ACC Preview: North Carolina’s Burning Question

Posted by Matt Patton on November 5th, 2015

This team preview is part of the RTC ACC microsite’s preseason coverage.

Burning Question: Is this really the best team in the country?

The Tar Heels were a very good team last season — remember, they led national runner-up Wisconsin until the final six minutes of the Sweet Sixteen (and were within one point in the final minute). But JP Tokoto opted to play basketball for money, leaving Roy Williams without much depth on the wing. Theo Pinson will likely get the call to replace him and seems a good fit for the role. He was a worse than average shooter last season but he was a good prep free throw shooter which usually tracks well with shooting ability. Pinson should immediately assume the role as this team’s defensive stopper.

Is a healthy Theo Pinson the difference between a good and great North Carolina team? (photo: USATSI)

Is a healthy Theo Pinson the difference between a good and great North Carolina team? (USATSI)

The x-factors for this team are twofold. First and foremost, Marcus Paige has to get healthy — his recently broken hand will put him out of action for a month. The real x-factor, however, is Joel Berry. Berry was quietly very efficient last season. It was shocking that he finished the season with an offensive efficiency rating of over 110 (the best of the bench). With Paige out of the lineup, this will be Berry’s offense to run from day one along with Nate Britt. The good news for Tar Heels fans is that both point guards are competent three-point shooters, and it’s also good for both to get early season experience at point guard so that when Paige comes back he’ll mostly be able to play off the ball. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Line That Is Dotted: Who Signed Yesterday In The ACC

Posted by KCarpenter on November 15th, 2012

The beginning of the early signing period is a beautiful time for nervous fans and coaches. When a recruit signs that official letter of intent, everything feels a little more real than the mere assurances of a player’s word. On the other hand, in practice, for a lot of players and schools, the signing is just a formality; a bit of paperwork that simply emphasizes a decision that may have been truly made months (or years) ago. For the ACC, signing day brought few surprises this year. Most of the big names who signed had already committed in advance, while the numerous undecided players stayed undecided.

Consensus No. 1 Prospect Andrew Wiggins Makes Move to 2013 Official

The Charlotte Observer put together a nice, comprehensive list of those who followed through on their previous verbal commitments by putting pen to paper. The more interesting part of this story, however, lays with those who have yet to commit. These top undecided prospects could have big impacts for four teams in the ACC that already have very strong incoming recruiting classes.

  • Florida State: The Seminoles have already put together a great recruiting class with Jarquez Smith and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. The question for Leonard Hamilton’s team is whether it can turn this great recruiting class into a truly legendary category. Since the reclassification of Andrew Wiggins to this class and the commitment of Wiggins’ longtime friend and teammate Rathan-Mayes, Florida State may have the inside track on landing potentially one of the brightest overall talents in years. Still, to land Wiggins, Florida State is going to have to beat out John Calipari and Kentucky, no easy task. As icing on the cake (or perhaps as consolation), Florida State also has a shot at point guard Stevie Clark, and a longer shot at sensational scoring guard Keith Frazier.
  • North Carolina State:  For the second year in a row, Mark Gottfried is scheduled to have one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, even with some expected recruits still outstanding. Center BeeJay Anya is likely to make the Wolfpack his choice in the next couple days (especially considering that there doesn’t seem to be any other schools in play) and Julius Randle, one of the top talents in the class seems excited to visit Raleigh to watch NC State play against North Carolina in late January. Obviously that likely means that Randle’s decision is months off, but the signs are encouraging for the Wolfpack.
  • Duke:  The Blue Devils only have one piece outstanding and they know they are going to have to wait. Jabari Parker is their man and he has made it clear that he won’t make his decision during the early period. Still, with or without Parker, Duke has a nice pair of incoming players with Semi Ojeleye and Matt Jones.
  • North Carolina: The Tar Heels have a solid pair in Nate Britt and Isiah Hicks, but they have two outstanding and uncommitted prospects. Kennedy Meeksa big center from Charlotte has narrowed his choices down to UNC or Georgetown, but it’s unclear which way he is leaning and when his decision will come. While at least one reputable analyst thinks UNC has the edge, this is far from done deal, though an answer seems more likely to come sooner than later. The other outstanding piece for North Carolina? None other than Andrew Wiggins. For Roy Williams, landing Wiggins is probably a long shot, but North Carolina is still on the top prospect’s short list.
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ACC Morning Five: 11.24.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 24th, 2011

Unfortunately shoddy wireless means I can’t get a screenshot, but the elation at the end of the Maui championship game between Duke and Kansas came through the TV. Even Coach K was jumping up and down after Tyler Thornton hit the biggest shot of his life. Twice. Austin Rivers was as active as any of the Duke players on the bench (save Marshall Plumlee, whose level of enthusiasm is insane). It’s clear Duke isn’t a dominant team by any meaning of the word, but it’s a really fun team to watch. And the Blue Devils, as always, know how to win.

  1. Washington Post – Cavaliers Journal: Virginia is a defensive team this year. Or at least it is without senior Sammy Zeglinski, whose playing time is currently limited by a nagging ankle injury. And Tony Bennett sounds OK with that. He pointed out that the team is “a possession by possession team,” which probably explains why the Cavaliers savor each possession so much (there are only four slower teams in D-I). One has to expect the Cavaliers’ outside shooting will come around eventually, but until then they’ll have to continue relying on their defense.
  2. Indy Week: Since 1945 only two coaches, Press Maravich and Les Robinson, were older than Mark Gottfried (who’s only 47) when they took the head coaching job at NC State. The article also provides a nice introduction to the individual roles, many of which have changed since Gottfried arrived, of each major contributor on the team. The final line is still the biggest question that remains:

    While Wolfpack partisans still loudly applaud Gottfried’s name during pregame introductions, all honeymoons come to an end. Ultimately, the question is whether Gottfried is the next big thing… or just next.

  3. ESPN: Florida State takes to the Bahamas this week for the Battle 4 Atlantis where the Seminoles will start out with UMass, an undefeated team that just throttled Boston College on the road. To be fair, the Minutemen were picked twelfth in the A-10 before the season started. Should Florida State win that game, it will probably face mid-major upstart Harvard in the second round and defending national champion Connecticut in the championship game. This is a pretty good primer for the tournament, which has plenty of interesting storylines and will be Florida State’s first true test this season.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: One of the biggest questions facing Duke is who will run the point. Duke Basketball Report has a fairly exhaustive article looking at the history of the point guard position and its use in both Roy Williams’ and Mike Krzyzewski’s offenses. Essentially, the conclusion is that Duke’s backcourt needs to share the responsibilities of a point guard, rather than putting everything on one player. I think the article under-appreciates Quinn Cook’s point guard abilities; then again, I don’t think Cook will be the main option at point until at least conference play and, more likely, next season.
  5. iSportsWeb: North Carolina 2013 commit Isiah Hicks is already struggling with eligibility issues. It sounds like there are some missing records from his old school district. If the records are just missing from his previous school district. But if there are red flags at the high school level, there will definitely be red flags at the collegiate level. [In more upbeat North Carolina news, the Tar Heels are slashing prices on tickets to men’s games against Evansville and Nicholls State by 40% for Black Friday.]

EXTRA: Per The Daily Telegraph, several gentleman’s club owners have gotten together in hopes of taking advantage of the NBA lockout and starting a topless basketball league. So far there are 23 teams including ones in Minnesota (may I suggest the Minnesota Bimbowolves for a team name?), Miami and New York. I’ll be sticking with college basketball, but the title of this article was too good to let go unnoticed.

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