In the midst of all the excitement surrounding the football program, it’s almost easy to forget about the basketball team for a bit. That’s a statement you don’t hear often at UNC, certainly not in recent years, but it speaks to the incredible job Mack Brown and his staff have already done. After starting the season off by beating two power five conference opponents in South Carolina and Miami, football is no longer merely a bridge to basketball season.
Having said that, Roy Williams is likely to boast yet another Final Four contending team despite losing each of his top five scorers. Needless to say, it doesn’t hurt to check in on the basketball team once in a while.
The Tar Heels have now gotten into their preseason conditioning. Their twitter account tweeted a video of the team doing the hill run the other day:
Locked in— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) September 6, 2019
Hill run ☑️ pic.twitter.com/DdcgQD6clU
Obviously, there are plenty of both new and familiar faces. With such a different-looking team this year as opposed to last year, it’s good to see that these guys seem to be comfortable with each other and the newcomers seem to have already integrated well with the returnees.
It was also nice to see footage of freshman point guard Jeremiah Francis actually out there working out and able to exert himself. Francis, as many know, has dealt with an abundance of injuries during his young basketball career. He missed his entire senior year and most of his junior year of high school after having multiple knee surgeries. Though he isn’t expected to play a major role this upcoming season, it’s encouraging to see his rehab coming along, and maybe he’ll get a chance to make an impact sooner rather than later.
The team account posted another video just a couple days ago:
Conditioning Part 2— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) September 8, 2019
Stations ➕ 3⃣3⃣'s ☑️ pic.twitter.com/YYL9Bq0DLs
While clearly this stuff isn’t as exciting as watching them play, it’s arguably equally as important. Two of the biggest reasons Roy Williams’ teams are successful are their togetherness and their ability to run the floor. Both of those things sort of coincide here as players such as Cole Anthony and Christian Keeling can be seen motivating their teammates to lock in and work harder. Williams is not going to change his style of basketball, so it’s immensely critical for the players to get themselves in the necessary shape.
The aforementioned Anthony, a consensus five-star and top-five recruit, figures to be the Heels’ featured player on offense. He’s joined by fellow freshmen Armando Bacot, Anthony Harris, and Jeremiah Francis as well as graduate transfers Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce as the fresh faces in Chapel Hill. Their integration into the Carolina system as well as how they continue to mesh with returning players such as Garrison Brooks, Brandon Robinson, and Leaky Black will be something to monitor as we get closer to the season.
The Tar Heels tip off Late Night With Roy in less than three weeks on Friday, September 27th, in the Dean Dome. Doors will open at 6 p.m.