UNC Basketball 2018-19 Player Preview: Andrew Platek

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Andrew Platek
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Andrew Platek /

Sophomore sharpshooter will look to get more playing time in Tar Heels’ talented rotation

Coby White | Nassir Little | Rechon Black | Garrison Brooks | Sterling Manley

Even with the loss of their top two guards from a season ago, the North Carolina Tar Heels will have one of the deepest, most talented back courts in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The return of upperclassmen Kenny Williams and Cameron Johnson — both starters during the 2017-18 season — bolsters a UNC back court that welcomes back junior reserves Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson, as well as a bevy of talent in its highest-rated freshman class in years.

Two of the team’s newcomers, Nassir Little and Coby White, should aptly replace former UNC mainstays Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson. Little and White were five-star prospects in high school, and both will have an opportunity to crack the Tar Heels’ starting lineup this season.

Then, there’s Andrew Platek. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound three-point specialist was used sparingly last season, but did appear in the majority of the team’s games. This season, he’ll look for more consistency from long-range as he tries to establish himself as a top reserve.

2017-18 Season in Review

In 35 appearances as a freshman, Platek played 7.5 minutes per game off the UNC bench. He averaged two points, 1.1 rebounds and half an assist per game. He shot a respectable 37 percent from three-point range, though the sample size — 10-for-27 — isn’t a lot to go off of.

He hit just over 49 percent of his total shots, and knocked down seven of his 10 free throw attempts on the season. He also took care of the basketball, turning it over just 10 times in 264 game minutes.

What to expect in 2018-19?

Platek will take on a bigger role during the 2018-19 season despite the depth and talent of the Tar Heels’ roster. No one is expecting him to become the team’s top three-point threat, but with continued consistency from long distance, and the ability to hit shots in big moments, Platek could become an important reserve on the North Carolina bench.

It’ll also help his case that he plays tenacious defense, and can hold his own against ACC opposition. Equally as important is Platek’s work ethic, which is said to be second-to-none.

Roy Williams loves offense, no doubt. When a player has the ability to play both sides of the court with the same effectiveness and intensity, though, it increases Williams’ comfort level with leaving him on the court for extended periods of time.

Strengths and something he needs to improve on…

Platek was lauded as a big-time shooter in high school, and he’s already shown flashes of that in Chapel Hill. His ability to knock down shots from behind the arc will always be his hallmark, but his surprisingly good defense could be just as important, particularly as it relates to him getting minutes on the court.

Platek simply doesn’t possess the same kind of athletic ability as much of the ACC and many of his teammates, so it’s his work ethic that will have to shine through. If he continues to work on his game, as well as playing tough, in-your-face defense against opposing guards, he’ll see twice as much court time as he did last season.

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Bold prediction

Platek will average double-digit minutes per game this season, and he’ll score double-digit points on a few occasions. Aided by his 40-plus percent mark from downtown, he’ll be the team’s best long-range option off the bench.

And don’t be surprised if his Hall-of-Fame head coach trusts him enough to put him on the court late in games to knock down some much-needed treys.