UNC Basketball Player Profiles: Brice Johnson


Last season, the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team was very talented and very experienced especially in the low post. A favorite of many UNC fans was a guy named John Henson. He was a power forward at 6-10 and 200 lbs with a modest seven foot wingspan and proved to be a very potent forward for the Tar Heels on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. So what’s North Carolina’s answer for replacing 13.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, and 2.9 bpg this season? Another lanky forward from Cordova, SC by the name of Brice Johnson.

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Johnson was highly regarded coming out of high school and had offers from schools such as Florida, NC State, Clemson, Baylor, and Ohio State. Johnson stands at 6-9 and is around 210 lbs, which is similar to the size of John Henson. Johnson’s playing style is similar to Henson’s as well, his arm length may not be as long, but Johnson’s strengths center around the basket. He has a smooth touch and and can score in a variety of ways whether it’s a jump hook or a face up jumper 15 feet from the basket.

I can best describe Johnson as a hustler. He runs the floor extremely well for a big man which should prove advantageous in an up tempo offense such as North Carolina’s and he is an extremely good rebounder. Having a viable rebounding option of the offensive and defensive end of the floor may be the most valuable thing the Tar Heels can ask for from Johnson as they will try and repeat as the nation’s leading rebounding team for a third straight season. Obviously guys like Henson along with Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes gave the rebounding identity to UNC and they are now all currently in the NBA. Johnson however, is more than a good start towards maintaining that image. He averaged over 10 rebounds per game during his senior year in high school coupled with 18.2 points per game.

His defensive prowess will also prove to be very valuable during the upcoming season. As I mentioned earlier, John Henson led the conference in blocks per game with 2.9 a year ago which made North Carolina so tough to score on inside. Brice is coming to North Carolina having averaged four blocks per game in high school. The competition faced is a little different, but Roy Williams has a player in Johnson than can be easily molded into a defensive machine once he gets his feet wet.

I think Brice Johnson will be asked to do a lot during his freshman season similar to how Henson was three years ago. It will be a process, but I really feel that with time, development, and added experience, Brice Johnson has all of the tools to be the next John Henson at North Carolina. His ability to run the floor, his touch around the basket, his defensive ability, and his ability to rebound the ball all make Brice Johnson one of the premier recruits in the country. We got a first glimpse of him during the blue and white scrimmage on Friday at Late Night with Roy and we saw flashes of what he will bring to this team. All six of his points were direct results from him hustling and working to get in position to score. He was able to get out in transition and put back points on the offensive glass effectively. He may not hit the headlines for the Tar Heels at the beginning of the season, but Brice Johnson will be a big part of the Tar Heel team as they look to contend for an ACC and National Championship.