I know it’s over a year away, and anything can happen and players you don’t expect can go pro way before you thought they would. But all things considered 2013 should be a special year at the point for North Carolina. The 2012 recruiting class features incoming freshman Marcus Paige, the top PG in the entire class. And while the position will be thin again in 2012, Nate Britt joins Paige in 2013.
Paige and Britt are both the top points in their class, both left handed (Roy’s new obsession?) but both with different games. Britt is the better defender both on and off the ball. He’s extremely aggressive on that end of the floor and is almost more comfortable as a defender. He’s not a killer athlete (like JP Tokoto) but he gets by. Britt is a better distributor right now than he is a scorer and that’s where he differs from Paige. His game isn’t as well rounded but he may be the better overall player when you consider how well he pushes the ball and executes the offense in the half court. Britt is also a better on the defensive end, and considering he’s a year behind Paige, that bodes well for him when the two become teammates in the 2013 season. He’s very tough playing the passing lanes and is a pesky, relentless defender one on one. Britt is a very streaky shooter and shows signs of one day becoming a lethal scorer as his game develops. He needs better mechanics with his jump shot and needs to stop favoring a set shot he sometimes falls in love with. He needs a quicker release on his jumper and more upper body strength if he wants to finish at the rim, something he thrives at, at the high school level as a slasher.
Paige is more of a scorer and better at leading the team on the break. Paige averaged 28.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists for Lin-Mar High School this season while earning Iowa Player of the Year honors. He can score from anywhere on the floor, he’s fantastic coming off screens and working the pick and roll. Don’t be fooled by his HS stats, Paige can really pass the basketball and resembles Marshall the way he keeps his head up at all times. He shined in the McDonald’s All-America game with six points handing out seven assists. Paige will come to Carolina ready to score and contribute immediately offensively. He has a smooth jump shot and is a great catch and shoot, shooter. Defensively he will have to find a way to improve on the fly and not allow his speed disadvantage to make him a target defensively, something Marshall struggled with.
I think Paige has a little bit of an advantage right now. But he’s also a year older and should have a small advantage. In the long run, Britt’s the better defender but must develop a better offensive game. Paige needs to get better on the defensive end of the floor and both need to add upper body strength. 2012 will be another year where the Heels only have one legitimate pure PG in Marcus Paige (Luke Davis has to prove it to me first sorry). In 2013 the Heels should have one of, if not the best PG tandem in the nation.