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UNC Basketball: Is Paxson Wojcik flying under the radar?

The Brown transfer could be poised for a big role.

NCAA Basketball: Brown at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

The Tar Heels recently played their not-so-secret scrimmage against a Final Four team from last year in Florida Atlantic. Reports from the event were that Carolina came away with a commanding victory and looked impressive in doing so. Hubert Davis said he was very encouraged by both the team’s play and the potential for growth. Elliot Cadeau and Jalen Washington were a couple guys unsurprisingly said to have solid games. There was a bit of a surprise, however, with the Heels’ starting five.

Naturally, RJ Davis and Armando Bacot, both of whom started last season, were in the lineup. A couple of high-profile players out of the portal also got the nod, in Cormac Ryan and Harrison Ingram. The last spot, however, was filled by someone who hasn’t been talked about as much: Paxson Wojcik.

It’s worth noting that this lineup is by no means official and could easily look different at some point. That said, it feels like a significant development for a guy in Wojcik who was seemingly facing an uphill battle to get big-time minutes. He isn’t guaranteed anything, but perhaps the level of competition he’s faced as well as his connection to UNC caused us to overlook the grad transfer.

Ever since he arrived on campus, the reports about Wojcik have been nothing but positive. In fact, along with the other aforementioned starters, he’s been practicing with the White team for quite some time now. Given his experience and leadership abilities, it’s not surprising how quickly Wojcik has earned the trust of his teammates and coaches.

Wojcik did a little bit of everything during his last season with Brown, averaging 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 46.1% from the field and 38.0% from three. He was the team’s most important player, as the offense often went through Wojcik. He was second in scoring and consistently put his teammates in positions to score.

One concern that some have had about Wojcik is whether he would be able to handle the physicality and athleticism in the ACC. Although he’s not particularly explosive, Wojcik’s size and playing style help compensate for that. Moreover, he’s never played alongside athletes like the ones on this Carolina team. Wojcik’s intelligence and commitment to making the right play could pay dividends for guys like Bacot and Davis.

Last year’s Tar Heels struggled to generate purposeful ball movement and knock down open shots. Wojcik has the potential to help shore up both of those areas. His ceiling might not be as high as some of the players on this team, but you need guys who aren’t going to hurt you. That’s not to say he won’t make mistakes, but Wojcik is as team-first as it gets. He doesn’t have to score a ton to make a sizable impact.

Again, plenty is subject to change as we near the start of the season and begin the march to March. As of now, though, Wojcik appears poised to be a legitimate piece in this rotation. It’ll be exciting to see how he can impact this Carolina team.