F Jackson Simmons, Junior, 6-7, 225 lbs
One of the bright spots out of the 2012-13 season was the play of sophomore walk-on Jackson Simmons. Simmons was given a preferred walk-on spot coming out of high school where he graduated as the state of North Carolina's all-time career leader in rebounds. As a preferred walk-on, no one really expected much from Simmons and the assumption would always be Roy Williams would continue to bring in better players. Simmons turned that thinking on its ear with some crucial contributions in ACC play. The most notable appearance was in UNC's win at Florida State to avoid an 0-3 start in ACC play. Simmons scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in that game.
The question regarding Simmons going into this season is how much time will he see given UNC has added two freshmen interior players in Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks? Probably not as much as a season ago. Simmons doesn't have the same physical gifts as more touted players. What he lacks there he certainly makes up(to a point) with his understanding of the game. This is very similar to what players like Bobby Frasor brought to the floor. Knowing when and where to set a screen or rotate on defense or simply get in the right position for a rebound are all things Simmons does well. In addition, Simmons is not the kind of player that will hurt the team when he is on the floor.
Again, the depth in the front court is going to slice into Simmons' time, especially if there is improvement in the play of several players. That being said, UNC has a long history of players who come in for spot minutes and do some of the grunt work that needs to be done on the court. Simmons can be that player for the Tar Heels, especially on a team whose strength is going to be in how well the parts work together.