Family fuels Stanback’s motivation to topple Tar Heels

It’s hard to imagine going into the biggest game of your basketball life with the person closest to you possibly rooting for the opposition. But that may just be the case tonight for UNLV senior Chace Stanback when the Rebels play No. 1-ranked North Carolina in the Las Vegas Invitational championship game at the Orleans Arena.

Before the season started last year, I asked Stanback if there was one team in the nation he wished he could play against. I expected the answer to be UCLA since he transferred from the Bruins after one year in Los Angeles, but he was quick to answer with UNC. Why? Because the Tar Heels are his father’s favorite college basketball team.

So Friday night, with a matchup against North Carolina less than 24 hours away, Stanback was asked what he thought his dad would say to him prior to tonight’s game. “I don’t know,” he replied. “He will probably be cheering for North Carolina.”

If facing the top team in the nation isn’t enough to get Stanback’s juices flowing, the thought of his father applauding the Tar Heels’ efforts should do it.