The true freshman, Iowa native, Marcus Paige has improved his play as of late. Although Roy Williams might not like to admit it, Paige may just be the lynchpin in deciding how long the Tar Heels dance this March. It’s not what he’s done that matters. The real question is: what does the rest of the season look like for Paige?
Marcus is averaging 7.7 points, 4.4 assists, and an impressive 2.9 rebounds per game. These are fairly strong numbers for a true freshman learning a complicated run-and-gun offense. There’s a lot more of responsibility on the young man’s plate and he must know the offense like the back of his hand, in order to distribute the ball to the right player in the right situation. Paige must also understand team chemistry. He wants to hit McAdoo for dunks and he wants to hit P.J. Hairston on three’s—and he must know when to do either.
The biggest upside for Paige is the amount of playing time he’s been getting. He’s averaging 28.1 minutes a game. This is strong numbers for a true freshman. Marcus has proven himself to the judge, jury, and executioner in Chapel Hill, Roy Williams. Roy trusts the young man with the ball. This will only help him down the road.
So what does the rest of the season look like for Marcus? Well, he’s facing Clemson, FSU, and Maryland in the next three games. These are all winnable. I’m looking for MP to put up 10 points and 5 assists the next three games. Then, UNC faces Dook. It’s a chance for Paige to cement his name in the greatest rivalry in basketball. Will he do it? That remains to be seen. Either way, the way Roy has rewarded his young point guard with minutes on the floor shows he’s prepared to rest UNC’s hopes on Marcus’ broadening shoulders.