Admittedly, I was disappointed when North Carolina ended the miracle run of St. Peter’s in the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tourney. But that was gone the next week when UNC and Duke had their classic game in the semifinals. The entire season for Carolina is captured in this book - here is my review of “Together”
“Together: The Amazing Story of Carolina Basketball’s 2021-2022 Season” by Adam Lucas, Steve Kirschner and Matt Bowers
4 of 5 stars (very good)
When the University of North Carolina’s men’s basketball team reached the Final Four in 2022, it was a complete surprise. It was the first year for coach Hubert Davis, a former Tar Heel player who reached the Final Four during his playing days. The story of how he and his players reached the Final Four is told here in this book co-authored by three writers.
This is more than just a game-by-game recap of the season, although there are brief write-ups of each game played by the Tar Heels, non-conference, conference play and the NCAA tournament. There were bumps along the way - some blowout losses were suffered by the team but they pulled together to have a very good conference record and a magical run in the tourney. Their last two wins are the most notable - ending the Cinderella run of the St. Peter’s Peacocks in the regional finals, then a classic game against arch rival Duke to make the championship game. While it ended with a loss to Kansas in that tilt, it didn’t diminish the team’s accomplishments and the book’s writing about Davis and some of his players confirms this.
It is clear in the interviews with Davis that he infused confidence in his team and brought some innovation into Carolina basketball, such as utilizing his guards more, unlike the legendary coaches who made UNC famous for its use of centers. Although Davis even changed that a little as he drew up more plays in which his center Brady Manek (whose chapter made for great reading) took many three-point shots. The book was an excellent source of learning about the basketball sense of the first-year coach.
Manek was just one of the players whose backstory was told and while not every player had his own chapter, the reader will learn much about these players and how they played well together at the right time. This book is completed by great photography and action shots for most of the games played by the Tar Heels and a reader can understand the story of the 2021-22 North Carolina basketball team through pictures as well as words. UNC fans will love this book about an unlikely run to the championship game.
I wish to thank University of North Carolina Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.