Via ACC Now:
Reserve point guard Quentin Thomas will likely be back in top-ranked North Carolina's lineup Sunday at Clemson on Sunday. Reserve forward Alex Stepheson will not.
Thomas, who has been sidelined for two games with a sprained left ankle, was expected to practice Friday, coach Roy Williams said, "and if he does make it through practice, I do expect him to play."
Stepheson remains in California, where his father is ill. "I'm supposed to be hearing from Alex [today] as to how things are going, but needless to say, I certainly don't expect him to be back and ready to play,'' Williams said.
Getting Thomas back is a huge deal because as erratic as he can be at times I think he probably is better running the offense in the halfcourt than Marcus Ginyard who just looks plain uncomfortable out there. As for missing Stepheson, that is a bit anxiety inducing more so on the defensive end than anywhere else. Mike Copeland looked pretty good out there versus Kent State but at the same time Stepheson has shown himself capable of playing at a high level. Clemson has enough quality interior presence to make having Stepheson available a premium. Since that likely will not be the case, UNC will simply have to make do with what they have. Obviously Stepheson is dealing with one of the more difficult trials in life, a parent who is gravely sick. I hope and pray he feels zero pressure to return until the situation permits it and he is ready to do so.