Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington put their names in the NBA Draft pool, meaning their time at North Carolina has ended. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to both for their efforts over the past three seasons. I wished they would stay one more year, but I understand why they are leaving. I wish them the best of luck.
But it is time to move on.
This isn't the first time ... nor will it be the last time ... that UNC has lost guys early to the NBA. They recovered after Michael Jordan left early. They recovered when J.R. Reid left early. They recovered when Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Joseph Forte, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams and Brandon Wright left early. It's Carolina. It happens.
While everyone should still be celebrating the Heels' lastest title, it will soon be time to look at what's coming back (and coming in).
It will be a young team. The class of 2005 is almost all gone (Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Bobby Frasor; only Marcus Ginyard remains). The class of 2006 (Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Brandon Wright) has only Deon Thompson and Will Graves remaining. There was no class of 2007.
So most of what UNC has coming back will be rising sophomores and freshmen.
PG-Larry Drew II
BENCH: PF/SF-John Henson, C/F-Tyler Zeller, PG/SG-Leslie McDonald, PF-David Wear, PF-Travis Wear, G-Justin Watts, SF-Will Graves.
One thing about this team is that they are stacked up front but kinda thin in the backcourt. They have virtually no experience back there. Drew had spot duty last year as a third string point guard. Strickland and McDonald are freshmen. Ginyard is versatile enough to play lead guard and the two wing positions.
I think Henson should be in the starting lineup, but I don't see how that can happen. He won't knock Davis or Thompson out of the lineup. If he starts at small forward, that would kick Ginyard to the off-guard spot. Doing that will mean that UNC will have no perimeter threats, which is why I am projecting Strickland as a starter.
Of course, this could all change if a certain point guard chooses to stay close to home and become a Tar Heel.