TarHeelIllustrated - No. 12: 1972
basketball Edit

No. 12: 1972

THI looks at the top UNC basketball teams ever, focusing here on the 1972 Tar Heels.
THI looks at the top UNC basketball teams ever, focusing here on the 1972 Tar Heels. (Getty Images)

Our series counting down the Top 30 North Carolina basketball teams of all time continues.

Our mission isn't to make any declarative statements, but rather have some fun, give our readers something to discuss, walk down memory lane some and provide a needed escape.

Your thoughts and picks are welcome in our message board thread for this series.



No. 12: 1972

Record: 26-5 (9-3)

NCAA Tournament: NCAA Final Four

ACC Tournament: ACC Champions

Ranking: 2

Coach: Dean Smith

All-Americans: Bob McAdoo; Bill Chamberlain; Dennis Wuycik.

All-ACC: Bob McAdoo (1st); Dennis Wuycik (1st); Bill Chamberlain (2nd); George Karl (2nd).

Honors: Dennis Wuycik, East Region MOP; Bob McAdoo ACC Tournament MVP.


What's To Know: Dean Smith broke from his policy of not bringing in junior college transfers prior to the 1971-72 season because he had a major need. Originally, Smith thought he would have Tom McMillan in the post, but the lefthanded big man changed his mind at the last minute and went to Maryland. So needing a post player, Smith brought in junior college transfer Bob McAdoo, and the move completed a team that advanced to the Final Four.

McAdoo was sensational in his one season as a Tar Heel. He averaged 19.5 points and 10.1 rebounds before becoming the first UNC player to turn pro early. The next was James Worthy a decade later. McAdoo had an outstanding NBA career, winning an MVP award, two world titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was eventually inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

As terrific as McAdoo was, the Heels were loaded otherwise. Dennis Wuycik had a great year and three other starters (Bobby Jones, George Karl and Bill Chamberlain) scored in double figures. Read those names again: Bob McAdoo, Dennis Wuycik, Bobby Jones, George Karl and Bill Chamberlain.

An early 16-point loss at Princeton looks so out of place when looking at the Tar Heels' results from that season. Their other losses were by a total of 9 points, the last coming in a 79-75 decision to Florida State in the Final Four. The Heels beat Louisville in the now-defunct consolation game.

Carolina incredibly hit the 118-point mark three times that season, and the Heels also scratched 100 points or more five other times and in 12 games scored in the 90s, including three times at 99 points.

Like a healthy handful of other UNC teams that just fell short, this one was oh-so close to hanging a banner, and was certainly worthy of doing so.


1972 Schedule & Results


1972 NBA Draft

Bob McAdoo, 1st Round, No. 2 overall selection

Dennis Wuycik, 2nd Round, No. 27 overall selection

Bill Chamberlain, 3rd Round, No. 43 overall selection

Steve Previs, 7th Round, No. 111 overall selection