As a freshman in coach Dean Smith’s team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 points per game (ppg) on 53.4% shooting (field goal percentage). He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, which was led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan later described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, and added 5.0 rebounds per game (rpg). He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore (1983) and junior (1984) seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft. The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan with the third overall pick, after Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets) and Sam Bowie (Portland Trail Blazers). One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted sooner was because the first two teams were in need of a center. However, the Trail Blazers general manager Stu Inman contended that it was not a matter of drafting a center, but more a matter of taking Sam Bowie over Jordan, in part because Portland already had a guard with similar skills to Jordan, Clyde Drexler. In 2005 ESPN, citing Bowie’s injury-laden college career, named the Blazers’ choice of Bowie as the worst draft pick in North American professional sports history.
Jordan returned to North Carolina to complete his degree in 1986
Career highlights and awards
NCAA champion (1982)
2× Consensus first-team All-American (1983–1984)
National college player of the year (1984)
ACC Player of the Year (1984)
No. 23 retired by the University of North Carolina