Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Roy Williams said during his pre-Duke game press conference that freshman center Joel James would be unavailable Wednesday night after having suffered a concussion against Wake Forest. According to Williams, James suffered a "blow to the head" in the Wake Forest game and had been experiencing headaches since then. Despite this James played nine minutes on Saturday versus Miami but did not practice on Sunday. It was not until yesterday that the concussion was discovered meaning James will not practice today or be available against Duke. In you are keeping score at home that is three Tar Heels who have suffered concussions this season alone...in basketball.
Losing James is not a huge deal but it is one less body to use against Mason Plumlee. In fact James is the only interior player UNC has that has the size and strength to at least make Plumlee work on the blocks. Granted James is not nearly quick enough to stop some of Plumlee's more athletic moves but at the very least it is five more fouls to use. That means more Jackson Simmons, Brice Johnson and Desmond Hubert. I highly doubt James Michael McAdoo will be used on Plumlee to avoid foul trouble and McAdoo is better guarding away from the basket.
Speaking of McAdoo, his back continues to be a cause for concern and something the team's medical staff are monitoring. According to Dexter Strickland, McAdoo had an MRI on the back yesterday but McAdoo said today it "feels great." McAdoo is expected to practice today and play versus Duke.
In other press conference notes, Williams said his team doesn't match up great with Duke on paper, they will try to crowd Plumlee but also not help off three point shooters too much and he does know threes add up quicker than twos. I know some of you were not sure about that last part.