What you are about to read is called stirring the pot and Josh Hailey at WRAL Fankind(no link for obvious reasons) basically shovels a bunch of manure onto the page then watches as the kids come along and play in it. It is traffic bait which Hailey readily admits up front with the classic "I know people are going to hate me for this" disclaimer which really means "I know people are going to hate me and that is exactly why I am writing it." Anyway, something like this requires a piece by piece dismantling and I feel obligated to provide it.
Hailey starts out by saying that last season when Marcus Ginyard got injured it was a benefit to UNC since it allowed the more offensive minded Danny Green on the court and UNC would be better off having another weapon on the floor. I won't argue with that too much. On one hand, yes UNC was near impossible to stop when everyone was hitting. On the other hand, UNC got lit up by players Ginyard might have been able to stop the likes of Greivis Vasquez and Jeff Teague. At the end of the day UNC figured out how to play defense when it counted so you can argue that Ginyard was not really missed. Then Hailey drives the bus right off the cliff.
So here we are a year later and Ginyard is back. The senior is a tremendous leader off the court, but he has always been touted as a defensive stopper. Well six games into the season I still don't see it.
With only four games against true competition the opposing players top perimeter player has gone off against the Tar Heels. Brandon Wood of Valpo went for 30, Evan Turner of Ohio State 23 points, Wesley Johnson had 25 for Syracuse, and here is the capper, little Grayson Flittner who came in averaging just 7 points per game went for 32 and tied the Smith Center record with nine three pointers. These are not the kind of performances you would expect against a fifth year senior defensive stopper.
Well first of all, it has only been six games which is a really difficult point to drop an opinion like this. And mind you it is all opinion because things like box scores and numbers often get in the way of a good rabble rousing. Haily points to four players who had pretty good scoring nights against the Heels and uses just their point totals as evidence against Ginyard's individual defense.
Brandon Wood, Valpo, 30 points: It is true Ginyard and the rest of the Tar Heels let off the gas in this game, were not focused and as a result Roy Williams chewed out Ginyard after the game. So for this one you can say Ginyard(and his teammates) did not do a great job but one game is hardly worth trashing Ginyard's defense.
Evan Turner, OSU, 23 points: Read the rest of the stat line Josh. It also says 10 turnovers next to Turner's name. Ginyard's defense was so good Luke Winn, who actually watches games and you know, reads box scores, wrote about it in-depth.
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse, 25 points: Wesley Johnson is listed as a forward and is 6-7. I am not sure Ginyard was even assigned to Johnson though it is possible. I was not paying much attention to the matchups especially when I started having Kansas Game flashbacks. I do know watching the highlight video on ESPN.com Johnson scores seven points with someone else guarding him besides Ginyard. So without further evidence I am not sure you can hang Johnson's performance on Ginyard.
Grayson Flittner, Gardner-Webb, 32 points: Yeah, I actually think Ginyard did all he could. When a player is pulling up from Efland and shooting then that is tough to defend. Also, Roy Williams said in his press conference than Flittner ended up getting open on two occasions because Ed Davis screwed up. There were other times when someone had a hand in the guy's face and still others where he just pulled up from some ridiculous distance which is impossible to guard. Then there is the issue of Ginyard doing what a veteran defensive specialist does: rotating off his man in help defense which ends up leaving the guy open. Was that a mistake? Depending on how you look at it. Ginyard was basically doing what he has done for four years and when a team gets penetration(someone else's fault) and Ginyard rotates over to help leaving Flittner open then pray tell what do you expect him to do?
You can say that all the points haven't been on him, but a lot of them have. And if you're the best defender on the team you move onto the hot hand even if he is lighting someone else up. There have been plenty of times that he has played well, but he is still not a complete player.
No, I can't say a lot of the points have been on Ginyard because I don't have access to the defensive grading Roy uses. In fact you know what might have been a better idea? Having someone ask Roy about Ginyard's defense and how he has rated out against the four individuals you mentioned before going of half cocked, writing this kind of garbage in a public forum and making people dumber for having read it.
The liability that he is on offense will make it tough on the inside bigs trying to score as the season moves along. As important as guard play is in the college game, there isn't a whole lot of room on the court for wings who can't shoot.
Let's see what those pesky stats say again. So far this season Ginyard is averaging 11.7 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 spg. Ginyard is also shooting 47% from three point range, 60% overall and 88% from the foul line. His points per shot is 1.56 which is 3rd best on the team behind Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller. During the two games in New York, Ginyard had excellent offensive games. Against OSU Ginyard scored 13 points and hit 3-5 three pointers. He followed that up with a 15 point performance versus Syracuse. Last night versus Gardner Webb, Ginyard scored eight points and dished out six assists which is at least 20 points he had a hand in creating. The only complaint thus far about Ginyard on the offensive end is his turnovers which is not bad enough to declare him an offensive liability.
For North Carolina to have any chance in March they will have to get more out of Ginyard on both ends of the court, because he will most certainly be out there for his leadership.
Ya think, Dinozzo? For my money I think Ginyard has played up to expectations, maybe even beyond them. He is in great physical shape, is leaner than he was at any point in career. Ginyard has shown some aggressiveness on the offensive end as well as some explosiveness going to the basket. Time will tell whether his three point shooting stays at a fairly high level though if he settles in the 40% range that is still great. Implying that he is an overrated defender and liability on offense is short sighted at best and journalistic malfeasance at worse based on the evidence. At this point I am not sure how Ginyard's season will go but I do know there is nothing I have seen so far to make me think he is playing worse than we thought he would.