Marcus Paige is the starting PG at The University of North Carolina. That is a fact that will remain true for at least another 5 months. It could remain true for 3 more years. What does this mean for UNC Basketball? Well right now it seems to mean that the Tar Heels have a supremely talented basketball player who is still learning a system, developing conﬁdence and developing his body. In other words Tar Heel fans, everyone just sit back relax and don’t go crazy.
Marcus Paige is a freshman who has been in Roy Williams system for just about 5 months. Paige clearly is still trying to get comfortable with the system. Just because you can push the ball fast doesn’t mean you are going to be successful in Roy’s system.
Paige in the open court is already something to behold. He has great vision, feel, and speed. In the open court he looks like he has been playing with the rest of the Heels for 5 years not 5 months. Paige in the open ﬂoor is a perfect a ﬁt as UNC could have found in the 2012 class.
In the half court though Paige has a ways to go as do the Heels as a whole. Paige is still struggling with where to initiate the offense and how to get his teammates good looks. Kendall Marshall had a way to get guys open looks on a constant basis.
Paige has to ﬁnd that, once he does the offense will look a whole lot better. In fact it could run even better than when Marshall was running the show because of Paige’s offensive skill set. The second part of the problem is pretty obvious. This isn’t high school anymore and Paige is playing against grown men. Paige’s conﬁdence is not yet there and neither is his body.
The conﬁdence issue is one that will just take a couple of games to work itself out (we hope). The physical development is one that Tar Heel fans may have to give Paige a pass on for this year. He isn’t going to develop much during the season. It just isn’t going to happen, the season is too much of a grind and too hard on the players body. Paige did put on about 12 lbs in the off-season and we will have to hope he puts on about 12 more before his Sophomore season. Paige simply isn’t going to be as physical as the Heels may need him to be this year and he will have to play around that reality.
So Tar Heel fans I will tell you I expect vast improvement from Paige as the year progresses. He has the skill set to run Roy’s system as well if not better than everyone not named Ty Lawson. I think a realistic target for Tar Heel fans to expect marked improvement is by the 1st of January. If Paige doesn’t improve the Tar Heels will obviously fall short of their goals this season but I don’t think a disaster like 2010 will be in the cards as Dexter Strickland can run the team effectively.
But like I said I expect Paige to improve and I expect to continue to see plenty of highlights in the open court. Physically Paige may get pushed around a bit this year but he also has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to keep Tar Heel opponents off balance and Tar Heel fans up out of their seats.