Last Friday, just seven hours before the Tar Heels took down the Butler Bulldogs in the Sweet Sixteen, sophomore business major and Kenan Scholar Parker Smith led a group of Kenan Scholars and Kenan Institute faculty on a tour of the Dean Smith Center and Carolina Basketball Museum.
Every phone was out snapping selfies as the students walked through the tunnel and onto the Dean Smith Center court floor, which is usually closed to the public.
“Hey Butler, how many you got?” One student joked in a snapchat, pointing to the five NCAA tournament title ribbons hanging over their heads.
Smith then took the students to the practice gym, one that is rarely used.
The players typically practice on the main court, the tour guide explained, but they can use the practice gym for individual work, or if the main court is booked.
After about an hour touring the Dean Dome, scholars and faculty walked through the Carolina Basketball Museum. Each marveled at the National Championship trophies, wondering if one more trophy will be behind that glass next year.
“It was also the perfect time of year to dive into Carolina Basketball,” Smith said. “Some magic must have worked out since we are competing for the national championship.”
The opportunity gave Kenan Scholars and KI faculty a chance to bond as well as unwind after a long week of classes. The Kenan Scholar program engages students academically in research, but it also seeks to reward scholars for hard work with outside recreational opportunities, such as the tour of the Dean Smith Center.
The tour helped bring the Kenan Scholars and KI faculty together, Smith said.
“The time together also created community around UNC and basketball, in addition to everyone’s interest in business and public policy.”