UNC Basketball: Full recap of the Tar Heels media day


We recap some of the storylines from the annual UNC Basketball Media Day which took place on Tuesday

Can you feel it?

North Carolina Tar Heels basketball is right around the corner. This week is the biggest week of the “off-season” as we inch closer to the start of the season.

Friday marks the unofficial start with the annual “Late Night With Roy” event, but Tuesday is the annual media day. Members of the media descended on the campus to talk to the basketball team and get their previews ready.

The day usually provides us with interesting storylines as well as the first look at the team.

Let’s recap the day. First, pictures.

Posing for photos

One of my favorite parts of media day is the annual team photo. Every year the team poses for photos that will show up in media guides and social media.

Here’s this year’s unofficial team photo:

You may notice that the Tar Heels jerseys look a little different. That’s because they have moved to the new tailoring on Nike-outfitted jerseys. UNC is one of the schools switching this season, joining teams like Duke and Kentucky who have been wearing them for a few years.

Related Story: UNC makes tweaks to basketball jerseys

Some photos of the players…

Hicks explains why he didn’t leave UNC…

While Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Joel Berry II tested the NBA Draft waters before pulling back, one UNC player that many thought could but didn’t.

That guy is Isaiah Hicks.

Hicks sat down with Roy Williams to fill out the paper work and leave UNC. Except Hicks wasn’t having any part of it. Instead, the forward wanted to return for his senior year and graduate from North Carolina.

The forward found some inspiration from a previous teammate who went on to be a NBA Draft Pick this year.

“I look at Brice and see what he did his last year,” Hicks said via Inside Carolina. “One more year, get a degree, possibly get a national championship, just stuff like that makes you want to go again.”

Williams said he was shocked that Hicks didn’t want to declare. All Hicks had to do was sign the sheet and he could still return but the forward wanted nothing to with it.

Haven’t watched the National Championship…

Last season’s heartbreaking loss still stings to players, coaches and fans. But the past is the past and it’s time to move on.

A few weeks ago, Justin Jackson revealed he hasn’t watched the game yet. Now, Williams admitted he was in the same boat as Jackson.

Do you really blame him though? Many fans still haven’t re-watched that painful night, including myself.

The good news is that Roy and the rest of the players know it can be used for motivation, as he later pointed out to Andrew Carter.

Roy’s knee

Apr 1, 2016; Houston , TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams during practice day prior to the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 1, 2016; Houston , TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams during practice day prior to the 2016 NCAA Men /

One of the biggest stories from the offseason was not on the team, but rather head coach Roy Williams’ knee. Williams underwent surgery on his knee in May and was recovering well.

At Media Day, Roy updated everyone on his knee and he claims he feels great.

"“(It feels) really well. We have had six full practices and I haven’t hurt anywhere near like I did last year,” Williams said. “Last year I was sitting down every about 15 or 20 minutes for 30 seconds at a time. This year I haven’t sat down expect during the water breaks.”"

It will be something to monitor to see how much Roy sits down this season during the timeout breaks. As noted above, he hasn’t sat during practices so far.


Finally, the day wrapped up with the team practicing.

It wasn’t the first time the team practiced this season as that began last week but it was the first time the media got to see the team practice. Roy ran the team through drills as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Carolina Blue’s Ross Martin listed the drills he saw:

  • 3 on 2, 2 on 1 fast break drill
  • Skeleton secondary break offense
  • Box out drills
  • Defending the post drill
  • Cutting drills
  • Post defense
  • Denying the ball from defender
  • Skelton defense (eye on ball, eye on man) – focus on communication.

With that, the official media day was over and now we look forward to Friday’s Late Night With Roy, which is guaranteed to be exciting.

Check back with Keeping It Heel for more basketball coverage on the Tar Heels.