Oct 26, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) on the floor in an exhibition game at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

UNC Basketball: Why Starting Marcus Paige Still Makes Sense


Dexter Strickland did a nice job with a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio starting at the point against UAB with freshman Marcus Paige injured during shoot around.  Strickland finished with 11 points, nine assists and four turnovers in 29 minutes, Paige has averaged 3.3 assists and 3 turnovers per game to go along with 7.9 points per game thus far in his young career.

Strickland looked good and sliding him to the PG spot allowed head coach Roy Williams to play PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald over 20 minutes against UAB.  The Tar Heels are stacked on the perimeter and getting each of them enough minutes has proven difficult this season.

Dexter is the lone senior on this team and the one proven leader, despite all those reasons, starting Paige is still the right call.  Paige needs big minutes as the PG of the future for this team.  Strickland is not a natural PG, he’s done a nice job over the years filling in here and there at the position but he is not an every game point, it’s just not what he does.  Marcus Paige was the #1 rated PG in the 2012 recruiting class and has tons of talent.  I’ll repeat a statement I made many times during the off season, you never ever want to lose Kendall Marshall, but if you have to lose him, Paige is the guy you want replacing him.

We have seen plenty of freshman mistakes and the PG position has taken a huge hit in the assist department moving from Marshall to Paige.  Paige doesn’t get the ball down the floor the way Marshall does, he doesn’t drive and find the open shooter like Kendall did and that’s why he needs the time.

This is a young team still figuring out who they are and a big part of that equation is the maturation of Marcus Paige.  Paige needs to figure out how to get this team out on the break, he needs to build confidence in his instincts and learn on the floor.  Fans hate seeing freshman mistakes but the fact is they need to happen now so that this team is ready to compete later in the season.

Tags: Marcus Paige North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Sevydamus

    Paige by season end will be a stud in my opinion.Has a very nice shot & the sooner we can find a starting lineup & they develop some chemistry he’ll be a player for us.Passing,Defense,Strength are his main weaknesses by season end he’ll have passing & Defense solved & a the strength in the off season.Is 2nd year will be very good.

  • Dereck

    I feel like the problem is still that Dex should not start unless u gonna make him the PG! Using his great defense as the main reason to start him makes no sense based on the make up of the team! he is your main guy to run PG aft Paige so why would you start him with Paige? If dex gets 2 early fouls then what? U asking Paige then to pretty much play a whole half already! Starting PJ at the 2 i am willing to bet my life on it will pay off sooo much more! the court will be spread and have 3 diff shooting options from the outside! Teams will let Dex shoot all damn day! Its so obvious yet Roy won’t atleast try it! he too worried about the 5 spot when that easily is Joel or Brice smh. No wonder high level guys have not come to UNC the last 2 recruiting classes.

    • hatboy

      I can’t wait until Dex graduates. He’s a good guy but not a starter over guys like PJ or Lesie. People keep saying he’s a great defender but so far this season he’s just an average defender in my opinion.

      • Keeping_It_Heel

        I agree he should come off the bench and PJ should start. I am not in a rush for him to leave Chapel Hill however, remember he’s not 100% healthy yet and his lateral movement isn’t all the way back yet