GLENDALE, Ariz. — North Carolina junior point guard Joel Berry II has been battling ankle issues throughout the NCAA tournament as he mentioned that both ankles were still bothering him heading into Monday night’s national championship game against Gonzaga.
Berry sprained his right ankle during practice last Saturday and hurt his left ankle during the Tar Heels’ Elite Eight win over Kentucky last Sunday. North Carolina head coach Roy Williams even said that he was, “scared to death” about Berry’s status entering the Final Four but the junior floor leader played 35 minutes in the win over Oregon on Saturday night.
“I’ve been in pain ever since I twisted my right ankle. I did my left one and I’ve been in pain ever since. At this point, I can’t think about it. I just have to continue to play,” Berry said. “Sometimes, it limits me and my movement but other times, I get lost in the game to where I don’t even realize the pain. Tomorrow is the last game of the season so I have to give it my all regardless of what pain I’m going through. There’s no tomorrow. I can rest on Tuesday.”
Although Berry played 35 minutes against the Ducks, he was limited to 2-for-14 shooting from the field, as he never found a rhythm generating his own offense.
Berry and Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss are both battling ankle issues ahead of Monday’s game after Williams-Goss turned his left ankle during the second half of Saturday’s win over South Carolina.
Both point guards have said that they’re going to play but it will be something to monitor for both teams on Monday night.