UNC Basketball: Juniors failing to show progress for Tar Heels

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Nov 27, 2014; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) celebrates with forward Joel James (42) during the game against the UCLA Bruins at Imperial Arena at Atlantis Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Joel James (#42, forward)

Joel James is the clearest case of a player who just hasn’t improved in the time he spent in Chapel Hill as a freshman until now. James averaged 2.3 points and 9.4 minutes per game as a freshman and now averages 2.4 points and 8.9 minutes per game for the Tar Heels. This isn’t the kind of growth that you would expect from a player as talented physically as Mr. James.

James is still an okay defensive player, but he is a liability on the offensive end. He has just one pet move on offense in the post, and the rest of his game is an adventure every time he touches the ball. He just isn’t an impact player when he steps on the court like Isaiah Hicks is. He doesn’t shoot the ball, using just 14.3% of possessions (per kenpom.com) when he is on the floor. James doesn’t rebound particularly well, with a 12.1 defensive rebounding percentage (again per kenpom.com). And turns the ball over way too much, as he averages 3.6 turnovers per 100 possessions, per sports-reference.com.

I said earlier this year that I thought James was improving, but it is clear after watching a few more ACC games that he still has a lot of room to grow. There is still time for James, but he is still a raw player who needs to spend a lot of time in the gym practicing before he can be a true impact player.

Next up is J.P. Tokoto

Next: J.P. Tokoto