Dec 15, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates guard Shamarr Bowden (20) shoots over North Carolina Tar Heels forward J.P. Tokoto (25) during the first half at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Should JP Tokoto Get More Minutes?


North Carolina is entering their eleventh game of the season Wednesday night, and there are still questions to be answered about this team. Questions that speculate about the rotation, starters and playing time. And while most of those should be answered by this time of the year, one of them will always look. Playing time, especially when it comes to freshman JP Tokoto.

The talented freshman is ready to explode onto the scene as one of the Tar Heels most explosive players and serving up highlight dunks for the fans.

Tokoto has the talent to be a solid role player for the Tar Heels, it’s just going to take time and minutes.  But are the minutes really there for Tokoto who is averaging just 10 minutes per game through this young season?

If they are, Tokoto will have to earn those minutes. Especially with players like James Michael McAdoo, PJ Hairston, Brice Johnson and Joel James bulking up minutes at the forward and center spots.

While Tokoto has all the makings of being a solid player off the bench for the Tar Heels, he could contribute more to the team than his explosiveness. Tokoto must improve on his rebounding, which is just at 2.7 rebounds per game. Tokoto must develop an all-around game if he want’s to grab Roys attention, and contribute to the team in more than one way.

With ACC play coming up and the season wearing down on players, Roy will depend on his bench to help him stay in games. This is where Tokoto could be a vital piece to the Tar Heels success this season.

If Tokoto can provide a spark off the bench with his explosiveness and energy, the Tar Heels could benefit from that during their run to the postseason.

The question is does Tokoto deserve more minutes off the bench? While Roy will certainly answer that question as the season goes on, I think it will happen. I can see Roy going to Tokoto more and more often giving him a chance to prove himself and develop his game.

It’s obvious Tokoto isn’t ready to jump to super star status. That won’t come, if it does, until at least his junior or senior year at Carolina. His game just isn’t there yet, and many things need to be worked on. However, Tokoto could provide a spark for the Tar Heels this season and for many more to come.

Now the minutes probably won’t increase drastically to 18 or more a game, but a decent increase could be possible for Tokoto in the future.

Hopefully the move, if it happens, will be a good one and benefit the Tar Heels this season.

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Tags: JP Tokoto North Carolina Tar Heels

  • http://twitter.com/HorranCameron Horran Cameron

    Yes, J.P. aka “Air Pierre” should get more playing time. This kid is too athletic to be on the bench. Right now, he is a slasher. I was use him according to his strengths which are his leaping ability and rebounding. For the rest of the season, I would utilize small ball and have my 4s being PJ, JP, and Brice. PJ or Brice should start at the 4.

    • Zack Pearson

      Agreed. Looked like he got some extra time in the loss to Texas. Just has to prove to Roy he can play