UNC Basketball Recruiting: If Andrew Wiggins Comes to Carolina, Will Roy Stay with Small Ball?


The North Carolina offense has exploded since head coach Roy Williams finally decided to go with his five best players in the starting lineup and unleash P.J. Hairston.  Despite the success, Roy has stated on numerous occasions that he is still nervous about the move and is in now way comfortable with the small lineup.  Given the pursuit of the top player in the 2013 class Andrew Wiggins, is Roy ready to do this next year also?

Let’s make the assumption that both Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston decide to return next year rather than go pro.  Starting those two with Wiggins and point guard Marcus Paige would be the best five players without a doubt.  The more traditional lineup, the one Roy is comfortable with running wouldn’t allow for them to be on the floor together however.

The hope is that current freshman Joel James and Brice Johnson take a huge step forward next season and that incoming freshman Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks are able to make an impact (especially Hicks).  Complicating matters is the status of James Michael McAdoo.  McAdoo was a projected lottery pick heading into the season as a preseason All-American, now that’s not the case.  McAdoo would almost certainly be a first round pick but it’s obvious he could really benefit from returning to school for another year.

With Roy being so uncomfortable with the small lineup it’s a safe assumption that if McAdoo goes he’ll be even less comfortable if his only big man in the lineup isn’t as skilled or experienced as James Michael.  Given the most recent Wiggins rumors, speculation is swirling anywhere from FSU and KU being out of it and UK essentially taking themselves out with the commitment of Julius Randle which points to Wiggins heading to Chapel Hill.

Something that could really complicate things is where Wiggins would play in the lineup and if Roy has the stomach to commit to the small ball long term if this scenario plays itself out or conversely if he has the stomach to sit one of them and go back to a traditional lineup next season.

Something tells me Wiggins and his people are smart enough to have asked this exact question already and it’s entirely possible that the reason Andrew hasn’t announced yet or why he won’t at either the McDonald’s or Jordan game is because he’s simply waiting to see how rosters play out and how he would fit in each situation before making a final decision.

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  • Anduha

    Strickland will be gone which means you can slide Bullock to SG and put Wiggins in at SF. Hairston can stay at PF if Roy wants but Meeks and Hicks are much better than James and Johnson. They could contribute immediately.

    • http://twitter.com/DSteele_23 Dereck Steele

      That’s not happening bec PJ wont stay and play the ’4′! Atleast he shouldn’t do that b/c it’s helping him at all work on his game which is being a shooting guard and getting him ready for the NBA. He would def put PJ at the 2, Reg 3..and run a 3 forward line up IF I MEAN IF Wiggins blesses UNC with his presence

  • Ahhines

    He wont stick with small ball if we get Wiggins, but we will play it some. We will have some new big men and the old ones will get experience and get bigger this summer. We will play big at times and play small at times. My feeling is whatever lineup benefits the most that certain game will be played more that game.

  • http://twitter.com/DSteele_23 Dereck Steele

    I feel that JMM might leave for fear that he will not
    stand out anymore than he already has…basically stock drop and injury. I also
    believe Andrew Wiggins might chose Kansas and not UNC or UK b/c UK is STACKED my
    God and he is waiting to see who leaves UNC i think just my thoughts. Best case
    dream scenario…the line up next season Paige, PJ, Bullock, Wiggins, JMM or if
    he leaves Hicks or Meeks if Brice or Joel can’t be ready still…worst
    scenario…PJ, Reg and JMM leave and Wiggins says hell no and goes to UK and
    make that team UNDEFEATED or KU. and then UNC is stuck with Paige, Mcdonald, and
    hell guess the freshmen big men or Brice/Joel

  • http://twitter.com/DSteele_23 Dereck Steele

    Heck i said last season i was confused on y Roy
    wasn’t aggressively going for the best big men in the 2012 class knowing full
    well that Zeller was graduating and Henson dang sure would likely leave as well.
    EVERYBODY knew that was coming. I didn’t say Barnes b/c he was a 3 and PJ/Reg
    was a good replacement. But thats a poor poor job of recruiting and planning to
    only get Hubert smh and James for this season. now for 2013-14 season he still only
    got one HIGH level impact PF (Hicks) and Meeks who i wonder how well and soon he
    transitions for UNC’s style. the remaining bigs for next yr Brice, Joel and
    Hubert are still almost like “projects” even compared to the 2 freshmen coming.
    Very confused and worryied about how this all plays out. fingers crossed

    • http://www.facebook.com/rodney.pierce.52 Rodney Pierce

      Dereck, he did go after good big men in the 2012 class. Kaleb Tarczewski chose Arizona (he picked them over Kansas) and Austin Nichols chose Memphis (he picked them over Duke, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee). Both of those guys eliminated UNC early in their recruitment though if I’m not mistaken.

      • http://twitter.com/DSteele_23 Dereck Steele

        absolutely correct…but there were a few other guys that perhaps he could have tried for (maybe he did) but it seemed clear he quickly turned his attention to the 2013 class and Randle, Parker, etc were his main targets. Seems he got really content with the 2012 class and just focused totally on ’13. That idea is fine if Brice gets some weight and Joel gets better..never EVER even looking for Hubert to do anything lol he just looks timid and lost mostly esp on offense smh…he can’t even set picks man lol

  • bjcart53

    Let reggie just come off the bench! I’m sick of people acting like that is just impossible. PJ is more important to the starting lineup so lets go Paige, PJ, Wiggins, Brice, and Hicks. If James makes big strides lets go Brice/Hicks with James manning the middle.

    • http://twitter.com/DSteele_23 Dereck Steele

      clearly u have NEVER seen a UNC game in your life lol…when have u ever seen a senior get placed on the bench after starting the last season and a half AND as all ACC player? seriously lol this type of logic is y Reg should go pro if Roy is thinking of doing this lol If anything JMM can go and PJ/Reg stay b/c i dont know what the heck to even say JMM is on the court.

  • Heelfan82

    Read plenty of articles about Wiggins playing a “4″ already at H Prep. We would be trading a 6’2″ guy for a 6’7″-6’8″ guy who is super athletic and can block shots. Not sure I would call it small ball anymore even though Wiggins should be a “3″–reminds me a little of Kevin Durant. It would be a dream season if everyone stayed and we got Wiggins.

  • jrock2310

    assuming we get wiggins: if roy wants to win, he’ll need to play small, initially. he can try all he wants to run big… but its going to cost him more games. i dont get why every fan can see what works and what doesnt… but roy cant. we all knew KM needed to play. we all knew PJ had to start. if he thinks going to brice, hicks, james or meeks is a better option than running w/ paige, reggie, wiggs, PJ, & JMM… than it will take another ambush from the coaching staff (which is the only reason he went small to begin with) to get him realize what works.

    and i dont buy that hicks will be an instant impact guy like everyone thinks he will be.
    hansbrough ruined it for everyone else… hicks will need time to adjust. my guess is hicks will see some success, but it will be because others will garner more attention.

    and meeks, imo, will pretty much be a none factor next yr. hes just not ready folks. go look at his HS numbers… they’re not that spectcular. and a lot of what he did came from the FT line. but when scouts label attibutes like “soft hands, good outlet passer” and you’re a big man… it means they’re just looking for nice things to say. when you’re a big, u want scouts to say: “dominate in the paint, moves bodies, aggressive low block scorer,” thats what u want to hear.
    meeks will be fine given time. but to expect a freshman big (who wasnt even dominant in HS) to come in and man the center position, at NORTH CAROLINA! then you’re just setting yourself, & meeks up for a huge disappointing yr.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.m.guy Jonathan Michael Guy

    I wouldn’t consider adding Wiggins to a lineup with Paige, Hairston, Bullock, and McAdoo “small ball”. You would be replacing 6’3″ Strickland with 6’8″ Wiggins. Considering that 4 of the 5 starters would be between 6’5″ and 6’9″ and three of them taller than 6’7″, that doesn’t sound like small ball to me.
    Remember that the Heels won the 2005 championship with wing players Jawad and Marvin Williams playing the “4″.