Nov 11, 2012 Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Joel James (0) dunks against the Florida Atlantic Owls in the second half at the Dean E. Smith Center. North Carolina won 80-56. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-US PRESSWiRE

UNC Basketball: Time to Replace Desmond Hubert in the Starting Lineup

One of the many questions heading into the 2012-13 season was who will start inside next to James Michael McAdoo.  Freshman Joel James and Brice Johnson competed with sophomore Desmond Hubert with Hubert getting the nod for the first two games of the season.  According to head coach Roy Williams, Hubert got the start because he played better in practice and had a better understanding of what the Tar Heels were trying to do on the court.

I understand the move to open the season but at this point a change needs to be made.  Roy likely wanted to see how his freshman duo would handle the transition to the college game and who would play better out of the two of them.  Not only have both the freshman thoroughly outplayed Hubert, the sophomores play has been uninspiring on both ends of the floor.

Both Johnson and James have been impressive and in my view have exceeded early season expectations.  Offensively they are the third and fourth leading scorers on the team at 9.0 and 8.5 points per game.  Making those numbers even more impressive is the fact that they are averaging just 28 combined minutes per game.

Johnson looks like a potential go to guy in the future with an array of post moves, a nice little jump shot and a terrific basketball IQ that he uses to put himself in position to get easy buckets.  James is a monster with a soft touch who has found a way to use his power and his soft turnaround.

Both the freshman are very efficient on the floor, James has missed only one shot so far and Johnson is shooting 53% from the field himself.  These two need more minutes so they can give Carolina the scoring the team needs.  UNC will not be able to rely solely on McAdoo and Reggie Bullock for scoring and so far this year, the freshman big man duo have been the most consistent threats for Carolina.

Hubert on the other hand isn’t doing anything to help his cause.  He’s scored zero points in both games, he’s getting out rebounded by both the freshman and his defense hasn’t looked any better than either one of them.  Hubert bulked up over the offseason and worked hard on his game but it’s hard to see the improvements on the court, he’s still very raw.  I like the long term prospects of Desmond Hubert and I think he can be a solid contributor off the bench as a role player, he’s just not ready for a starting role and it’s time to make a change.

Tags: Brice Johnson Desmond Hubert Joel James North Carolina Tar Heels

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