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Tar Heels building campus pickup tradition

What do you miss most about college?

Is it the parties? The big campus events? The access to brilliant professorial minds? The constant intellectual stimulation? That strange knowledge that everything your parents told you about self-discovery and "the best time of your life" -- a promise of college every bit as relevant as a degree and well-paying job -- might actually be true?

Me? I miss the basketball. If you like pickup basketball, college -- especially the kind of college that has a hollowed out basketball fieldhouse as its primary student athletics facility -- is your dream come true.

Which is why, to make a long story short, I am insanely jealous of North Carolina students today -- and not just because they're still in college (which is enviable in and of itself). No, I'm jealous because UNC's current crop of stars came up with the idea to hold pickup basketball games on an outdoor campus court. And man, does it look fun.

The Wall Street Journal's Ben Cohen has the story, which goes like this: The players -- Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, et al. -- tweet their plans to play a few minutes before they arrive. Hundreds of students follow, and some good old fashioned collegiate solidarity ensues. Cohen's story is full of fun details: Barnes dunking thrice on a defiant student; a girl who politely asked Marshall if she could steal the ball from him (he complied); the time when UNC's players unveiled a full-court press to avoid losing to a team that managed to get within upset territory late in the game. The whole thing is very much worth the read.

Oh, and in case you're wondering: No, the Tar Heels haven't been beaten by their fellow students yet. Which is why the students need to pool their resources and piece together a squad of the best intramural players on campus. (At Indiana, these players were always scary-good, the kind of potential walk-ons who were clearly skilled enough to play college hoops somewhere, but for various reasons weren't. Indiana players used to do this sort of thing after the season was over, and they had their fair share of issues when good teams got on the court.) Take those five best players, set up an organized time and location, and have a big unofficial students vs. student-athletes match up. Winners get the next shipment of gear from Jordan Brand.

In any case, I'm not sure any story could make me more simultaneously jealous, nostalgic and whimsical. Well done, Tar Heels. As if we all needed another reason to miss being on campus.