What This Season Taught Us About The Tar Heels Moving Forward


Feb 21, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) waits to come into the game in the second half. The Tar Heels defeated the Yellow Jackets 89-60 at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Tar Heels season ended with a 79-72 loss, to a very good Wisconsin team, last Thursday.  I watched the game because I am a huge Tar Heels fan, and I did not come away feeling hurt.  I was not hurt, because the Tar Heels had lost to a very good Wisconsin team, and had played a very good game as well.  There is no shame in losing to a team that has senior leadership, and a guy by the name of Frank Kaminsky.  I felt as if the Tar Heels proved that next season could be a very special season for them.

We all know “that school in Durham” moved on to the Final Four, because they are a very good team, and this year the Tar Heels were not.  It should be noted though, that the Tar Heels showed flashes of what could be in the future, when their freshmen started knocking down threes in bunches.  When their freshmen are knocking down shots, and Kennedy Meeks is controlling the post, the Tar Heels are a dangerous team.  I will not make excuses for the team dealing with injury problems, and a weird battle with sicknesses because every team deals with their own issues as well.

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I was mad enough to call for Roy Williams’ job at the midpoint of the season, but I did not realize all of the problems he has been facing with the NCAA troubles, and the injuries to his team.  Even with all of that stuff going on Roy got the team focused at the end of the season, and ready for the big games they had to play.

I saw vast improvements to the games of Joel Berry and Justin Jackson over the last half of the season, which gives me a lot of hope moving forward.  Next season the Tar Heels can and will compete for a championship, because they will have the shooting to do so, barring more injuries of course.

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This team is going to have a lot of depth, and will have leadership next season from some key senior players, who now have been there and done that, in most situations.  Jackson and Berry will provide more three point shooting, and Theo Pinson will be healthy at the start of next season, after being injured for most of this season.

I know I may seem like a homer, but I did not feel the same about this season, as I do next season.  I knew coming into this season that poor shooting was going to kill our championship hopes, but that was a given, after the horrible display last season.  The future looks bright though in Chapel Hill, well at least as bright as it can with the NCAA investigation looming over head.

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  • If the big men can stay healthy, which seems somewhat unlikely, and this team can get better at shooting, which actually (gulp) seems likely, then they will be contenders next season.  I think the recruiting class Roy had this season was the best bunch of freshmen since the 2006 recruiting class, which featured Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington, and Tywon Lawson.

    This season was an up and down season, but the last 3 weeks of the season showed some very promising things.  I do not think any of the players are leaving for the NBA, and Roy has said as much himself, so the Tar Heels return everyone.

    I will say that I never expected to see Nate Britt hit his three pointers this season, but according to ESPN.com, he hit 36 percent of them.  He switched shooting hands, and that may have helped him, but when I started seeing him hitting threes, I couldn’t care less how he shot the ball, as long as it was going in.

    Roy played some better line ups in the tournament as well, where he would have Britt, Berry, and Marcus Paige all on the court at the same time, which caused some issues for the other teams when they went smaller.  Shooting improved this year for this team, and I think next year will be the same as well.

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  • Now, the last subject I will discuss is the fact that the Tar Heels hit their free throws this year.  According to ESPN.com they hit 70 percent of their free throws this season, which was up from only 62 percent last season.  If they can continue shooting better from the free throw line then they will also improve as a team.  I expect to see some improvement again next season, from the Tar Heels, at the free throw line.

    I know Tar Heel fans are still upset with their loss in the Sweet Sixteen, but the Tar Heels are on the right path, and will be even better next season.  I expect to see the NCAA speak on the violations this summer, and hand down any punishment they see fit as well.  This could hurt the team in many different ways, so be prepared as a fan for the possibility of something.  No matter what happens though, be proud to call yourselves a Tar Heels fan.  GO HEELS!