Dean Smith on Michael Jordan’s growth spurt in college

Dean Smith on Michael Jordan’s growth spurt in college

Dean Smith, arguably the best college basketball coach of all time, made a guest appearance on the Charlie Rose Show back in 1993. The interview mainly focused on the basketball career of the UNC legend, the University of North Carolina program, and last but not least — coaching Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan thought he wasn’t going play at UNC

The Tar Heels were always a packed team, with James Worthy and Sam Perkins on the roster; most people at the time thought Jordan was a good addition but definitely not a starter, as freshmen would rarely start on powerhouse programs such as UNC.

Michael Jordan, I didn’t think would start. He didn’t think he would. He was told in Wilmington he wouldn’t even play at Carolina and he wanted to prove them differently. He continues to prove people differently and he also grew two inches and I can’t control that.

Dean Smith via Charlie Rose Show

MJ finished off his freshman year with 13.5 Pts, 4.4 Reb, and 1.8 Ast per game, making him the 3rd option on the team behind Perkins and Worthy. Crazy to think MJ spent three years in college before going pro, and while some will say those are years wasted, in reality, he was too small and weak for the NBA.

Michael Jordan’s growth spurt

When referring to the game-changing moment in Jordan’s college career, Dean Smith pointed out his growth; “Well, he came in really at 6’3″, 170 lbs., his big jump was when he grew between his freshmen and sophomore year.” 

Jordan is listed at 6’6”. It takes some simple math to figure out he grew 3 inches in college, which ultimately propelled him into the extraordinary athlete he was. But what distinguished him from others was his remarkable fundamentals and unseen willpower. Most of his NBA adversaries will go on record saying they never played against a more fundamentally sound player, who always got his shot up from wherever he wanted to.

Michael Jordan’s best game as a freshman

Jordan always had a knack for making clutch shots. Everyone remembers MJ’s famous game-winner in the ’82 NCAA Finals. However, interestingly, according to Smith, the final shot was meant to go to James Worthy. Somehow yet, the ball ended up finding Jordan.

That was his best game. Isn’t that amazing? That’s something about him, his best game his freshmen year was his last game of his freshman year in the National Championship game.

Dean Smith via Charlie Rose Show

MJ was undoubtedly born for big-time moments, but he also was lucky enough to be mentored by a mastermind coach and psychologist who he often regarded as a second father figure. Smith put Jordan in a position to succeed and taught him the necessary tools he needed to take the NBA by storm.