March 9, 2012; Atlanta, GA USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard P.J. Hairston (15) shoots against Maryland Terrapins center Alex Len (25) during the second half of the quarter-finals of the 2012 ACC Men

UNC Basketball: Being Creative

Creating your own shot is extremely important for perimeter players in the game of basketball (insert duh or any applicable smart remark here).  For the North Carolina Tar Heels the players with that are the best at this skill on the roster aren’t necessarily perimeter position players.  Head coach Roy Williams has talked about how much better of a shooting team he believes this years team will be over last years.  With Reggie Bullock and PJ Hairston taking on larger roles and the return of Leslie McDonald along with the arrival of Marcus Paige that assessment is logical.

As we have seen with arch rival Duke, when you live by the jump shot, often times, you die by the jump shot.  In order to combat that successful teams have a blend of shooters and play makers who can take the ball to the basket and create offense for themselves and others.

James Michael McAdoo the teams starting power forward and freshman point guard Marcus Paige are probably the best and most likely to attack the basket on a regular basis on this roster.  While it is nice to have a PF that can face up and create mismatches with his versatile skill set, it does not bode well for the team if McAdoo is the best at penetrating on the roster.

Dexter Strickland is extremely valuable to this team not only as the best perimeter defender but also the only experienced PG on the roster.  Nobody will ever confuse Strickland as a scorer though, that’s just not what he does on the court.  Three players need to expand their games and not only step up in the shooting department but become players the team can rely on in the creative department also.

Reggie Bullock:  Bullock stepped up in a big way last season when Strickland tore his ACL ending his season.  Defensively he did a great job and towards the end of the season asserted himself as a scorer.  As the fifth option on offense he didn’t have the ball enough last season to be expected to show everything he’s got.  He has commented a few times this off season that nobody has really seen what he’s got and seems mentally ready to take the next step.

Known as a big time shooter coming in as a freshman, Bullock has done a nice job mostly in that role.  This season he needs to expand his game to the mid range and get to the basket.  He has pretty good size for a wing and learning how to utilize that size advantage is key.

PJ Hairston: PJ’s freshman year was mostly a struggle as he shot less than 30% from the field.  After a hot start he hit what seemed like a season long skid and his confidence took a big hit.  Hairston has tremendous athleticism, he’s terrific at finishing at the basket and has deceptive rise when attacking the rim.  His handle is very good and his size is a big advantage over the vast majority of perimeter players in the country.

The key for Hairston this season, like Bullock is learning to incorporate those strengths and utilizing his entire game on the court.  Both he and Bullock enjoyed excellent summers in the NC Pro-Am.  Hairston still fades a little too much on some of his jumpers and doesn’t attack the basket enough.  Still he thrived in several games in which he put his whole game together.  On a roster stacked with perimeter talent, putting it all together is what will separate him from just another player in the rotation to a potential star.

Leslie McDonald: Before his injury last summer, Roy Williams and Harrison Barnes were both quoted as saying that McDonald was one of the best players on the roster.  The last time he donned the Carolina Blue uniform he was the best shooter on the team in a limited role off the bench on a stacked team.  McDonald is also a great athlete with the skills to put it all together and become a star.  Coming off an injury that kept him out the entire season he has some rust to shake off and the best way of doing that is by taking more high percentage shots.


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Tags: North Carolina Tar Heels

  • BleedTarheelBlue

    You idiot, I know you’re a Hamm, but you’ve made the same mistake about Dex twice. If he averages more than 10 ppg, you’re gonna wish you had stopped saying he isn’t a scorer. You also don’t mention him as a guy who attacks the basket?! You’ve recycled the same information about players that aren’t necessarily true to begin with and show a lack of creativity. If you give me access to your sources I can start making this site live up to it’s potential. You’re competing with tarheeltimes but can take a big step forward if you up your resourcefulness and accuracy. Thanks and I hope you check your facts before making blanket statements that may be opinion but can be factually proven to be wrong.

    • Keeping_It_Heel

      thanks for the insult. Dex is not a scorer I’m sorry but that is fact. He is relied upon to be a defender for the most part on the court. Offensively he’s limited, I love Dex as a player but he’s simply not a scorer. Yes he drives to the hoop, that’s the reason he’s not mentioned in this post as someone who needs to step up and be creative on the offensive end and take the ball to the hoop. That’s what this post is about, players who need to expand their games and begin to drive to the hoop.

      As for competing w/Tar Heel Times? THT is a collection of UNC columns all over the net, basically a news source site, we are in no way competing with them. You say you can bring the site to it’s potential? I’m not sure why you haven’t applied to be a writer then if you are so amazing.

  • Heel75

    A difference of opinion doesn’t nessicitate calling someone an idiot. I knew what he meant. Dex is not a lights out rhythm shooter, like some. That’s just not his game. His offense is based on penetration, defense and the occasional jump shot. Dex will give you a solid effort/consistent numbers (on both ends) every night. He’s actually my favorite and I wish he could start where he wants.

    • Keeping_It_Heel

      thank you!

      • Heelfan75

        No prob. Noticed that a lot lately where someone doesn’t completely follow the story and goes on the attack like we’re on opposing teams. That would get old.

        • Keeping_It_Heel

          sure does

  • SevyDon’t Play

    Gotta agree no reason to call somebody an idiot,but Bleed TarHeelBlue seems to be really close.You completely took what he wrote out of context.He’s mainly talking about Bullock,Hairston, & Leslie.Wow 10 points a game is a scorer I don’t think so.He attacks the basket in the fast break usually which in turn is started by his defense.So before you come on here bashing people how about you get your facts straight.How about you stop blowing smoke in the air & step up & make this site live up to its potential or whatever crap your smoking take it somewhere else.Keep up the good work Hamm.

    • Keeping_It_Heel

      thank you Sevy! I appreciate the kind words

  • Turnbull

    Dex is a scorer. He didn’t become a McDonald’s AA with just defense. He’ll show you this season what he can do on the offensive end of the floor.

    • Keeping_It_Heel

      he was a big time HS player absolutely and is a very big asset to UNC. He’s just not a big time scorer

  • Dex4life

    KIH removes well thought out posts that are too intelligent. As I have tried posting several times an apology and well thought out reversal of statements that has been denied for no reason.

    • Keeping_It_Heel

      not true, if abusive language such as curse words etc are used then comments are moderated or deleted. Otherwise express what you want otherwise the opening comment would have been removed by this logic.

      • Dex4life

        I posted a well thought out response under 7 different usernames including an apology and lengthy explanation and you didn’t post it. Please explain that. Dex4life is the same person as bleedtarheelblue, but you seemed to block anything that I was posting underbleedtarheelblue

        • Keeping_It_Heel

          I’m guessing you are talking about the one above? If it’s over a certain length it goes into moderation queue which I check when I get time, it’s posted now. Otherwise I have idea what you are talking about

  • Keeping_It_Heel

    Nice post honestly. You may be right, Dex may not be a volume scorer due to the fact that he hasn’t received the offensive opportunities on some great rosters. However, he took a grand total of 2 three point attempts last season, he rarely takes anything but wide open jumpers and layups and has a career scoring avg of 6.7ppg. I’m not saying he isn’t capable of putting up a some points every once in a while, what I’m saying is, he’s not a scorer. My point here in this post was to examine players who need to score and need to open up their games by attacking the basket more often. Strickland is not a player I put in that category. He is a player who could score 0 points and still impact the game by playing his role.