We continue our UNC basketball player season in review series with senior graduate transfer Christian Keeling
Christian Keeling came to North Carolina as a senior graduate transfer with a reputation for scoring. In three seasons at Charleston Southern, Keeling averaged 17.9 points per game on 45 percent shooting, including 35.2 percent from three-point range and better than 78 percent from the free throw line. Keeling’s best season, of course, was his junior campaign that saw him score 18.7 points per game to go along with 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Fast forward to November 2019 when Keeling suited up with the Tar Heels for the first time. It goes without saying that the former first team All-Big South selection got off to a slow start. It took Keeling nearly six weeks to achieve his first double-digit scoring game of the season — a 12-point outing against No. 2 Gonzaga — and he shot less than 33 percent from the floor in the games leading up to it. That included a 4-for-19 mark from beyond the arc, a place that we’d figured he’d be particularly effective from in a UNC jersey.
Even after the dozen points he scored against the Bulldogs on December 18, Keeling’s offensive prowess still didn’t kick into gear for another month-plus. It wasn’t until a February 3 game against the Florida State Seminoles that Keeling began a four-game stretch of double-figure scoring efforts. After games of 14, 13, 15 and 11 points, Keeling scored nine points a piece against Notre Dame and Louisville before scoring season-highs of 16 and 18 in consecutive games against NC State and Syracuse.
It was during that eight-game stretch that things really came together for Keeling. He looked good in all phases of the game, and his mid-range shot was particularly lethal. He shot nearly 57 percent from the floor in those games, just under 50 percent from long-range and 94 percent from the foul line.
Keeling’s time in Chapel Hill was short, but he was admired by Tar Heel fans; especially when his jump shot was falling like he was throwing stones in the ocean.
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