If you ask most UNC Basketball fans about a former Tar Heel on the Los Angeles Clippers it won’t be a stretch that first round rookie Reggie Bullock would be their answer. However, there is another former hardwoods star from Chapel Hill on that roster… 6’9″/235 lbs power forward Antawn Jamison, who celebrated his thirty seventh birthday this year. And even if the fifteen year veteran might not be the same as when he was at his peak, this season he could still be an intriguing part of the team from Tinsel Town.
Jamison, who is one of only seven players to have his name on the front row of the Jersey in the Rafters in the Dean Dome, is going to be battling for key minutes as the Clippers’ big man coming off the pine. As I said above, the forward is not close to what he used to be in his prime, but a bit like the country song says “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was” says, there is nothing that says he could not be exactly what the Clippers need this season.
Matching the over nine points and close to five rebounds in just over 21 minutes per match average from last year would be a good start for the former pupil of Dean Smith, improving on it, with what could be a better squad than he was on last year, would not be a stretch. Let’s remember that the former Player of the Year at North Carolina was playing over 33 minutes just two seasons removed when he was in Cleveland as a starter. There, the forward was scoring over 17 points per game. So, to see him scoring in double digits on a regular basis should not surprise anyone.
On the other hand, the key to how many minutes Jamison is going to get might be on how he does on the defensive side of the ball. Yes, surprising that I could put a line about defense when it comes to the National Basketball Association, but when you speak about the Clippers someone is going to have to.
In a season with lots of former UNC Basketball players playing at the next level, this might be one of the most interesting story lines when it comes to former hardwoods stars that once called Chapel Hill home. The fact that on the same team you have another Heel in Bullock, who will also be looking to get his share of minutes, and that the Lakers might just not be the same team most people in LA are accustomed to, will put Antawn Jamison even more in evidence. If this is his last year playing, being able to be a big contributor would be a pretty awesome way to go for one that has had a great career at both the college and pro level.