F Joel James, Sophomore, 6-10, 280 lbs.
The other half of last season's low post puzzle, Joel James was not quite the yin to Desmond Hubert's yang. Hubert was a more athletic player, but the offense seemed to flow a little better with James in the game. Unfortunately neither option served the Tar Heels well, leading to Roy Williams' decision to play a smaller lineup and squeezing out playing time for both Hubert and James.
As the 2013-14 season begins, Williams has said he plans to play bigger and James figures to be part of the center rotation that includes Hubert and freshman Kennedy Meeks. Like Meeks, James has offensive lineman-like bulk at 280 pounds, but despite his size, he has a soft touch around the basket. James had a tough time adjusting to the college game last year and averaged a paltry 2.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Both of those figures will have to improve if Carolina is going to get effective play from the center position. Hubert, Meeks, and James all bring a slightly different skill set to the position but all will have to contribute to draw attention away from James Michael McAdoo. Then again, if Meeks delivers like he did in the Late Night with Roy scrimmage, James will be fighting for backup time.
James also gave up his number last season, number 0, to freshman Nate Britt, opting instead for jersey number 42. There will likely be little confusion between James and the last beefy guy of note to wear number 42. But then again, no one says James has to be Sean May. He just has to rebound, run the floor, and not be a liability on either end of the floor. If he can do that, it will certainly be an upgrade at the low post, as will the effort demonstrated by Meeks last weekend.