Who will be UNC’s Go-To Scorers Next Season?


Keeping It Heel takes a look at who UNC’s go-to scorers will be next season. UNC returns four of five starters from last year’s team. 

The North Carolina Tar Heels will enter next season as the likely favorites to win the ACC and return to the Final Four in Houston, TX for the first time since 2009. The Heels will be loaded next year, returning 4 starters and every major contributor off the bench. With such a deep and talented roster Coach Williams and his staff will have the luxury of having multiple go-to scorers next season.

The obvious first choice is the team’s leading scorer for the last two season’s team leader Marcus Paige. The senior guard will start the season on many experts’ preseason All-American and player of the year watch lists following a strong finish to the season after struggling with multiple injuries most of the year. Over the team’s final 8 games the star guard averaged 17 points a game on 45% shooting from the floor. Despite struggling through most of the year the guard was still the team’s #1 option in clutch situations such as his game-winning layup against Louisville in the closing seconds and will likely still be the first option at the start of the season. However, one thing Paige won’t have to face next season that he did this year is multiple double and sometime triple teams thanks to the emergence of another potential go-to scorer.

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels /

North Carolina Tar Heels

As good as Paige’s late season play was, Justin Jackson was just as good down the stretch. The rising sophomore scored in double figures in 11 of the final 12 games averaging 13 points per game over that run including a career-high 22 points in the upset win over Virginia in the ACC Tournament semifinals. His improved play allowed team’s not to completely focus on stopping Marcus Paige which allowed both players to find better looks on the offensive end. The forward proved that he was capable of scoring from a number of different ways on the floor whether it be a pull up jumper, a mid-range floater or an improving 3-point shoot Jackson showing that he has the potential to be one of the most versatile scorers in the conference and possibly the country next season.

While two wing players might be Carolina best two scoring options everyone knows that Coach Williams likes to play two with traditional bigs on the floor whenever possible. The Tar Heels offense was at its best last season when forward Brice Johnson was playing his best. This past season, the big man showed that he has all the tools to be a dominant low post scorer and score in double figures every game. With a coach that loves to feed his post players, Johnson will have plenty opportunities show that he could be one of the best men in the country if he can play with the consistency that he sometimes lacked last season. When Johnson is playing well down low it opens things up on the perimeter and then UNC becomes almost to stop when they are playing well.

With so much offensive firepower the Tar Heels will be a difficult team to stop next season.