Final Four: UNC's Kennedy Meeks 'never thought about being one-and-done'

By Ron Clements 2 April 2017 225
Final Four: UNC's Kennedy Meeks 'never thought about being one-and-done'

Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson had to laugh at the question.

"What does it say about recruiting and one-and-done players that you have been to two championship games in a row without a single one-and-done player on your team?"

There was a pause and a glance at North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams. Then Meeks, whose 25 points and 14 rebounds helped the Tar Heels beat Oregon to reach Monday's national championship game, answered. 

"Well, I think education is important," the 6-10 senior said following Saturday's 77-76 win over the Ducks at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. "My family always preaches that to me. So to answer your question, no, I never thought being one-and-done. I knew that this was going to be a great program for me. Had a great coaching staff that will teach me how to become a man over the course of the four years. And it's a great outcome, I think. I think I'm a great product from what Coach Williams has started off."

Jackson, a 6-8 junior who scored 22 points against the Ducks, echoed his teammate's remarks. 

"You know, there's nothing bad about schools that might have a lot of one-and-dones," Jackson said. "But coming to a place like this, with a coach like (Williams), and brothers that you can call family for the rest of your life, you know, there's nothing better than that. At the end of the day, this is the second Final Four that I've been to in my three years, and it's the second that he's been to.

"And so there's nothing better than winning. And coming to a place like this where you have family, education, you know, the best of the best when it comes to basketball, I don't think it can really get much better."

It will be much better for the Tar Heels if they can accomplish Monday what they failed to do last year. Villanova beat North Carolina in last year's title game, so Meeks and Jackson will hope to lead the Heels to a win over Gonzaga Monday. 

"Gonzaga is a totally different team than Villanova was," Meeks said. "And so we've got to get, whoever has the scout, we've got to get used to the scout a little bit. And at the end of the day it's just playing as hard as we possibly can when we get out there."

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Ron Clements