Tar Heel Bred Tar Heel Dead

Two road games, two wins. But two very odd locations. Reed and Andy break down the Carrier Classic and the UNC-Asheville game and we find out what Andy might say if he met Obama. A listener calls Reed out in a voicemail and Duke Sucks this week because Coach K weighs in on child rape (aka – the Penn State situation).
Email us your thoughts at thbthd@gmail.com or call the hotline and make Reed feel like a cowardly traitor yourself: 641-715-3900, ext. 422465

So, yeah. The season is off to a pretty good start. Two games played, two dominating wins against a couple of pretty good teams in hostile environments. Well done, fellahs.
Everyone on the roster played well (or at least up to expectations), but in both these games, one thing really stood out, and that’s the progress of John Henson. Specifically his reliance on a new offensive move that, even only two games in, has to be designated his signature.
Kareem had the skyhook. Henson has the soft turnaround jumper.
Last year, he lived on offensive putbacks, back-door alley oops and around-the-basket garbage. It’s different this year. Now, he is a legit half-court offensive threat. Now, he gets fed in the post, spins baseline, fades away slightly and puts up a pillowy jumper that, more often than not, swishes through.
And this move cannot be stopped.
Cannot.
If Henson, with his length, can make that shot on a consistent basis, it adds another element to the team’s offensive attack and basically means we win it all next April.
Carolina will now have twin threats in the frontcourt like NFL teams have in the backfield. Call it Fire and Ice, or whatever you want. Let Zeller do the physical damage, overpowering defenders with his size, while Henson is left to float soft shots from just outside the lane. This combo is going to tear up opponents.

On Wednesday, UNC will announce their 2012 recruiting class as it is the first day of the fall signing period.  With the possibility that we could still be stacked next year, there are no Super-Duper Stars in this class (e.g. – Barnes, Hansbrough, etc.) but we will be getting four very good players.  Here is our quick take on each with some highlights.  All rankings are RSCI (Recruiting Service Composite Index).

MARCUS PAIGE

Andy has a man-crush on our current lefty point guard and we will have another one on the roster in 2012. Marcus is ranked 29th overall and is from Marion, IA. He has steadily climbed the rankings and is one of the top point guards in the class.  He looks to be a little quicker than Kendall with a better shot but not the ridiculously elite court vision (but who does have that?).  He is also listed at 6-0 so he’s not quite as tall as Kendall either.

 

BRICE JOHNSON

Brice is one of these guys that just  exploded over the last 6 months.  He wasn’t a widely known prospect until he went off at one of these summer AAU events and Roy was able to scoop him up. The first thing you will notice is his quick run/jump athleticism and soft touch. He is an elite athelete and could be a star by the time he graduates. Painfully thin at this point, he is 6-9 180 lbs but is in the Marvin Williams mold.

 

JOELL JAMES

You know those big behemoth dudes that teams like Florida State and Texas always seem to have that just bump the crap out of our skinny post players? Well, now we’ve got one. Joell is ranked 61st overall and is 6-10, 260. He has good footwork and soft hands so if all goes well, he could become a Sean May type of player.

 

J.P. Tokoto

Another elite athlete in this class. Was actually ranked #1 in the class as a Freshman but kind of plateaued. He still has a ton of potential and could be a Danny Green type stat sheet stuffer as he matures. Currently ranked 68th, he is a 6-5 Wing Forward.

 

New hotline number

November 7, 2011

Our previous voicemail company seems to have disappeared. We hear that happens occasionally with fly-by-night Internet firms. Anyway, we have a new hotline number. Please give us a call and leave us your thoughts on the team, a particular game or whatever you’re feeling. Just do us a favor and keep it clean.

641-715-3900, ext. 422465

Well that was easy. North Carolina are the 2012 NCAA champs. I’ll meet you up on Franklin Street in five minutes to burn a couch.
The Heels have been crowned in pretty much every preseason poll, column, tweet and article on college basketball released in the run-up the coming season. The team is an overwhelming favorite to run the table in the conference, destroy the tournament competition, cut down the nets in April, cure cancer and possibly land a man on Mars.
But let’s just take a step back for a second. Things may not be as easy as everyone seems to think.
And bear in mind, what I’m about to say, I say with love. I love the Heels, obviously. I produce this podcast. I still own a can of that terrible blue soda (was it secretly Windex?) released after the 1993 championship. My closet contains far more logoed sportswear than a grown man should own.
But I have a few doubts (that will surely be answered as soon as play gets underway for realz, but until then), let’s look at four of the worrying questions that have been keeping me up at night.
(more…)

With the season less than a week away, Andy and Reed go out on a limb and make some predictions in various categories, both important and completely unimportant. Who will be Carolina’s leading scorer? Leading rebounder? Who will have the best haircut? Also, Dook sucks because of their Nazi propaganda-ish offering “Worldwide.” Terrible. Just terrible.

Email us at thbthd@gmail.com

The folks over at Grantland have assembled their own first team All America, and in a bit of an upset, Kendall Marshall makes the cut while Harrison Barnes does not. (Barnes and Henson made the second team.)

Last year, Marshall single-handedly turned a team headed to an eight seed and a 9-7 ACC record into a title contender. He accomplished this by doing exactly what a college point guard should do — by hitting guys in their spots and getting them easy baskets. There are a lot of extremely talented college players who will suit up this year — Marshall doesn’t have the physical gifts that Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, or Jeremy Lamb possess. But he might be the smartest and most creative player on the best team in the country. And that, in my book, is enough to warrant a first-team All-America selection.

The article also assesses Marshall’s NBA draft prospects, pegging him as a late first rounder or early second rounder. “May have more to gain by orchestrating an NCAA championship than any player in college basketball. An unforgettable March could propel him into the lottery.”

Second time’s a charm?

October 31, 2011

Harrison Barnes has been voted to the AP’s pre-season All America team. Again. The sophomore was second only to Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger in votes. Barnes’ inclusion last year as a freshman drew a lot of criticism — especially after he got off to slow start — but I doubt anyone will question the pick this time.

That said, you could just as easily make the case that Tyler Zeller or, to a lesser extent, John Henson, should be included on that list with — or instead of — Barnes. Sure, Barnes is the marquee name and a huge talent, but as far as the player who is the runaway, most valuable to the team? That’s less clear. After the way P.J. Hairston shot in the exhibition game over the weekend, we’re ready to include him on the list too.

Another poll, another #1 ranking for the Heels. This time, the AP bestowed the honor, a week after the USA Today Coaches Poll did the same. (Incidentally, this honor moves UNC ahead of Duke in preseason AP #1 rankings and into a tie with UCLA, the all-time leader.)

Oddly, the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats didn’t receive any first-place votes, while Ohio State (#3) and Connecticut (#4) did. This season is shaping up to be a really interesting one, with a bunch of very good teams in the top 10, but perhaps no dominant club.

 

Jeff Goodman over at CBS Sports had a chance to drop in on a recent Heels practice, and he had some interesting observations. Basically, it sounds like the possible weaknesses on this team that we all worry about are being addressed and improvement is showing. Here are the top 5 points.

  1. Kendall Marshall’s outside shot is improving. This is great news, and should help to keep defenses honest and open up the inside for Zeller.
  2. Henson is working mightily on his offensive game, though it remains a “work in progress.” Love to hear that. Roy Williams talked a lot at his press conference this week about Henson and his improving shot. The big man still isn’t cleared to start taking 15-footers, but who knows what could happen by the end of the season.
  3. Dexter Strickland looks more comfortable running the point. This is the best news ever and addresses what is probably the team’s biggest weakness: lack of depth at point guard. Frosh Stilman White is an unproven commodity and if Kendall Marshall were to ever — we won’t even say it.
  4. Reggie Bullock is probably ahead in the race for shooting guard minutes with P.J. Hairston. OK. Not unexpected.
  5. Strickland’s shot is more consistent since last year. We’ll believe this when we see it.
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