Phil Ford, Kenny Smith, Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson and Kendall Marshall are just some of the point guards to have made an impact at the University of North Carolina. The school has a rich history of talented point guards who have been floor generals in a Carolina offense.
While Marcus Paige continues to build his legacy, Joel Berry II hopes he is next in line for that tradition.
Berry is the number three point guard according to ESPN’s Recruiting Nation rankings and is part of a top three recruiting class that hopes to push North Carolina over the top next season.
“There’s a lot of expectations being a point guard at UNC,” said Berry at Tuesdays McDonald’s All American media day. “I’m looking forward to it and the challenge of being one of the top point guards in the country next year. I’m going to soak up everything I can and learn everything I can.”
With Paige returning for his junior season, Berry will have the chance to learn from one of the better guards in the country. Paige has already provided advice for the incoming freshman and a bond between the two seems to already have been established.
“I talk to Marcus all the time. I just ask him questions on how to adjust to the college game and what to expect,” said Berry.
So what advice has Paige given Berry? The answer shouldn’t surprise you especially after Paige used last off-season to become a better player his sophomore year.
“He told me the best time to improve and adjust is during the summer when other guys come back. I’m just looking forward to getting there (Chapel Hill) in the summer and scrimmage with the pro guys,” said Berry.
With Berry coming in next season, it gives the Tar Heels depth at the point guard position. Something they have lacked in over the past few years. It also allows Marcus Paige to play more shooting guard and open up the Tar Heels offense.
Berry has been praised for his basketball IQ and strength, but the 6-foot-1 point guard also has an improved jump shot which should be a bonus to his game for next season. Last season the Tar Heels struggled at times to score, so a recruiting class with shooters will certainly help the team next year.
As for what Berry can bring to the Tar Heel offense? A solid jump shot that can open the defense up more and force a defender to guard him on the perimeter. If that happens, that will free up open shots for other players and allow Berry to play his game.
While Berry still has a few months before he arrives at Chapel Hill, he already has a positive attitude that Tar Heel fans will love. He also loves to claim things. And Berry claimed a pretty big goal for his Tar Heel team next season.
“I want to claim that more than likely we will make it to the national championship next year. And if we won’t make it, we will still be there. That’s my goal.”