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Player Profile: Joel Berry II

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Berry II - Sophomore, PG, 6-0, 195 lbs

2014-15 Stats: 111.2 ORtg, 49.0 eFG%, 35.4 3P%, 75.7 FT%, 25.9 MIN%

What Happened Last Season

Joel Berry's season was, in many ways, the embodiment of the team's season. The start was slow (playing more than 10 minutes in just 2 of his first 7 games), a promising middle was derailed by injuries, and the finish, with health and some added experience, was quite strong. However, despite the injuries and unevenness of the season, Berry was still able to end the year with an ORtg (111.2) that compares quite favorably to those of his esteemed predecessors at the position during their freshman years (Raymond Felton: 99.8, Ty Lawson: 116.0, Kendall Marshall: 100.4, Marcus Paige: 96.4), albeit, in far fewer minutes. While not blessed with any single attribute that could be described as, "outstanding," Berry was able to produce with a very high efficiency by doing most things well. He shot well from both inside (45.1%) and outside (35.4%) the arc, and at the line (75.7%), and his turnover rate was a perfectly cromulent 18.4%. If there was one area where Berry did struggle, it was on the glass. While this was a problem for Carolina's guards in general, it was especially so with Berry, as his offensive (0.9%) and defensive (6.0%) rebounding rates were both team lows.

Season Outlook

Berry figures to be a key factor in determining the level of success this UNC team achieves, and will likely be at the center of the annual Tar Heel Blog, "Player X needs to start/play more!" discussion. As of now, Berry's role as either starter, or first perimeter player off the bench, will likely be based on whether Roy prefers to have Marcus Paige start the game as the team's point, or have him playing off the ball. If it is the former, than Berry will likely start the season coming off the bench, with Theo Pinson getting the nod as the starting wing guard. But regardless of where he starts the season, Berry will see significant minutes early, and if the efficiency he demonstrated last season scales with the added workload (and he can remain healthy), then he will surely be on the court upwards of 25 minutes per game. Based on the current roster, UNC will be at its most balanced if by the end of the season Berry and Nate Britt are eating up most of the minutes at the point, thus allowing Paige, Jackson and Pinson to form a 3-man rotation on the wing and providing more offensive firepower than the team has had in several seasons.