By Marcus Shockley
Harrison Barnes, the 6’8″ freshman forward for UNC and possibly a future number one NBA draft pick, opened up his college basketball career by hitting his first shot. Barnes joins a couple of other highly touted incoming freshman to the Tar Heels who are working to return the team to their title-contending form from two years ago. The first game against Lipscomb was a mixed bag.
Barnes looked solid at times, over eager at other times and too often, settled for jump shots. However, he did score consistently and certainly played well as a starter. The Tar Heels are almost completely rebuilt from last season, with new starters everywhere and players taking on new roles.
Dexter Strickland is no longer having to run the point and drive the offense, now being moved to his more natural position of off guard. Incoming point guard Kendall Marshall is a better option to back up Larry Drew, and even though Marshall was considered to be a ‘pass first’ point guard, he scored well and managed to push the offense effectively.
Overall, even though all eyes were on Harrison Barnes, the workhorses of the game were John Henson, who snagged a near triple-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds, Tyler Zeller who started at center and added 15 points, and freshman Reggie Bullock, who came in off the bench and immediately started scoring points. The Heels looked better than last season, but it’s not clear yet if they warrant their current top ten ranking.
Lipscomb showed they also have a trio of solid players in guard Josh Slater, who scored 21 points, freshman point guard Robert Boyd, and post player Adnan Hodzic, who scored 14 points in the loss.
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