Re: 2012/13 Observation Deck
How do you feel?
This is my line of thinking:
1) 2010 was everything bad happening that could happen.
-Overblown expectations from the pre-season polls.
-A severe lack of leadership within the roster.
-Freshman class was a building block, not instant impact.
-Returning players didn't step up, particularly from the seniors.
-Terrible chemistry (very surprising from a Roy Williams team). There are quotes from players that said the team was divided.
-An unbelievably terrible luck with injuries.
In 2006 it was the exact opposite. Underrated, the best leader Roy has ever coached (his words) stepped up, returning role players willing to take bigger roles, a group of frosh ready to produce, great chemistry, and fortunate luck with health.
Back to 2010, I'm not sure what was the singular piece that turned that season sour--if there was one. I do believe we definitely make the NCAA Tournament with a healthy team. I realize a lot of the fallout gets pointed back to the three transfers and they're partly to blame. But (imo) most of the blame should probably fall on Ginyard and Thompson.
Look, I know what we were getting from Ginyard as a player. He's not as bad UNC fans make him out to be (watch the 2007 NCAA Tournament and tell me he didn't belong) because people seem to only remember him post-injuries. However, that is the player he was as a senior and I didn't expect him to take a Noel-jump or anything. Deon is another story.
But those guys were a part of the winningest group of players in UNC history. Not a hyperbole. The 05 class is literally the golden era in terms of winning percentage and total wins in the history of the program. I expected more in the leadership department from them. Don't want to get completely sucked in to this topic again, so...
All of that brings me to this season.
2) The 2013 season
--Overrated, sure. Most UNC fans said so when we saw the rankings. 2006 gave unreal expectations for what a rebuilding year should be, while 2010 humbled us back down to earth. General expectations seems realistic (5-6 seed first weekend NCAAs) for the mass. Put it this way: When you are rationalizing your ranking by talking about other teams instead of your own, your team is probably not that good. That seemed to be the case this off-season.
--This I can't comment on yet. However, McDonald and Strickland went out of their way to say that wouldn't be a problem this time around. Those two, of course, being the only remaining players from 2010.
-Freshman class: building block or instant impact?
--Thus far, I think it's a little of both. It's difficult because I had no expectations for this class, seeing as it is one of the lowest rated (lowest overall?) Roy has ever brought into this program. To this point they have overachieved. I see two legitimate freshman starters in Johnson and Paige, and James and Tokoto can obviously play right now. Problem is the competition hasn't been great, yet.
--McAdoo has clearly stepped up his game. Not sure how much after watching him in Maui... But I think a truly poor #1 option, which sounds much worse than it actually is. The other guys are about the same which is good and bad. Good in that they are steady and extremely effective in their roles. Bad in that they are no longer surrounded by 3 lottery picks. PJ is the tipping point in all of this and Bullock is already better than anyone we had on 2010.
--See the "leadership" comments. In post game interviews, the freshman are always talking about how much Bullock, Strickland, and McDonald have been helping them.
--We shall see. We have certainly been on the short end of this stick since 2009.
As a whole, I actually feel really good about the future of this team. Although more towards the next season or two.
This year? It will come down to 4 key points:
1) McAdoo, Bullock, and Hariston -- How many, if any, can consistently come out and play against the best teams?
2) The freshman and how they progress throughout the season.
4) Roy Williams. This is the type of team Coach Smith takes and grooms them into a legitimate top ten team by March. Roy absolutely needs to make adjustments in his game planning (which he started to do in Maui). I have ideas, but I'm no coach. He's supposed to know more about basketball in his little pinky than I do my entire self, so let's see him show why he wins nearly 80% of his games.
Yep, this is what goes through my head when I know I need to be sleeping. An addiction, really, and I wouldn't have it any other way.