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Basketball Grades: UNCG, Clemson, Georgia Tech

Carolina went 3-0 in this week's games.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina cruised over UNCG and Clemson before earning a hard fought win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. The Heels got quality production from Joel Berry, Justin Jackson and Marcus Paige who all scored at least ten points in every game this week. Carolina got strong production from Brice Johnson and Theo Pinson in some games and Joel James came up big in the Georgia Tech game. The Heels seem to be rounding into form just as conference play starts and without Kennedy Meeks.


Good Production From the Bench: A-

Isaiah Hicks hit double figures in every game this past week and has been aggressively looking for his own shot recently. Theo Pinson hit three threes and had 13 points against Clemson but failed to impress against Georgia Tech while Nate Britt played well against UNCG. The Heels could use a bit more consistency from their bench outside of Hicks but so far this season the bench has been a strength of the Heels rather than a weakness.

Joel Berry Starts Conference Play Strong: A-

Berry has been Carolina's most surprising player on offense so far this season. Berry has been exceptional so far this year and has hit his stride with the start of conference play. Berry turned the tide for the Heels against Georgia Tech as he made a three and then converted a three point play to demonstrably carry Carolina to a win. The one concern with Berry is that he remains a low percentage shooter. While he hit double figures in every game this past week, he shot below 50% from the field in every game. Going forward, it would be great for the team if Berry can increase his efficiency for the rest of the schedule then the Heels could live up to their preseason hype.

Brice Johnson Stays Strong: B+

Johnson had a 16 and 16 against UNCG and a 15 and 11 against Georgia Tech but those efforts came on either side of an awful game against Clemson in which he scored only 3 points with 9 rebounds. Johnson did keep rebounding this week which is encouraging since big men can get discouraged when not scoring as much. Johnson has had his foul issues resurface in conference play, picking up nine fouls in the two conference games. Johnson also seemed to lose his touch around the basket this week but he has continued to try to swish shots rather than go off the glass. Johnson needs to find his scoring touch in the next few games or the Heels could struggle a bit as conference play heats up.

Marcus Paige Answers the Call: A-

Paige hit double figures in all three games this week and seemed to pick up his play when the Heels needed it most. He attacked the basket when the Heels' offense stagnated and made his threes when Carolina needed a boost. Paige finished very well around the basket as well, the one issue with his performance has been his three point shooting. Paige made exactly one three in each game this week but he took four against UNCG, three against Clemson and five against Georgia Tech. Paige needs to improve his efficiency from deep if both he and Carolina are to reach their potential.

Justin Jackson Perks Up: A-

Jackson came into conference play in a prolonged slump. He had not shot the ball well but responded this week with double digit points in all three games. Jackson's game showed a lot of improvement in the floaters he likes to take frequently. Jackson seemed to find his touch on those floaters this past week and searched for his shot accordingly. Jackson needs to improve his shot from deep like most of the Heels but otherwise has been much improved recently.