A preseason tournament with Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Ohio State? This is going to be awesome.
P.J. has handled this whole situation like a pro.[^f5807] It is really too bad the NCAA came down on him so hard. I hope he ends up having a great pro career.
[^f5807]: Obviously, I mean *after* his activities this summer.
C.L. Brown explains why Carolina should put students around the court:
> While Carolina is contemplating renovations as the arena nears its 30th year of existence, it should look into making the students a permanent fixture in the lower tier, beyond just the risers behind the home basket.
> There are roughly 14 mobile rows of seats that pull out from the base of the stands. Most, if not all, of that complete tier should be reserved for students – including the pep band – on all sides of the court.
> The Heels don’t enjoy the home-court advantage it had while playing in Carmichael Auditorium, where they only lost 20 games from its December 1965 opening until moving to the Smith Center in January 1986.
> Carolina already has lost three home games (Belmont, Texas, Miami) this season and has only gone unbeaten at home four times in 28 years. The Tar Heels have lost 62 games in 29 seasons playing in the Smith Center.
> It’s time North Carolina made the Smith Center a tough trip for opponents without poor weather being a factor.
I completely agree. Carolina’s seating for students is ridiculous.
Why does Roy always figure these things out *just* in time for the Clemson game?
Lathan Wells does the honors:
> The upside for this team is very high, especially if the starters gain confidence with even one win against any of the three marquee teams they meet prior to conference play. If James and Johnson improve significantly from year one to two and Meeks and Hicks are as good as advertised, the team can move back to playing McAdoo at his preferred power forward position and Hairston (when he returns) can once again roam the wing. Paige’s development, and Britt’s ability to get up to speed quickly, will also be paramount. This is a team with the talent to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, but with enough question marks about players’ development from last season that they could also be looking at another second round or Sweet Sixteen exit.
It should be a really interesting year for the Tar Heels. I normally am really optimistic on teams with good coaches who have a “high upside.” I think Carolina fits the bill, and, assuming P.J. Hairston is not out long, they could be playing long into the tournament.
Chris Strohsahl writes:
> ESPN has already named Paige as one of the top “breakout candidates” (subscription required) for the 2014 season, noting that, “Paige could wind up being the Tar Heels’ top player this season, and also one of the elite point guards in the nation.” While that may be a lot to ask, anything close to that will have the Tar Heels in a very good place come March.
I am most interested to see how much Paige has improved his jump shot. That could be a major factor in opening up the offense this year.
Can’t we all just agree that P.J. should sit for 8 games and move on from this?
> Presuming that [McAdoo] does find his way back to the power forward position, what can we expect? Well, Roy Williams is hoping to return to the larger lineups he typically runs; if none of last year’s players prove up to the task, freshman Kennedy Meeks almost certainly will. This should limit opposing double teams, which should increase his rebounding and scoring totals. Sadly, the exhibition game didn’t present much evidence that his biggest weakness has been overcome — poor dribbling in traffic, and the resulting turnovers. I’m hoping for quicker starts from the junior, however. He’ll continue to lead defensively, as his game never really relied on the type of defensive play the new rules are outlawing. And I expect the same number of open-floor steals and spectacular fast breaks as last season.
Aside from P.J., McAdoo’s development as a player is going to determine just how far Carolina goes this year. I am hoping that an off-season with a little less hype caused McAdoo to really focus on improving his offensive game.
> So what can we expect from Hairston this season? It is probably reasonable to assume that what Hairston did at the end of the last season was not a fluke, and given the penchant for players to blossom in Roy’s system during their junior season (if you need a list, you haven’t been paying attention), it’s possible that that 13-game stretch was just the tip of the iceberg. At 6’6″, a legit 220 pounds, and with an explosive first-step, Hairston is a prototypical NBA athlete, with the type of skills to put up a 50/40/90 slash line (FG%/3P%/FT%) for the season. Given the volume of touches he is likely to receive, that type of efficiency, or even close to that type efficiency, would certainly put him amongst the top five players in the ACC, and could put him in the running for ACC Player or the Year. Of course, this all assumes that there is no recidivism on Hairston’s part. How likely is this? Only Hairston can know for sure, but the hope is that, at the very least, even if no lessons have been learned, the rigors of the college basketball season will be enough to keep him suitably occupied.
I have a feeling that Hairston will take whatever suspension he gets and come back more determined than ever. I have a feeling he is going to be unstoppable this year.
With college basketball season a little over a week away, it's time to start looking at how Carolina measures up against the rest of the ACC. C.L. Brown provides some quick notes to get you started.
I love listening to basketball coaches diagraming plays. Now, I am going to be watching every Carolina game, looking to see if I can spot this one.
It is weird to see Syracuse listed in the Preseason ACC poll.
> The lack of additional media stories about Hairston’s situation probably means there isn’t much to find out beyond what we already know. The fact Hairston, Roy Williams, Bubba Cunningham and everyone else at UNC is operating on the assumption the junior wing forward will play this season means whatever information is known to them points to some sort of suspension but nothing earth shattering. The only remaining questions are how many games and when will it be announced?
All indications are that Hairston is getting his butt kicked by Roy all summer. Sit him 3-5 games and then let him play. It is time this story dies.
> Jack Halperin, a longtime academic tutor for North Carolina’s athletic department, wrote an open resignation letter to Williams that appeared in Friday’s edition of the Daily Tar Heel. Halperin is apparently furious Hairston will play for the Tar Heels this season despite offseason arrests for reckless driving and speeding, including one in which police allegedly found marijuana inside the rental car Hairston was driving and a nine-millimeter gun and nine rounds of ammunition outside it.
Are you kidding me? Really? Halperin stuck around through all the garbage with the football program but has an issue with Hairston not being kicked off the team. Just ridiculous.
Hopefully, this type of gag will be the extent of Hairston’s hijinks for the rest of the season.
Glad to hear it. I hope PJ can put the off-season behind him, and just play basketball.
Jeff Eisenberg writing at Yahoo:
Spreading word via flyers and social media that Williams might attend helped Telman transform a small-scale fundraiser into a meaningful one. Three times as many people agreed to walk or run as initially expected and the event raised more than $28,000, nearly tripling the already wildly optimistic target Telman had set for herself when she came up with the idea a few days earlier.
Well done Coach Roy. Well done.
This is pretty cool.
I wonder if P.J. will be back by the December 4 game against Kentucky.
I agree. It’s ridiculous for Coach Williams to complain about having to answer questions when he has the power to, essentially, put an end to those questions.[^fn1]
[^fn1]: Of course, ending the questions about what PJ’s punishment *will* be, will just start the discussion of what PJ’s punishment *should have* been.