Tar Heel Blog spent this week preparing you for the college basketball season, which kicks off for Carolina on Wednesday, November 25 against College of Charleston. If you need to get caught up, we broke down the previews by position:
But there’s one group left. This group is usually an afterthought, but whenever you see them, it usually means that Carolina has played really well.
On the 2020-21 UNC basketball team, “Carolina Family” is not just a catch phrase. There are six players on the team with Tar Heel bloodlines, five of them with the basketball team. Roy Williams may not count on these players when the game is in doubt, but they are valuable contributors to the team’s culture. Everyone is always excited to see them on the floor, especially the starters. With two seniors, we’re likely to see K.J. Smith and Walker Miller start on Senior Night against Duke this year. Let’s meet this year’s Blue Steel!
I don’t really have anything to add to what Akil wrote on Monday regarding Baby Jet. I will say that with two definitive ball handlers (Caleb Love and R.J. Davis) and a third point-forward (Leaky Black), K.J. should find his minutes limited this season. This is a good thing. Look for K.J. to lead Blue Steel in minutes.
Walker does a great job of explaining what it’s like being on Blue Steel, waiting for an opportunity to get into a game in this clip:
Walker, the much younger brother of former Carolina shooting guard (and current UNC-Greensboro head coach) Wes Miller has a completely different game from the diminutive sniper. He is an old-school (like, when uniforms had belts on them) center who stands 6’11”. Last season, he played 56 minutes in 19 games and scored 7 points, a sharp drop-off from his sophomore season (16 points) when he actually played less minutes. Walker Miller will find court time hard to come by with Walker Kessler and Day’Ron Sharpe standing in his way.
This 6’5” forward is the son of Bob McAdoo, Dean Smith’s only junior college transfer. Ryan transferred to UNC from Florida Gulf Coast University and inherits the floating scholarship from K.J. Smith this season. Last season McAdoo scored 1 point on one-for-two free throw shooting. Fingers crossed that he hits a field goal this season!
Creighton has two connections with the Carolina basketball program. His father, Jeff Lebo, played for the Tar Heels from 1985-89, and he played at the Greenfield School in Wilson, NC, the same high school that Coby White went to. A true freshman this season, Creighton is one for the future. All I know about him, is that he’s got a stroke:
He’ll definitely need to put on some weight to survive life in the ACC. I’ll be interested to revisit his profile in two years.
Duwe has quite a few ties to Carolina.
- Great grandfather played football at UNC
- Grandfather played football at UNC
- Dad ran track at UNC
- Went to the same high school as future UNC quarterback Drake Maye
Duwe cut his teeth last season on the JV team. Now he steps up to sit down on the end of the varsity bench. Deliberate more than quick, Duwe has some polish. Check out these highlights from his time at Myers Park (and listen to the soundtrack over and over, that’s a great study beat!):