Our UNC Basketball player season in review series continues with a freshman that saw his first year in Chapel Hill hampered by injuries
Point guard Jeremiah Francis was the first player to commit to North Carolina’s 2019 recruiting class that would end up being Top 10 by the time it was finished. The Ohio native played on the same High School team as Sterling Manley and like the big center, Francis saw his season hampered with injuries.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Francis saw his stock drop a bit in high school as he suffered two knee injuries and it felt like everything that could go wrong, went wrong. But the Tar Heels didn’t give up on Francis and honored his scholarship welcoming him to the team this year.
After one season of limited play, there’s some optimism with Francis.
The point guard was sidelined for the first eight games of the season after recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered during his senior year. He made his debut at a tough time for the Tar Heels as they took on Virginia in Charlottesville. Francis played three minutes in the loss to the Cavaliers which was UNC’s second-straight loss and right in the middle of a four-game losing streak.
But from there, Francis saw his minutes uptick in each game for the next eight games and had a season high 28 minutes in the win over UCLA back in December. Francis averaged 5.6 points, 2.9 assists and just 2 turnovers per game during that stretch. While he wasn’t fantastic, Francis showed some signs of hope at the point guard position when UNC needed it the most with Cole Anthony out.
While Francis was just starting to get into a groove, he suffered yet another injury that would cost him to miss another 10 days in January through the start of February. He was then put on a limited minutes restriction and played no more than 10 minutes in a game through the end of the season.
Those 10 minutes came in the blowout loss to Syracuse in the season finale.
For UNC, there’s hope that Francis can be a core four-year player for the program. The only worry is his injury history and if he can get through that.
At times, Francis showed signs of putting it together in terms of a point guard, running the offense and being a facilitator. He wasn’t great but he also wasn’t able to get into any sort of rhythm due to the injury problem. I think with a full season, Francis had the chance to be the No. 2 point guard on this team and lead UNC’s second unit.
As we move forward, Francis will have that chance next season. Anthony is likely leaving for the NBA and UNC welcomes in guards Caleb Love and R.J. Davis but it’s expected that one will play the two-guard slot.
That leaves an opportunity for Francis to compete for the backup point guard position and earn some key rotation minutes. Can he stay healthy? Let’s hope so.
For more on Francis and the UNC Basketball program, please check back with Keeping It Heel.