Three Things: Polling The Players
1. With players having worked together all summer and played pickup against each other virtually every day since the fall semester began, we thought the best way to determine who had made the best progress was to ask their teammates. So we put a simple question to a few of the returning Tar Heels: which of your teammates is poised to be the biggest surprise during the 2012-13 season?
James Michael McAdoo: “Reggie Bullock. He’s gotten a lot better.”
P.J. Hairston: “It would have to be either J.P. (Tokoto) or Marcus (Paige). They’re both sneaky-athletic. Well, not J.P., he’s not sneaky at all. He’s just athletic. But he’s developed a jump shot. The past few weeks, he’s been making everything. It’s apparent that he’s been in the gym working on his game. And Marcus is a smooth player. He has a floater that’s automatic. He knows how to find his teammates, and he can also shoot the ball.”
Leslie McDonald: “P.J. Hairston is really good. A lot of people questioned his shot. But he’s worked his tail off and I think he’s going to surprise people.”
Reggie Bullock: “A lot of people think they know what James Michael is going to do. But he’s going to be even bigger for us than they think. The player who maybe people don’t know much about is Marcus.”
2. We also asked a few returning Tar Heels about the best player they played against this summer.
McDonald: “Playing with Raymond Felton is an honor, but it’s crazy. You not only play against him, but we also get to play with him. You see the same thing with him all the time. He knows the game. He can score on anybody at will when he wants to. It amazes me how easy he makes the game look.”
Hairston: “The best player I played against was probably Reggie. The best player I played with was either Rasheed (Wallace) or Leslie.”
McAdoo: “It would have to be Raymond Felton or Marvin Williams.”
Bullock: “The best player I played against was Raymond Felton. The best player I played on the same team with was Jerry Stackhouse.” (The Kinston duo were teammates during the North Carolina Pro-Am)
3. The Hall of Fame announced recently that Carolina and Louisville could meet in the championship game of the 2013 Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Cardinals and Tar Heels will only meet if they win (or lose) their first game in the two-game event. However, the other two teams in the UNC-Louisville bracket are Fairfield and Richmond, so they will certainly be favored to meet.
The Hall of Fame is trying to leverage its relationships into a quality event, but the competition doesn’t compare to what has been assembled at other similar preseason events. The Maui Invitational is the gold standard, and the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas is also starting to attract solid fields.
Upcoming preseason tournaments for the Tar Heels include Maui (2012), Hall of Fame (2013), Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas (2014), and the CBI Experience Tournament in Kansas City (2015). The normal scheduling rotation would have the Tar Heels going back to Maui in 2016, and Nike is putting together a 16-team mega-tournament in Portland in 2017. The list of schools already committed to attend that event is impressive (link to http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/8274359/nike-schools-commit-16-team-mega-event-honor-phil-knight).