Our 2020-21 UNC Basketball player preview series continues with senior guard Andrew Platek, whose veteran presence will be very valuable to this year’s young Tar Heels squad.
As the UNC basketball program prepares for the 2020-2021 season, Andrew Platek is gearing up for his final season in Chapel Hill.
Platek is an interesting story. Having seen minimal playing time during his first two collegiate seasons, Platek saw a major role increase during his junior campaign. However, the increased role was accompanied by offensive struggles, which is something he’ll look to improve upon moving forward.
2019-2020 Season In Review
As a junior, Platek saw a drastic increase in play time. The Guilderland, NY native just over 18 minutes per game, which was almost a 15-minute increase from the guard’s sophomore campaign.
With the Tar Heels injury and offensive struggles, Roy Williams looked at any possible option to get his team going. Unfortunately, Platek didn’t help them much in regards to their shooting woes.
Platek saw a major increase in shot attempts. Throughout his first two seasons at Chapel Hill, Platek shot the ball just 85 times. He doubled his previous career-high (55 during the 2017-2018 season) and then some during his junior season.
With his increases in shots came along a decrease in field goal percentage. His overall field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage took a pretty big hit, as it became a struggle for the veteran guard to put the ball in the net.
Overall, Platek attempted 123 shots while only connecting on 45, and was 13-57 from behind-the-arc.
Granted, there are a few things to consider here.
For starters, the Tar Heels had trouble spacing the floor. As they grew to rely on their inside presence, opposing teams challenged them to shoot the ball from outside, a trait that was considered a huge weakness to last year’s squad.
Additionally, Platek wasn’t the only Tar Heel to struggle shooting the ball. To single him out would be unfair, but it is something that may concern the Tar Heels coaching staff heading into the new season.
Although he struggled shooting the basketball, Platek does bring high energy and effort to the table.
For a team thats coach emphasizes the importance of rebounding, Platek was a very good rebounding guard. During his junior season, Platek hauled in 65 rebounds, 23 of which came on the offensive glass.
Platek is also smart with the basketball, as he avoids turnovers and makes smart decisions while handling the ball. In 561 minutes played during the 2019-2020 season, Platek turned the ball over 19 times, which is very impressive considering the Tar Heels fast paced style of play.
What to expect in 2020-2021
If you’ve watched UNC basketball over the past three seasons, you know that Andrew Platek is a team-first guy. Regardless of his role, Platek is always full of energy, supporting his teammates in any way possible.
With the Tar Heels roster having a lot of new faces (and a ton of inexperience), Platek will most definitely be a leader on this year’s squad.
Yes, the senior guard will make an impact on the court, but his ability to mentor some of the team’s young talent (especially the freshman guard) may even be more important.
Having been in Roy Williams’ system for three years now, Platek is very familiar with the Tar Heels style of play. With a shortened preseason and little time to prepare, Platek could certainly serve as a mentor for guys such as Caleb Love and R.J. Davis as they look to adjust to the collegiate style of play.
In regards to his on-the-court presence, expect Platek to fill in whatever void Williams needs him too. Although Williams hasn’t officially announced a starting lineup to start the season, it is expected that Platek will be utilized in a reserve role, which is familiar territory for the senior guard.
Regardless of whether he starts or not, the Tar Heels will need his high energy and effort throughout the season. The stat line may not show it, but Platek is a guy who makes the “winning plays” that sometimes go unnoticed, such as hustling and diving for a loose ball.
Even though the Tar Heels have added reinforcements this offseason, they’ll still need Platek to improve his shooting numbers from a year ago. If he can get his shooting percentage back on track, Platek becomes even more of a valuable weapon for this year’s team.
With a roster that is full of potential and talent, it is easy to lose Andrew Platek in the shuffle. However, Platek will be more valuable to this year’s Tar Heels team than most people think.
Platek will once again see a similar amount of minutes this season, as he’ll be used in multiple roles and lineups to help Williams mix-and-match. Along with some other upperclassmen, Platek will serve as a veteran leader on the court to help the young talent ease into their new roles.
Unlike the 2019-2020 season, Platek will once again find his shooting stroke. With more ball handlers and talent to work with, the Tar Heels offense should be able to space the floor more effectively, which will definitely help a player like Platek get more open looks.
Continue to follow the Keeping It Heel team for more news and information regarding Andrew Platek and the UNC basketball program.