Mar 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward James Michael McAdoo (43) shoots over Providence Friars forward Kadeem Batts (10) and forward Tyler Harris (25) in the first half of a men

UNC's Projected 2014-15 Starting Lineup

The Tar Heels were bounced from the NCAA Tournament Sunday night in the third round by a final score of 85-83. DeAndre Kane and Iowa State Cyclones moved on to the Sweet 16 to face UConn in Madison Square Garden.

This means that the 2013-14 season is officially over, while the 2014-15 season of Tar Heel Basketball officially starts tonight! The 14-15 Carolina squad will be loaded with new McDonalds All-Americans and lots of returning talent. Marcus Paige, James Michael McAdoo and the rest of the gang should be back next season, along with a Top-3 recruiting class, headlined by SF Justin Jackson. 

Its never too early to take a stab at what the 2014-2015 starting lineup will look like, so lets give it our best shot! Of course, there is a lot that will change between now and Late Night with Roy in October, but we will assume that nobody leaves for the NBA this summer and that everyone enters next season healthy and ready to go.

Point Guard: Joel Berry

Joel Berry is the third ranked point guard in the class of 2014 by ESPN, and he will come into Chapel Hill with high expectations. I expect Berry to compete with Marcus Paige and Nate Britt for one of the two guard slots in the starting lineup. I think Britt will start the 2014-15 season coming off the bench, but you could make a good argument for either Justin Jackson or Theo Pinson in this spot as a small forward. I just think Paige has adjusted to playing shooting guard this season, and Berry can act as the facilitator and primary ball handler in the starting lineup in 2014-15.

Shooting Guard: Marcus Paige

Marcus Paige will enter 2014-15 will sky-high expectations for his junior season. This year, he developed into one of the top guards in the ACC and one of the most clutch players in the nation. Whenever UNC needed a basket in any game this season, Paige would deliver with a clutch three pointer or a timely floater in the lane. Paige averaged 17 points a game on 44% shooting and 38.9 percent three point shooting in 2013-14, and I expect Paige’s numbers to be even better next year.

Small Forward: J.P. Tokoto

Tokoto showed flashes of his potential in his first two years at Carolina, and I expect 2014-15 to be the year that he puts it all together and makes an All-ACC team. Tokoto is one of the most athletic players in all of college basketball and is always a threat to deliver a thunderous slam in transition. If Tokoto can improve his jumper this summer and add that threat to his already strong defense, rebounding and athletic skills, he could be a candidate for the ACC’s most improved player next year.

Power Forward: James Michael McAdoo

McAdoo is the wildcard to next year’s projected starting lineup. I already started the debate on Twitter after the game on whether or not McAdoo will return for his senior season. My guess would be he returns for one more year to try and chase a Final Four and an ACC Championship. UNC will really need JMM’s experience and talent on its front line next season. I expect all of UNC’s young bigs to greatly improve heading into next season, but McAdoo’s leadership as a senior could really help next year’s team reach their goals.

Center: Brice Johnson

Just like with Joel Berry, you could talk me into other choices for the 5th starting spot on UNC next season. Johnson was arguably UNC’s best offensive post threat in his sophomore season, and after an offseason training program and some added weight, I expect Johnson to be even better. He could develop into a John Henson type on offense and defense if he can continue to improve his shot blocking skills and add some more weapons to his offensive arsenal. Kennedy Meeks also could make a case for this starting spot after he sheds some more weight this summer.

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  • Joshua Elledge

    As long as Nate Britt never sees the floor I’ll be happy. As a person I don’t dislike britt but dude, he sucked. He can’t shoot, everytime he drives he gets blocked, he turns the ball over all the time and he can’t play D!! I hope JMM leaves but I also think he’ll stay, this is what I think we’ll look like:

    PG: Berry/Britt – Hopefully Berry will stepup and take most of the minutes by tourny time
    SG:Paige – The only indisputable starter going into next year (if JMM leaves)
    SF: Tokoto – decent midrange game, if he can shoot 3′s at about 35% or higher we’ll be in good shape
    PF:Mcadoo/Johnson (depends on JMM leaving or not) I would rather have Johnson starting, I think he’ll be better than Mcadoo if he gets the minutes to improve throughout the season
    C: Meeks: Will be a super star inside out combo with Paige and then Johnson cleaning up the weakside boards

    Bench roles:
    Pinson – Could jump into a starting position if Paige starts a PG.
    Hicks – Should step up next year, should signs of his potential
    Jackson – Hopefully this kid can stroke it from deep, if not he won’t get much playing time
    James – Backing up Meeks, will get about 1/3rd of the minutes at C if JMM leaves.
    Hubert – a few minutes here and there, he should have went to a small school where he could’ve developed.

    What’s up with Roy getting huge recruits in and them doing nothing their freshman years? Mcadoo, Hicks, etc. If I was recruiting against Roy I’d lay it out there, hopefully no1 else notices.

    • Joshua Elledge

      I think we will have our best team since the 2009 season next year, a lot of it depends on Berry, Pinson, and Jackson, but if one of them can turn into a decent shooter and Tokoto develops a 3 we will have 3 players that can stretch the floor and 2 beasts down low. Not to mention JMM, Johnson, and Meeks all have good midrange games. I’m very, very excited for 2014-2015 UNC basketball!!

      • Mark

        Tokoto doesnt even need to develop the three, if he can develop an outside shot and improve his FTs, that would make him a complete player.

        • Joshua Elledge

          You’re right, he really doesn’t, it would just be an added bonus. It was just sad to see defenders lag 5 feet off of him when he had the ball at the 3 pt line this year. I think Hicks has potential he was just lost on the court this year. He had some nice drives and finishes here and there throughout the season. I really think Meeks, Johnson and Tokoto will emerge as stars if JMM leaves. The balance of scoring will be great, Paige leading the way and then the other 3 vying for 15ppg any given night.

          • Mark

            If they ever decide to play defense, theyll get a number one seed and win it all especially if Mcadoo comes back. Need to improve team FT percentage. They shot more FTs than any team in the ACC this yr. James provides more size off the bench. Carolina has a big I mean BIG front line. Now a wing or two who can pose an outside threat will carry them to Indy next yr. Would rather Paige at pg because the sg will typically be bigger than him. Pinson might be that sg we need. Berry can play both (I assume he’ll be a solid scorer). Meeks is a star in the making, just needs to get into shape, but Roy will whip him in shape.

            But all of this means nothing if they play no defense. They were clearly better than IA State even without Johnson, but didnt make the defensive plays down the stretch.

        • Dave S

          He needs the threat of the three .. He has improved his shot alot this year .. he will only get better…. and why would you take the best defender off the floor

    • Mark

      Hicks and Britt are both garbage. Hubert does at least give effort. I thought Britt was this lights out scorer anc Hicks was this awesome athlete.

      Anyway, with the incoming class, UNC should be in the hunt for a number one seed next yr.

      • Dylan Nash

        how is Hicks garbage? He played out of position all year and barely play. You can’t expect a player to develop when he only get like 3 minutes per game. He’s playing behind JMM and Johnson, and will continue to do so next year. I think he’s better than JMM giving playing time. If I were him, I transfer to a different school to develop. Roy is wasting his talent on the bench. As for Britt, he’s a freshman and wasn’t highly rated out of high school, so I expect mistakes.

        • Dave S

          Mac is forward and Johnson is a center… Johnson cant hold a candle to JMM

  • Sam Gonzalez

    I would rather see Tokoto coming off the bench as the sixth man, as Danny Green used to do, to give them a spark with hustle and defense and hopefully a little more offense. But, he has to learn to cut down on the turnovers. We need someone at small forward who can take some of the pressure off Marcus Paige and keep the defenses honest.

    • Charles Baker

      I disagree. Tokoto’s progress from Freshman to Sophomore seasons has been huge and he deserves his starting role on that point alone. Add to this that he is the best defensive option at this point, and will be a valuable veteran as a Junior and its a given he should start. I think the assessment of the starting 5 for this article is pretty accurate. I personally would like to see Marcus start at PG, Jackson at SF, and move JP over to SG. Granted JP does not have 3 point range, but I think his length and athleticism at SG would cause major match up problems for opposing teams. I would definitiely rather see Brice start next year over Meeks. I think with the off season Johnson will put on more muscle and also advance as a defensive player quicker than Meeks will lose enough weight to increase his leaping ability.

  • Dave S

    Britt was fine and next year he will be much better. Hicks will also improve greatlyt over the summer. Its going to be a great year. First of the year it will be the same startng lineup this year. Britt Paige Tokoto JMM Meeks. by conference Berry may be able to surpass Britt. The 6th man will be Johnson. After that it will depend on the opponent. The thing that will make next year better is depth at the guard and SF.. Dont expect any changes at the 4-5

  • jimmyD

    Starters: *Without return of JMM*
    PG- J.Berry. (Better all around PG than Britt coming out of high school….hand’s down)

    SG- M.Paige. (No need for introduction)

    SF- J.P. Tokoto. (Pinson will push hard but I think J.P. did enough to keep his starting position)

    PF- B.Johnson. (Should be a better shooting team than this year so he needs to learn to kick the ball out more and stop taking so many contested shots)

    C- K.Meeks. (Shed a few more pounds…boy is gonna be a beast. Has the moves. ..just not the lift against taller centers)


    PG- N.Britt. (I’m not gonna dog em out. He will be ok…I just think Berry beats him out…sure as hell should)

    SG- T.Pinson. (IMO…Better shooter than Tokoto. If he has a mean defensive game…could take starting SF position)

    SF- J.Jackson. (

    • UNC fan by Marriage

      Too bad JMM is returning. He has no talent outside a 5 foot ring around the hoop which is a fact which Roy refuses to accept. Gets fouled and can’t make free throws.

      • Mark

        He’s declaring for the draft.

    • Krissy

      The key to your proposed lineup is assuming JMM won’t be back but my question is after the season he just had where is JMM going??? Surely no one still believes he is going to be a top draft pick. Don’t get me wrong, he has the physical skill set to be one helluva player, he doesn’t however have the mentality for the game. I was watching one of the numerous trailers on basketball coaches and one pertinent scene was Jay Wright telling his players, “look for the contact, embrace it, contact is your friend”. That’s the part JMM is unable to learn which is why he plays with what many have described as a lack of urgency and I call passion.

      • john bauman

        I think something we are all overlooking is James Michael McAdoo’s added value as a senior leader next season. With JMM, you get an experienced, talented post player who can lead the younger players next year on and off the court.
        Everyone complains about McAdoo’s offense and free throw shooting as well, but here are two things to remember- 1) season on the line, JMM at the free throw line, against ISU, he hits both and 2) he will be another year better next year, and he was pretty darn good shooting percentage wise already this season.

        • Krissy

          Yea and a couple of other things to keep in mind is that JMM was 5-14 in the game, and I counted at least 5 layups that he simply blew. So making two free throws wouldn’t have been necessary had he made the layups he had. You know the ones he was set up with by Paige and the other guys. Sorry, making two free throws when you’ve already blown the game means nothing. McAdoo is an overrated player and has been since day one and being another year better only makes him another year deeper into mediocrity. You see I’ve been hearing about McAdoo’s coming “break out” year for 3 years now, hasn’t happened yet and my guess is it won’t happen next year either. Sorry, reality is reality!!!!

          • Tee 14

            McAdoo doesn’t have to be a draft pick..that was national media hype from his freshmen year when he was surrounded by 4 1st round picks. He will stay next year, and start and play hard. He will be a 15ppg/7rpg guy. The team is what is exciting for 2014-15. I would consider this 9 man rotation:

            1 2 3 4 5

            Paige Tokoto Jackson McAdoo Meeks

            Berry (Paige) Pinson Hicks Johnson

            Here’s my thinking: Bring Berry, Hicks and Pinson along as they have success, with more consistent rebounding, defense, passing screening will come more minutes.
            Johnson is the platoon starter, but coming off the bench he and Meeks give you good rebounding/scoring. Paige is still your best shooting guard. Coach Williams has been known to play 2 pg’s together.

            Paige can score at PG, lead, and defend – and do it best at 32-34 min/per game

            Berry can play select minutes, and even play with Marcus if Tokoto is making t.o

            Jackson is presented as highly skilled with a big basketball IQ ; having not seen any of the 3 frosh. I’ll pick him to start

            McAdoo will be a senior and will start- he will lead with energy

            Meeks will continue to chase the Sean May comparisons, somewhere south of 250lbs, he is an all conf. player. But if his conditioning allows him 20 min (10 each half) He is a double/double most every night.

            What I like about this team is the athleticism – What is concerning is their ability to use that speed/strength/quickness to trap on defense.
            With their depth, they should be able to play man trap in the half court
            and switch from man to zone defenses also.
            I would guess, just guess, that they win 30 next year finish 1 or 2 in ACC and
            get to the regional final. Although, I suspect they’ll be better in 15-16 when M.Paige comes back for his senior year.

          • Krissy

            I don’t disagree with much you said except when it comes to McAdoo. Question: JMM will be a senior next year, what evidence do you have that he will “lead with energy” when he hasn’t done that the first three years??? Believe me, I’d love it if you were right about JMM, but I’ve heard that comment every single year since he was recruited and there has been no evidence of any kind of personality change in all that time. I wish McAdoo was as talented as his hype made him out to be but in my opinion he is a mediocre player at best. Flashes of brilliance, yes, consistency, no! Sorry about that as we agree on pretty much everything else, just not about JMM. BTW the only change I’d make in your rotation is replace McAdoo with Brice Johnson. More height, more rebounding, more offense, and hopefully by next season, more defense. Anyway, have a great evening.

  • Matt Hamm

    I don’t see Roy starting a freshman PG again when he doesn’t have 2. Paige will start at the point as Roy has already stated that is his preference, MP at the 2 was out of desperation this year, he’ll see mins there next year but it won’t be his primary position. I also disagree with Brice at center, he would have to bulk up a ton & improve tremendously on the defensive end. The C position is Meeks.