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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

November 7th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


North Carolina Tar Heels


Overall Rank: #2

Conference Rank: #1 ACC


2005-06: 23-8, 12-4, 2nd

2005-06 postseason: NCAA


If you are anything besides a North Carolina fan, itís just not fair.  The Tar Heels can go 13 deep and the 13th man would start on just about any other team in the nation.  Thatís not just depth, thatís quality depth.  If youíre a realist and think the Gators canít win back to back national championships, this is your pick.


Whoís Out: Just one year ago David Noel was the only returning player who was supposed to be decent.  One year later and nobody is concerned about his 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds departing Chapel Hill.  Byron Sanders, who made appearances in all 31 games, has also run out of eligibility.


Whoís In: Coach Roy Williams picked up a class that can rival Ohio State.  Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Brandan Wright are among the elite in the nation.  There isnít much that Lawson canít do.  Heís a smart, quick point guard who can create for his teammates and score from just about anywhere on the court.  Ellington, who will battle for the starting job at the off guard position, can hit the long ball with consistency and finish around the basket in spectacular fashion.  Wright, a 6-9 power forward, is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint.  He could stand to add a little more strength, but that wonít stop him from starting and putting up big numbers.  Small forward William Graves has great versatility and can do whatever Coach Williams asks of him.  Big men Deon Thompson and Alex Stephenson are highly touted recruits, but will find it difficult to see a lot of minutes right away.  Thompson is a good scorer in the paint and has a knack for finding the open man when heís double teamed underneath.  Stephenson, at 6-9 and 225 pounds, has a nice frame and can use his long arms to grab some boards.


Who to Watch: Returning starter means nothing at UNC with all the super talented freshmen coming in, but Bobby Frasor, Wes Miller and Marcus Ginyard each started at least 14 games last year.  Frasor, who started all 31 games, averaged 6.4 points and 4.4 assists last year and could slide over to the two guard spot.  Miller averaged 7.2 points per game last year, but his playing time is expected to diminish to a sharpshooting role off the benchÖat best.  Ginyard is a great defender and if there are any problems in that regard by the newcomers, Ginyard should hold onto his starting role.  Danny Green didnít see as many minutes or earn any starts, but the sophomore proved to be an effective scorer off the bench.


Final Projection: Tyler Hansbrough led the squad with 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds as a freshman and should put up all conference numbers again this season.  Reyshawn Terry put up an unappreciated 14.3 points and 6.2 boards last year and will most likely put up similar numbers and be unappreciated once again.  The youth can be made an issue, but really the Tar Heels are so deep that if one freshman falters, another will be ready to take his place.  This is a team that went 12-4 in the ACC last year with Miller starting 16 games.  How it looks now, Miller will be lucky to find the floor at all during a big game. 


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Ty Lawson, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season

Bobby Frasor, Sophomore, Guard, 6.4 points per game

Reyshawn Terry, Senior, Forward, 14.3 points per game

Brandan Wright, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

Tyler Hansbrough, Sophomore, Forward, 18.9 points per game


Also: Complete ACC Preview & Ranking

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