Jay Bilas thinks that despite losing 5 of their top 7 offensive threats, UNC
will continue on as usual next season. He's right on one point without
question - people who predict doom for UNC are always wrong. Or at least have
been so far.
And despite his kind words, Bilas had the Heels pegged at about 5th in the
Aside from his basic argument, though, there is one significant difference
between now and then (in this case, when Jamison and Carter were freshmen) - no
Doherty showed last year he was willing to scrap a lot of Dean's principles,
specifically by letting Forte gun, and that turned out to be problematic.
We're also not sure Dean had faced this significant a talent drain. Now in
fairness, the three freshmen have not played, and they could prove to be great -
and Manuel will be a better athlete than Forte from day one.
But the other side of things, something Jay somewhat overlooked, is that to
some extent continuity has been broken. Yes, UNC is still UNC, just like
Kentucky is still Kentucky. But the foundations Smith laid are not what
they were just a few years ago. There isn't anyone on the roster right now
who appears a sure-fire bet to step up and lead; for that matter, there wasn't
anyone last year who was really that interested. Jason Capel and Kris Lang
are the logical guys, but Capel's apparent disharmony last season wasn't typical
UNC stuff, and Lang hasn't really shown a lot of anything except a nice talent
for carping. On the court, he's a one trick pony, with nothing to show but a
Smith's program was so meticulously managed that guys like John Keuster could
train for three years, step in, and do a superb job for a year. Kevin
Salvadori was ready to step in when his time came, and so were about a half
dozen Wolfs. The point is that those guys were always learning and ready
to step up. The guys now who would do that would/should be Bersticker,
Melendez, and maybe Jon Holmes. The freshmen will help - a lot. But
they're freshmen, and when they see Adam Hall, or Mike Dunleavy, or Juan Dixon,
their world will change suddenly.
Doyel has a different take, and we're more in sync with his probably.