Around halfway through the season last year UNC coach Roy Williams realized that his team was at their best when they went small. He plugged shooting guard P.J. Hairston into the starting lineup and played with only one big in James Michael Mcadoo. UNC went on to string off several impressive victories before making a deep run in the ACC tournament.
When the Tar heels lost in their second round NCAA tournament matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks their biggest problem was a lack of size in the frontcourt. Next season Carolina might have the exact opposite problem. UNC will add five star recruit Isaiah Hicks and four star
recruit Kennedy Meeks to their already crowded frontcourt. Right now, next season’s UNC roster will include six players who are 6’8 and taller in Mcadoo, Johnson, James, Hicks, James, and Hubert. Finding playing time for all of those big men will be an extremely challenging task for Williams and that is putting it lightly.
Recently, rising sophomore Joel James was quoted saying, “I’m going to be the starting center. That’s going to be a lot of expectations, I don’t want to be sitting on the bench anymore.” While it’s possible James could be the starting center next year, it’s hard to imagine a star recruit in Hicks not receiving a large share of minutes next year. More likely than not, center Brice Johnson will also see an increase in playing time next year.
Having too many talented bigs is a good problem to have, and regardless of how it plays out, the position battles in the frontcourt should be fun to watch this summer, and will surely be a mercurial situation throughout the entire season.