basketball Edit

No. 19: Brad Daugherty

Brad Daugherty was one of the most efficient players ever at UNC, whose number is retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Brad Daugherty was one of the most efficient players ever at UNC, whose number is retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers. (UNC Athletics)

Every offseason, we run historical ranking series focusing on North Carolina basketball and football.

The purpose each spring isn’t to make declarative statements, but to have fun offering a subjective look at the best teams and players ever at Carolina. This effort is to generate discourse, debate, and take UNC fans down memory lane.

This season, we are doing something a little different, combining football and basketball, as we offer our take on the Top 40 UNC football and basketball players of all time. The criteria is quite simple: The process includes playing careers with the Tar Heels and professionally, other relevant impacts they’ve had on their sports, coaching, and championships. We also gave a lean toward all UNC accomplishments.

So, this isn’t a UNC-only list, a pro-only list, or a straight up purely best ever list. Some Tar Heels on this list didn’t have great pro careers but were so good and historic at UNC, they simply had to make the cut. Some on this list weren’t stars at UNC, but had outstanding and/or highly distinguished pro careers, that it warranted their place among these 40 athletes.

We hope you enjoy the list and feel free to disagree, as we know many will.

We continue our countdown with:


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No. 19: Brad Daugherty (1983-86)

Daugherty arrived in Chapel Hill as a 16-year-old freshman and was an important member of the rotation right away. In his four years as a Tar Heel, Daugherty was a two-time first-team All-ACC, consensus All-America as a senior in 1986, he played on two UNC teams that reached the Elite Eight (each at least advanced to the Sweet 16) and combined to go 45-11 in ACC play.

He averaged 14.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for his four-year career, but as a junior Daugherty averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, and as a senior the numbers were 20.2 and 9. He shot 62 percent for his career, including 64.8 percent as a senior.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, he played just eight seasons in the NBA, as a series of back injuries cut his career short. But he still made five NBA All-Star teams, was on the NBA All-Rookie team, and finished his career with averages of 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He also averaged 3.7 assists per contest.

Daugherty was an excellent player whose full career, had it materialized, would have produced special numbers. He was once regarded the greatest Cleveland Cavalier ever until LeBron James came along. Daugherty’s No. 43 is retired by the Cavaliers.

He later went on to a successful broadcasting career as a college basketball analyst for ESPN and has been successful in various realms of NASCAR.