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Player Profile: The Freshmen

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In the ramp up to the 2010-11 basketball season, I will be profiling key Tar Heels who will likely be major contributors this season. Today’s profile looks at the three freshmen joining the program this season.

40-Harrison Barnes: SF, 6-8, 210
35-Reggie Bullock: SG, 6-7, 190
5-Kendall Marshall: PG, 6-3, 196

Outlook For This Season

Expectations galore, particularly where Harrison Barnes is concerned. If I read the hype correctly, Barnes will come in, wipe out all the NCAA problems, complete the Blue Zone and add more on-campus parking at UNC. It is really difficult to delve too deeply into an outlook for Barnes or any other freshman other than what is already out there. The expectation of Barnes is he will be the team's leading scorer, leader, the straw that stirs the Coke, etc, etc, etc. The manner in which he plays the game is described as effortless but also unselfish. Barnes can do it all and make his teammates better which will obviously make a huge impact. Reggie Bullock will be called upon to improve the pitiful state of affairs on the perimeter. Physically speaking, Bullock is ready to play at the college level. Bullock also gives UNC a SG who is 6-7. On the floor at the same time with Barnes at SF along with John Henson and Tyler Zeller(both 6-10 and 7-0 respectively) the Tar Heel team will be huge in a way college teams rarely are. Kendall Marshall will start the season backing up Larry Drew but still be called on for key minutes at the point. If Drew falters then Marshall could  see a bigger role. Early on he will watch and learn.

Main Concerns

Adjustment to the college game, especially playing defense in Roy Williams' system is the biggest concern. Barnes is expected to make the transition easier than the other two. Bullock shouldn't be too far behind with Marshall having the largest learning curve. Being Roy's PG is never an easy job and getting the offensive system down is tough given the speed of the uptempo style which probably looks like ludicrous speed to a player fresh out of high school. Remember, not even Ty Lawson started at UNC. Bobby Frasor got the call for a few games and lost his job after he was injured. Frasor would have lost it anyhow but Lawson still had to wait. Still, this group has been described as basketball savvy and capable of picking up the system. Inexperience is something you live with where young players are concerned.

Wish List

For Barnes to be a dominant yet team facilitating player, Bullock to rain threes like Wayne Ellington and Marshall to be the second coming of Ed Cota. Too much to ask? Okay, maybe so. Well except for Barnes. For Bullock and Marshall you are hoping they provide production in areas it was missing last season namely on the three point line and backing up Larry Drew. At any rate all three are a huge part of the team and you best wish is their production matches or exceeds their role on a consistent basis.