Key Question: Where can Kennedy Meeks improve?


Kennedy Meeks’ improvement in a few areas of his game will promote Roy Williams’ brand of basketball, and ultimately make North Carolina elite in the 2015-2016 season.

There has not been much news surrounding Kennedy Meeks and his off-season training.  At this time last year, the big man was a hot topic as he lost a lot of weight and increased his general athleticism immensely.

At the beginning of this past year, he was great.  In his first 13 games, Meeks recorded seven double-doubles, averaging about 25 minutes per game.

In the final 10 games, however, he only scored in double figures once – which is even more strange when considering the fact that he averaged 11.4 points per game in the entire season.

In the final two-thirds of the year Meeks was plagued by injury – none more serious than the knee injury that almost kept him off the court in the sweet sixteen match-up against Wisconsin.

According to Andrew Carter of the News and Observer, Roy Williams referred to it as a “knee sprain”.  And although he was pessimistic to the media who asked about Meeks’ status before the upcoming game, the sophomore forward managed to play in the Tar Heels’ final game of the season.

"“He was going to class,” Williams said. “So that’s all I can tell you. He got treatment yesterday. He got in the pool yesterday. It feels a lot better than he did after the game. I know that. But I think anything else would just be pure conjecture and guesstimate.”"

Without an official word from Roy Williams on the status of Meeks’ knee, Tar Heel fans can assume that Meeks is leaner, stronger, and more skilled than he’s ever been at his time at North Carolina.

Meeks brings plenty to the table, and is an essential part of the North Carolina line-up.  But in order for North Carolina to be elite next year, he needs to help:

  1. Increase UNC’s offensive tempo
  2. Change UNC’s identity on the boards
  3. Score on the block

Roy Williams basketball is centered around the idea that the more possessions and scoring opportunities his team has, the more likely his team is going to win.  Every turnover, missed shot, or even made shot by the opponent could be a scoring opportunity.

And every successful North Carolina team under Roy Williams played this brand of basketball – and the Tar Heels have found ways to do it with different types of players at each position.

Ty Lawson (his junior year) was arguably one of the fastest runners and strongest finishers in the league.  Kendall Marshall was not nearly as athletic as Lawson, but his court vision allowed the Heels to still play at a fast pace.

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The point is – North Carolina basketball isn’t North Carolina basketball if the pace of the game is not fast.  And Kennedy Meeks has shown that he cannot only start the fast-break with a rebound, but also can continue it with an effective outlet pass.

Meeks will need to do his part to increase UNC’s offensive tempo for the Heels to be successful next year.

The rising junior will also need to be proficient in other traditional big man roles – finishing and rebounding.

The Heels this past season were among the best in the offensive rebounding category, but were mediocre in defensive rebounding.  But that is hard to put solely on Meeks, as he was second on the team with 7.5 rebounds per game in the 2014-2015 season.

In regards to scoring, hopefully North Carolina can avoid half-court sets as much as possible.  But when they are in them, Meeks and Johnson are the Heels’ primary options on the block.

In short, Kennedy Meeks’ improvement in a few areas of his game will promote Roy Williams’ brand of basketball, and ultimately make North Carolina elite in the 2015-2016 season.