Joel Berry II is a very competitive person, a trait that usually serves him quite well. It certainly did in April, when the North Carolina point guard was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player after leading his Tar Heels to a national championship.
Earlier this week, though, Berry’s competitive nature led him down a decidedly less prestigious path: After losing a video game, he broke his right hand by punching a door.
“He did a silly thing,” UNC Coach Roy Williams said at ACC media day Wednesday (via ESPN). Tar Heels forward Theo Pinson, who was playing the video game with Berry and a student manager, described it as “just a freak accident.”
Pinson, a senior as is Berry, may now be tasked with filling some of the Tar Heels’ void at point guard until his teammate recovers. Berry is expected to miss around four weeks, while UNC begins its season Nov. 10 against Northern Iowa.
Other fill-in point guard options for the Tar Heels, ranked ninth in the USA Today coaches poll, include sophomore Seventh Woods and freshman Jalek Felton. “[Coach Williams] always wants three point guards after the Kendall Marshall incident,” Pinson said, referring to the UNC guard who broke his wrist in the 2012 NCAA tournament, after which the top-seeded Tar Heels went on to lose in the regional finals.
Williams said Tuesday that when he got the news of Berry’s injury, which occurred to his shooting hand, the 67-year-old coach exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He added (via the Raleigh News & Observer) that he “got on the phone with Joel, and Joel tells me, ‘Yeah, coach, it was just silly.’ ”
Williams lauded Berry’s toughness, noting the ankle injuries through which he played late last season, and said that “winning is extremely important to him.”
“He made a mistake here because winning is very important to him,” Williams said. “And he’s so competitive and so silly.”
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