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UNC Basketball MVP: Garrison Brooks

The junior big man stepped up in a big way for the Heels this season.

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It was certainly a season that no one wanted for UNC basketball, but it would have undoubtedly been worse without the contributions of junior big man Garrison Brooks. Brooks was able to thrive in a return to playing at the power forward position instead of trying to slot in as the team’s center.

With so many injuries befalling the team start to finish throughout the season, Brooks was asked to carry an abnormally large chunk of the load. In his third season as a Tar Heel, Brooks was able to step up to the plate and be that reliable force on the inside. He continued to improve as the season went on, even though he was forced into sporting goggles that he admitted made him shoot worse than he would have without them.

Down the stretch, Brooks played his most impressive basketball of the season. He scored 20 points or more in seven straight games before being held to 18 in the final game against Syracuse. Brooks more than doubled his point output from the season before, jumping from 7.9 points per game as a sophomore to 16.8 points per game as a junior. His minutes also saw a dramatic increase, some out of necessity, from 23 minutes per game to a hair under 35 minutes per game.

The best news is that Brooks should be able to continue being the consistent presence for the Heels next season. He’ll be getting help down low from Armando Bacot, who said he’ll be returning, as well as highly touted incoming freshman Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. For the kind of basketball that Roy Williams likes to have, this is pretty close to an ideal scenario. The big men will need to make up for some deficiencies at, for example, the wing position.

Several players played big roles for Carolina this season, but none were more important to the success that existed than Garrison Brooks. That’s why he is our MVP.