The North Carolina Tar Heels are defending champs in name only. Gone are starters Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams and Jackie Manuel....as well as Marvin Williams and Melvin Scott. The top seven scorers off the championship team are now gone. Only David Noel, who scored ONE POINT in that title game against Illinois, remains from the Heels regular rotation.
But don't cry for the Heels. At least the have a championship to show for it. Now, on to the future....and boy does it look bright!
THE NEW CLASS
The prized recruit in this class is Tyler Hansbrough...a C/F from Missouri. According to many prep experts...he's the 2nd best college freshman in the nation [Duke's Josh McRoberts is #1]. Dude stays in the paint...has excellent footwork and excellent, excellent hands. He works hard, doesn't mind to bang....and plays within himself. He's already one of the Heels top scorers.
I love this Danny Green kid. He's a swingman who has just shown an ability to do many things on the court. I LOVE his hustle. He dives for loose balls, crashes the boards, keeps his feet and hands moving. He can be a big time scorer...but hasn't completely shown it yet.
Bobby Frasor is a coach's son....so he plays smart and does a lot of the intangibles. He gets into passing lanes, knows his angles and despite not being the quickest guy out there...he can get past his man. So far, he's shown a nice ability to rain threes...which will be needed since UNC lost every bit of perimeter shooting they had last year.
Marcus Ginyard wasn't as prized as the others....but he may end up being a big star. He's a wing player who has pretty good ballhandling skills, sees the floor well and is quite athletic. But his calling card is defense....and Roy Williams thinks he can become one Carolina's best defensive players ever.
AND THE 2006-2007 CLASS....
The star of this class is Brandon Wright [above]....and he was stolen away from Duke. Wright is being compared to Kevin Garnett is body size and style of game. He is 6-10....210...and has an 8-foot wingspan. If not for the NBA's new rule barring high schoolers from entering the draft...he'd be an easy lottery pick in 2006. Rated as the top PF in this class.
Wayne Ellington [who is featured in the current SLAM magazine] will follow in the footsteps of great scoring Carolina guards. He can score in a variety of ways. A killer three-point shooter....a rim rattling dunker. He can get around his man and make you pay in a variety of ways. Rated the top SG in this class.
Tywon Lawson will remind many Heels fans of Raymond Felton and Kenny Smith. The ultimate point guard...he has crazy handle and can create plays for his teammates. He needs work on his shot....but as Felton can attest, it can be done. He also is a great defender who racks up steals. He is rated the top PG in this class.
Deon Thompson is a beast. Only 6-8...but weighs 250 already. He isn't raw in the least. He'll enter college with an array of post moves and ways to score. And he isn't some big lug who'll bang only. He can find the open man and get him the ball....so he'll be excellent on screens. He'll just need to work on his conditioning to be a Heel.