Well we’ve entered ACC play. North Carolina may not be off to the start they imagined, but there certainly is no turning back. I wanted to take a minute and address what each player brings to the team and what their role on the court should be. This is my opinion of course, but I believe that this deep into the year, everyone needs to step into their role and start playing as a unit. A lot of time, we focus on the individuals of this lineup. Well, I’m going to tell you right now, the individuals on this team cannot win games by themselves. However, this team made up of these individuals can. They have the talent and the chemistry to take this season and make it theirs, but first, they need to understand their place in the system.
Dexter Strickland — Dex is a great player in my opinion. He isn’t a shooter and he also isn’t necessarily a scorer. What Dexter is, is a defensive stopper and a slasher. Being a senior leader and a backup point guard does mean that Dexter will have to handle the basketball quite a bit which will give him chances to shoot as he usually does, but what Dex needs to do on the offensive end is get to the rim. I want to see him use his quickness to get to the hole and get layups and draw fouls. Dexter does have a good touch around the rim, especially in transition. So take that strength and use it in the half court. If Dex does this more often, he’s more likely to see an increase in points and free throw attempts. His example will also show Marcus Paige what a scoring point guard is capable of if they use the entire floor. Naturally, Dexter’s role first and foremost is to create opportunities through his defense, but getting to the lane will benefit his team and add more depth to Carolina’s offense.
Leslie McDonald — Leslie’s role is pretty clear cut. He’s offense off of the bench along with PJ Hairston and Brice Johnson. Lez is a shooter and one of the main players Roy Williams looks to when it comes to making shots from behind the arc. He has a pretty good stroke and an extremely quick release which makes him hard to defend, but his game outside of his jump shot is limited. He isn’t the type of player to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket on a consistent basis like some of the other wings. Since this is the case, Leslie has to be a reliable long range shooter. His role on the team should be to contribute 6-9 points a night for North Carolina which would equate to 2-3 threes a game. If he can average that many a game and combine those with his teammates and their makes from three, North Carolina is very hard to beat.
Reggie Bullock – I love Reggie. He’s such a great player and he’s a great leader. I feel very strongly that Reggie needs to be the guy for this team. As of now, he seems to be the second option when it comes to scoring behind James Michael McAdoo and the second option on defense after Dexter. I’m going to tell you right now, Reggie needs to be Carolina’s primary option on offense and defense. Period. His scoring ability is unquestioned and he is aggressive. He has a killer instinct with the ball most people on this Tar Heel team lack and I think most importantly, he wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Defensively, he gets after it. He has good size for a guard and he moves with great quickness on the floor. If Roy needs to shut a player down, Reggie needs to be the guy he calls on. If this Tar Heel team plans on progressing this season, Reggie will need to take on the “go to guy” role because he will be the one that takes them there.
Part 2 coming soon on Keeping it Heel.