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North Carolina will be okay without Kevin Knox

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Kevin Knox will be wearing a different color of blue next season, but it’s not Duke blue.

High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Portraits Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Knox made a decision last night that I’m sure many of us are disappointed about. It’s easy to see this as another instance of a top-rate player passing Carolina by to play for a OAD “powerhouse” (powerhouse is in quotation marks for a reason). Another instance of Roy being out-recruited by coaches whose only duty is to get their players to the NBA. However, I assure you, the sky isn’t falling.

Sure, it would have been nice to have him, but Carolina doesn’t need him to be successful. Joel Berry II is returning after a stellar junior season and will be looking to improve his draft stock. Theo Pinson will have the draft in mind as well as he tries to improve his offensive play next season. Tony Bradley received an NBA combine invite, but he is only projected to be a second round pick in most mock drafts. It’s possible that he will return. Kenny Williams should make a jump after starting almost every game before getting injured last year, and if he can consistently hit from three he could be a big player for the Heels.

The only real question for the Heels going into next season is at the four. If Knox had chosen to wear Carolina blue next season, he would have likely started at that position. Instead, Luke Maye will be the most likely starter next season. Maye showed flashes of greatness last year (including a 17 point, game-winning effort against Knox’s landing spot, Kentucky), but his athleticism is something to be concerned about. Still, the Heels will be just fine at the power forward position.

While Knox spends a few months in Lexington, Carolina’s system will continue to breed excellence in Chapel Hill. UNC will almost certainly start four upperclassmen next year, all of which will have the experience of winning two-straight ACC Regular Season Titles and going to two-straight National Championship games. Carolina didn’t need Knox to possibly contend for another Final Four, but he would have been a nice addition.

So, life goes on for Carolina fans. And hey, when it comes down to it, at least he didn’t go to Duke.