DURHAM — With John Henson, Harrison Barnes and incoming recruit P.J. Hairston on one team and Raymond Felton on the other, most of the attention in the second game of the Greater NC Pro-Am summer league on Wednesday night was on Tar Heels past, present and future.
It would be an overstatement to say Dominique Sutton stole the show. But judging by crowd reaction, the lasting memory for most in attendance at N.C. Central's McLendon-McDougald Gym may have come from an unlikely source.
Much to the approval of his hometown crowd, Sutton took off from just inside the free-throw line and dunked in the waning seconds to put an emphatic finishing touch on Team Jamison's 77-74 win over Triangle Gastroenterology.
Team Jamison featured Felton, who was the starting point guard on the Tar Heels' 2005 NCAA championship squad, while Triangle Gastroenterology had the three who will be on UNC's team next season.
"I've been waiting for this for so long because there's all this hype that I wanted to throw myself in the mix," Sutton said. "There was a lot of Carolina fans in here, so it was something to cheer about and something to remember."
As a standout at Durham Jordan High School, Sutton once dreamed about playing for those same Carolina fans. But he ended up at Kansas State, playing three seasons for the Wildcats and averaging 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds during his junior year.
Determined to play professional basketball and missing his family, Sutton surprised some - he says a number of schools in the ACC tried to recruit him -- by transferring to N.C. Central last summer. After sitting out a year, Sutton will finally get the chance to suit up for the Eagles this season. Considering he was originally under the impression he wouldn't have to miss a year before playing for NCCU, he has been champing at the bit.
"I can't wait to get in between the lines," said Sutton, who had 17 points Wednesday (Henson led all scorers with 29 points, with almost all of those coming on variety of dunks).
"Sitting on the bench the whole year just killed me."
Since he might fly under the radar with the Eagles, Sutton is hoping the summer league will show a larger audience what he is capable of. Wednesday was the second straight night he played with Felton, who has a habit of making teammates look good.
"Ray told me that I've got it - that there's no way I shouldn't be playing in the league (NBA) next year," Sutton said. "Hopefully if I do what I am supposed to do and we do what we're supposed to do, I can go somewhere and make some money. I've got high hopes and everybody has high expectations."
Wall, Hodge need day of rest: One day after going head-to-head in an exciting affair, neither John Wall nor Julius Hodge suited up in their teams' games Wednesday.
Hodge's absence hurt his team more. His 751 South squad only had five players dressed when the game started, although two players joined the sidelines after the tip.
Making their life even more difficult, former UNC star Rasheed Wallace suited up for their opponents, Sheraton Imperial. Sheraton Imperial won handily. Sheraton Imperial has Kyrie Irving on its roster, although he hasn't played in a summer game yet.