Feb 23, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) reacts after after making a shot in the second half. The Tar Heels defeated the Wolfpack 76-65 as the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Marcus Paige is growing up before our eyes

It’s happening right before our own eyes. North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige is growing up, and it was evident today during the Tar Heels big win over North Carolina State.

Paige dominated the second half for the Tar Heels as they overcame a few Wolfpack leads to win 76-85.

After being dominated in the teams first matchup at State in January, Paige took this game personally. The young highly ranked freshman guard out of Iowa turned in one of his better games of the year. Paige finished with 14 points, including two big 3-pointers that kept Carolina in the game.

He also had a key and-one play late in the game that gave Carolina some momentum. More importantly though Paige controlled the games pace to Carolina’s liking which leads to successful results for the Tar Heels.

As Paige has struggled at times this year, it’s finally showing that the young point guard can play and ultimately lead this team in the future. After all that is what Carolina recruited him to do.

It’s no easy task to step into the Carolina spotlight as a point guard and dominate early. Especially with the rich history the program has at the position. That certainly was the case for Paige who is expected to pick up where Kendall Marshall left off.

It’s safe to say Paige is on the right track.

Carolina want’s to get out in the open court and attack. That’s how they are successful. We have seen it year after year in Chapel Hill. Now Paige has all the makings of leading a Carolina oriented offense the way Roy Williams draws it up.

His ball handling can improve a bit, but in the open court Paige can be dangerous. It’s clear Paige has defiantly improved on the offensive end of the court and it’s showing.

On the defensive end, there is still work to be done but Paige has improved. He still gives up size to opposing guards, but his defense is impressive despite that.

Paige got smoked by NC State’s guards in their last meeting. This time Paige stepped up his defensive play and made it difficult of the Wolfpack guards.

It’s clear that Paige’s stock is rising and will continue to rise as the years go on at Carolina. He is a player you can certainly build around, and with the talent coming in next year, Carolina will improve.

Just sit back and continue to watch Paige grow up and improve his game.

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