The North Carolina Tar Heels have plenty of talent returning and one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, but it will be the maturation of Kennedy Meeks that could mean the most during the 2014-15 NCAA basketball season.
Meeks has the frame to be a dominating presence standing at 6-foot-9 and 290 pounds, but sometimes he’s skittish in the post and looks to pass instead of using his size to gain an edge. He must throw himself around in the paint more so he can either score easy baskets or force teams to double him. Meeks is a great passer and will be able to find open shooters if teams are forced to respect his inside game. He will be able to find Marcus Paige open for a three-pointer or go across the paint to Brice Johnson for an easy layup.
Meeks also can be a tenacious rebounder, but he’s prone to checking out of games if he makes a mistake early. His defensive rebounding is crucial, because he is a premier outlet passer. Coach Roy Williams loves when his team runs off of rebounds. If Meeks can start offensive possessions sooner, it will make the team that much harder to defend.
North Carolina will have plenty of scoring from nearly every position on the floor, so Meeks does not have to up his scoring much. What Meeks must do is become more of an offensive threat, a more aggressive rebounder and a more self-confident player.
If he becomes the Tar Heels’ most improved player next season, a major run through the NCAA tournament is nearly a guarantee.