Rank ‘Em: Top 5 Players for UNC Basketball in 2014-15

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#4 – Brice Johnson: 6’9 Junior Forward (210 pounds)

Brice Johnson is on the exact opposite end of the spectrum from Meeks. He needs to continue to get bigger and stronger. Johnson is a long and athletic forward that will be important to the Heels success next year. He and Meeks will be called upon to play major minutes for the Heels in the paint with the departure of James Michael McAdoo to the NBA draft. Johnson will need to be a consistent player for the Heels next year as he had some issues with foul trouble costing him quality minutes (looking at the first Duke game – played 14 minutes and had 5 fouls).

The fast paced style the Tar Heels play can benefit an athlete like him, but he’s got to be able to defend in the paint and box out big opposition. His strength development is the biggest issue I can see with him right now. If he gets that going on the right track he will be a force in the paint next year. If he is stronger and can hold his own he’ll play with more confidence and not need to take risks and get himself into foul trouble.

Johnson fits the mold of a series of Carolina forwards over the years that needed to add strength once they got there. We all remember John Henson and Brandon Wright, don’t we? They had a similar frame and build as Johnson does. I’d like to think it’s an easier process to bulk a guy up, than trim one down, but it ultimately depends on the willingness of the player. The Carolina strength and conditioning coach, Jonas Sahratian has been a great addition to the staff and is popular among the players. His results speak for themselves. Tyler Hansbrough speaks very highly of him and signed one of his jerseys from 2008 when he was the national player of the year with the following quote: “Jonas, A lot of blood, sweat, and tears for the years. Thanks for helping me achieve my dreams and goals!”  The jersey hanging on the wall is the only one that Hansbrough has ever given out. The Tar Heels are going to have a formidable front-court next year. If Meeks can trim down and Johnson bulks up, that pair along with J.P Tokoto/Justin Jackson could be one of the best in the country.