North Carolina is set to take on the University of North Carolina Pembroke in their first exhibition game tonight. P.J. Hairston, Leslie McDonald, and J.P. Tokoto will all be held out of the scrimmage for the Tar Heels.
Tokoto, who sat out UNC’s closed scrimmage against Vanderbilt for playing in two unsanctioned summer league games, will also be held out of Carolina’s two exhibition games for the same reason. The high-flying sophomore guard will not be suspended for any of the regular season and will be available to play in the season-opener against Oakland.
Hairston and McDonald are both waiting to be declared eligible by the NCAA and will therefore be forced to sit out until UNC hears the good word. While everyone would love to see this trio on the court for the Tar Heels, it is not that bad that they won’t be. All three can still practice, which means they are still getting in all the reps they need. All three are returners and have experience playing against a lot better competition than UNCP.
With all three sidelined, Carolina will be missing three guards who will all get quality minutes in the regular season. This will allow Roy Williams to work on a big lineup with James Michael McAdoo playing small forward and having two of his other talented big men in the game as well.
It will also allow freshman Nate Britt to get more experience. Coach Williams will be able to let Britt and returning point guard Marcus Paige be on the court at the same time. Paige showed his ability to score late last season and can possibly be a nice fit at the two when playing alongside Britt.