North Carolina shooting guard Marcus Ginyard set another career high on Saturday when he grabbed a Wake Forest missed shot with six seconds left.
Somehow, it seems fitting that the fifth-year senior is closing his college playing days by rebounding.
"I just want to finish strong," said Ginyard, who has pulled down 23 rebounds his past two games. "I just want us to finish strong, and to enjoy doing it."
This hasn't been the storybook year that Ginyard - or anyone else - envisioned after he redshirted last season's national championship run because of a foot injury. Instead of being a go-to leader, he has been a struggling starter.
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Instead of entering tonight's senior night against Miami (18-10, 4-10) trying to help his team boost its NCAA seeding, Ginyard and the Tar Heels (15-14, 4-10) are trying just to qualify for the NIT.
For the 6-foot-5, 210-pound veteran, the most frustrating part has been the injuries. He missed a game in mid-December because of a bruised left foot, and then three more because of a sprained right ankle. By the time he returned in January to begin the ACC season, he was a shell of the wing who began the year hitting open jumpers, guarding the other team's best perimeter player and performing so well that he was the only Tar Heel chosen to the 2K Sports All-Tournament team in New York.
"I feel like everything you thought would happen never happened, and everything you thought would happen never did,'' he said, shaking his head.
With his team's postseason hopes fizzling, Ginyard made a decision last month, right before UNC's 10-point loss to Duke, to change his mindset. No matter the record, he was going to be more involved; no matter the outcome, he was going to start having fun again.
As a result, Ginyard has gotten more involved on the court - trying to take smarter shots, diving for more loose balls, hitting the boards harder. And his teammates have noticed.
"He's contagious for guys," Deon Thompson said. "The way that he is as a person and player, you just feed off him."
Expect there to be plenty of emotion on and off the court tonight, when Ginyard plays his last game at the Smith Center and tries to help the program to its 2,000th victory. He says he "absolutely" has no regrets about returning for a fifth season, instead of graduating with friends and former classmates Tyler Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor and Danny Green, "because the memories aren't just about wins and losses, but what goes on in the locker room and off the court.
For that reason, he said he wouldn't mind playing in the NIT - although he hasn't given up on his team making a miraculous run in the ACC Tournament and earning an automatic NCAA bid.
Talk about a rebound - and a potential storybook ending.
"I would just love to continue to play," he said. "Everybody's talking about the negative things about it [the NIT], and it not being what you want. But it's another opportunity to play ... and maybe to have some fun. And who knows what might happen in the games to come? It might be fun to make some people [on the tournament selection committees] make some tough decisions."