UNC Basketball 2013: Round Robin Season Preview

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Oct 16, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige speaks to the media during the ACC basketball media day at The Ritz-Carlton. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Slomianyj: Among our returning players, who needs to make the biggest leap in terms of scoring etc.?  And, Which freshman do you expect to make the biggest contributions and why?

Bryant: Brice Johnson showed a lot of potential earlier in the season but the more playing time he got, the more his flaws become obvious. He has a hard time keeping possession of the ball and contributes to the turnover problem UNC appears to still have heading into this season.

Of the freshmen, Kennedy Meeks is the one I hold a lot of expectations for. He’s a big guy and will help UNC bring back that dominant inside presence. It’s been a hot topic since practice started the Meeks is already outplaying and out performing Joel James. I think Meeks will be starting tonight and if not, he will be before the season is over. He still have to shed some weight though!

Rollin: I can see where Bryant is coming from on Johnson, but only Hairston averaged more points per minute than Brice last season. Easy B was one a roll before his minutes got slashed. Same thing happened to J.P. Tokoto, who I think needs to make the biggest leap. He has so much potential with his natural gifts. He’s just a little raw on the offensive end. Hopefully all the work he did this summer with Hubert Davis will pay off on his jumpers.

If Bryant is right about Meeks getting the starting nod, I would have to say it is him. Even while McDonald and Hairston are out, the center position is the greatest need. However, if Meeks doesn’t get the nod, I’m going to have to say Nate Britt. I love what I’ve seen from him so far. He’s exciting to watch and very intelligent with his play.

I can’t wait to see Britt and Paige together some more. And by the way, Hicks is going to be great, too… he’s just behind McAdoo and Johnson. Nothing against his talent.

Alex Hines: Who do you think will start at the 5? Who do you think should start at 5?

Bryant: Roy seems to favor those who have been around longer, so I think he will start Joel James. However, I think Kennedy Meeks should. He’s still got some weight he needs to lose, but he’s got a good shot and he’s very good in the post. I almost dropped my nachos when I saw him make that three pointer in the scrimmage. By the way, 16 points and 16 rebounds for a guy his size, even in a scrimmage, is impressive. He’s very good in transition too!

Rollin: I’ve been all over the Joel James project this summer, and I was really hoping he would step up his game as a sophomore. He’s a perfect prototypical center if he can get his head straight on the court. The other day he mentioned he hated playing in front of large crowds, and I’m wondering if that is something he is going to be able to get over. He’s definitely hasn’t looked like the guy Paige was raving about a month or so ago.

For now, he should still have the edge, but Kennedy and Desmond have both looked outstanding. If he doesn’t bring it against Oakland, he may find himself third in the rotation. I wish all three of them could start… they’re just such great guys. I’ll feel bad for whoever ends up third in the rotation.