UNC Basketball: J.P. Tokoto; What Does the Rest of the Season Hold?

Freshman J.P. Tokoto has struggled to find his role, rhythm, and overall statistical relevance this season under Roy Williams. At an incredibly springy 6’5’’, 185 pounds, he has only averaged 3.3 points per game. Add this to the equally yawning 2.0 rebounds and 0.9 assists per outing. It becomes a bit of a head-scratcher for Tar Heel fans to get a real feel on Tokoto’s game and his outlook the rest of the season.

J.P. has incredible upside potential. Let’s first acknowledge that. He needs to find his game and so far this season, the Chapel Hill transition just hasn’t looked natural. Why could that be?

Well, it doesn’t help that Roy Williams hasn’t played him long enough for Tokoto’s shoelaces to come untied. Tokoto has averaged only 5.2 minutes per game over the last 5 games—2 of which were ugly losses to ACC opponents, Miami and Dook. Playing time leads to comfort which leads to rhythm which translates to into production. J.P. is quite frankly playing terribly because he’s not being put in a position to succeed.

It also doesn’t help the fact that UNC is doing pretty well without him. UNC is 11th in points per game at 78.1, 6th in rebounds per game at an impressive 40.8, and 3rd in the nation in assists per game. There hasn’t really been too much of an opportunity for J.P. to carve his niche—not that he shouldn’t be held responsible to do so on his own, however.

Tokoto should see more playing time against Clemson, Florida State, and Maryland and it’s up to him to be significantly more aggressive. Sometimes, players get caught up in the notion that the game should come to them. They lose the dividing line between rhythm and timidity. Tokoto has looked uncomfortable out there on numerous occasions this season, but over these next three games, Roy should give the young man a lot more at bats. J.P. should average at least seven points and three assists these next three games, going into the ACC tournament.

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