Last night at halftime of UNC's 75-70 win over Syracuse ESPN analyst Jay Williams said Isaiah Hicks needed to start instead of Kennedy Meeks. He even went as far as to put it on a sign.
Fire up the meme machine, we got a new one! pic.twitter.com/pnXlfK6g38— Joe Ovies (@joeovies) March 1, 2016
Williams' comment was reflective of what a segment of UNC fans have been talking about for quite some time now. The belief runs fairly strong that Isaiah Hicks is a better option with Brice Johnson than Meeks. Hicks has certainly been more productive offensively this season while Meeks has at time struggled. Aside from Roy Williams occasionally switching up the starting lineup, he has stuck with Meeks even bringing him off the bench first last night for Joel James who started on Senior Night.
At any rate, Meeks picked up on what Jay Williams had to say and probably caught some flack on Twitter so he responded.
Let me tell you guys one thing!!! Whoever starts for our team it doesn't matter!!! Whoever plats more doesn't matter!!! Who ever scores the— Kennedy Meeks (@kennedymeeks3) March 1, 2016
Most that day doesn't matter!!! We are a team!! We are brothers !!! Have I been playing great? No! Have I still been there for my team? Yes!— Kennedy Meeks (@kennedymeeks3) March 1, 2016
Note: Looks like this tweet was deleted, this is how it appeared in original form.
You reporters, analyst, broadcasters, and whoever else have no idea what goes on in OUR locker room and you NEVER will EVER!!— Kennedy Meeks (@kennedymeeks3) March 1, 2016
For the record if my brother Isaiah starts I will cheer him on like he does for me !!! EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK!— Kennedy Meeks (@kennedymeeks3) March 1, 2016
We have 1 head coach and 4 assistants that know what it takes to win. Trust me your suggestions mean NOTHING AT ALL!! #GoHeels ✊— Kennedy Meeks (@kennedymeeks3) March 1, 2016
Would never call anyone out!! Just sharing my thoughts with people who think they are Coach Williams!— Kennedy Meeks (@kennedymeeks3) March 1, 2016
Meeks raises a good point and one I've alluded to before. This isn't an either/or proposition. UNC needs Meeks as much as they need Hicks or anyone else in the regular rotation. Case in point is Meeks scoring 10 points and making a few hustle plays which proved critical during a stretch with Hicks and Johnson sitting on the bench with three fouls each. To that point, Roy Williams has also said he is concerned about fouls with Johnson and Hicks playing together which explains why that pairing is often limited.
My take on coaching decisions is that outside observers don't get the full picture that often leads to who starts and who plays. There are various factors we cannot possibly account for because we don't see what happens in practice or understand the dynamics between coaches and players. The game results matter but if I had to guess whatever Roy Williams does is predicated on getting the most out of everyone. That was his logic behind starting Jawad Williams over Marvin Williams and Deon Thompson over Ed Davis. He felt it was the best way to get the most out of everyone. That is likely the logic at play here.
Does Meeks need to play better? Sure and he would probably be the first one to tell you that but for UNC to make a serious run to the Final Four, it will take a team effort with everyone playing well. If starting Meeks and bringing Hicks off the bench accomplishes that, then it really doesn't matter.