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Editorial: NCAA champions: More than basketball

A YouTube video created by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill put the right spin on the place basketball should hold on a high-caliber university campus.

Click here to watch the video.

As the video shows the Tar Heels celebrating their Monday night victory, announcer Woody Durham poses a familiar question: “Carolina, you’ve just won another national championship. What are you going to do next?”
What follows is not a promotion for Disney World. Student Aisha Ihab Saad says she’s going to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. Chemistry professor Joe Desimone says he’s going to make nanoparticles. James Johnson, director of UNC’s Urban Investment Strategies Center, says he’s going to work on breakthrough education strategies for urban youth. Dr. Lisa Carey says she’s going to cure more patients at the new North Carolina Cancer Hospital.
Then, to show the university doesn’t take itself too seriously, Chancellor Holden Thorp appears holding an electric guitar and says, “I’m going to show Roy how to play a real guitar,” and launches into (or pretends to) the UNC alma mater, “Hark the Sound,” a la Jimi Hendrix. He’s spoofing Coach Roy Williams’ appearance in a TV commercial for the musical video game Guitar Hero.
You get the point. The Carolina campus was all about the NCAA championship Monday night. But there’s more to UNC than basketball.
Fans will bask in the glow of this victory for some time ó and for good reason. The highly touted Tar Heels left the Final Four last year after an embarrassing thrashing, and every second of this season has been aimed like a laser at one goal: the NCAA championship. Their convincing victory over Michigan State on Monday ó in fact, their play throughout this year’s NCAA Tournament ó was a pure demonstration of focus, determination and athletic ability.
There’s more to UNC than basketball.
The story would have unfolded quite differently if a few of the players had given in to the siren song of the NBA last year. But defeat left the bitter taste of unfinished business in their mouths, so players like Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson returned for another year of college play in hopes of wrapping up that championship.
“This is the best way to go out,” Hansbrough said after the victory. “I couldn’t picture it any other way.”
There is more to UNC than basketball. But Tar Heel fans will savor this moment for years to come. Nanoparticles, cancer cures and Rhodes scholars are far more important than throwing a ball through a hoop. But there’s nothing quite like watching your team win a NCAA championship.
Hark the sound.

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