Friday, October 8, 2010

Tar Heels won't miss Will Graves

Will Graves is no star. He’s a role player on a good ACC team, the type of player who only becomes a important if the team lacks overall talent. So the fact that he was third on North Carolina in scoring last season, at 9.8 points per game, tells you plenty about the talent level on those Tar Heels.

Still, Thursday’s news that Graves was off the Tar Heels for good came as a shock. UNC was 20-17 overall last season and 5-11 in the ACC, and stunning offseason loss of the Wear twins thinned Carolina’s frontcourt. Your first thought is, Wow, who’s left?

The Heels lack height and depth. Seven-foot Tyler Zeller, 6-10 John Henson and 6-9 transfer Justin Knox are the only players taller than 6-8.  Zeller and Henson are not physical players at all, and UNC will need Knox and 6-8 freshman Harrison Barnes to provide muscle inside.

Graves wasn’t much of a rebounder anyway, preferring to float on the perimeter and look for jumpers. The hunch here is Carolina will close ranks quickly and he won’t be missed. Freshman Reggie Bullock is listed at 6-7 but has guard skills and a complementary game – he can easily fill minutes on the wing that will open up with Graves gone.

Frankly, Barnes and Bullock are capable of pushing Graves off the court, which might have been difficult for Graves to accept in his senior year. As surprising as Thursday’s announcement was, it might be best for a Carolina team that needs new chemistry and commitment as it opens the 2010-11 season. The hunch here is come January, UNC fans won’t be saying, “We sure miss Will Graves …”

1 comment:

  1. That all may be correct. But, we don't know for sure. For instance, and this is going back a ways, but Mike Pepper was no star for the Tar Heels either but by his senior season he was an important part of the team - a UNC team that would not have won the 1981 ACC tournament without him.
    He hit a shot over Wake Forest star Frank Johnson to put Carolina into the finals.
    Sure, someone else may hit that type of shot for the Heels this year but we'll never know what would have happened with Graves.
    Chemistry may have been an issue like the year that Stackhouse and Wallace as freshmen unseated seniors. But of course we'll never know that either.
    While many will be impressed with Roy Williams' actions, it's still not good for this sort of attention to be focused on Carolina once again.
    And, if there are any injuries suffered by Carolina's outside shooting threats this year, I bet we will indeed hear some UNC fans saying, "We sure miss Will Graves."