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  • shwineka 5:51 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Legacy Fulfilled, , Big Z, , , , , Durham Herald Sun, , , High Five, , , Larry Drew II, , Spartans, , , ,   

    UNC Takes on Michigan State in ACC-Big 10 Challenge 

    (pic from Edthesportsfan.com)

    Tonight begins what could be the toughest two weeks of the Tar Heels’ season. The defending champs are taking on the team they ousted for the title just eight months ago. The headlines back on that glorious April day: “A Legacy Fulfilled” – DTH and “High Five” – Durham Herald Sun, among others.

    The headlines might be a little different tomorrow as the Spartans are the favorites favored about equally tonight, but the test could prove to be a turning point for the Heels. Win or lose, I can’t see the impact of tonight’s result being negative. A win could start a wave of confidence that helps the Heels plow through December. A loss would identify the main weaknesses in a young team, preparing them for their other Top 10 match-ups this month and getting them ready for the ACC season.

    Some think we’ll win, others think we’ll lose. (No link for the lose crowd. After all, who actually picks the Heels to lose?)

    BTW that was the first time I’ve ever used the term “we” when talking about Carolina on this blog. I’ve tried staying away from it, but c’mon. You know you say it, too.

    Here’s a Rafters-worthy prediction:

    The Heels bigs hassle the tiny Spartans side-to-side and up and down the court. MSU shoots a horrible percentage while Big Z, Easy Ed and damn-he-needs-a-sweet-nickname Deon Thompson corral the boards and teasingly hold the ball above their heads. John Henson, who is also in need of a sick nombre, will have a breakout game and play 20 minutes, scoring 20 points. LD will teach Kalin Lucas to respect the wood — as Lucas will be on the floor after his ankles get broken so many times — and UNC will win by 15.

     
  • hiphopobserver 2:37 pm on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Larry Drew II, , , ,   

    Larry Drew II one of 10 sophomores Seth Davis thinks is poised for breakout 

    Tar Heels aren’t the only ones saying good things about Larry Drew II. Here’s what Seth Davis said today on SI.com:

    Larry Drew, 6-1 point guard, North Carolina

    Fr: 9.6 mpg, 1.4 ppg, 1.9 apg, 23.1 3-pt FG%
    Soph: 24.2 mpg, 7.0 ppg, 6.2 apg, 42.9 3-pt FG%

    Skinny: This is a classic case of preparation meeting opportunity. With Ty Lawson running the point last year, no backup, especially a freshman, was going to get a lot of minutes. Even when Drew was in the games, he looked shaky, but it was hard to tell whether that was because he couldn’t get into a rhythm or he wasn’t that good. Now it looks like it was the former. Drew has proved he can run North Carolina’s offense with efficiency and effectiveness, which is not easy to do with so many newcomers running alongside him. His assist-to-turnover ratio is nearly 2-to-1, and his improved field goal percentage reflects his confidence knowing the starting job is his.

    And this was written before his 10 assist, 1 turnover and clutch 3s performance last night. Yeah, he’s going to be good.

     
  • shwineka 12:29 am on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Lumbergh, , , Larry Drew II, , Mike Gminski, , , , , , Wolfpack   

    Wrap-up: UNC survives Nevada 

    UNC 80, Nevada 73

    Box Score

    This game could be categorized as “character building.” Carolina came in with what we’ll call a turkey-day hangover, plodding through the first three quarters of the game. (The much smaller Nevada Wolfpack ended up only losing the rebounding battle by three, 45-42.) The defense was sluggish at best as Nevada shot 43 percent from the field in the first half. But when the game came down to the wire, with about five minutes left and Nevada down two, the Heels suddenly had a resurgence of confidence. And while the game would never get much more separation than five or six points, UNC seemed to carry itself with a bit more swagger and squashed Nevada’s upset bid.

    Oh yeah, and Roy Williams got his 600th career win as a head coach.

    Roy has the highest win percentage of any active coach and is already in the hall of fame. It was actually funny watching him receive an award for his 600th win on TV. After his recent shoulder surgery, you could tell he really just wanted to get the frick out of there and find an ice pack.

    Takeaways:

    • Tyler Zeller didn’t take a charge this game. What gives Big Z?
    • Four players played 30 or more minutes. It looks as if Roy is starting to tighten up the rotation. Look for a future post on the depth chart.
    • Larry Drew – 10 assists and one turnover. Um……hell yes.
    • Eight team turnovers: huge improvement. Keeping this in the single digits will take the team far. Though as is evidenced by LD’s stat line, the TOs aren’t coming from the point, but from errant passes by the post and wing players.

    Superlatives:

    • Player of the Game: Ed Davis – (16 pts, 15 rebs, 2 asts, 3 blocks, 1 stl) Ed really showed how he can dominate the glass. He has a nose for where the ball is going to bounce and the hops to get there first. Ed also gets block of the game for his two blocks in about 30 seconds near the end of the second half.
    • OK, I can finally say it, “Kid can play!” Award – Larry Drew II
    • Stat Stuffer (aka Danny Green Award): We might have to rename this the Marcus Ginyard Award – 10 pts, 6 rebs, 4 asts, 1 blk, 4 stls
    • Bill Lumbergh Look-Alike: Former Dukie Mike Gminski – see below

    The resemblance is striking.

     

    (game photos by Robert Willet of the N & O)

     
  • hiphopobserver 3:12 pm on November 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Larry Drew II, , , , , ,   

    Who’s got a 9 in the Clutch column? 

    So, the main thing that worries me about tonight’s showdown against Ohio State is what happens when the game is close in crunch time?

    No player has yet to stand out as a go-to man in this sort of situation, and after watching Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan St. and other ranked teams take early games down to the wire, it made me wonder.

    Let’s run down the players:

    Ed Davis is always a viable option, and I really think kid’s got ice water in his veins. My only concern would be getting the ball down low to him for an easy basket. Same goes for Deon Thompson. I know he can score, but can we get the ball to him?

    Larry Drew II has proven that he’s a much improved point guard this season, but I’ve never seen him have to take control of a tight game. Again, not questioning his skill, but sometimes it takes an experience in this sort of situation to have what’s needed. I just don’t want tonight to be a trial by fire and come out on the wrong end of it.

    Moving out to our shooters, there really isn’t one that I completely trust. Will Graves’ shots always look like they are going in, but that’s not always the case. Drew II has knocked down a couple jumpers as well from outside, but he’s not going to take the shot. And Marcus Ginyard has also been reliable from outside, but only when the game has not been in jeopardy.

    I almost like the idea of having John Henson taking a 15 footer around the charity stripe. A couple times this year his defender has played off him and he’s knocked the shot down, but I’d hate to put the ball in his hand, have something go wrong and lose confidence. I’d rather take an early L then that.

    Here’s what I think, Tyler Zeller for a short jumper or Marcus for a drive to the basket.

    Tyler has showed us he can put up the points and knock down open shots. If Ed, Deon and Zeller were all in the game, any big will be down low on Ed and Deon, move Tyler right outside the paint and Bam!, easy two points.

    Otherwise, clear it out in the middle and let Marcus drive. He’s not going to lose the ball and he’s strong enough to take it up and either draw the foul or get a good shot off. Dude is a 5th year player and has been through it all, he’s the one with the confidence and athleticism to get us the points.

    That’s just my take, what’s everybody else think?

     
  • hiphopobserver 7:21 pm on November 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , hallowed ground, hyperize, , , , , Larry Drew II, , , nike, ol school iii, , , , , ,   

    UNC Men’s Basketball Team Shoes 

    Besides Chuck Taylor, there is no name more synonymous with footwear than Michael Jordan.

    Lucky for UNC, Jordan is an alum and the men’s basketball team is outfitted with the best Nike and Jordan Brand gear there is. The team has their pick at which shoes they want to wear each season, but there’s always two that most of the team rocks through the season. This year there’s three: the Jordan Jumpman Pro, Jordan Hallowed Ground and Jordan Ol’ School III.

    Jordan-Ol-School-III We’ll start with the Ol’ School III. As you can see, there are several colorways for these shoes, but you’ll notice the Carolina blue one is extra special with an argyle trim along the sole. So far this year Tyler Zeller, T. Wear and Leslie McDonald have been spotted wearing these.

    tylerzellershoes

    twearshoesexhibition

    [T.Wear to right of screen]

    twearshoes

    [McDonald to left of screen]

    As you can see though in the above picture, T. Wear has switched to wearing the Jumpman Pro, like his brother David, since the exhibition. Interestingly, Zeller wore the Jumpman Pros last season also but switched this season.

    tylerzellershoes2So, onto the Jumpman Pro.

    P1020195

    These are a holdover from last year, but some of the team members are still wearing them. Deon Thompson, T. Wear, D. Wear and Ed Davis are holding strong in the kicks. Deon and Ed did not wear these shoes last season.

    deonshoeseddavisshoes

    The UNC Player Editions of the Jordan Hallowed Ground have caught favor with a couple of the underclassmen.

    jordan-hallowed-groundAmong the Tar Heels, John Henson, Dexter Strickland and Justin Watts have been wearing the shoes.

    hensonshoesstricklandshoes2wattsshoes2Now for the outliers.

    Larry Drew II has gone with some of the Jordan “remixes,” an update on the orignal Jordan IIs. Drew II wears the Jordan 2.5

    jordan-2.5-unc-sample-1drewshoes

    The one that has stumped me so far is Marcus Ginyard. A definite benefit of going to Carolina is the exclusive Jordans. Ginyard, however, has opted to go outside of the Jordan Brand to Nike and wear the Hyperize. While I’ve never seen this colorway anywhere else, the Hyperize is favored by many professionals and is a very team oriented shoe that will probably be seen a lot this season, much like the Hyperdunk was last season.

    ginyardshoes2

    The one I can’t seem to put a finger on is the renegade Will Graves. I know he is wearing a pair that is within the Jordan Brand, I just don’t know what it is.

    willgravesshoeswillgravesshoes3Any ideas?

    Now while most players will stick with the same shoe throughout the season some will experiment, as shown by T. Wear. Come tournament time, it’s a different story. Last year UNC came out with everything from the Lebron James line on Ty Lawson to Deron Williams’ signature shoes on Wayne Ellington, making it very strange to see Wayne with a number 8 on his shoe.

    57146173

    5714615457146193Deon and Danny Green are seen in both those pictures in the Jordan 2.5

    In case you’re wondering, Tyler Hansbrough also wore the Jordan 2.5 last year.

    57146778

    I’ll keep you updated on shoes developments throughout the season.

     

     
  • shwineka 12:41 am on November 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Larry Drew II, , , , , , , , ,   

    If Harrison Barnes Goes to UNC…. 

    hbarnes02_0

    Now — while there’s still hours before we know where he’s headed — it’s still reasonable to think about what it would be like if Harrison Barnes comes to UNC.

    Oh, how glorious.

    Starting Line-up assuming Ed Davis leaves for the NBA

    PG – Larry Drew II
    SG – Dexter Strickland
    SF – Harrison Barnes
    PF – John Henson
    C – Tyler Zeller

    Now, realizing that Henson could be gone as well. That would likely put one of the Wear twins in the power forward position. Regardless, Carolina would play big, and play fast. Add to that the fact that UNC would  have blue chippers Kendall Marshall as a backup point guard, and Reggie Bullock at small forward shooting guard coming in as freshmen, and you’ve got a lot of talent. Marshall is high-profile enough that he might challenge for a starting spot. Plus Will Graves, Leslie McDonald and Justin Watts would be getting minutes and that’s a 12-man rotation. Talk about deep. This team would no doubt challenge for a national championship.

    And after Tyler Hansbrough stayed for four years, it can’t be helped to ask: What if Ed Davis stays?

    Think about that, Harrison. Think about it.

     
  • shwineka 1:02 am on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Larry Drew II, , NCCU, Nick Chasten, , , , ,   

    Block Party: UNC Defeats N.C. Central 

    UNC 89, NC Central 42

    Box Score

    For the first few minutes, it seemed Carolina would have its hands full trying to stop the hot-shooting N.C. Central Eagles. With 12:28 left to play in the first half, NCCU trailed UNC 19-17. Then the Tar Heels remembered that they had six players taller than 6’8″.

    And the block party commenced.

    N.C. Central would score three points in the rest of the first half and Carolina had nine team blocks after tallying eight in the season opener. This time the swatting was handled by Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, Deon Thompson and — emphatically — John Henson.

    The entire team’s defense was vastly improved, as evidenced by the Eagles’ final score (which only surpassed 40 on a scrub-time 3-pointer). But it was Henson’s thunderous block late in the second half that was the nail in the coffin for Central. After a steal, Central forward Nick Chasten dribbled the length of the court to what he thought would be an easy lay-up. Henson raced back and came from the weak side to send Chasten’s shot to what seemed like the tenth row. It’s safe to say, Chasten’s mother was probably crying. UNC’s lead would reach 51.

    The defense improved, but the offense still sputtered. Not that 89 points is shabby production, but that the method of reaching it was again sloppy, with the Heels coughing up 18 turnovers. I’ll take 18 over 26 (See FIU game), but come time for ACC play that will need to be less than 10.

    Still, a great performance from a young, unproven team.

    Superlatives

    1. Best Missed Dunk. Ever. – John Henson for his missed reverse alley-oop
    2. Most Demoralizing Block – Mr. Henson again
    3. Don’t wanna jinx it, but dude can play! – LD II
    4. The David Noel Award – Marcus Ginyard 7-10, 17 pts., 2 Reb, 3 Asst, 2 Stl and best goatee on team
     
  • gonzologist 2:08 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bringin' 88 back, , , , Larry Drew II, , , Quentin Thomas, ,   

    Luke Winn on Opening Night 

    I enjoy reading Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn. He’s a good writer and seems pretty unbiased in his opinions, which is why I hate to read in his opening night observations that he’s taking Ohio State to roll the Tar Heels in MSG next Thursday. He has some heavy praise for OSU’s 6’7” guard Evan Turner; we’ll see how he fares getting inside against our bigs next week.

    can't see the basket for the trees

    Three of Winn’s other points focused on the Tar Heels’ apparant weaknesses. He cites the lack of a consistent outside threat and the obvious problem with turnovers. The three point shooting was definitely suspect last night, but Marcus and LD both impressed with improved shots. Hopefully Will Graves can live up to his reputation as a dangerous distance shooter. Of LD’s performance as the floor leader, Winn had this to say:

    “While Larry Drew II didn’t put up a triple-double in his debut as North Carolina’s point guard, he acquitted himself quite well with seven points and six assists against just two turnovers. I don’t think many Carolina fans knew what to expect — they just knew their sophomore starter wasn’t going be as good as Ty Lawson (an impossibility), and they hoped Drew wouldn’t be the second coming of Quentin Thomas. Drew showed the Lawson-eque ability to push the ball at a high speed while staying under control on the primary and secondary break, and appeared quicker than I remember him being in brief stints as a reserve last season. He seems to understand that his primary duty is to feed Thompson and Ed Davis, and not force shots; as long as Drew keeps doing that, he’ll be a serviceable point.”

    I agree that LD put in a solid performance last night, looking faster than I remember him being. Though I hate to see the words “acquitted” and “serviceable,” and the evocation of the rhymin’ Quentin Thomas may seem like a low blow, Winn’s summation simply reflects the harsh expectations for LD having to bear the torch passed by the incomparable Ty Lawson. He did have some nifty dishes inside, and will only get better running the break. While Dexter Strickland struggled with 5 turnovers, Justin Watts put in some quality supporting minutes at the point and had one satisfying dunk. The backcourt story will continue to be the most intriguing moving forward in the next few weeks.

     
  • shwineka 11:02 am on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Larry Drew II, , , , turnovers, , , ,   

    Takeaways from UNC Season Opener vs. FIU 

    UNC 88, FIU 72

    EdDavis2

    Box Score
    Video

    While last night’s game was not absurdly impressive, Carolina looked good considering how much practice they’ve had. On that note, though, it appears that the team is still very rusty. They did not finish well around the rim. I recall one sequence when Ed Davis and Deon Thompson combined to get two offensive rebounds and miss two layups.  UNC’s sheer size advantage was the story of the game. The team shot a ridiculous 55.7 percent from the field — lots of dunks. The three-pointers, however, were noticeably lacking. For a more balanced team, the Heels are going to need someone to step up their shooting

    Could that person be Marcus Ginyard? Ginyard showed some stroke last night, going 2-4 from beyond the arc. He also hit a long two, in which I believe he thought he was taking a three. Roy Williams might be expecting Ginyard to perform a little better from downtown, too, starting him at shooting guard and Will Graves at small forward. One thing is certain, if Marcus becomes a reliable threat from three, UNC would instantly be more dangerous and more difficult to beat.

    As expected, Ed Davis was stellar.

    But, as was evident in the Belmont Abbey scrimmage, the turnovers are the biggest concern. Had the Heels not turned the ball over 26 times (eighth most in school history and tied for most under Roy ever) this game would have been an even bigger blowout. The good news? Larry Drew II only had two of those 26. The bad news? His backup, Dexter Strickland, had five.

    Superlatives:

    1. Most Improved Shot: Marcus Ginyard
    2. Play of the Game: Tie between Justin Watts’ alley oop to John Henson and Will Graves’ steal into Ginyard dunk (both on video above)
    3. The Danny Green Award: Ed Davis – 13 pts., 11 rebs., 4 blocks, 2 Asts
    4. The Tyler Hansbrough Award: Deon Thompson – 20 pts., 10 rebs. (6 offensive)
     
  • shwineka 12:41 pm on November 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Golden Panthers, Isiah Thomas, Larry Drew II, , season opener, , , ,   

    UNC Basketball Season Opener: Florida International 

    UNC100Celebration

    It’s heeeerrrrrrrree.

    Time to tell all your football friends “Goodbye.” Time to say, “Hey, I’d love to stay at work a little longer tonight, but really, I can’t. It’s a 7 o’clock tip-off.” Time to jump around. Time to strategically wear Carolina blue clothing items on gamedays. Yes, ladies and gentlmen, it’s college basketball season.

    The Heels take on Florida International tonight, though if Golden Panthers coach Isiah Thomas had his way, FIU would be playing Ohio State. As season openers go, the whole Isiah thing has given this one a little punch for me, a little extra pizzazz that playing FIU would not have had without it. Plus, it’s Isiah’s first game as a college head coach. I’m interested to see if he’s got game in regards to coaching college kids. That and the fact that this kicks off the 100th season of Carolina hoops.

    I was going to take some time and post any local previews about the game, but TarHeelBlue has kindly done that for me, so let’s not let their diligent work go unnoticed. Check it out.

    Three things I’ll be looking for:

    1) Larry Drew II at the point: If (as some of those game previews suggest) the Heels really are a Final Four caliber team, they will need a strong point guard. Drew II did not play significant minutes last year and as such is a big question mark.

    2) Cutting down on turnovers: From memory, I believe Carolina had something like 20 turnovers in the exhibition against Belmont Abbey. That’s unacceptable. UNC fans have been spoiled by the likes of Ty Lawson, who seemingly never gave the ball away. The turnovers didn’t just come from Larry Drew II, who dished out eight dimes to his three turnovers, however, they were spread out over the team.The whole group needs to focus on taking care of the basketball.

    3) Post play: It’s what should be the Heels’ strength this year, so let’s see it in action, eh?!

     

     
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