Key Question: Where Does Nate Britt fit in?


During the months of May and June, we here at Keeping it Heel will be going in-depth to preview the 2015-2016 North Carolina basketball team.  We will be spending one day each on all twelve players, profiling each man on the Heels’ roster.  June 5th was Justin Jackson day. Check out that content here, here and here. Today, as you may have guessed from the title, is Nate Britt Day.

Mar 3, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Nate Britt (0) celebrates a three-point basket in the second half of their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion. The Tar Heels won 81-49. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

To begin, let’s take a look at the guards that Carolina will have next year.  There will be Kenny Williams (an incoming Freshman) and Stilman White, Spenser Dalton, Justin Coleman, Paige, Britt and Joel Berry (all returning players).  White, Dalton and Coleman do not figure to have much of a role next season, which leaves Williams, Paige, Britt and Berry as the four main contenders for playing time.  For the purposes of this article, I am thinking of Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson as more of forwards.  Even if they do get some playing time as guards, they are both more shooting guards than point guards–and Britt plays mainly point guard.

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Obviously, Marcus Paige will be the starter next year.  Though he had an off-year (by his standards) this year, he is one of the best players in the nation when he is healthy.  This leaves the other three players competing for the other guard position.  What Kenny Williams has going for him is that he is a fantastic shooter.  The last few years, shooting has been a struggle for Carolina, and Marcus Paige has been their only consistent deep threat.

“One of the elite shooters in the class especially when it comes to catch and shoot jumpers, Williams has a sweet stroke.” –Kenny Williams’ ESPN Recruiting Page 

Because of this, other teams have been able to lock down on Paige and keep him from getting any open looks around the three point line.  But, with Paige playing point guard, Williams playing shooting guard and Justin Jackson playing small forward, that’s three legitimate three point threats on the court. Teams won’t be able to focus all their defensive energy on Paige, creating more scoring opportunities for Marcus and the rest of the Carolina offense.  I think this line-up with Paige, Williams and Jackson will be the main one used by Roy Williams next season.

That means that Nate Britt will be on the bench.  And since Paige usually plays most of the game, there won’t be many minutes left between Britt and Berry.  I think that Britt will get the majority of these minutes, since Britt has been a better shooter and scorer at Carolina.  I think Britt will see most of his playing time when Kenny Williams takes a breather and Paige moves over to shooting guard.  I think Britt will probably play about the same amount as the fifteen minutes he averaged this year.  Hopefully Britt will improve as much during this off-season as he did between his first two seasons.  If he does, then those fifteen or so minutes will give the UNC a nice boost of energy and ballhandling off the bench before the starters return.