UNC Basketball: 5 freshman that would have started for other programs

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27: Marvin Williams
SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27: Marvin Williams /
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CHAPEL HILL, NC – FEBRUARY 23: James Michael McAdoo
CHAPEL HILL, NC – FEBRUARY 23: James Michael McAdoo /

These five North Carolina freshman would have cracked the starting lineup at a number of other programs

For some college basketball programs, starting lineups consisting primarily of freshman is commonplace. Fans are accustomed to seeing schools like Kentucky and Duke trot three, four or even five freshman out on the court at one time.

For others, though, it’s a bit less common.

North Carolina, for example, simply isn’t one of those schools. Even when the Tar Heels were snagging multiple five-star recruits on a near annual basis, it’s just not something that was often seen from a Roy Williams led team.

Williams has always been partial to playing experienced upperclassmen over raw, but talented freshman. In dire situations, Williams has been all but forced to insert freshman into his starting rotation, but it rarely came by choice.

Sure, in the cases of Brandan Wright and Harrison Barnes, he did. But they were both undeniably talented players who could more than adequately fill an immediate need on their respective rosters. And thanks to the unexpected premature departure of All-American point guard Kendall Marshall, freshman ball-handler Marcus Paige was thrust into a starting role from the time he stepped onto campus.

More often than not, though, as was the case with North Carolina’s 2016 national runner-up squad and its 2017 national championship team, the Tar Heels are led by upperclassmen.

That doesn’t mean that the Tar Heels have been short on elite freshman talent, though. In fact, more talented freshman have often had to wait their turn behind more experienced veterans, as is the case with the five players who made this list.

Take a look at the following five freshman who would have likely made the starting lineup if they had chosen different schools.