Weekend roundup: attendance, Drew, ACC

Some Tar Heels hoops-related stories, notes and quotes from the weekend:

UNC FOURTH IN ATTENDANCE: For the fifth year in a row, the average attendance for Division I men’s basketball games fell in 2011-12.

But for the second year in a row, North Carolina’s rose.

UNC finished fourth in 2012 men’s basketball attendance, according to NCAA figures released last week, behind Kentucky, Syracuse and Louisville.

The Tar Heels drew 362,867 fans over 18 home games, an average of 20,159 per contest.

Attendance at the Smith Center had taken a sharp dip in 2009-10, the season UNC followed a national title with a trip to the postseason NIT. But attendance has been on the rise since then. A look at the Tar Heels’ numbers over the past five seasons:

Season, Average fans (Home games)

  • 2011-12: 20,159 (18)

  • 2010-11: 19,114 (15)

  • 2009-10: 17,786 (19)

  • 2008-09: 21,035 (15)

  • 2007-08: 20,097 (15)


WEAR ON DREW: Many Tar Heels fans have tried to forget about/ignore both the Wear twins and Larry Drew II, who opted to transfer to UCLA (the twins after the 2009-10 season, Drew in the middle of 2010-11). But it might be a little bit harder now, as Drew will be eligible to play for the Bruins next season, re-joining his former teammates on the court.

Travis Wear, for one, seems to think Drew -- who left UNC four games after he was replaced by then-freshman Kendall Marshall in the starting lineup -- can make a difference for his new team. From his Q&A with ESPN.com’s Jason King:

You and Larry Drew both started your careers at North Carolina before transferring to UCLA. What about him gives you confidence that he can impact this team as a point guard?

TW: Larry is one of the quickest players I’ve ever played with or seen play. His ability to get into the lane and make good decisions is really going to help. It’s really going to help the guys who can step out and shoot, because he’s really good at penetrating, drawing the defense and then kicking it out to the open man. In transition, he’s a great passer. He’s very good at creating for others.

MORE ON SCHEDULING: As we reported Friday, the Tar Heels will play NC State, Maryland and permanent partner Duke home-and-home next season, as well as Clemson on the road. The News & Observer filled out UNC's 18-game league schedule list. Wrote Andrew Carter:

In addition to N.C. State, North Carolina will play Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami and Virginia twice. The Tar Heels will face Virginia Tech and Wake Forest once, both at home. They will play Boston College and Clemson once, both on the road.

ZELLER GRADUATES: ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller officially graduated over the weekend. Here's the picture he posted to yfrog.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.