Carolina on the minds of America's Olympians

Friday, July 30th 2004, 11:30 am
By: News On 6

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Dean Smith was criticized in 1976 because he included four of his North Carolina players on the U-S Olympic basketball team. The critics were silenced when he won the gold medal in Montreal.

The 2002 team has a similar influence with hopes of reaching the same goal.

Larry Brown, former player and assistant at North Carolina, is the head coach of this version of the U-S men's team. Roy Williams, former assistant and current head coach of the Tar Heels, is Brown's assistant.

And Smith has dropped in at the pre-Olympic training camp.

Brown says everything he's been taught comes from something that Smith taught him. He says all the defensive calls he'll make in Athens are the same ones Smith used during his 36 years on the bench in Chapel Hill.

Even ex-Duke center Carlos Boozer says it's an honor to be in Smith's presence, and never mind the Duke-Carolina rivalry.