UNC Basketball: No “Fix” This Year


I will preface this by saying I do think this young team will continue to get better as the year goes a long. With that said there is no fixing what is wrong with this year’s version of the Tar Heels. There is obviously player development and tweaks to lineups
and coaching that can be made. But these things when put in perspective are pretty small and it doesn’t allow the ceiling for this year’s team to go very high.

Dec 29, 2012 Chapel Hill, NC, USA. North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams yells at forward Brice Johnson (11) during the second half against the UNLV Rebels at the Dean E. Smith Center. North Carolina won 79-73. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

This years team has a huge problem it has replaced ELITE veteran talent with 3 or 4 year players whose development is just starting. The only way to replace that veteran talent and not see a HUGE drop off is to recruit top 10 talent.

Unfortunately for the Heels the highest rated player Roy Williams was able to get to campus was the 28th ranked Brice Johnson. Roy Williams was able to pick up the best PG in the class (Marcus Paige) in a not so great year for PGs. The problem is, no matter how good the PG, acclimating to Roy Williams system is especially hard for PGs.  Add to those two players the uber athletic JP Tokoto and the enormous big man Joel James. Both those players have great attributes that will allow them to develop into really good players but their current basketball skill sets are lacking. Because of this it is very hard for them to contribute in a meaningful way game in and game out against good competition. There is no way around it this just wasn’t a class that was going to be able to keep this year from looking like a rebuilding year.

As hard as it is to say, as UNC usually reloads and not rebuilds, the 2012 class was a disappointment. Certainly it wasn’t what Roy Williams had in mind when he started recruiting. I can say this without being critical of Roy and without saying Roy has lost his touch on the recruiting trail (which is clear as the 2013 class looks great and could get even better) 2012 was simply not a good year for Roy Williams on the recruiting trail. He missed on a ton of guys he really wanted and he had a top recruit whose development didn’t keep up with the rest of his class. When you consider that and the fact that the 2012 as a whole was not very spectacular you could see a “not very UNC” year coming on. (UNC got some great players and some great men but far from what Roy wanted when he got started)

Fact of the matter is while many of this year’s issues are very correctable there are just some facts that are not going to change this year. UNC has talent but they currently lack ELITE talent. Currently the closest thing UNC has to elite talent is Reggie Bullock but even Reggie lacks in certain areas. The 2012 recruiting class failed to add INSTANT elite talent. At some point one or more of the four may become elite talents but they aren’t currently. When you lose elite veteran talent and are forced to play four freshman, who were never going to be instant impact, you are going to see a drop off and usually a big one. That Heels fans is what is currently happening in Chapel Hill. As much as the above facts are clear. This year’s UNC team can still develop and still get much better and I expect them to. However, some problems aren’t going to be solved overnight, so don’t expect them to be but don’t give up on the Heels either.