The North Carolina Tarheels have produced more top-level NBA talent than most other schools, including the likes of hall of famers James Worthy, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Larry Brown, and Michael Jordan.
While they have been sending players to the NBA since the league’s inception, one of the most successful time periods came in the 1990’s when 15 former Tarheels found a home in the league. Of those 15, four stand out for their remarkable production and accomplishments – Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter.
But deciding who had the best career is a tall task since they all did so many things to distinguish themselves during impressive careers, but that’s exactly what we did.
4. Jerry Stackhouse, 1995-2003
Stackhouse was an elite scoring guard, who became a very valuable role player near the end of his career. He was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1995 draft and played for eight different teams during his 18-year career.
He was a two-time all-star who averaged more than 20 points a night during five different seasons. His most productive season came with the Detroit Pistons in 2000-01 when he led the NBA in Points and finished second in scoring average as he totaled 29.8 points per game.
The main drawback with Stackhouse is while he was a great scorer, he didn’t do much else. He was a high usage player who didn’t shoot the ball well. He also turned the ball over a significant amount including back-to-back season were he led the league in miscues.
All told, he played 970 games where he averaged 16.9 points on 40.9 percent shooting with 3.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 31.2 minutes.
3. Antawn Jamison, 1998-2014
Like Stackhouse, Jamison was a fantastic scorer during his time in the NBA. In fact, he is one of the most underrated scorers of all-time. He averaged more than 19 points a game 10 times and finished with 20,042 points during his 18-year career.
Jamison was the No. 4 overall pick by the Toronto Raptors and traded to the Toronto Raptors. He played for six teams, including the Washington Wizards where he was a two-time all-star. One of his best seasons came in 2007-08 when he averaged a double-double with 21.4 points on 43.6 percent shooting with 10.2 rebounds.
While he was a constant contributor on the offensive end and on the backboard, Jamison was never a great defender. In fact, he never had a season with a positive defensive box plus/minus, according to Basketball-reference.com.
All told, Jamison played 1,083 games where he averaged 18.5 points on 45.1 percent shooting from the floor with 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 34.8 minutes.
2. Rasheed Wallace, 1995-2003
Wallace was an enigma during his 16-year career. He had the talent to be one of the best players in the game, but never seemed to put it all together for long stretches to be included in those conversations.
He was the No. 4 overall pick by the Washington Bullets in the 1995 draft, but played just one season in Washington before he was moved to Portland. He played for six teams in his 16 seasons and was a four-time all-star and a huge piece of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons championship team. His best season came in Portland in 2000-01 when he averaged 19.2 points on 50.1 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals.
The downside to Wallace’s game was his consistency. He would play like and MVP for stretches and then completely disappear for others. There is no better example of that then during the 00-01 season where he put up games of consecutive games of 42, 32 and 35 points then totaled games of 11, two and nine points just a week later.
All told, Wallace played 1,109 games and averaged 14.4 points on 46.7 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals in 32.7 minutes.
1. Vince Carter, 1999-current
Carter’s career has consisted of two completely different roles. After he was the No. 5 overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 1998 draft, he was quickly traded to the Toronto Raptors where he was an instant star. While much of his recognition comes from his dunking ability, he was a scoring machine. He averaged more than 20 points a game for 10 straight seasons, including six seasons of more than 24 points a night.
Plenty of accolades came along with that as he was an eight time all-star and an All-NBA selection in back-to-back years. His most productive season came in 2000-01 when he was named All-NBA Second-Team after he averaged a career-best 27.6 points on 46 percent shooting from the floor, including 40.8 percent from beyond the arc. He added 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks.
After starring roles in Toronto and New Jersey, transitioned for elite scorer to second and third option to key role player coming off then bench which is what he has done for the Memphis Grizzlies for the last three seasons. While no longer the high flyer he once was, he is a veteran leader who does the little things to help his team find the win column.
Carter’s main drawback was he never quite reached the level many expected of him after his explosive start. He never surpassed his third year totals and never made a deep playoff run with any of his teams.
To this point in his career, he has played 1,347 games where he is averaging 18.2 points on 43.8 percent shooting with 4.6 points, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals in 32 minutes.