome.

Late Night with Roy 2013 began with the Lorelei's - UNC's first all-women a capella group - singing "Sweet Carolina Girls," and dedicating the song to Carol Folt, UNC's first female chancellor.

Coach Hatchell was then recognized on the video board.

Hatchell's video began with clips from her induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame, then cut to a video of her introducing her team from the Lineberger Cancer Center.

She said that she "may not be (here), but (she's) up on the hill in the center," and invited the fans in the Dome to stand to welcome her team.

The women's basketball team then took the floor one-by-one, the staff was introduced, and the players and assistant coach Ivory Latta lead a cross-court layup competition and a 30-second shootout competition to raise money for cancer.

At the conclusion of the shootout competition, which was between student members of the Carolina Fever student spirit club, a $2,000 donation was made to the Lineberger Cancer Center on behalf of Carolina Fever.

The, "This is Carolina Basketball," video played as the cheerleaders and dance team took the court and the drum line took the court before men's basketball players were introduced on the stage on court one by one beginning with the freshmen and ending with the seniors.

As Late Night with Roy's traditional host, ESPN's Stuart Scott, was not hosting the event this year because of his on-going battle with cancer, this year's hosts were North Carolina's own, behind UNC's "GameDay," desk.

J.P. Tokoto and Kennedy Meeks stood behind a mock-GameDay desk and ran through a list of UNC-appropriate hashtags.

The host pair invited the rest of their gold-shirt clad team out to dance, in traditional fashion, with members of the dance team.

Next on desk: Luke Davis and Jackson Simmons.

The pair lead into a video of the freshmen going around campus and interviewing people about the team and asking if they recognized said freshmen.

Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson were your next desk host, they brought out members of their team dancing again with dance team members.

Then the team's four seniors sat at the GameDay desk in caps and gowns and read/wrote senior thank yous before introducing the team's freshmen and sophomores who danced in caps and crowns, then Wade Moody solo anchored the desk and ran through the top ten behind the scenes moments of UNC basketball.

UNC FInal Four hero Sean May then came out, took the microphone at center court and thanked coach Williams for all he's done for the program. The look on Williams' face indicated the surprise that May's presence was to Williams.

A video then played on the board commemorating Williams' first ten years at Carolina.

Notably, Tyler Hansbrough appeared on the video and paused before finishing his ,"Thank you," message because he was choked up. The video showed highlights and recognized Williams for his community service as well. Hansbrough said in the video that playing for Carolina was the best decision of his life.

The last thing that happened before the scrimmage was a half-court shootout to raise money for the Lineberger Cancer Center. For each student who made a shot, Williams would personally donate $1,000 dollars. None of the contestants made a shot, but afterward, Williams took to the microphone and announced that he and his wife Wanda would nonetheless donate $12,000 to the Lineberger Center.

The Blue-White scrimmage opened with P.J. Hairston - who played on the blue team - sinking a three-point shot. Hairston scored 20 points in the 20-minute scrimmage.

The most notable new comer was Kennedy Meeks, who scored 10 points and. notched a double-double by contributing off the boards in a way that no Tar Heel became known for.

Meeks and fellow center Joel James each played well as they currently battle for playing time in UNC's frontcourt rotation, combining for 24 points and 24 rebounds in the scrimmage. James made multiple jumpers, including several from long range.

With five seconds left in the scrimmage, a time-out was called and Marcus Paige executed on the designed play as planned by draining a three-pointer to end the scrimmage in a 50-50 tie.

While UNC didn't make its free throws at a high level and there were several sloppy moments, it was overall a nice way to get the season going with a good crowd out and a little bit of nostalgia with May in the building to make up for the noted absence of typical Late Night regulars like Scott and Hatchell.

After the scrimmage, Williams said that he still feels that the only two secured starting spots are Paige and James Michael McAdoo. Williams also added that he is closer to making a decision on Hairston's return, but has not made one yet.

Williams also returned to the media room after ending his press conference to discuss J.P. Tokoto's status.

Tokoto played in two sanctioned summer league games without filing paperwork. Williams said UNC told the NCAA that they would not allow Tokoto to play in the scrimmage (last week) and he will not be permitted to play in the exhibition game against UNC-Pembroke.


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