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UNC basketball: What to expect from Andrew Platek

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Can the sophomore guard make a significant leap next season?

ACC Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Despite the losses of Joel Berry and Theo Pinson, the North Carolina Tar Heels should still be in great shape in terms of its backcourt. The returns of upperclassmen Cam Johnson, Kenny Williams, Seventh Woods, and Brandon Robinson, as well as the arrival of three highly touted freshmen give the Heels plenty of options on the perimeter. This could make things difficult, however, for Andrew Platek, who will try to carve out more playing time in his sophomore season.

Platek’s first year in Chapel Hill went about as expected. He averaged 2.0 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in 7.5 minutes per game. While the numbers don’t necessarily display it, he did show flashes of toughness and a high basketball I.Q.

One peculiar theme with UNC is that players labeled “shooters” coming out of high school typically struggle with their shot early in their careers. It happened with guys like Marcus Paige, Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston, and Kenny Williams, none of whom shot above 34% in his first season. Given the eventual success of all three, you could say Platek is a little ahead of the game as he shot 37% from deep last year. Obviously, the lack of volume (just 27 attempts on the season) means that number could be a little deceiving, but it’s still encouraging that he was able to knock down shots at a fairly respectable rate.

That number will have to go up, though, if he wants to keep earning more minutes. As mentioned earlier, there will be an abundance of guards/forwards competing for those first three positions. Although a year of experience will help his case, Platek doesn’t possess the athleticism to match any of the incoming freshmen. He’ll have to separate himself with strong intangibles and by proving he can stroke it from the perimeter consistently and efficiently.

That being said, I’d be surprised if Platek was truly buried below everyone else. His staunch work ethic won’t go unnoticed, especially to Roy Williams. I’d expect him to, at the very least, do everything he needs to do in order to be a solid role player once again. The question of whether he takes that next step will presumably lie in his ability to hit the open jumper and regularly defend at a high level.