Here is my take on what is reasonable to expect from the incoming freshmen this year!
Nate Britt @NateBritt0
Nate will mostly be in a back-up role behind Marcus Paige obviously. Even in a back-up role he plays a very important part. As we have seen in past years how important the back-up PG can be! He will come in and give Paige some much needed rest and sometimes even push Paige over to SG giving us two guys on the court that can really handle the ball well.
If Nate catches on to the offense and the entire scheme of how Roy wants things run, I see him really surprising people this year. He slipped in the ranking (that don't really matter) and we didn't hear much about him his senior year because he battled a couple injuries, but he is definitely a much needed part of the upcoming season.
Realistically, we will see Nate get anywhere from 8-15 minutes per game (MPG) depending on the opponent, foul trouble and just how people are playing. I do think Nate will be affected the most out of the freshmen on what happens with the PJ Hairston situation. If (and no I don't wish this to happen) PJ is off the team it will open up more time for Paige at SG and then more time for Nate. If PJ is still with us he will get a lot of minutes obviously and it will take a few from Nate.
I hope people don't judge Nate just by his offense and points per game (PPG). Not saying he can't score or is poor offensively, he just isn't going to look for his shot as much as Paige does. He should still be able to contribute 5-9 PPG and with his basketball IQ I see him handing out around 4-5 assists per game(APG) as well. I believe people will be surprised by his defense as well, he is a smart player and I see him getting a couple steals a game just by being in the right position.
Isaiah Hicks @IDHicks
Hicks, I believe, has the most potential of the three incoming freshmen. He probably has the ability to contribute the most right away, however that will be hindered by being a PF behind James Michael McAdoo and sophomore Brice Johnson. He will have to find his place to make his mark for at least a year before he can really blow up next year. That may be at the SF spot some his freshman year or either at the C position or moving JMM back to the C position, which neither him nor Roy wants to do.
Hick exploded this past year in the State Championship game with 30+ points and rebounds! That's right over 30 rebounds in a game, thats like all of them in a high school game. That's when people started to really get excited about him, but he was doing it way before that game. He has a high motor and that is what will be hard for Roy to keep him off the court. Hicks won't put up points quite as quick as Brice does, but his is a more rounded player and well to put it blunt, not as thin. He capped off his high school career being named a McDonald's High School All-American and having a fair showing there.
Hicks is the hardest one to predict as far as minutes goes because your just not sure what position he gets them at and of course that will affect points and rebounds. Although, not as much as Nate, he will be affected some by what happens with PJ also, especially at the SF position. It is reasonable to expect Hicks to see around 15-18 MPG and in that time he should average around 8-10 PPG and 6-8 RPG. With his motor he will be fun to watch and should quickly become a fan favorite. Also, don't be surprised if he does not absolutely blow up in his sophomore season.
Kennedy Meeks @tarheel_01
To me Meeks is the most excited of the three to be a Tar Heel and that really excites me about a player when you can just tell they are pumped to put on the Carolina jersey! That is not to say the other two are not, I think this class is full of that and that is one thing that makes this one special.
Everyone has been harping on Meeks about his body and how he needs to lose all this weight and I am not arguing that fact, but we have already seen articles and heard reports that it is happening. Let this guy get to the first practice before we attack him too much. Personally, I am glad to see a little meat back in the post for us. Between him and Joel James we can really bruise some people up! Not that watching John Henson and Brice Johnson wasn't/isn't fun I am sure Roy also likes seeing those big guys back. If we can manage to run as we always do and get some easy points that way and at the same time have someone who is going to clear the lane, establish and hold position in the paint, catch the ball and finish then we are right back in Roy's wheelhouse. Meeks does have the body and hands to do it as well, should show flashes at least to remind everyone of Sean May and those hands! We all know how that turned out. Meeks also ended his high school career in Chicago at the McDonalds All-American game.
Unlike last year we do have some competition for playing time down in the post. Joel and Brice have the experience from last year and Desmond Hubert can still be a help on the defense end and has been working on his offense. So a lot will depend on who takes hold or breaks away from the pack to start and get the playing time at the C position. Meeks could be on the outside get around 5 minutes a game or he could be starting and playing around 20 minutes a game. Realistically we can expect somewhere in the middle of that around 12 MPG, chipping in around 8-10 PPG and pulling down somewhere around 7 RPG.
Another one of the great things about this class is I think we will get to see them all play at UNC for at least 3 years and really get to know them. None of them will be a superstar from day one, but in the end I think everyone will be glad they chose to represent UNC and I see all of them doing it in a way that will make all of Tar Heel Nation proud!
To wrap up these are all my opinions, feel free to disagree and of course it really is all up to the young men working hard, showing what they have, and Roy. But all in all I am okay with that.
It is building up to be an interesting, but fun year for the Tar Heels and I simply cannot wait for it to get here!