Going into this season, one of the bigger questions about this Carolina team is could they perform and keep Carolina afloat? Well a few games into ACC play, we have already seen what the freshman can do. Their strengths, weakness and overall performances have shown so far.
While the freshman class can’t be expected to replace the four first round draft picks UNC lost last year right away, they are expected to be the future of North Carolina Basketball.
Now is the future bright or dim with this freshman class? It’s too early to tell so far this season. There are signs that make Carolina fans think they have a bright future. But we have also seen signs that show it could be a struggle in the years to come.
One of the freshman players that must step up over the year and into the future is forward Brice Johnson. The 6’9″ freshman from South Carolina has the tools to become the next John Henson for Carolina, but he must develop into that role.
So far it hasn’t been an easy time for Johnson.
Johnson has seen his playing time drop as players like James Michael McAdoo, Joel James, Jackson Simmons and fellow freshman J.P Tokoto have garnished valuable minutes in key games so far. The most surprising? Simmons who has seemed to impress Roy Williams over the past few weeks.
As the season goes on, it’s possible that Johnson could see his playing time decrease even more. It’s clear that there are areas in his game he needs to improve on to be a factor and contribute to the Tar Heels.
His offensive game does have some nice touches too it. His size gives him the ability to post up players while his jump shot seems to be improving over time. Once he develops a solid jump shot, Johnson could be lethal for the Tar Heels in the future.
While the offensive game for Johnson seems to be his strength, he has struggled on the defensive side of the ball, which could be the main reason he has lost some of his playing time recently.
Johnson is averaging just under five rebounds per game in his 13 minutes per game so far this season. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but for his size, they can certainly be improved. Johnson has struggled rebounding the ball and getting boxed out by opposing big men. Something that can’t happen if the Tar Heels want to succeed this year.
If Johnson can improve his rebounding, he could develop into another Henson. While he is still young, the future could be a bright one for Johnson as he is expected to be a key player as the Tar Heels try to rebuild.
He just needs to make the most of his opportunities.