UNC Basketball: Now The Uncertainty Begins


With the North Carolina Tar Heels season now over the focus immediately shifts to next season.  That becomes rather difficult without knowing what the roster will look like.  This much we know, Tyler Zeller and Justin Watts are graduating and won’t be back.  Stillman White is going on a two year Mormon mission and won’t be back either.  Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald will be back after season ending injuries this year.  We also know the Heels have put together a great recruiting class highlighted by the best point guard in the class and three other four star recruits. I’m also quite certain that at least one of freshman from this years team, James Michael McAdoo will shine in his sophomore season.

Major questions remain around the rest of Carolinas “Big Four”.  Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall all face major decisions this summer.  Should they put their name in the hat for the NBA Draft or commit to another season at Chapel Hill?  It can be easy as fan to say and even convince yourself enough to think that all your top players should play four years.  In today’s day and age, this just isn’t possible.  Anytime I find myself disappointed in a players decision I try and imagine myself going to school to be a professional sports writer and then I can leave early and guarantee myself at the very least a nice multimillion dollar contract to do what I love for at least a few years.  That’s a tough thing to turn down, especially if your not just worrying about yourself.  Many players have families they would inspire to help out.  While I was not raised poor, how can anyone not understand that someone would love nothing more than to take care of their family?

On the flip side of the coin, many players have left early for the pro’s when they weren’t ready.  Sticking to just examples from North Carolina here Brandon Wright, Marvin Williams, Joseph Forte, Ed Davis, Sean May and that’s just off the top of my head, all count have used another year and in some cases two or three at Chapel Hill.

The end of this season just feels like 2008 to me.  The best team in the nation coming into the season, hit with multiple injuries at key positions.  Without any experienced point guards they still hang within one point of a great Kansas Jayhawk team in the Elite 8 before falling in the final three minutes.  That 2008 team was also loaded and while they pretty much just blew it against Michigan State that season, I had a similar vibe from my perspective.  We all know what happened next as Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green all decided against leaving early and came back to Carolina and won the national championship in a dominating 2009 season.

While 2012 cannot possibly duplicate 2009 with this teams Tyler graduating, ensuring one of the big fours departure.  With freshman James Michael McAdoo ready to explode into a star himself.  The 2012 team could easily duplicate the success of 2009 if the other three decide to return for another season.  For different reasons I believe each player should come back and each one would be in danger of becoming apart of a future list of players who could have used another year with Roy Williams at Carolina.  Check back with us at Keeping It Heel where I’ll break down the pro’s and con’s of the decision awaiting each player.  I’ll give you my verdict on each players NBA prospects with a wild prediction of what each will ultimately decide to do next season.

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