North Carolina traveled in style to the first round of the NCAA Tournament this week, with each player sporting a custom hat.
Before anyone alerts the NCAA for potential violations, the hats were all created by Tar Heels freshman Shea Rush, who has been designing headwear since high school.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 15, 2017
Rush said he got his inspiration from watching professional athletes' news conferences, where he would see players like Russell Westbrook and Cam Newton don their own unique hats.
“I figured, ‘Wow, I really like that look, so I’m going to make my own,’“ Rush told USA Today. “I ordered materials, looked up how to do it online and went for it."
He began wearing his creations along with his suit on game days, and more teammates asked him if he could design custom hats for the whole team. So Rush took time with each player to get his measurements and figure out his style.
Even coach Roy Williams has one,and said the entire team plans to wear their hats to dinner Thursday night and possibly on Friday when top-seeded UNC faces No. 16 Texas Southern.
“They could be Mafia hats, who knows?” Williams said. "I like 'em. I've got one. … I don't look good in a hat at all, may not look good anyway, but I know I don't look good in a hat. But I'm going to try to put mine on. He asked me what color, what band, all that stuff. Hats by Shea. It's a pretty neat deal.”