Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Two items of interest today.
First of all, Roy Williams said that Leslie McDonald did not practice on Tuesday after "tweaking" his right knee. Robbi Pickeral confirmed with a UNC spokesman that McDonald did not practice on Wednesday either making his availability for Thursday night against Miami questionable.
McDonald's right knee is the one he injured in 2011 which caused him to miss the entire 2011-12 season. Obviously it will be dealt with cautiously given he has already torn the ACL in that knee once before. If McDonald doesn't play versus Miami that means we should see Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston on the floor at the same time and that might not be such a bad thing.
Also of note today is the news Reggie Bullock led a players-only meeting after the three hour film session on Monday(via UNC Now)
"I called a meeting with the players and we was just talking. I was just basically saying, coach can tell us all these things he wants, but it’s up to us to go out there and do it. He’s coached championship teams, he knows what it takes to be a champion, he knows what it takes to coach great players.
"And it’s just up to us to go out there and do it. And I was just telling them, something’s got to change, and we have to change now. And we just have to keep playing better. And I think it starts with leaders like me, Dexter and McAdoo, to be able to turn this ship around."
There is a fair amount of cynicism directed at this type of thing, mainly because there isn't a ton of evidence it actually matters. Then again the success of the POM depends greatly on whether or not the failures of the team stem from deeper, inherent flaws or are simply a matter of everyone being on the same page. The 1997 team supposedly had a POM after falling to 0-3 in the ACC and from there went on to go 8-0 on the back half of the ACC schedule, win the ACC Tournament and land in the Final Four. Of course that team had oodles of talent that simply needed to develop into a cohesive unit.
The level of talent and questions about the parts fitting together are bigger issues than whether or not the players are on the same page or buying into what the coaches say. In fact, I am not convinced UNC's issues are necessarily rooted in anything a POM meeting would fix. That being said, it is a positive sign that Bullock(and according to Roy Williams two others) are taking an active leadership role with the team. And who knows, maybe the loss at UVa plus Monday's three hours of watching film followed by a heart-to-heart among the players might turn things in the right direction.
A month from now this players-only meeting will either be a running joke on Twitter or watershed moment in the 2012-13 season where the worm finally turned. Only time and more games will answer that for sure.