Tar Heel nation has nothing to worry about, this season will be fine.
There have been a lot of questions surrounding how North Carolina will respond to a few off-season issues. After losing Bullock to the NBA, failing to sign Wiggins, and P.J. Hairston’s legal dilemma, sports analysts have questioned the future of this promising squad. Many have written them off and many have predicted a disappointing year. However, I am not convinced that these issues will be a problem entering into the 2013-2014 season.
Are the Tar Heels for real?
There is no doubt that the Tar Heels have what it takes to be great. They are strongest with their size in the frontcourt and have the shooters behind the arc to open up space below the basket. Marcus Page is a year wiser and will manage the game, while McAdoo has improved on his post game and will look to be their main scorer. The suspension of Hairston could be a blessing in disguise, as this will allow other young players a chance to develop in the early part of the season. Remember, the best team at the END of the season wins it all. No one gets a free pass for their performance in the first few weeks.
Facts We Know About North Carolina
– P.J. Hairston has improved his shooting percentage each year. He shot 31% as a Freshman and 43% as a Sophomore.
– Both Brice Johnson and Joel James have improved immensely this offseason and will play a big part in the success of this ball team. James dropped 60 pounds before his Freshman year and spent this offseason working on his footwork. Last year he showed a lot of raw talent and will look to improve his fundamentals this season. Johnson, however, showed excellent natural ability and was a presence under the rim. He gained close to 25 pounds over the summer and came into camp bigger and stronger.
– Marcus Page could be the best point guard UNC has ever had if he continues to develop. Page struggled at times last season, yet showed signs of greatness. Last year, he averaged 3.3 assists through the first eight games. After a few games, Page settled in and finished the season averaging 4.6 apg. Look for his averages to continue to rise as he settles into his leadership role as a Tar Heel.
– McAdoo has elite athleticism and with improved post moves, will be a force to be reconed with. He gave up a chance to enter the NBA draft to come back for another year. His return makes him a key piece to this team and a leader to the young Tar Heels frontcourt.
Can We Trust Roy’s Development Program?
In 2003, Roy Williams came to Chapel Hill. At that point, the Tar Heels had just missed the tournament. Williams was able to develop North Carolina and won the NCAA Championship in 2005. In 2006, most of the Heels left for the NBA, leaving UNC with young recruits. Though they struggled at first, Williams created a monstrous team and ran through the tournament in 2009. In 2010, most of the Heels left for the NBA, leaving UNC with young recruits (see a pattern). Williams was left to develop the players that stayed behind. Now, in 2013, it is the Tar Heels moment to make a run. Every fan should feel comfortable with Roy Williams’ coaching technique and trust that he will prepare his team for a deep tournament appearance.
The Tar Heels have the ability to finish as a top-5 team. Last year, they finished the season strong and should continue that streak this season. Roy Williams knows that there was a lot of progress that needed to be addressed and worked with his players this off-season. If they are half as good as they should be, UNC is a Final Four team. Overall, I am predicting that we see North Carolina in Arlington this coming April.
You can see why I find it hard to believe that the North Carolina Tar Heels should be overlooked this season. All of the pieces are put in place for Williams’ squad to make a push for the title. Traditionally, the champion consists of veteran leadership, great outside shooting, and strong defensive play; UNC has all the intangibles to make that happen and just need to execute when it counts the most.