Basketball season is just around the corner and we’re about to see a brand new University of North Carolina Basketball Team take the floor. A first-year coach, three new transfers, a young core with some exciting freshmen coming to Chapel Hill.
What can we expect this year? How far will the Tar Heels go? We all have predictions of what’s going to happen. Hear from the former players who were once in their position.
Tar Heel International spoke with Marcus Ginyard, Marcus Paige, Garrison Brooks, Joel James, Christian Keeling, Justin Pierce, Baden Jaxen, Leslie McDonald, Jawad Williams, Kennedy Meeks and Bobby Frasor to hear their takes and predictions on the upcoming 2021/22 season for the UNC Basketball Team.
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Marcus Ginyard (2005-2010) has had a close eye on the current Tar Heels, from working out with the team in the off-season to commentating at Late Night. Marcus has got lots of questions and time will answer them.
“We’ve got all the talent to be a successful team, we’ve got a couple of transfers in that’s not always easy to get that chemistry, what will we look like if we lose a couple in a row… will we stay together?”Marcus Ginyard speaking to Tar Heel International
“We have great leadership, even from our transfers. It will come down to Caleb and Armando, will they accept the challenge to be the best players in the country? Are we getting to get the leadership and poise from Brady and Leaky? Are we going to defend?”Marcus Ginyard speaking to Tar Heel International
“I’m super excited, I think all those pieces will fall into place. Will we see Coach Davis take a big step as Head Coach? Will Caleb and Armando take huge steps into being an All-American type of conversations and really winning the games for us when tight and close? Reminds me of Harrison Barnes. It’s a huge challenge and we’re going to see.”Marcus Ginyard speaking to Tar Heel International
Marcus Paige (2012-2016) will go down as one of the greatest guards to come out of the University of North Carolina and has high expectations for the current guards and is excited for the season ahead.
“When people ask me this, I always say it depends on how RJ and Caleb play. The back-court is deep and it will come down to them. They showed spurts of greatness as freshmen, but it was rocky. It’s tough, I’ve been there. The front-court depending on what game it is, I see some different combinations that can really do different things really well. You can go big-big or go small ball and great shooting. It’s going to be fun to see how they tinker with it.”Marcus Paige speaking to Tar Heel International
“I am so excited to see them play. I’m seeing different things from the Instagram videos they’re releasing, better spacing, I’m seeing different reads guys were not making early in their career. I’m super excited to see the product they put on the floor. I hope RJ and Caleb stay grounded and know if they don’t hit the ground running, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a new coach, a new system. They’re still young. It’s a long grind. It’s a process that will need to mature.”Marcus Paige speaking to Tar Heel International
“They have the versatility, they have the depth, there’s no reason they can’t be in the conversation to be one of the best teams.”Marcus Paige speaking to Tar Heel International
Garrison Brooks (2017-2021) is a former Preseason ACC Player of the Year and is a former teammate of half the current team. Garrison has a huge prediction for Caleb Love.
“I personally predict Mando is going to have a great year and we’ll see huge jumps from RJ and Caleb. Caleb will be one of the best guards in America.”Garrison Brooks speaking to Tar Heel International
Joel James (2012-2016) spent four years in Chapel Hill, playing with some of the greatest Tar Heels. Joel gives an exciting prediction on the current UNC Basketball Team, who he worked out with this summer.
“Justin has a chance to be the sixth man of the year if he comes off the bench. Dawson is one of the most skilled bigs I’ve seen come through Carolina, his fundamentals are beyond solid, and he has a smooth and confident pace to his game.”Joel James speaking to Tar Heel International
“Caleb has the same toughness and grit to his game that reminds me of Joel Berry. Leaky could be the best defender in the league, if not top 3 easily.”Joel James speaking to Tar Heel International
Kennedy Meeks (2013-2017) knew how to perform in a Final Four (see Oregan game in 2017) and now he has the same expectations for the current Tar Heels.
“I think they will go to the Final Four. My starters would be RJ, Caleb, Kerwin, Brady and Mando. That’s a really really really strong five and I think Caleb Love will have an ACC Player of the Year season, honestly!”Kennedy Meeks speaking to Tar Heel International
Leslie McDonald (2009-2014) has full belief in Coach Davis and Caleb Love and is not holding back.
“I believe the Heels have a great chance to win it all. Of course, I’m bias but when you actually look at the size and depth of our team, it’s a given! I believe this could be Caleb Love break out year. He has a year under his belt, therefore the game becomes more natural.”Leslie McDonald speaking to Tar Heel International
“Our team has tenure, so with the returning guys as well as our freshman class we look really good. Not to mention we have Coach Davis! I believe Tar Heel Nation is going to be surprised by the style of play this year.”Leslie McDonald speaking to Tar Heel International
Justin Pierce (2019-2020) only spent one year at the University of North Carolina and is now entering his second season overseas in Europe. Pierce will be keeping a close eye on the Tar Heels this season.
“I think Bacot, Manek and Garcia as a 3 man rotation will be really fun to watch. I think they as a team will shoot the ball really well this year which will help a lot with spacing – especially Manek and Walton! I think the starting 5 is Love, Davis, Walton, Manek and Bacot. It’ll be fun to see how the rotation plays out because there is just so much talent on this roster.”Justin Pierce speaking to Tar Heel International
Jawad Williams (2001-2005) has won the last game while he was with the UNC Basketball Team and is expecting big from the young guys.
“I think this is a 22 win season, minimum. Dontrez Styles will compete for playing time and it’s between Caleb or Armando for the best player on the team. Also, I’ve named Brady the Bearded Bucket Getter.”Jawad Williams speaking to Tar Heel International
Christian Keeling (2019-2020) understands the assignment with UNC Basketball and believes we will still see a lot of the traditional Tar Heels we’re used to.
“Always looking to win the ACC and win the natty that’s just the standard. I think depth will be their biggest advantage for sure and we going to always rebound the hell out of the ball. It will be a fun season for sure… I can’t wait!”Christian Keeling speaking to Tar Heel International
“I’m excited to see how the organization is just in general with it being Coach Davis’ first year being Head Coach. I am excited to see Caleb Love this season. I like his game.”Baden Jaxen speaking to Tar Heel International
“I don’t have many hot takes or predictions. I’m excited to watch them this year. Mostly excited to see how Hubert runs things.”Bobby Frasor speaking to Tar Heel International
The Carolina Family have high expectations, as do the fans. A lot of people are excited to see Caleb Love and Armando Bacot lead this team and believe the new additions will complement the core already there.
Personally, I think Coach Davis could have a Coach Guthridge type season. The talent is there and with Coach Davis likely putting his modern spin on the Carolina Way, I believe the players will buy-in. We’re a dark horse in the race, get excited Tar Heel fans!
I hope you enjoyed the predictions from the Carolina Family. Let me know at @britishtarheel on Twitter what you think is going to happen.
Have you listened to the Ceiling is the Roof Podcast yet? It’s an interview-style podcast with former UNC basketball players as guests every episode. It launched in April and during Season One, the guests have included Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks, Marcus Ginyard, Jawad Williams, Deon Thompson, Bobby Frasor, Nate Britt, Justin Pierce, Leslie McDonald, Brandon Robinson, Baden Jaxen and Garrison Brooks.
The latest episode and finale of Season One of the Ceiling is the Roof Podcast is Tyler Hansbrough, as he talks about some funny stories of his time in Chapel Hill, playing overseas and his experiences in China, as well as his all-time UNC starting five, watch the episode here:
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