UNC Basketball: What the 2012 Tar Heels Will Look Like Part I


Well now we know what the 2012 North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team will look like.  With John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes going pro.  Indications are that freshman James Michael McAdoo is going to return, if you listen to his Dad at least.  The Tar Heels are pursuing Connecticut transfer Alex Oriakhi and seem to have the inside track based on rules that he cannot go to a Big East or SEC school.  The list of teams going after him is long and includes several powerhouses.  Roy Williams has put together another stellar recruiting class and may still look to add to the class.

Let’s take a quick look at what the roster should look like.

PG: Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland

SG: Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock

SF: PJ Hairston, JP Tokoto

PF: James Michael McAdoo, Brice Johnson, Desmond Hubert

C: Joel James

That’s ten scholarship players right now assuming McAdoo returns.  Adding Oriakhi would be huge for Carolina who would otherwise be facing starting a freshman at the center position.  Even if they add Oriakhi, UNC would have two scholarships to give out in 2012 and could feel good with Strickland graduating and McAdoo likely to go pro after the 2012-13 season.  I for one expect Roy to bring in at least one other recruit in the 2012 class.  But that’s a debate for another day.  With the roster above, how will the Tar Heels look on the court?

PG: Marcus Paige is a whole lot like Kendall Marshall.  A left handed, quick enough but not lightning fast floor general who comes into his freshman season a more polished scorer but not as good of a passer as Marshall (no one in college basketball was last year either).  The team is equally as thin at the PG position with just one pure point in Paige.  Strickland returns to a familiar role as a dual guard who will play both shooting guard and backup minutes at the point.  Leslie McDonald can also handle the point but is not a natural floor leader.  With Marshall headed to the NBA and Stillman White leaving Chapel Hill for two years to go on a Mormon mission, UNC is in the same position they were in last year.  With the 2013 class bringing top point guard and five star recruit Nate Britt, Roy has the dilemma of what to do in the short term for depth at the position.  The Tar Heels will also have walk on Luke Davis who sat out this season after transferring from Garner Webb.

SG: Roy Williams has a ton of depth on the wings and the loss of Harrison Barnes is the easiest of the big four to absorb.  With Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald returning from season ending injures the Heels have what was supposed to be the top two SGs on the roster this season back.  Reggie Bullock started with them both out and played well, his game grew tremendously throughout the season on both ends of the floor.  Roy has a unique decision to make with his shooting guard spot.  I left PJ Hairston off this list assuming he’ll be slotted at his more natural position of small forward.  Depending on how freshman JP Tokoto plays and any other recruits Roy may bring in, Hairston could also become a factor at the SG position.

It’s too hard to even offer an opinion on who will get the minutes at the shooting guard spot.  It’s likely the coach will want to bring Strickland off the bench with a freshman starting PG.  That leaves Bullock and McDonald, both very good three point shooters it will likely come down to who is the better defender, something Bullock showed he can do very well this season.  Another factor that makes this a confusing situation is Bullocks size.  At 6-7, Roy has the ability to play his best two perimeter players if Bullock and another SG such as Strickland or McDonald prove to be the best option over Hairston or Tokoto at the SF position.

Check back with us tomorrow at Keeping It Heel and we’ll take a look at the 2012 front line.

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