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5 North Carolina Tar Heels Who Could Still Be In College

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5 Former Tar Heels Who Could Still Be Tar Heels

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After losing their second ACC matchup against the Miami Hurricanes yesterday, it is apparent that this year's North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team is struggling, and they may continue to struggle. After the game, I was thinking about what the team would be like if players actually played all four years before heading to the NBA. The Tar Heels have not won a National Championship since the 2008-09 season, and have really struggled to make a championship run ever since, despite having some key players each year. If they had more four-year players, then this season would be an easy road in March for the Tar Heels considering the stacked team they would have.

If the Tar Heels had all of the players who they were supposed to have this season, then they would have Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and Stilman White. All of these players were huge factors for the team when they were in uniform, but now have gone their separate ways, thus leaving the Tar Heels to find new options. Can you imagine the type of team the Tar Heels would have if these guys were still around? The team would be nearly unstoppable, and definitely would not be struggling as much as they are now.

Unfortunately, the reality of college basketball is that if a player is good enough, they escape to the NBA as quickly as possible. Also, when you put NCAA violations and personal decisions into play, as seen with Hairston and White respectively, there is no guarantee that a player will take advantage of their four years of eligibility. In a time of struggle for the Tar Heels, it is nice to reflect on their past successes and what they could be with their ex-stars in play.

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5. Stilman White

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I know many of you are already asking the question, who in the world is Stilman White? Well, for starters, White was a point guard for the Tar Heels that began his freshman season in 2011. He began as a third-string point guard behind Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland, but played an important role in the NCAA Tournament when both went down with injuries.

White was not a standout in his time in Tar Heel Blue, but he was a team player that was ultimately a no-mistake guy, kind of like current player Jackson Simmons. White left the school after his freshman year to go on a two-year Mormon mission to spread the gospel in Utah. For a guy that was close to anonymous in his time in Chapel Hill, this was a very good and respectable decision, but there is still hope that after these two years, he will return to playing basketball for the Tar Heels.

If White still played for the Tar Heels, this would be his junior season and he could really help out in the frontcourt alongside Marcus Paige.

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4. P.J. Hairston

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Here we go again, another explanation as to why P.J. Hairston would be a vital part of the Tar Heel team if he was not suspended for receiving impermissible benefits. Hairston was the team's leading scorer last season, and many believed he could contribute to an ACC championship, and maybe even more, if he played this season.

Hairston would only be a junior this year, so he would have one more year to help the Tar Heels achieve their goals, but due to his suspension, those goals will have to be fulfilled by other players. He was a prolific shooter and team player, and probably would have been in the starting lineup this season. The Tar Heels are awful when it comes to three-point shooting, and really only have Paige in the frontcourt, so Hairston would have been a vital asset to this young team.

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3. Reggie Bullock

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Reggie Bullock was one of the most profound players in the Tar Heels' recent history. He could either start or come off the bench, but always gave 110 percent whenever he was on the court. Although he only average about 10 points per game in his three seasons in Chapel Hill, Bullock average 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting close to 50 percent from three-point range. If Bullock decided to play his senior year instead of going to the NBA, the Tar Heels would be doing a whole lot better.

Bullock was a first round draft pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2013 NBA Draft.

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2. Kendall Marshall

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Where do I begin with Kendall Marshall? He was one of the greatest point guards in Tar Heel basketball history. Marshall was not much of a scorer, but once in a while, he could be dangerous from beyond the ark and split lanes like no other college guard. He averaged about 10 assists per game in his two season at North Carolina, and could dish the rock better than anyone I have ever seen play in Tar Heel blue.

Marshall and Paige would be a dangerous duo in the Tar Heel frontcourt if he decided to play all four years. He would be a senior this season, and would have had a very good opportunity to end his college career as a national champion. The Tar Heels hope that Paige can be the next Marshall, but only time will tell just how successful he can be. In my opinion, there will never be another point guard to wear the North Carolina uniform that could resemble Marshall.

Marshall was a first round pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 2012 NBA Draft, and currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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1. Harrison Barnes

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Harrison Barnes ranks within the top 10 of the most prolific players in North Carolina Tar Heel basketball history. Barnes was the No. 1 high school player in the country before he came to Chapel Hill, and he really did live up to his expectations. He averages 16.4 points per game in his two season in Tar Heel blue, and could pretty much do it all. He was this team's backbone when he played, and could single handedly carry the team through each game. Between his late game heroics and numerous SportsCenter Top 10 caliber plays, every Tar Heel fan really misses Barnes.

Imagine if the Tar Heels still had Barnes and Marshall in the lineup alongside Paige and James Michael McAdoo. If this was the case, I would be surprised if the team lost any games. Barnes would be a senior this year, and I know I am not the only Tar Heel fan that wishes he was still in the lineup. Everyone knew that Barnes would not play all four years considering his talent, but for the two years that he did play, he made Tar Heel country proud.

Barnes was a first round draft pick to the Golden State Warriors in the 2012 NBA Draft, and still continues to be successful.