In 2009, I would not believe anyone who told me that Tyler Zeller would eventually become ACC Player of the Year before he left UNC. Believe me, when I say that this is not a backhanded compliment to Tyler. From Day 1, Z stepped into some big shoes and averaged 10 points as a freshman. For all of the youngsters who have no idea what I am saying, Tyler Zeller started at the center position during the 2008-2009 season when Tyler “Psycho T” Hansbrough was injured for several games in the beginning of that season. It just hit me that the Tar Heels lost the 2012 ACC Player of the Year and next season there will probably be a freshman starting down low. Carolina does have a young team, particularly in the low post.
Zeller left some pretty, big shoes to fill. I do not think that it will be a one man job to supplant him. James McAdoo, Joel James, and Desmond Hubert will probably see spot minutes at the center position. Although Joel James is best suited to play center due to his size, he may not be ready to play 20 to 30 minutes a game. When ACC play starts, it is like a new season in some aspects. Several nights a week, Carolina will face good teams. As young as Carolina is, they still match up well with N.C. State. However, matching up with Duke in the low post may be problematic more so due to the size of Brothers Plumlee. Mason and Miles are actually solid rebounders, which may also be an obstacle for the Heels at least two times next season.
Nevertheless, I trust Roy Williams. He has been coaching close to 30 years, and during that time he has mentored great basketball players including Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Psycho T, just to name a few. Roy knows how to maximize the talent that he has. Average Joes cannot do this. In addition, average Joes will not be filling Tyler Zeller’s shoes next season.