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Larry Drew II: Redemption Song Or More Criticism For The Former North Carolina Point Guard

Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels are known for having impressive point guards. Considering their point guard lineage (Phil Ford, Jimmy BlackKenny Smith, Ed Cota, Raymond Felton, Tywon Lawson and Kendall Marshall), the individual who holds this position has a great deal of shoes to fill.

Two years ago, Larry Drew II was heavily criticized and ridiculed for abruptly leaving North Carolina after losing his starting position to Marshall. Many people viewed his departure as a selfish and disrespectful. Prior to the start of the 2010-2011 season, it was rumored that Drew was going to transfer. When asked about this rumor, Drew denied these allegations.

Fast forward to spring 2013. Drew is the starting point guard for the UCLA Bruins. Although he is not the best player on UCLA, he led his team to the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament Championship where they lost to the Oregon Ducks. In this game, Drew and Shabazz Muhammad led UCLA in scoring with 14 points each. In addition, UCLA (25-9) has a slightly better record than North Carolina (24-10). Both teams are also located in the South region of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. UCLA is No. 6 seed and North Carolina is the No. 8 seed.

It is obvious that Drew merely wanted to improve his situation. He believed that he was worthy of more playing time. It is understandable considering the amount of playing time Drew logged in as a starter for North Carolina. After North Carolina won the national championship in 2009, Drew was the starting point guard as a sophomore in the following season. He played 28.8 minutes a game in the 2009-2010 season. Drew averaged 8.5 points and 5.9 assists in 2010. In the 2010-2011 season, his minutes decreased to 22.8. This was a result of Marshall’s addition to the team.

This season has been Drew’s best season to date. He plays 35.5 minutes a game. In addition, Drew averages 7.6 points, 7.4 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Drew is shooting 45.3% from the field and from the arc. Aside from the turnovers (which decreased from 3.2 in 2010 to 2.4 this season) which should never be glorified, Drew is actually having the best season of his college career.

Similar to LeBron James‘ departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the manner that Drew left North Carolina could have been more tactful. Leaving your team during the season is highly questionable; especially after being benched. However, when you consider what he has accomplished this season, it is understandable why he left.

Drew is in a better situation and seems happier. His play indicates these things. Since no one is perfect and everyone deserves a second chance, judging him for the past should take a backseat. If you find this difficult to do, then look at it this way. His departure benefited North Carolina and UCLA. They may actually play each other in the tournament. Now, that’s redemption!