I like what I see in Chapel Hill basketball so far this season. UNC has an incredibly young team and incredibly high expectations, regardless. I get that Carolina Blue and white jerseys are always going to lead to more magnifying glasses pointed their way—but this young group of mainly freshmen are quietly dominating in the right categories.
UNC is dominating the glass. This number 20th ranked squad is fourth in the nation in cleaning the glass, with an average of 45 rebounds per outing. That’s pure and utter domination down low. Sophomore James Michael McAdoo is leading the charge with an impressive 9.3 rebounds per game while junior Joel James and freshmen Reggie Bullock and Brice Johnson are doing their part. All three are averaging five ‘bounds a game.
You know what rebounding represents to me? It means hustle. It means that Chapel Hill is outworking it’s opponents.
Let me just say that Dexter Strickland must have gone to visit a personal development coach over the summer. This man has a new level of confidence about him and frankly, he’s playing out of his mind. The senior has averaged around just two assists the last three seasons. This year? Four. He’s also averaging the lower amount of turnovers of his time in Chapel Hill.
The senior leadership has worked. UNC is currently third in the nation in assists at nearly 19 a game. That’s a huge number. That translates directly to nearly 38 points through just teamwork. This doesn’t even include the fact that it keeps the defense honest and away from double teaming McAdoo near the rim. Also, the offense continues to flow. There aren’t many hiccups in the Tar Heels quick-paced tempo when everyone’s playing unselfish.
Between both tremendous rebounds-per-game and assists-per-game numbers, Carolina is preparing itself as a team that outhustles and outsmarts the other team. It’s not where UNC sits now. It’s where they sit come March.