It was announced on Friday evening that Tar Heel shooting guard Theo Pinson will be out indefinitely due to a broken bone in his foot. This comes as devastating news to Tar Heel fans after seeing how well he played in the scrimmage at Late Night With Roy, North Carolina’s annual basketball season tip-off event. Hopefully, his recovery is quick and Pinson is able to play before the conference season begins. However, for the time being, Roy Williams is faced with the tough decision of deciding a replacement shooting guard in the starting lineup. After evaluating the North Carolina basketball roster, I’ve highlighted three potential replacements for Pinson while he heals in the weeks to come.
The case for Nate Britt
Nate Britt is a senior guard that has steadily improved his jump shot year by year since arriving in Chapel-Hill as a freshman. Britt is already well experienced, having stepped in and started 19 games in his previous three seasons at Carolina. If Roy Williams decided to start Britt, the team’s offensive flow would likely be nearly as cohesive as it is when Pinson is healthy. Besides, it could be advantageous to start two point guards. After all, Roy Williams opted to start two point guards last season, and that obviously turned out pretty well.
The down side to starting Britt is he’s only 6’1″. This is an undersized measurement for a collegiate level shooting guard, which could leave him vulnerable on the defensive end when trying to guard stronger, more imposing players.
The case for Kenny Williams
Kenny Williams chose to attend North Carolina with the intentions of being a sharp shooting three point specialist. That hasn’t exactly been the case.He hasn’t blossomed as a long range threat the way he did in High School thus far. Nevertheless, he has performed well on the defensive side of the ball. Williams has displayed great on-ball defensive technique and ability to force turnovers in the limited action he’s seen in a reserve role. He uses his quick feet and 6’4″ frame to cause opposing offensive players to struggle. He also has the ability to alter shots because of his quick recovery defense. If inserted into the starting lineup, Williams could give the Tar Heels an added defensive boost the same way Theo Pinson does.
Unfortunately, Williams is still an unproven scorer at the college level. I believe he still needs to improve as an offensive player before he is ready to start in North Carolina’s up-tempo offense. Hopefully, the injury provides Williams with more playing time so he can gain more experience and be a key contributor when this team is clawing their way through the NCAA tournament come March.
The case for Seventh Woods
Seventh Woods is an electric freshman combo guard who excels in the fast break. Roy Williams loves watching this kid play because of his ability to get out and run in transition. Woods is likely the fastest Tar Heel guard since Ty Lawson. He utilizes his dynamic athleticism to finish above the rim on fast breaks.
He would be the flashiest player of the three potential replacements, for sure. However, there is much speculation that he may need some experience before he is ready to step in and play big minutes at the college level. Personally, I believe he is ready to step in and play right away and I’m hoping Roy Williams will give him an opportunity by starting him until Pinson returns.