Wooten’s mustache is a March staple for Tar Heels
By Nick Bowton
CHARLOTTE ó Tyler Hansbrough’s all-over-the-place style of play spawned the nickname Psycho T. Quentin Thomas goes by Q.
Walk-on Jack Wooten has those two and the rest of his North Carolina teammates beat when it comes to nicknames. He’s just Jack Wooten, but his facial hair goes by many aliases.
Wooten had no grand plans for a makeover when he shaved about three weeks ago ó not with a limited ability to grow facial hair in the first place ó but he decided to shave everything but his mustache prior to the Tar Heels’ regular-season finale against Duke.
Since that simple decision, the ‘stache has taken on “a life of its own.”
“There’s a lot of names for it,” said Wooten, a 6-foot-2 guard from Burlington Williams High who spent his first two years at UNC on the junior varsity team. “The stank ‘stache, porn ‘stache, trash ‘stache. There’s so many others. March ‘stache is probably the worst. Not the worst, but it’s not original now.
“Everyone I talk to has a different derogatory name for it.”
So what’s Wooten’s favorite?
“Sketch ‘stache,” he said, obviously recognizing the humor his new look is generating. “I like that. It gives me a creepy feel.”
Creepy, comical and creative, Wooten’s reddish-blonde mustache has become a staple of the Tar Heels’ postseason run.
Similar to hockey players or football players growing their beards in the postseason, Wooten has decided to maintain his mustache until UNC loses. He had never even attempted to grow his facial hair until the beginning of this month.
“I can’t grow facial hair anywhere else ó I don’t have anything right here,” said Wooten, touching his jawline Wednesday in the UNC locker room. “It was kind of just dirty everywhere. Then I was like, ‘Why not just shave everywhere but that?’ That’s all that happened.
“We won the Duke game, so I kept it for the ACC Tournament. It’s sort of just taken off from there.”
And it’s received both positive and negative reactions.
Wooten’s mom isn’t a fan. His two younger sisters think it “looks ridiculous.” His 26-year-old brother, Rob, “loves it.”
As for his teammates?
Wooten said reviews have been mixed in the locker room as well. A couple of guys have joked that Wooten looks like a “baby Marc Davis,” referring to the Tar Heels’ thick-mustached trainer.
The fact that everyone can at least get a laugh out of the ‘stache is OK with Wooten.
“There’s a time for seriousness, and there’s a time when things need to be loose,” he said. “If it helps do that, then I’m fine with it. I’m fine helping out wherever I can.”
The mustache might help lighten the mood in the UNC locker room, but can it help Wooten on the court too? Going into the NCAA tournament, Wooten was the only Tar Heel who hadn’t scored this season. He had five points in a blowout victory against Mount St. Mary’s in the first round.
“I score about a point a minute with the mustache,” he said. “So look for it next year.”
That’s another joke, of course. Wooten said he’ll shave when the Tar Heels lose. When a friend pointed out that a national championship would present a problem because Wooten wouldn’t be able to shave until next fall, Wooten said it’s a great problem to have ó and that he’d still shave the mustache over the summer.
He’s got it for at least one more game, though, as UNC plays Washington State tonight at Bobcats Arena. Like the rest of the North Carolina walk-ons, Wooten likely won’t get off the bench unless he’s standing up to cheer. He’ll be the only player with a mustache.
“People might not give the walk-ons credit as far as playing a lot, getting a lot of minutes, but they do the little things,” Thomas said. “They help us get prepared for games. They’re just great people to be around. Jack’s a great guy to be around. All those guys are great to be around. And they’re a part of this team.”
And, now, so is the ‘stache.
Contact Nick Bowton at 704-797-4256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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