North Carolina Tar Heels Basketball Details
After a crushing buzzer-beater defeat in the 2016 NCAA National Championship game, it was clear that the North Carolina Tar Heels were going to do whatever it took to get back to that stage in 2017. The Roy Williams-led team did just that, as the Heels had a great 2016-17 campaign and ended up in their second straight National Championship game, this time against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Finishing the year 33-7, UNC held off Gonzaga, winning the NCAA tournament with a 71-65 victory. It was a wonderful season for the regular-season ACC champs and a fitting departure for forwards Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks, and Kennedy Meeks, as well as center Tony Bradley and guard Nate Britt, who all departed for the NBA Draft.
With much of the core gone, the Tar Heels will rely on senior leadership from Joel Berry and Theo Pinson for the 2017-18 season. Guard Joel Berry returns after a solid junior season where he averaged 14.7 points and 3.6 assists. Workhorse forward Theo Pinson also returns to provide an often-vital spark off the UNC bench. Forward Luke Maye should see a bigger role with all last year’s starting big men gone, as will guard Kenny Williams, who should provide some great perimeter play along with lockdown defense. Freshman Garrison Brooks should grab the open big man spot, while freshman guard Jalek Felton – nephew of the NBA’s Raymond Felton – will be an important guard off the bench. Also, look for newbies Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman to have roles on Roy Williams’ squad.
With experience as well as promising youth, UNC should have another solid year in the ACC playing in front of that raucous Dean Smith Center at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.