Larry Drew II had the wide-open shot on the wing Tuesday against N.C. State, but the North Carolina point guard passed up a jump shot, drove into traffic ... and promptly coughed up his only turnover of the game.
Watching the tape of the Tar Heels' 77-63 victory two days later with his father, Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Larry Drew, Drew II realized his mistake.
"My dad was like, 'Do you know why you didn't shoot that shot? Because you had a missed a 3-pointer right before,' " Drew said. "And he told me that I have ... to know that I may miss some, but I'll still make some.
"It's about having confidence ... that's part of being aggressive."
And UNC, which slipped out of the Top 25 rankings last week, needs that aggressiveness against Virginia tonight (7:45 p.m., FSCR) and the rest of the season.
In Drew's mind, playing assertively means keeping the opposing guard defending him, as well as other defenders, on their heels.
And for his teammates, there's an obvious correlation between how the team fares and how Drew is playing, because the statistics don't lie.
The 6-foot-2 sophomore averaged 16 points, 7.5 assists and 1.5 turnovers in UNC's two ACC wins over Virginia Tech and N.C. State.
In UNC's three ACC losses, when Drew said he played nervous or passive, "just going through the motions, running through the offense, just pass here, screen here, cut here, instead of looking to create for myself and others," Drew's numbers dipped to 6.3 points, 6.6 assists and 4.6 turnovers an outing.
"He's the point guard, so when he's playing well, everyone feeds off him," senior forward Deon Thompson said.
But playing at a consistent level has proven a challenge for Drew, who spent his freshman season playing behind Ty Lawson.
Drew is a different style of ballhandler than Raymond Felton or Lawson, who pushed, assisted and sped UNC to its last two national championships.
Like them, he has a pass-first mentality: Drew leads the league with 6.4 assists per game. However, he's simply not as fast as Felton or Lawson.
"Ty could go from one end of the court to the other end of the court in three dribbles - it seemed like under a second. Me, I'd rather pitch the ball ahead," Drew said. "... That said, Ty had to learn when to push the ball, and when not to, when to back it out. So for me, it's when to pitch the ball, when to attack a defense - or when to step out and attack the offense. It's stuff that I'm still learning."
And it's easy to forget, but Lawson, last year's ACC Player of the Year, went through his own learning curve.
Now a rookie for the Denver Nuggets, Lawson once said that one of the hardest parts of his freshman season was balancing the need to look for his shot or pass it off to a teammate.
But Lawson also had the likes of Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington to score.
Drew is one of this team's best outside shooters, and it needs his offense in order to open things up for everyone else.
That's why coaches have been encouraging him to look more for his shot.
"There's a lot of weight on his shoulders, that's for sure," senior Marcus Ginyard said after the N.C. State game. "... He's got to understand, he's going to make mistakes out there. But tonight, he didn't let one lead to another, lead to another. He made a mistake, fixed it, made another great play. And that's really all we can expect out of him. We're putting a lot in his hands, to take this team under control."
Drew admits that during this season "the highs have been really high, and the lows have been really low," and he puts a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, particularly after losses.
He knows, from reading the messages posted online on his Twitter account, that there are some fans who compare him with Felton and Lawson and find him lacking.
"But that's why I read those messages," Drew said. "I've always been the type of person who loves to prove people wrong. It motivates me."
He is hoping that six weeks from now, folks will look back at the N.C. State game as a turning point for his play - and for his team.
Against the Cavaliers tonight, his goals will include stopping another ACC point guard from lighting up the scoreboard (four of the opposing playmakers UNC has faced in league play have scored at least 19 points), limiting his turnovers and playing aggressively throughout the game.
For the latter two, he only has to remember watching that Wolfpack game video.
"I mean, I passed up a wide-open shot for a turnover," he said. "And that just doesn't make any sense."