The North Carolina Tar Heels may have lost two of their best players with James Michael McAdoo leaving for the NBA Draft and Leslie McDonald graduating, but with a great incoming class joining an already solid group, they should be the top team in the ACC next season.
Star guard Marcus Paige is coming off of a fantastic season where he hit game-winners, became a true force on offense and proved he could lead a team. Paige should be an All-American candidate next season and will be the face of the team. Paige may not have to score as much because younger players like Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks will both have more experience and showed off just how good they can be in spurts last season.
Coach Roy Williams also has the luxury of a solid recruiting class that can help close up gaps. Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson will give the team options all over the place. These additions will also provide depth. One of the main concerns last season was the lack of solid bench players, but it should be the team’s strength now. Pinson will give the Tar Heels another strong wing defender to go alongside J.P. Tokoto. Having two strong outside defenders should make the post defense even better. Berry will take some stress away from point guard Nate Britt and allow Paige to be more of a scorer. Jackson will be able to fill in as a McAdoo-type player and could help in a variety of ways.
North Carolina will definitely get battles from the Duke Blue Devils and others, but with a nice mix of experience and freshmen, the Tar Heels should believe they are the favorites heading into the 2014-15 season.
Gregory T. Philson is an ACC basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google. Read more here.
See related at http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-basketball/2014/04/01/north-carolina-basketball-star-recruit-justin-jackson-will-fill-the-gap-in-tar-heels-lineup/