TarHeelIllustrated - No. 8: James Worthy
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No. 8: James Worthy

James Worthy's place in Carolina history was firmly cemented during his 1982 run to the NCAA TOurnament MOP.
James Worthy's place in Carolina history was firmly cemented during his 1982 run to the NCAA TOurnament MOP. (AP)

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No. 8

Name: James Worthy

Position: Forward

Jersey #: 52

Years: 1979-82

Honors: National Player of the Year 1982; Final Four MOP 1982; NCAA East Regional MVP 1982; Two-time, first-team All-America 1981 & 1982; Two-time All-ACC, first-team 1982, second-team 1981; NCAA All-Regional team 1981 & 1982; ACC Tournament MVP 1982; All-ACC Tournament team 1981 & 1982; ACC Male Athlete of the Year 1982; Named to the ACC 50th Anniversary team; Naismith Hall of Fame 2003; Jersey No. 52 is retired.

Notable Stats: Averaged 14.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for his career; Shot 54.1 percent from the floor for his career; Scored 1,219 points in his career; 620 career rebounds; 208 career assists; 94 career blocked shots; 117 career steals playing just 84 games at UNC (missed much of freshman season with a broken foot).

In Closing: Worthy helped lead the Tar Heels to consecutive appearances in the national championship game, falling to Indiana in 1981 and defeating Georgetown in 1982. Worthy was the MOP after scoring 28 points in the win over the Hoyas, giving Dean Smith his first national championship. Worthy was famously out of position defensively on Georgetown’s final possession, but as a result was in the right spot as the Hoyas’ Fred Brown inadvertently passed him the ball.

Led the Tar Heels to consecutive ACC Tournament titles in 1981 and 1982. Only played in 14 games as a freshman because of a broken foot but was averaging 12.5 points and 7.4 rebounds shooting 58.7 percent from the floor when injured, thus missing out on getting any honors that season. Only played in 84 career games.

One of the greatest drop-steps and spin moves and one of the quickest players on the lower blocks in UNC history, Worthy also took Carolina basketball to another level in terms of entertainment with his array of thunderous jams. Noted by the ACC in 2003 as one of its 50 best players of all time.