The North Carolina Tar Heels are five games into the season and it’s already been a roller coaster ride. Other than guard Marcus Paige’s great play, the only thing that has been consistent about this team has been its slow starts. Below I’ve listed the five who I believe should tip-off the game and help the Heels get off to faster starts.
G Nate Britt: I’ve done a 360 on Nate already to be honest. Prior to the Louisville game, his performance had me hoping that he would be spending more time next to Coach Williams. The freshman from D.C. didn’t shoot well, had a ton of turnovers and he looked totally overwhelmed. During the game versus the defending National Champions, Britt looked like a different player. He was a true floor general, handling the Cardinals pressure, scoring when the opportunity presented itself but more importantly his solid play allowed guard Marcus Paige to play off the ball and we saw the result. His entire game should continue to get better, which will be huge for this squad.
G Marcus Paige: #5 has been Carolina’s best player and it hasn’t been close. Since sliding over to play the “2” Paige has displayed the scoring ability that Coach Williams had told everyone about. He had a career high 32 points in the win versus Louisville, making several big shots and continuing his early season stellar play. Marcus is the leader of the leader of this team and has emerged into the go to guy whether P.J. Hairston returns or not.
F James Michael McAdoo: I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but the way the team is “currently configured” it may benefit them start James Michael McAdoo at the “3”. Naysayers would probably say he 6’9 230 lbs and he’s just not quick enough to play for long periods of time on the perimeter. I would counter that with, he’s already playing out there some of the time, not to mention with his length and athleticism, I think James Michael would be OK defensively. On the offensive end McAdoo prefers to face up, and he would be just fine playing a little more on the perimeter where he could take advantage of his explosive first step.
F Brice Johnson: The sophomore from Orangeburg, South Carolina has been a pleasant surprise. He has given the Heels some much-needed inside punch on both ends. Offensively he can score posting up or facing up and lets not forget about his ability to attack the offensive glass and finish put backs with thunderous dunks. On “D’ Johnson is a true rim protector (reminding some of John Henson) he’s solid on the boards and this kid plays with the passion I wish all players would play with. No matter which of the forward position he plays, Carolina needs more of Johnson on the floor because he produces. Combine that with the struggles of small forward J.P. Tokoto, it’s at least worth a try.
C Kennedy Meeks: Now I’m well aware that Roy Williams loves experienced players. With that being said, its time for Ol’ Roy to name freshman Kennedy Meeks starting center. I have always believed that Meeks is much more skilled than Joel James or Desmond Hubert. His soft hands, good footwork and smart play has been noticed and he needs to be rewarded. Kennedy’s ability to score in the post can be a major asset for Carolina and for a team that is currently short on ball handlers and play makers, his knack for pitching the ball ahead makes him even more valuable. He also has a nice mid range game as well as can rebound, so in my opinion the “starting center competition” should be officially over!