WRAL SportsFan's Tim Hall blogged today that, according to John Henson, chemistry may have been at the heart of UNC's struggles this year.
According to Hall:
The reasons for all the losing in the last two months have been debated. Effort, injuries, and inexperience have all been brought up as issues that helped to the Heels downfall. But one freshmen (sic) had a different reaction (1:30 in) as to what the Heels have done differently in the past two wins.
"Just as a team we've come together. Like coach said, we liked each other but we didn't care about each other," John Henson said after the Tar Heels 69-62 win over Miami. "We're starting to care about each other and care about our performances and it's starting to show in the games."
Head coach Roy Williams has been grilled with question (sic) about chemistry all season long. He's been asked if certain players are forming their own "clicks" (sic) with each other, and Williams never seemed to have a definitive answer.
This is interesting, but not surprising to hear. Given the team's struggles and fandom's constant monitoring of every tweet and facial expression, it is still difficult to predict exactly what is going on in the locker room. There did not appear to be any outward signs that people on the team weren't getting along, but actually giving a flip about each other is something else entirely.
Personally, I don't think caring about each other causes defensive lapses or throwing the ball into the stands, but it does figure into how hard the team plays and how they respond to adversity. And for the past two games, Carolina has shown an ability to hold it together that was not there throughout most of the ACC season. Plus, it is refreshing to hear Henson say that Roy had recognized it and had addressed the team about it. At this point, anything that helps bring this team home in a positive manner is very much appreciated.
(Sidebar: Mr. Hall, a single first-year player is a freshman, Williams has been grilled with questions (plural), and exclusive groups are called cliques. This has been a Grammar Police warning.)
Update[THF]: The first thing I thought when I read this was: "Holy crap, John Henson is Danny Green." Seriously. This sounds like the sort of thing Roy said he would tell the team and then Green would tell the media. Then it dawned on me. The smile. The personality. The willingness to talk to the media. Game changing freak plays. John Henson is the 2nd coming of Danny Green. It only took one year.