As the campus of Chapel Hill awaits the arrival this weekend of the top freshman class in the country, Carolina Blue basketball recruiting analyst Clint Jackson answers some questions about the expected impact of the three McDonald's All-Americans, Tywon Lawson, Brandan Wright and Wayne Ellington.
What kind of impact can we expect from Tywon Lawson? What will he need to do better?
I don't think much of anything is going to be an issue with Lawson. He's a stud. The biggest thing I can forsee with Lawson is how much consistency he shows shooting the ball from the perimeter if the defense gives him too much room. If he can do that -- it's lights out. I just don't think there's going to be many ACC guards who can keep him from turning the corner and getting into that lane. And once he gets inside that lane, and the defense breaks down, it's going to be ugly for the opposition. Especially with Tyler and Brandan awaiting the pass. And if they're not there, Lawson has his infamous floater. And I don't think he ever misses that thing.
Carolina fans are going to love the excitement that this kid brings from day one. You don't see many kids who can play this position as well as Lawson does. He's fast, quick, skilled, poised and ultra strong. It's like he drinks diesel fuel for breakfast.
He will be the difference between a really good team and a great team.
How do you think Brandan Wright will fare? What does he bring to the table?
The things that Brandan Wright brings to the table are pretty clear. He's skilled, he's ultra athletic and he's just so tremendously long. It's almost impossible to stop him at times because he can just s-t-r-e-t-c-h right over the top of you and sink that short jumper. He's such a quick leaper inside too. The type of kid that catches the ball and dunks before you realized that the pass went to him in the first place.
One of the most magical scenes with Wright is when he leaps up and grabs a rebound that has bounced high in the air over the rim. His arms are just so high above everyone else that it's just not fair. If someone doesn't make a conscious effort of putting a body on him, he's capable of grabbing offensive rebounds like Tyrus Thomas from LSU did against Duke in the tournament this year.
The only things I've ever worried about with Brandan, honestly, is getting tough and being strong. He's just so light right now, but after reading today's article from Carolina Blue Managing Editor Ryan "Lemonade" Bartow -- I see that the UNC staff has him working hard on that with the 6,000 calorie-a-day diet. It's going to be a tremendous blessing if UNC can get Wright to be around 220-225 pounds by the time the season rolls around. I think making his legs stronger will also be a focus of the UNC strength/conditioning coordinator. Once he's able to hold his position down on the blocks (and keep other's from establishing it) he'll definitely be able to impact the game in more ways.
Expected impact from Wayne Ellington next season?
I think with Ellington, it all depends on how much time he sees on the floor. Getting minutes at the wing guard position is going to be a day in and day out battle on this squad because of the tremendous depth that they have here. I think it's a good problem to have, for certain. And he might not start, quite honestly, at least for awhile into the season.
He's certainly going to give Miller a run on this team for the unofficial title as "best shooter," but I think the key to earning a lot of time at this spot is defense. Ellington is talented enough, that much we've never debated. But is he willing to become as well-rounded and consistent on defense? If he does that -- I think he'll earn the nod. But he's going to have to work everyday, in front of Coach Williams, trying to beat Marcus Ginyard off the dribble (which is pretty darn tough), trying to get enough room against Miller's fast feet, and getting the best of the matchups.
His size and smoothness, however, are just lethal. And I think he'll prove that he's simply too talented to spend much time on the pine. Honestly, I'm 32 years old, and I don't recall if I've ever seen an ACC team with this much depth. You could almost make two top 10 teams out of them.