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N. Carolina’s Carter May Go to NBA

April 29, 1998

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ First, Antawn Jamison. Now Vince Carter may be next.

The 6-foot-7 junior is expected to follow his teammate into the pros, with the announcement possibly Thursday.

``Do I think you’re wrong if you say (Carter) goes _ no,″ one source close to the basketball program, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press.

On Monday, Jamison, the national player of the year, said he would forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft.

The school was firming up plans for a Thursday news conference regarding Carter, a second-team All-American who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in shooting. He averaged 15.6 points while shooting 59 percent.

If Carter leaves, it would be the second time in four years that North Carolina made the Final Four then lost two underclassmen to the same NBA draft. Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace entered the draft after their sophomore seasons in 1995.

``We’ve planned that there was a possibility that Antawn and Vince would both be gone this year,″ coach Bill Guthridge said. ``It didn’t catch us off guard. Still, all that experience and ability you miss.″

Carter has an unlisted telephone number. Messages left for Guthridge, former coach Dean Smith and Charles Brinkerhoff, Carter’s high school coach, were not returned Wednesday.

A message was also left on the answering machine of Michelle Robinson, Carter’s mother who lives in Ormond Beach, Fla.

Smith had advised underclassmen in the past to turn pro if they’re projected as a top five pick. When asked this week if Carter had been told he fit into that category, Guthridge said no.

``We’ve met with him a lot of times, ever since the season was over, almost every day he would be by the office and we would present him with what was the latest information,″ Guthridge said.

The Tar Heels, coming off a 34-4 season, would have been one of the preseason favorites next season to win the national championship with Jamison and Carter. Now only point guard Ed Cota and Ademola Okulaja return as starters.

North Carolina was 21-11 and got knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round the season after Stackhouse and Wallace left.

``It wasn’t a great season by Carolina standards but we survived,″ said Guthridge, whose team this year lost in the NCAA semifinals to Utah.

The loss of the two players means Guthridge, who refused to use much of a bench this past season, would be left with an inexperienced team next season, his second as Smith’s successor.

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