Since Roy Williams came home to lead the UNC basketball program his up-tempo offense has been the identity of his teams and no one should expect that to change, however the 2013-2014 squad will have to “get a little more defensive” in order to make a potential run at the final four.
Coach Williams teams have never been defensive juggernauts but to be fair Ol’ Roy has had some teams that could guard, like the 2009 National Championship team who were up and down during the regular season but when the NCAA Tournament came around the were superb defensively. This years team will have to be a more defensive minded group from the start of the season, the good news is Carolina has the horses to do just that.
Junior forward James Michael McAdoo has the ability to an all ACC defender. He’s athletic with a 7’1 wingspan and a knack for getting in the passing lanes, stealing the ball and finishing on the other end with thunderous dunks. If McAdoo can use his top-notch athletic ability to block a few more shots and grab a couple of more boards, he has a chance to become an elite defender. Junior center Desmond Hubert is battling for a starting position, he’s not a threat offensively but his shot blocking is the reason he’s in contention for that spot. Hubert led the Tar Heels with 30 blocks last season and if he can consistently protect the rim without fouling not to mention become a better rebounder, Hubert could prove to be a solid piece for Carolina.
Sophomore small forward J.P. Tokoto is not a starter but in my opinion he will be the best defender the Tar Heels have. J.P.’s athletic ability is off the charts and with a year of seasoning under his belt he should be a better player all around but on defense is where he’ll make his mark especially early in the season. The 6’5 Menommonee Falls, Wisconsin native can rebound on both ends, get his hands on opponents jumps shots and guard multiple positions. In my opinion Tokoto will remind the Carolina faithful of Danny Green the way he plays “D” and it won’t take long for him to be recognized as a shutdown defender!
Players like Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks should also make an impact on defense, for a team that could be one of Roy Williams better ones on that end!