Dexter Strickland is the only senior on the North Carolina Tar Heels roster, a roster that desperately needs a leader, he’s the type of player that absolutely must play well on a nightly basis. Strickland has a history as being one of, if not the best perimeter defender in the nation. Tar Heel fans are used to watching him shut down the opposing teams best perimeter player while also playing efficient and smart on the offensive end of the court. Well, that’s not the case anymore and it’s time for Roy Williams to send him to the bench.
Stricklands line in a loss to Miami, zero everything, Strickland has zero points, assists, steals, rebounds, blocks, you name it, well unless you could the one shot attempt he put up, and air balled. Strickland isn’t on the roster to score so I’m not concerned about his point total, what he needs to do is distribute the ball on offense as the backup point guard and he needs to play lock down defense if he’s going to start and play significant minutes and again, he’s not doing those things.
Roy has admitted on numerous occasions this season that Dexter is quote nowhere near the defender we’re used to him being. So why is he starting and playing huge minutes if his main attribute to the team is no longer a true strength? It would be one thing if the Heels didn’t have anyone on the bench ready to take his spot but they do, in fact they probably have two guys more deserving of those minutes.
P.J. Hairston is a big time player just waiting to happen, he’s stepped up and played very well when called up on and given enough opportunities to do so. He’s also a shooter and shooters are rhythm players and Roy isn’t utilizing him correctly. Hairston has been stuck playing in small spurts not long enough to get himself into a sustainable rhythm, this needs to change.
I’ve laid this out in previous columns, more than one actually, if you are tired of hearing it, sorry, I’m tired of saying it but that doesn’t change the fact that it needs to happen and it needs to happen now. Hairston and Reggie Bullock rarely get on the court together and that’s a shame considering they are two of the teams three best players. Strickland is the backup PG and the starting shooting guard, if that makes zero sense to you that’s because it makes zero sense. You never see that type of situation in college or the NBA and we shouldn’t have this awkward setup here either.
Hairston is a better shooter, he has the body to muscle in the paint and right now he’s a better defender and rebounder than Dexter Strickland. Roy Williams, your team is 10-5 and 0-2 in the conference, it’s time to make some changes, let’s start with getting the best players in the starting lineup and in roles that fit their skill level, we’re running out of time.