North Carolina got off to a slow start this past season and so did their freshman point guard, Marcus Paige. Paige struggled in all aspects, but especially on defense and passing. His lack of strength allowed other players to out physical him, and it took him some time to get used to it and adjust.
Paige began to play really well towards the end of the year and so did Carolina. It has been a recipe for success for every single North Carolina team under Roy Williams. Good point guard play will lead to good team play and a lot of victories.
Kendall Marshall, Ty Lawson, and Raymond Felton are just the recent point guards who have played under Williams at Carolina and every single one of them has been extremely successful with successful teams. Both Lawson and Felton won national championships while Marshall could have if he didn’t get hurt last season.
Paige showed his ability to pass the ball and make plays for his teammates while limiting the turnovers at the end of the year. He stopped forcing up as many shots as he used to and began moving the ball, making the right pass at the same time. This caused his assist numbers to rise and his turnover numbers to decrease, but he also shot better from the field.
He was knocking down outside shots when teams keyed on Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, and that was a huge reason for the Tar Heels’ late season success.
With Hairston coming back and you have to assume Bullock will as well, those three players can be back on the floor again, but with a year of experience and chemistry now.
If Paige is playing well, North Carolina will be good no matter who stays or goes.