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Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press
North Carolina coach Roy Williams, center left, points to something on the horizon as he talks with team administrative assistant Steven Kirschner during practice before the Carrier Classic NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State aboard the USS Carl Vinson, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, in Coronado, Calif.

CORONADO, Calif. — Say this about the men and women of the military: they know their basketball players.

A handful of former North Carolina stars were walking to their seats for the Carrier Classic on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson when a sailor stopped one of them and said, "Tyler Hansbrough?!"

It was indeed. And there was Vince Carter and Bobby Frasor, getting mobbed for autographs by sailors and Marines waiting for the first game on an active aircraft carrier, between No. 1 North Carolina and Michigan State.

On the other side of the court, former Tar Heel Eric Montross and former Spartans star Steve Smith were getting the same treatment.

The nation's basketball-fan-in-chief, President Barack Obama, was scheduled to attend.