Mentality: This is a massive element in all of our lives, whether we grasp the magnitude of it or not. It’s your expectations. It’s your self-confidence. It’s the little voice inside your head telling you how far you will go or how far you will fall short. What’s Carolina’s basketball team’s mentality this year? Is it that they’re good enough to compete for an ACC championship? Is it a Sweet 16? Final Four? Championship? I don’t think there’s been a strong, defining lean in either direction for this young team.
We all get the fact that they’re wet behind the ears. Four out of five starters have left for the NBA and the guy they are relying on to be the star of the team is sophomore James Michael McAdoo. They’ve got an entire new core of players looking to fill massive shoes. Is that a crutch? We haven’t defined it. We don’t know what the mentality is for the season.
We’re entering uncharted territory as Tar Heels. N.C. State’s is actually ranked higher than us at 7th nationally—because, get this, experts say they bring a strong recruiting class to Raleigh. N.C. State! Good recruiting class! Add that little tidbit to the fact Dook is also ranked 6th, ahead of us, and all of a sudden we’re falling deeper and deeper into the college basketball’s ninth dimension. Oh, and FSU is ranked in top 30. Where is UNC going to end up at the end of this dog fight? We don’t know because we don’t know this team’s mentality.
I understand that teams take a while to find themselves and their chemistry on the floor. When those two things start clicking, they find their identity. But no college basketball expert has ever proclaimed that a team expecting to lose every game of the season has won it all. That doesn’t happen. Your expectations dictate your destination. Chemistry and identity will come, but without a “force-to-be-reckoned-with” type of mentality, UNC newbies will find themselves watching basketball from their couches come March. I just don’t know if anybody has that mentality yet.