Now that we’ve wrapped up the freshman class, we turn our attention to a two-man sophomore class with loads of breakout potential. The most obvious candidate to make that jump is Dontrez Styles, who made some huge plays for the Heels in the NCAA tournament, including a corner three-pointer at the beginning of overtime against Baylor that gave Carolina the lead for good. We’ll get to Trez, but first I want to talk about someone I believe could really surprise people this year: D’Marco Dunn.
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Dunn only played in 23 of a possible 39 games last season. He was used sparingly off the bench, averaging just 4.1 minutes and 1.0 points per game. However, when he was able to play extended stretches (albeit in garbage time), Dunn flashed his scoring ability. At Miami, he had a couple tough drives to the basket he managed to finish at the rim. On the road against Boston College, he made a pair of contested jumpers, one a catch-and-shoot three, the other a difficult off-the-dribble two-pointer.
Coming out of high school, Dunn was a four-star recruit and ranked 68th in his class according to 247sports composite rankings. At 6’4, 185 pounds, he has great size for a guard at the college level. He’s an above average athlete with exceptional quickness and a knack for shooting. Dunn’s talent level had nothing to do with the limited minutes. Rather, playing behind a stable of skilled and experienced guards made it tough to break into the lineup.
Finding playing time behind Caleb Love and R.J. Davis is hard enough, but Dunn also had to battle with the likes of Anthony Harris and Kerwin Walton. With the latter two having transferred out of the program, the path to a more prominent role all of a sudden looks very manageable. Since Love and Davis will both be back alongside Leaky Black, Dunn will have a tough time cracking the starting lineup. However, the only other true “guard” on the roster will be freshman Seth Trimble.
Hubert Davis has publicly expressed his desire for a bigger rotation moving forward. For Dunn, it’s important to make the most of his early season opportunities before the rotation gets shortened. Given the overall experience on the team, Coach Davis should be able to get creative with his lineups in November and December, which bodes well for Dunn.
Dunn’s shooting prowess will ultimately determine how much he sees the floor. Not only is it an area of emphasis for Coach Davis, but there also aren’t really any proven shooters on the Carolina bench (assuming Pete Nance starts). With his quick trigger release and ability to find the open spots, Dunn could separate himself as a scoring spark off the bench.