North Carolina head coach Roy Williams had some interesting post game comments concerning freshman big men Joel James and Brice Johnson in his post game press conference following UNCs 87-62 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday.
We’ve got to get Joel and Brice in better shape because they were really dragging out there trying to play those three or four minutes there.
At the start of this season Roy could not settle on a starting big man beside James Michael McAdoo shifting between current starter Desmond Hubert, James and Johnson before finally settling on Hubert. Many including myself have wondered why the freshman duo have played so little despite the very limited offensive capabilities of Hubert and Jackson Simmons who has found himself with more playing time than the more highly touted freshman lately as well.
Johnson especially would appear to have earned more playing time given his impressive post game and the need for interior scoring. The case of Joel James isn’t quite as complicated considering his mental lapses and propensity to make silly mistakes. James went through a massive body change shedding around 60 pounds and then adding 20 of muscle before his arrival in Chapel Hill. He has only played basketball since his sophomore year in high school, these mistakes do not come as a surprise and anyone that has seen this massive human being up close, his struggle to adapt to UNCs fast paced system is no shock either.
The fact that skinny Brice Johnson is not in good enough shape to play at the Heels preferred pace is a bit puzzling. UNC would obviously like him to put on muscle mass as he matures in order to compete inside with the top post players in the country his conditioning isn’t something you question when you lay eyes on him. Never the less it’s a concern and the freshman duo’s inability to keep up with the rest is undeniably the reason why players like Hubert and Simmons are playing in front of them this season.