A first glimpse of the 2012-13 Tar Heels as they take on Shaw University in an exhibition game.
UNC vs Shaw, 7:30 PM, GoHeels.com
And then came basketball season.
The Tar Heels take the court for the first time in the 2012-13 season against Shaw University in an exhibition game beginning at 7:30 PM at the Dean Smith Center. This will be the public's first glimpse at a Tar Heel team that is an interesting mix of familiar faces in new roles and new faces being asked to fill huge voids in the roster. One of those voids is at point guard where freshman Marcus Paige will likely get the start. The other position question mark is at center where Desmond Hubert, Brice Johnson or Joel James could get the start in the frontcourt alongside James Michael McAdoo. Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock will probably start at the wing positions.
Given this in an exhibition and very early in the practice schedule(UNC started less than two weeks ago) expect to see a lot of lineup combinations. I also expect things to be less than fluid in terms of how well players function in new roles and how the team plays together. In fact, the normal disclaimer applies since UNC is playing a Division II opponent in an exhibition game. There is little of value that can be taken from this game, even more so since the team as a whole is working against a bit of a learning curve. For the freshmen it is learning a new system. For the upperclassmen it is about acclimating to new roles.
All that being said, particular attention will be paid to McDonald and also Dexter Strickland who are both returning from ACL tears in the past 18 months. McDonald is expected to be 100% since he is several months past being cleared to play. Strickland has only be cleared in the past couple of months and not considered to be 100%. I imagine his playing time will be monitored closely since there is no need to risk an injury in an exhibition game.