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  • shwineka 11:54 pm on December 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Buffalo Billiards, , , , , Dean Smith Center, , , , , Larry Drew, , , , , , , travis wear, , , ,   

    Deja Vu: UNC Handles Michigan State 

    UNC 89, MSU 82

    Box Score

    It’s becoming a common thing. UNC plays Michigan State. UNC wins.

    The Heels have taken their last five meetings with the Spartans, and these aren’t just in the Big 10-ACC Challenge games. I recall an April day in 2005. A hot Spartan team was in the Final Four making some noise and ready to take down the No. 1-seeded Tar Heels. Or wait was that 2009?

    Anyway, for all the things that Tom Izzo does well, he can’t seem to figure out his Carolina conundrum. And honestly, who didn’t think Tuesday was going to be his night?

    A completely different UNC team showed up in the Smith Center than I’ve seen this year. The froshs and sophs played like upperclassmen right from the tip-off, with UNC jumping out to an early lead. It had to feel sickening for MSU fans, a horrible case of deja vu. Us DC-based Rafters bloggers sat with a decent contingent of UNC fans at Buffalo Billiards. A great idea emerged. Anyone not privileged enough to live in Chapel Hill, like our esteemed colleague Benn, should tweet us to meet up in the DC area for game viewings. We like to go out. If we go out anyway, we’ll make sure to say where we’re going.

    Hey, we might even put your picture on the internets.

    Before I get all hot and bothered thinking about tweet ups:

    Takeaways:

    • The recruiting class of 2008 came out of its shell. LD and Easy Ed both notched career highs in points (18 and 22 respectively). LD hit some clutch shots and had a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in 27 minutes. Davis was his normal smooth self. You must watch this guy on Ustream sometime. Just follow him on twitter and he’ll notify when he’s getting on. If you want to know why we love him so much that will tell you everything.
    • If there’s only 5 seconds left in a half, who gets the rock? Answer: Dexter Strickland. Strickland hit his second buzzer beater of the year at the end of the first half, sinking a trey.
    • Will Graves is a starter, but he logs bench minutes. He’s getting about the same run time as Strickland, John Henson and Tyler Zeller. Gut tells me that once Roy is more comfortable with Henson or Strickland they’ll get the start. (And after last night I gotta be leaning towards Strickland)
    • Back to Dex. Strickland had zero turnovers while logging some significant minutes at point. And as Luke Winn reminds us, he is a converted shooting guard. Got to be happy with that.
    • Are the Wears twins? …………or clones? Travis – 2 pts, 3 rebs in 6 minutes; David – 2 pts, 2 rebs in 7 minutes

    Superlatives

    • Players of the Game: Larry Drew and Ed Davis –  see above
    • Lookin’ Fierce Award: Roy Williams
    • John Henson, if there was an award for throwing the ball between your legs to save it from going out, we’d give it to you. I don’t think even the Rafters has an award for that.
     
    • Zach Evans 12:46 pm on December 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      With all due respect to Henson, maybe the award should be the “Don’t Save the Ball Underneath the Other Basket” Award. As impressive as it looked, it did lead to an easy MSU basket.

      I guess I’m just never satisfied.

  • shwineka 5:06 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Gardner-Webb, Grayson Flittner, , , , , Runnin' Bulldogs, Shane Battier, , , travis wear, , , ,   

    Wrap-Up: UNC Routs Gardner Webb 93-72 

    (Photo by Robert Willett of the N&O)

    UNC 93, Gardner-Webb 72

    Box Score

    The story of this game is short and sweet.

    Gardner Webb was just outsized and out-athlete-ed. Yes, it’s a word. Anyways UNC’s perimeter defense was again shaky, it’s just GW didn’t have the guards Syracuse did. That didn’t stop Runnin’ Bulldogs guard Grayson Flittner from tying the record for most 3-pointers in a game in the Dean Dome (9). The kid could not miss. He finished with 32 points.

    Takeaways from the game:

    • It seems like Tyler Zeller has taken a charge every single game. It will be shorting him a few games worth, but starting now we’ll try to keep track of how many games he does this. So beginning yesterday, he’s 1 for 1.
    • Dexter Strickland has shown flashes of greatness. His development will determine a lot in regards to how far Carolina goes this year. If he steps up big, look out.
    • When both the Wear twins are on the floor at the same time, UNC plays smart. You can tell these kids have played together their entire lives. Did anyone else catch how the only resemblance of a comeback in the Syracuse game came mostly at the hands of the Wears? Wish they were a bit more athletic, but you can’t have everything, they’ll get there.

    Superlatives:

    • The “If you call me Shane Battier, I’ll kick your ass” Award: Tyler Zeller
    • Best Block: Once again to John Henson for his block-into-leap-frog-between-the-legs-bounce-pass-to-save-it-from-going-out play. It’s at the 1:23 mark of the video, though you can’t see the best part, which is the out-of-bounds save. That’s two wins in this category for Mr. Henson.
    • Stat Stuffer (aka the Danny Green Award): Marcus Ginyard – 8 pts, 5 rebs, 6 asts, 3 stls
    • Most Minutes without a Turnover Award (sadly a very important one): Tyler Zeller, 15 min played

     

     
    • lulu 1:29 pm on November 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      will be looking forward to the “superlatives” “OVER-THE-TOP-CATEGORIES-THAT- SHOULD -NOT BE-MISSED.”

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

    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 4:57 pm on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , travis wear, ,   

    Duke Forward Mason Plumlee Injured 

    Now, I don’t wish injury upon anyone. But I also don’t wish success upon Duke.

    And success is going to be tough at the beginning of the season without star freshman Mason Plumlee, who fractured his wrist in practice Wednesday.

    This is going to really hurt the Devils, who were probably going to have Plumlee and his brother, Miles, in the starting five. As his injury doesn’t require surgery, he’ll probably be back this season. Lucky for us that’s precious development time for a freshmen (see Tyler Zeller last year).

    Hopefully he’ll be back just in time for the showdown with the Wear twins that I’m so eagerly anticipating.

     
  • hiphopobserver 12:13 pm on November 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , travis wear, , , ,   

    UNC routs Belmont Abbey 107-59 in exhibition win 

    A lot of good things to take from UNC’s win over Belmont Abbey. Unfortunately I did not make it out because I was out doing hoodrat stuff with my friends, but I’m well-read, so, that counts.

    Deon Thompson goes 11-12 from the field and finishes with 23 points in only 17 minutes. It’s great to see Deon putting up numbers like that to pick up some of that huge scoring void that was left by last year’s departures. Just hoping that Deon doesn’t put up big offensives numbers at the beginning of the season that start trailing off by the end of the season like what happened this year.

    Even after a year, save three games, off the court, Marcus Ginyard was back in the starting lineup and was a box score filler: 9 points, 6 assists and 4 steals in 18 minutes. The 6 assists is what stands out to me. Obviously the back court has been a topic of discussion about this year’s team, but knowing we’ll have Ginyard as an if-needed backup at the point calms me a bit. I know Ginyard has played at the point some in the past and he played last night against a much over-matched opponent, but I still really like that 6 assist line.

    Also back in form, Mr. Ed Davis. Ed continued his offensive blossoming and threw in 13 points. Add that to his 6 rebounds and 4 big blocks and there you have a reason why Ed is considered one of the best big men in the nation. Also, Ed dished out 5 assists. That’s not something Carolina fans are used to seeing from their post players, example Tyler Hansbrough.

    Speaking of Ed, the nation’s best (in this blog’s opinion) 6th man last year got the start last night. He was joined by Larry Drew and Ginyard at guard and Deon and Will Graves at forward. Ed was also listed as a forward.

    The last of the starters, Drew II has a decent showing. In 18 minutes Drew II had 8 assists but also had 3 turnovers. He only shot the ball 4 times, hitting once and never made it to the stripe, leaving him with 2 points on the night. That’s really unacceptable. We need more point production from the sophomore. Graves surprised me a bit with the start, but then it made sense that Roy wouldn’t be starting Henson yet. Graves finished with 6 points and 7 rebounds in 16 minutes but missed both his 3-point attempts.

    Ah, the 3-pointer. Something that has also been mentioned in flaws of this year’s team. By far one of the dark spots in last night’s exhibition. The team shot 25% from behind the arc, hitting on only 2 of 8 shots, one coming from Ginyard the other from David Wear. At least they weren’t out there jacking them all night.

    The other downside from last night, the free throw shooting was atrocious. 13-24 for 54% as a team. Seeing right now that we can’t hit 3s or FTs consistently worries me about games that will be decided in crunch time. Don’t know if we have that right now.

    Quick round-up and the rest of the bunch:

    • Tyler Zeller scored 17 points off the bench and had 6 rebounds and only 2 fouls, pretty good for Tyler. Need him to keep up the scoring, because if he continues coming off the bench that would be a huge lift. Don’t like his 4 TOs.
    • Freshman David Wear had 9 points and 3 rebounds while twin Travis had 7 points and 4 rebounds.
    • John Henson only had 5 points, which I’m sure underwhelms a lot of people because his expectations are so high, but also pulled down 8 rebounds and had 4 blocks. Not the columns in the box score I thought he’d be filling, but I’ll take it.
    • Freshman Dexter Strickland was 4-5 from the field and finished with 8 points and 3 steals. Have to cut back on the 4 TOs.
    • Last Freshman Leslie McDonald took an 0-fer in the points column but grabbed a couple rebounds, an assist, steal and block letting me know he was at least out there hustling.
    • Sophomore Justin Watts contributed 4 rebounds and 4 points in 13 minutes

    Read the whole article and see the box score

     

     
  • shwineka 12:15 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Devin Booker, , , , , , , , travis wear, , , ,   

    Brotherly Love: Wears, Plumlees and Bookers All in ACC This Year 

    As The Rafters mentioned before, wouldn’t it be awesome for the Wear twins and Plumlee brothers to become big rivals over the next three years or so?

    Well, turns out there is ANOTHER pair of brothers this year in the ACC. Clemson standout Trevor Booker’s younger bro, Devin, will play for the Tigers this season. This potential rivalry could only last one season at most because Trevor is a senior, but it could make for some interesting games this year. The article linked above doesn’t really go into the Wear’s on-court demeanor with each other, but says that the Plumlees at Duke “take each other to another level.” At least according to John Scheyer.

    The writer mentions what might have been a forgone conclusion by some, that the Wears won’t see much floor time this season with the glut in the frontcourt. But Roy Williams has in the past played a lot of players to accommodate his roster. If they only come on once this season, I hope it’s against the brothers Plumlee or Booker.

     
  • shwineka 4:36 pm on October 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , elliot williams, john, , Kyrie Irving, , , , , , scheyer, , travis wear, , , ,   

    UNC, Duke Tie for preseason No. 1 ACC ranking; Duke inks PG 

     

    Late with posting both of these – apologies – but it’s only fitting that in the 41-year history of preseason ACC rankings, UNC and Duke would be the first to tie for the top spot. What’s disturbing is that Duke garnered more first place votes, yet tied when it came down to total points. I know they just signed Kyrie Irving and all, but c’mon, he’s not playing this year.

    kyrie-irving2-298x480

    Actually what’s striking to me is that both of these teams are at the top with huge expectations of their current freshmen. Granted UNC has arguably the best recruiting class in the country (some weird folks might argue Kentucky), they has very little experience. Duke has a 17-year-old point guard who should be good, and Mason Plumlee, the supposedly more talented Plumlee brother.

    Side thought: Wouldn’t it be great if the Wears vs. the Plumlees became a big rivalry over the next three years?

    Anyway, both teams will be shorthanded in the backcourt. It’s my suspicion that Andre Dawkins (the young PG) will get a lot of time at the position, even after John Scheyer ended up playing the spot for them a lot last year. That puts a freshman PG in the mix for Duke, never a good thing in the ACC. Usually, if a PG does relatively well as a freshmen in this league, then we all knew about him well before he sets foot on the court. This is not exactly true in this case, considering Dawkins rushed to graduate early after Elliot Williams transferred. Man. How much of a factor do you think Coach K was in getting that to happen?

    The Heels will have sophomore Larry Drew II, who saw some regular, though limited, minutes backing up Ty Lawson, and freshman Dexter Strickland. Strickland is ranked higher than Dawkins as far as I know, and is actually a more natural two guard.

    Between Dawkins and Strickland, it’s probably a toss-up. I don’t like putting tons of merit into unproven freshmen, so let’s just say they cancel each other out. After that we have a Drew II vs. Scheyer match-up at point. I might actually give the nod to Scheyer, who started more games and generally played a bigger role as a PG, though I think Drew II has more upside.

    Regardless, there are a lot of question marks on the top two preseason teams in the ACC. Are these indicators it might be a down year for the league? Tough to tell. After a few months it will be more evident which conferences are the best. The Big 10 looks strangely good this year, but I digress. The best conference argument must be later by necessity. Now’s time to get ready for Thursday night football.

     

    Go Heels!

     
  • shwineka 5:41 pm on October 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , frontcourt, , , , , , travis wear, , ,   

    Heels get nod as pre-season top frontcourt 

    Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn has a ranking of the top frontcourts in the country for ’09-’10 and guess who’s sittin’ pretty at the top?……

    Did you think I would blog it if it were another team? Well, I guess I probably would with some sort of angle, but anyway he has the Heels as No. 1. The short write-up mentions that Ed Davis might have a break-out year — Um, affirmative. This will happen — but it points out something I did not know, which is that Davis had higher offensive AND defensive rebounding percentages than Hansbrough last year. When Davis came off the bench, we all knew he was going to grab boards like an effin’ carpenter, but that stat, I must say, is nice.

    ncb_a_davis_400

    He also gives a nod to Deon Thompson and freshman John Henson. What he didn’t have room for in the piece – I told you it was short – was to talk about Tyler Zeller and the Wear twins. I’m thinking he went with the sheer depth of our frontcourt as reasoning for the No. 1 ranking. Experience-wise, we’re not close. Thompson is seasoned, and Davis played about 18 minutes a game last year, but Zeller was out for most of the season with a wrist injury and the other three are freshmen. That said, if everyone shows up like they should, I don’t think we’ll have a problem defending this early praise.

     
  • hiphopobserver 6:51 pm on October 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , travis wear, , ,   

    Daily Tar Heel: UNC Basketball Preview 2009-2010 “Out of the Shadows” 

    (Left to Right) Dexter Strickland, David Wear, John Henson, Travis Wear, Leslie McDonald

    Another Daily Tar Heel project that deserves a lot more attention than just this post, the annual basketball preview was released today. Below is a link to a nice browse-able version of the print edition. Good features on Tyler Zeller, Will Graves and the five freshmen.

    Check out Out of the Shadows

     
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