By James Blackburn
James scouted UNC last year against Wake in February.
In this report, James takes a look at how each of these players improved in their respective weaknesses from last season.
UNC wins 68-53
(Reports from UNC @ Wake game on January 31, 2012)
Harrison Barnes, 6’8”, F, SO
Showed grit and toughness on the boards (4 rebounds in first 6 minutes). Rebounding numbers per game are down a bit from last season, 5.8 to 4.6 so far this year- but strong performance shown tonight. Hard to get rebounds when you have Henson and Zeller feasting on the back boards. Form is picture perfect. Excellent physique and NBA level build.
Must improve defensively- watching this game- seems to have almost taken steps backward in this area- poor close outs- had a tough time defending Nikita Mescheriakov. Slow release- won’t be able to be a player who gets shots off in the NBA coming off curl screens or cuts with an NBA 3 guarding him.
Looked focused in warm- ups. His straight away set 3’s looked good- strongest spot and shot. He also shot a lot of 1 dribble pull ups going to his left. Has a high release, but it has not seemed to speed up any from last year. Hard worker- will be a true professional- a player you won’t have to worry about both on and off the court. Will be a top 10 pick- speed and athleticism are average compared to an NBA SF, which is what he will play- better shooter though than average 3.
Tyler Zeller, 7’0”, F/C, SR
Had a nice pass to Barnes out of double team- improved passer from last year. Great rebounder- sticks with it- physically dominated Wake Forests bigs inside. Does a great job of absorbing contact and takes advantage on the FT line (over a 75% FT shooter)- nice touch on FT line. Very strong base. Hook shot is pro-ready.
Limited offensively- back to the basket offense only- hasn’t showed me the ability to step out or face up yet. Questions about his ability to stop pro-level guards from turning the corner.
Warm-ups- His right hook shot over his left shoulder looked good- shot over 30 of them from multiple angles- even looked good from 3rd hash mark. He also practiced a spin into a left hook shot that banked in. Went to Zeller a lot early. Averaging almost 10 rpg and shooting almost 60% from the field for the season ( both career best). Did very well against Wake Forests post players, but I still question how he will do against NBA centers. He is a safe first rounder.
John Henson, 6’10”, F, JR
Left hand hook is pro ready. Athleticism allows him to shade on screens and get back to man quickly. Influences every shot taken in his vicinity. His midrange game looks better, but he will need to continue to work on it. Excellent defensive rebounder- chins ball every time (154 def. boards for season- leads team- averages 9.9 rpg- also leads team)
Must improve perimeter defense- stands up instead of getting low in defensive position. Brought ball down too low when in post. FT’s are very inconsistent. Has added muscle (220lbs), but must continue to get stronger- got pushed too deep several times.
In warm-ups FT’s looked better then last year, but still must improve in that area (shooting 45% from line this year). His off hand placement needs to be more consistent, sometimes it floats on top of the ball and when this happens his misses are all over the place. When he keeps his hand on the side it looked good. Henson has improved every season- he has put on muscle, developed a solid post game, and continues to influence the game defensively in the paint. In my opinion he is on the verge of being a lottery pick in a deep upcoming draft. Will fit in nicely with a team who needs a long, athletic PF, full of upside.
Kendall Marshall, 6’3”, PG, SO
Moves the ball with precision, accuracy, and quickness against man 2 man and zones. Hit an open in game set 3- good arc, rotation- looked just like warm-ups. Knows exactly where teammates are going to open up, cut, etc. and gives the ball in perfect scoring position. Passes the ball up-court better then any PG in America. Quick hands defensively- deceptive.
Slow lateral movement defensively- really struggles to keep opposing guards out of paint. Needs to develop a shot off the dribble. Too passive offensively (shooting only 43% from field on barely over 5 shot attempts per game)
In warm-ups his set 3 ball was not near as flat as it was last season- his arc is better. In Marshall you know you are getting a poised, pass first PG (over 200 assists 21 games into season). I question how well he is going to do in the pros because of his defensive woes. A team will and should take a chance on him in the second round- I don’t know if his skills warrant a first round selection.