In preparation for the 2009-10 basketball season, I will be profiling key contributors for the Tar Heels. Today’s profile looks at sophomore PG Larry Drew
Weight: 180 lbs
2008-09 and Career Stats: 38 gms, 1.4 ppg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 rpg
What Happened Last Season
Larry Drew backed up Ty Lawson at a clip of about 10 minutes a game. Nothing really memorable stood out and that was expected since Lawson was the engine that ran one of the most prolific offensive attacks in UNC basketball history. Basically Drew's job was to come in and give Lawson enough rest to keep the junior ACC POY fresh. Drew did that and was better than Quentin Thomas in 2005 during his stints on the floor. Drew saw more time during the ACC Tournament and the NCAA 1st round versus Radford when Lawson was out with the infamous toe injury. During those three games, Drew recorded 12 assists versus three turnovers in 50 minutes of play.
Outlook For This Season
What can be said that has not already been said. Drew assumes the starting PG position following in the footsteps of arguably the best season performance by a UNC point guard ever. That is a tough act to follow and Drew is already aware that he isn't Lawson. Still, stepping into one of the most high profile PG position in the country is not easy. The media has made the point ad nauseum and that is the Tar Heel season rides on Larry Drew's play. If Drew is not up to the task, the Heels will struggle because it won't matter how good the frontline is if the ball cannot be distributed to the post effectively.
The biggest concern is no one knows. It is a complete mystery whether Drew will play up the level necessary to keep this team winning. In terms of specific isues, one major concern has to be turnovers. Lawson's ball security was legendary, made so by the fact he rarely turned the ball over while going 100 mph. In limited time last season, Drew's A/TO ratio was 1.64 which is pedestrian at best. In Roy Williams' uptempo system something north of 2.0 is desirable. Since Drew is said to be a pass first PG there is much more riding on Drew's decisionmaking process as well as the types of passes he makes in a given situation. Drew is not as fast as Lawson but that should not technically slow down the break if Drew can push the ball via long passes down court. The danger is such bad passes can lead to turnovers. Drew's offense also registers on the worry meter. In the grand scheme until we see more I would hold off allowing that concern in particular to get too high on the list.
10 ppg, 5 apg, 2 spg, 2.5 A/TO ratio
If Drew can post numbers like this while simultaneously playing outstanding defense on the ball, I think it will do the trick. Drew's defense may ultimately be where he makes his bones. Drew is taller and longer than Lawson which means he should be a more effective defender against taller guards. I also envision Drew getting a hand on some passes and denying some entry points into the paint by the opposing PG. Drew only needs to be steady at the point with few turnovers and tons of facilitating the offense with good, floor general skills.