It’s a lot easier to make stock projections for the entire team in the early season. While the Tar Heels feasted on cupcakes, Hubert Davis fought the internal urge to play his starters 59 minutes each and let the bench get some sunshine. The results were illuminating.
We’ll get a chance to see that depth again this week as Carolina embarks on Thanksgiving tournament basketball. The Battle 4 Atlantis (presented by Bad Boy Mowers) will be three games in three days, so even before the first two games are zipped up, Hubert Davis will likely sprinkle in some substitute minutes. It’s important that every player makes the most of their opportunity.
After the Bahamas trip, UNC plays a normal once-every-three-days schedule, followed by a long break before the CBS Sports Classic matchup with Kentucky. For some players, the Battle 4 Atlantis will be a battle for regular playing time.
Seth Trimble: If you were living on Mars during Trimble’s recruitment, you’d be forgiven for saying, “Boy, that kid attacks the rim just like JP Tokoto!” Well, you’re not wrong:
Runs in the family pic.twitter.com/nPAeGrIXCn— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) November 19, 2023
Tokoto’s brother—now a sophomore for UNC—was in danger of getting lost in the shuffle with RJ Davis expected to play heavy minutes, and star freshman Elliot Cadeau’s minutes going up in each game this season.
Trimble is a bigger guard than Davis or Cadeau. He’s hung his hat on stout defense, both the “keep you from driving the paint” kind and the “recover and swat your shot” variety. But he has had an almost deferential attitude on offense, preferring to keep the ball moving to Caleb Love, RJ, or Bacot last season.
Against UC Riverside, he hunted. His seven shots attempts were a career high, and he hit his second career 3-pointer, his first since the win over James Madison last season. Trimble will get minutes for his defense, but if he keeps showing this kind of appetite on offense, look for his court time (and presence!) to increase.
Jalen Washington: In my preseason “Breakout Candidates” article, I had Washington dialed up as my first choice. The sophomore big had another “moment” game, hitting his first two career 3-pointers, and it’s the kind of repeatable, well-taken shot that you can expect to see more of as the season continues.
Washington was uber-efficient, shooting 4-5 from the floor (2-2 from three). He grabbed five rebounds, three on the offensive boards! He was also tough defensively, blocking two shots and giving the interior post rim protection.
Bacot will hopefully average under 30 minutes per game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, so it will be a great opportunity for Washington to gobble up some minutes and maybe show Hubert Davis a different face to the offense with a five that can space the floor and open driving lanes for RJ and Cadeau.
Harrison Ingram: Ingram’s stock set at hold is not an indictment on his performance. I think he’s been rather splendid all season. It merely reflects the high initial price of his stock since his arrival from Stanford.
Make no mistake, Ingram was not a distressed asset. He was a star player that top schools were after when he entered the portal. He just happens to be performing at the high level we expected.
He’s also remarkably consistent, averaging 12 ppg with outputs of 12, 14, and 10. You don’t get mood swings with Ingram, you get what you ordered. Exactly. And that’s perfect for a number-three option for Carolina.
Adding to Ingram’s value is his ability to stuff the stat sheet. He’s rebounding well (6.7 rpg), assisting (1.7 apg, mostly from the power forward spot), and putting up good defensive stats (three blocks and a steal). How Ingram’s stock moves going forward will depend heavily on where he starts on the floor. Will Hubert Davis keep him as an undersized four, or will he become a bulkier swingman? That decision will determine a lot of Ingram’s value as Carolina inches closer to ACC play.
Cormac Ryan: A worrying trend. Ryan’s minutes per game have gone down in all three games so far this season (31, 25, 22), as well as his points (13, 6, 2), and shooting percentage (37.5%, 28.6%, 16.7%).
For UNC to achieve its highest goals, Cormac Ryan needs to be a performer. I personally think this is a blip and that he’ll figure things out in the near term. He’s too experienced, particularly having played ACC ball for three years. Buy the dip.
Who do you think is over- or under-performing expectations so far this season? Whose stock do you think is poised to move during the Battle 4 Atlantis? Let us know in the comments!