North Carolina Basketball: Tar Heels Must Get Early Contributions From Incoming Class

By Gregory Philson
Theo Pinson
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team is getting a lot of unwanted attention because of former player Rashad McCants‘ recent statements.

However, when the season tips off, the focus will rightfully be back on the court and on the players still on the team. Coach Roy Williams is fortunate enough to have a good group of players returning, but the incoming freshmen will be the real difference makers for the Tar Heels in the 2014-15 NCAA basketball season.

This is because fans already know what to expect from Marcus Paige, Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson. What no one knows is exactly how Joel Berry will fit in as a point guard, Justin Jackson as a wing forward and Theo Pinson as a scorer and defender. The Tar Heels’ biggest problem last year was at point guard. Many times Paige was asked to do too much. While he had a fantastic season, it was still too much weight on his shoulders. The Tar Heels also could not get consistent three-point shooting from anyone else other than Paige. Jackson and Berry must provide an outside presence, because otherwise defenses will just hunker down low and contain Johnson and Meeks.

Pinson will have to be the wing defender scouts project so J.P. Tokoto does not tire on defense and weaken his offense. Tokoto is a superb athlete, but he can only do so much when he loses energy because he had to guard the opponent’s best player. If Pinson can spell Tokoto, the Tar Heels will be that much better.

North Carolina has great team on paper for next season, and what happens early could be an indicator of what will come in 2015.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on GoogleRead more here.

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