Monday, May 20, 2013

Katie (@UNC_Obsessed) looks at line-ups

Carolina Basketball: The 2013-2014 Season

            Have you ever been in a relationship where your significant other pulled something along the lines of, “I like you, but I’m not ready for a commitment yet; just give me a little bit of time.”?  Then, after being dragged along for just a bit too long, he or she finally decides that it is not going to work out. He or she leaves you feeling hurt and confused as to why you are not good enough. This is how so many fans feel about Andrew Wiggins. Why did he drag us along for so long? The answer to that question will remain unknown. (No disrespect to Andrew; I wish him the best.) But now it is finally time for Tar Heel Nation to move on from this stressful situation and start looking forward to this coming season!
            The most exciting part about this season is that PJ Hairston and James Michael McAdoo decided to return to the University for at least one more year. This erases the damaging situation that we could have been sitting in if all three of the top scorers were to leave the Tar Heels. The point guard, small forward, and power forward positions will be filled by returning starters, whereas the center and shooting guard positions are a bit foggy. These positions will most likely be determined by who can improve the most in the off season. Here are some starting five possibilities for this season based on what we already know.

Starting 5: #1

Marcus Paige (PG) sophomore: 6-1, 157 lbs
Leslie McDonald (SG) senior: 6-5, 215 lbs
PJ Hairston (SF) junior: 6-6, 220 lbs
James Michael McAdoo (PF) junior: 6-9, 230 lbs
Kennedy Meeks (C) freshman: 6-9, 275 lbs

            Marcus Paige averaged 29.2 minutes per game last year, playing as the main point guard from day one as a freshman.  Paige averaged 8.2 points per game and 4.6 assists per game. Paige, who now has an entire year of experience under his belt, will be UNC’s go to point guard and possibility as the on court leader. It has been said that Paige is the one underclassman from last year that showed definite ability to play at a higher level. Leslie McDonald could become a huge part of the team this year as Reggie Bullock decided to enter the NBA draft. McDonald averaged only 17 minutes per game last year and every season prior was even less than that. Roy Williams is definitely one coach that will start a player with experience over one without. McDonald, being the veteran on the team as a redshirt senior, has a lot of weight on his back this year to step up. He and Hairston on the wings could become a very dangerous duo.
            Coach Williams has said that he refuses to go small again next year. This being said, we can assume that McAdoo will return to the power forward position where he belongs. The only problem with this is that Roy will be taking a big gamble on which of the four “centers” will be able to hold his own in the paint. Kennedy Meeks will hopefully be the answer to this problem. He is the most full-bodied player UNC has seen in a few years. He is a great rebounder and has a great shot from the block, but the problem with Meeks is that his conditioning has to improve a ton in order for him to be able to play at the speed Roy demands. If he cannot do this he will most likely get less play time and McAdoo would have to return to the center position, putting Isaiah Hicks as UNC’s starting power forward.

Starting 5: #2

Marcus Paige (PG) sophomore: 6-1, 157 lbs
J.P. Tokoto (SG) sophomore: 6-5, 185 lbs
PJ Hairston (SF) junior: 6-6, 220 lbs
James Michael McAdoo (PF) junior: 6-9, 230 lbs
Desmond Hubert (C) junior: 6-10, 220 lbs

            As was stated earlier, Roy Williams is known for staring a senior over a freshman or a sophomore. However, J.P. Tokoto showed many signs of great ability at the beginning of last season while being known mostly for his athletic ability and spectacular dunks. He was hidden in the shadows of Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, but he now will have a large role on the squad. Tokoto and McDonald each have much to prove on in this off season while they compete for a spot in the starting lineup. Tokoto only averaged 8.6 minutes per game last year, but he shot 48.8% from field goal range.
            Desmond Hubert has experience starting for this team. Throughout the beginning of last season, when Roy was still trying to play with a large team, Hubert was starting instead of P.J. Hairston. If Kennedy Meeks is not a good fit as a starter for the team, Desmond Hubert could play that role. He averaged a mere 1.1 points per game, and only .8 blocks per game, but his presence could be enough to ward off the opponents.

Starting 5: #3

Marcus Paige (PG) sophomore: 6-1, 157 lbs
J.P. Tokoto (SG) sophomore: 6-5, 185 lbs OR Leslie McDonald (SG) senior: 6-5, 215 lbs
PJ Hairston (SF) junior: 6-6, 220 lbs
Isaiah Hicks (PF) freshman: 6-8, 210 lbs
James Michael McAdoo (C) junior: 6-9, 230 lbs

            This starting line up is the worst case scenario. Although it is sill a traditional lineup having Hicks play power forward and McAdoo playing center it is still not an ideal lineup. If none of the other centers can prove themselves to Roy, this is most likely the way that he will have to set up his starting team. Isaiah Hicks is a powerful player who may be the backup to McAdoo in the earlier lineups even though he is just a freshman. Hicks achieved a triple-double as just a freshman in high school. Transitioning into college should not be a problem for him. Hicks is similar to Tokoto in the way that they are both extremely athletic. The only difference being that Hicks is three inches taller than Tokoto. Isaiah Hicks’ only downfall is that he needs to bulk up quite a bit this summer in order to hold his own against larger players.

            As long as the team stays injury free, they should have a much more successful season in 2013-2014. They should continue improving from last year and maybe even make run at a trip to Dallas in April. This is a much more experienced team than last year that is ready to prove themselves.