Lucas: Play Of The Game
Release: 12/31/2013

By Adam Lucas

This time, Roy Williams got it wrong.

The Tar Heel head coach is a Hall of Famer. He has two national championships. He has done some of his best work so far with the 2013-14 Tar Heels, shuffling defenses and juggling personnel to put together a 10-3 record at the close of 2013.

But he is dead wrong. Williams stood in front of the media after Carolina's 84-51 win over UNC Wilmington and said the following:

"My favorite play of the game was Wade (Moody), when Wade had a chance to go down and lay it up. He hasn't scored all year, he didn't hesitate and he passed it to Isaiah (Hicks) and he dunked it. That was my favorite play of the game."

You can see the play in question at the 3:42 mark here:

It's a nice play, right? It seems like a nice story, with the walk-on unselfishly feeding the highly touted freshman. This was going to make for great column material about the unselfish Tar Heels on a night when they put together a second half highlight reel of slams.

Wade Moody--he is always called his full name, "Wade Moody," by everyone in the locker room--even provided the perfect quote to go with this heartwarming story. This is what he said:

"I thought, 'If I came to the game would I rather see me do a layup or Isaiah dunk?' and so I dished it back to Isaiah to see what he would do."

Shortly after that, the entire deception came crashing down. It was Hicks who gave it away.

"Wade Moody can dunk," the freshman said.

Hold on a minute. We are talking about 6-foot-0 (possibly an exaggeration), 175-pound Wade Moody? The one who wears number 55?

"Wade Moody can dunk," Hicks said again. "He was just being nice to me to pass me the ball. But he can dunk. Don't sleep on Wade Moody."

Look, Isaiah, it's not necessarily sleeping on Wade Moody as much as it is using context clues and common powers of observation. I have personally seen Wade Moody attempt to dunk. I have never seen him actually convert one.

Let's ask Nate Britt.

"Wade Moody can dunk," Britt said. "I saw it. Kennedy didn't believe that he could do it, and he asked him to try, and Wade Moody dunked it. You know what? He dunked it easier than I can dunk it."

"Wade Moody dunks all the time," said J.P. Tokoto, the resident dunk expert. "But Wade Moody is unselfish, so he made the pass. That's the kind of guy he is. A lot of guys would've dunked that themselves. I probably would've dunked that."

Well, J.P., considering that could've led to something like this, that really would've been fine:

But this is distracting us from our mission. By this point, Wade Moody had left the locker room, probably off to secretly dunk on the Granville courts while a unicorn ran across the blacktop, Paul Bunyan chopped wood on the sideline and Silent Sam sang Hark the Sound. He was requested to return to the locker room. Wade Moody being Wade Moody, he complied.

Why, he is asked, did you not happen to mention this? Look at that quote. Aw shucks gee whiz I was going to lay it up but I passed it to Isaiah and he is a big strong dunker and you know me all I do is play below the rim blah blah blah.

"A lot of people just don't think I can jump at all," Wade Moody said. "I mean, look at me. Clearly, they have a good reason to think that. But I had my first dunk probably about two years ago. This summer, I could dunk pretty consistently, but I missed a couple dunks in pickup games, so I stopped."

But couldn't you have started again for one night? Do it for New Year's Eve. Do it for #HappyBlueYear. Do it for the halftime frisbee dogs.

"I wasn't as confident in my dunking skills," Wade Moody said. "We did squats before the game with Jonas (Sahratian)."

Of course Wade Moody does squats before the game. At this point in the interview Sahratian could actually be heard to groan, "That's embarrassing."

"The squats aren't why I didn't dunk," Wade Moody continued. "I promise I can do it. It's not all that impressive. It's pretty much the most basic dunk you can do."

Wade Moody, you need to understand that the only dunk I can do involves a Nerf hoop and an unsuspecting eight-year-old defender. They are all impressive to me.

And it would've been impressive to 16,923 people in the Smith Center, who now have to go into 2014 with the knowledge that they were this close to seeing a Wade Moody dunk in person. This immediately goes beside Vince Carter's off-the-backboard dunk against Duke in 1998 as the biggest missed opportunities in Smith Center history.

Clearly, this required some follow-up journalism. Roy Williams needed to be located and needed to be told just how wrong he was. He deserved to know the truth.

He was standing beside the Smith Center court talking to a friend. That's where he heard the news he will likely never forget: Wade Moody can dunk.

"What?" he said with a raised eyebrow.

It's true. Three players independently verified it. Also, Wade Moody does squats before the game, but that's a different column. The point is, though, that Wade Moody can dunk.

"I haven't seen it," Williams said. "I've seen him miss it, but I haven't seen him make it. And in my opinion, you can't dunk if I haven't seen it."

OK, fair point. But let's take Wade Moody at his word. Let's say Wade Moody can dunk. Knowing that now, don't you need to take back your statement that Wade Moody being unselfish was the play of the game? Actually, Wade Moody was being selfish, because Wade Moody deprived all of us of seeing his dunk. And if he had dunked, don't you think that would've been better than a pass to Hicks?

"If Wade Moody had dunked," said Williams, with the absolute certainty of a man who was speaking the complete truth, "that would have been the play of the game."

Adam Lucas is the editor of CAROLINA.

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