UNC basketball legend Phil Ford has surgery after prostate cancer diagnosis

Chapel Hill, N.C. — University of North Carolina basketball legend Phil Ford is recovering after undergoing surgery Tuesday for prostate cancer.

The university said Ford was diagnosed as a result of his annual physical. He is recovering under the care of Dr. Eric Wallen, professor of urology at UNC Chapel Hill.

“Fortunately, Phil has been proactive regarding his health, so this was caught early and the surgery went well,” Dr. Wallen said in a statement. “Men are often reluctant to go to the doctor unless something feels wrong. If we can get more men to the doctor for regular checkups, we can address common health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and prostate cancer before serious issues arise.”

Ford said he ed UNC head basketball coach Roy Williams immediately after learning he had cancer.

“He recommended Dr. Wallen,” Ford said in a statement. “I can‘t thank Roy enough for making a great referral, as well as Dr. Wallen, the urology team at UNC and the Lineberger Cancer Center. I‘m in a really good place spiritually and know I‘m in the best place in the hands of God, Dr. Wallen and the staff at UNC Hospitals. I‘ll manage this with their help and the support of my family and friends.”

Ford, of Rocky Mount, is the second all-time in scoring at UNC and third in assists.

Ford was the 1975 ACC Tournament MVP as a freshman, the starting point guard on the 1976 gold medal winning U.S. Olympic Team, the 1978 National Player of the Year, the 1979 NBA Rookie of the Year and a seven-year NBA veteran.

Ford served as an assistant at UNC from 1988-2000. He was inducted in 2012 in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Phil is one of a handful of people who, when you say his name, you think he is Carolina Basketball,” Williams said in a statement.

“He certainly is one of the most beloved players who has ever played here. We‘re glad they caught this when they did, and all of our prayers are with Phil and his family. He‘s getting the best care possible with Dr. Wallen and his team.”