Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr
Another season of basketball has reached our doorsteps and
UNC fans are surely looking forward to a bounce back year after
a somewhat disappointing season last year.
While last season certainly wasn't a complete bust, the Heels
did make the NCAA Tournament, it wasn't one that will have a
lasting legacy in UNC lore.
But that season might be table-setter for upcoming years as
North Carolina is bringing in a super-talented class this year
and the year after despite missing out on the services of the
talented Andrew Wiggins.
Let's take a look at some of the storylines heading into the
regular season opener against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.
But they do bring back Marcus Paige and bring in
heralded four-star recruit Nate Britt into the fold. Paige
will likely move into the two-guard position as Britt becomes more
comfortable playing on the collegiate level.
If that falters while Hairston remains on the sidelines, that
means Roy Williams could insert Leslie McDonald
into the starting rotation. Of course, McDonald has his own set of
issues to work out but shouldn't be out as long as Hairston.
In all honesty, it's hard to predict what the starting backcourt
will look like until Hairston comes back.
If everything had gone according to plan, Hairston would start at
the two and Paige would battle it out with Britt for minutes at the
This post-Hairston speed limit sign illiteracy session can either
be a blessing or a curse. They'll be young in the backcourt for a
while but at least Paige played a boatload of minutes last season
and won't feel overwhelmed coming into the year.
The real question is how quickly Britt can become a real factor.
All indications are he's a guy that can play right away, but it's
always tough to say until you see someone out there on the floor.
James Michael McAdoo
James Michael McAdoo is the "guy" on the UNC squad that
other teams will likely focus their main defensive game plan around.
The only question is, where will he play this year?
Last season, McAdoo shifted between power forward and center
depending on what Coach Williams' feelings on the small line-up were
In reality, McAdoo's future, both in college and the NBA, likely
lies as more of a wing presence. He'll need to prove he can knock
down perimeter shots and Tar Heel fans should know fairly quickly if
that's something he's added into his game from hours spent in the
gym during the offseason.
He's already got the explosiveness to drive by his defender from
the outside and has shown he can do that against small and big men
alike. If he can play more of a small forward position and give
Williams flexibility with the line-up, which can open up all kinds
of possibilities as UNC looks to break down opponents.
Imagine a line-up of Paige, Hairston, McAdoo, Hicks and Meeks on
the floor and the defensive havoc that length could wreck on ACC
foes. It all depends on if McAdoo can consistently knock down the
outside shot and stay focused throughout the game without drifting
into the background like he did at times last year.
If anybody tells you they know what Coach Williams is going to do
with his line-up this season their lying to you.
Flat out, nobody really knows.
Not having Hairston makes it a little more difficult to predict
because now the backcourt and frontcourt are likely to see shuffling
depending on Williams' moods and the tide of each individual game.
Williams used 13 different line-up combinations in the scrimmage
and guys like Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto really
don't have defined positions. Neither does McAdoo really.
So that can be a blessing or a curse. Either UNC's players
produce no matter where they are positioned on the court or they
might get lost through undefined roles.
All of this is predicated on not having
Hairston in the line-up. If he's in there, it likely takes care of
two starting spots (his and McAdoo's) with others left to battle out
for other positions. Without him in there, Williams is going to look
for any way to put the ball in the basket without a true lead
This could allow other guys to step-up and
show Williams he might not have seen otherwise but the trick is to
have that happen while not creating a big scene when Hairston comes
back and everyone's roles (and shot charts) get redefined.
vs. #11/12 North Carolina
Date: Friday, November 8,
2013 Time: 9:00 PM EST Venue:
Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) TV:
RSN Radio: Tar Heel Sports
Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 158/XM -) Series: UNC leads Oakland,
Head Coach - Roy Williams
(282-79 at UNC; 700-180 overall)
Last starting line-up for North Carolina
(against UNC Pembroke)
F - Jame Michael McAdoo F - Brice Johnson F - Joel James
G - Marcus Paige G - Nate Britt
Scoring: James Michael
McAdoo (14.4 PPG) P.J. Hairston (14.3 PPG)
Michael McAdoo (7.4 RPG) P.J. Hairston (4.3 RPG)
Assists: Marcus Paige
(4.6 APG) P.J. Hairston
Head Coach - Greg Kampe
(506-366 (242-202 in D-I) at OU; 506-366 overall)
Last starting line-up for Oakland (against
Lake Superior State)
F - Tommie McCune F - Corey Petros G - Travis Bader
G - Duke Mondy G - Kahlil Felder
Oakland at a glance Location: Rochester,
Golden Grizzlies Colors:
Gold & Black Conference:
Horizon League Arena:
Athletic Center O'rena (3,000) 2012-2013 Record: 16-17
(10-6) Last Game:
W 88-61 vs.
Lake Superior State on Nov 3, 2013 in Rochester, Michigan Last Game vs. UNC: W
on March 18, 2005 More on the Golden Grizzlies: Schedule
| Stats |
Roster Official Site
The soft opening schedule is usually the
time of the year when all this gets sorted out but it likely won't
because of the much-touched upon situation from the summer.
The best battle UNC might have heading into ACC
play this year might not come against the guys in the other jerseys, it
will probably come against one another on the practice courts.
It should make for an interesting game
experience, but one that Tar Heel fans hope won't be a trial and error
type year that leaves them with a mediocre season like last season.