UNC Basketball: Joel Berry II 2017-18 season preview

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally converted to black and white.) Joel Berry II
GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally converted to black and white.) Joel Berry II /

Senior leader Joel Berry II is looking to cement his name in the rafters of the Dean Dome

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On April 24th, North Carolina Tar Heel fans awoke to find out that Joel Berry II had decided to leave school early.

This was a bit of a shock, but one that wouldn’t last long as he withdrew about 24 hours later.

Berry decided to return to Carolina for his senior year and another run at a Final Four for the program.

With his return, North Carolina returns as a legitimate contender to repeat. What will this upcoming season look like for the senior point guard?

2016-17 Review

Berry had a great year for the Tar Heels last season. He averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds in his junior year.

He also had a team-leading 1.4 steals per game while shooting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.

The point guard also came up big when the Tar Heels needed him to the most. He scored 54 points in three games at the Maui Invitational earning MVP honors.

He also scored 33 points in two Final Four games earning Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four honors.

Whenever the Tar Heels needed a spark or a timely bucket, Berry was there and there is no question they would not have won the championship without him.

2017-18 role and preview

Berry will start this season on the bench after a hand injury will sideline him at least two games to start the season.

Though this will slow Berry initially, it won’t change his role too much on this team.

Roy Williams will look to Berry to carry the load as he has in the point guard ever since he arrived on campus. Williams will trust Berry to take care of the ball and make good decisions and to get others involved.

GLENDALE, AZ – APRIL 03: Joel Berry II
GLENDALE, AZ – APRIL 03: Joel Berry II /

More so than anything else, I think the role that Berry will be asked to go to more often is that of a scorer.

Justin Jackson is no longer on the team, and though the Tar Heels added Cam Johnson, there will need to be scoring from other areas.

That is where Berry will come in and this is where his injury might help him and the team. The injury should allow Williams to develop some other guard options which could lead to Berry playing off the ball more.

That, in turn, could lead to more three-point attempts which also should open up driving lanes for Berry and others. Berry will still be expected to facilitate but his scoring should also see an uptick this season.


Leadership. This is what Berry brings to the court as much as anything. The Tar Heels will have a younger team this season as opposed to other seasons with six role players being sophomore or freshman.

Williams will look to his senior to lead the way and to guide this team when things get rough and to carry the team when needed.

Competitiveness. You know why Berry’s injury isn’t a bigger joke than it is? Because that is who Berry is. The same guy who would break his hand while losing a video game is the same guy who would score 22 points on two bad ankles to win a National title.

You let the stupid stuff go when you understand why. Berry was just being Berry and as much as we hate it for him, we also love him for it.

Bold prediction

What would be a bold prediction for Joel Berry II?

ACC First team? ACC Player of the year? No, I believe he is clearly in the running for that. No, I think there is another level for Joel Berry II.

I see him going Frank Mason on the ACC and not only taking home the conference hardware but the National hardware as well.

Next: Preseason ACC Power Rankings

Berry wins National Player of the year and becomes just the eighth player to have his number retired at UNC and the first since Tyler Hansbrough,