Some North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball fans want to see senior forward Kennedy Meeks recognized for his NCAA tournament run performance by hanging his jersey in the rafters of the Dean E. Smith Center.
Meeks’ tournament performance was lauded by sports commentators, media outlets, fans and even a few critics. He helped carry the team in the Oregon game and had two enormous plays in the last 20 seconds against Gonzaga in the championship – one a block of Gonzaga star Nigel Williams-Goss and one an acrobatic steal that sent the UNC bench into a state of pandemonium. The block became the Sports Illustrated championship cover.
UNC student Jericho Benjamin Cook started a petition on change.org to ask coach Roy Williams and the team to hang Meeks’ jersey next to other honored players. More than 100 people had signed the petition as of Wednesday evening.
And there’s an added bonus to honoring Meeks, Cook said.
“If his jersey is hung, then every starter from the 2015-16 title run squad will have their jersey in the rafters of the Dean Dome (Paige, Johnson, Jackson, Berry II, and hopefully Meeks),” he said.
According to UNC, a player must meet one of several criteria to have his jersey hung in the rafters: national player of the year, ACC player of the year, first- or second-team All-America, most valuable player of the NCAA Tournament winning team, most outstanding player of the NCAA Final Four, and Olympic gold medalist.
Meeks hasn’t earned any of these honors yet. Joel Berry was named the NCAA Final Four most outstanding player and Justin Jackson was the ACC player of the year. Meeks could be voted MVP by his teammates and coaches, though.
Jerseys in the Smith Center rafters include: Phil Ford, Raymond Felton, Marcus Paige, Ty Lawson, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, Antawn Jamison, Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
To see the petition, go to https://www.change.org/p/roy-williams-name-kennedy-meeks-team-mvp-and-hang-his-jersey-from-dean-dome-rafters,
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett