Week Four is in the books, and I think Tar Heel Nation collectively could use some couch time. We need some rest after two chaotic games!
Carolina secured two stellar wins at home and had to do so in two completely different ways. They bombarded Tennessee from the 3-point and free throw line. They sped up Florida State in a full court press. UNC has shown different faces which will be huge as the season rolls on. Let’s take a look at our portfolio after a great week of trading.
Elliot Cadeau: It’s all starting to come together.
Cadeau announced himself on a national stage with his 10 assist/zero turnover performance against Tennessee. After Hubert Davis’s first two seasons of pro-concept ball, UNC is starting to run again, and a lot of that execution is thanks to the freshman point guard. Cadeau is a tempo-setter and can not only spot a pass, but knows the right time to fire it.
Elliot Cadeau played a season-high 31 minutes last night and handed out 10 assists with no turnovers.— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) November 30, 2023
Not coincidentally, UNC had their biggest win of the season, holding off Tennessee.
Draftables 1.0 https://t.co/eIqBQxj53e pic.twitter.com/BPIkTfKJSY
Cadeau followed up that point-guard masterclass with another tempo-pushing display against Florida State. This time, he showed that he could move an offense that needed to make up a 14-point deficit, and help operate a full-court press that forced Florida State out of its efficient rhythm. He also showed toughness to rebound and initiate offense by himself:
Yes he is going all the way, Jim Boeheim. Elliot Cadeau not only gets to the rim, but also grabs the board & everything in-between. The press set it up. Makes FSU shaky. Too quick, ill advised, contested mid-range runner. @HeelIllustrated pic.twitter.com/sArv34AGO4— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) December 3, 2023
Cadeau’s defense is tough and willing, he just needs to smooth out the rough edges and cut the number of fouls. And if he can get his free-throw shooting percentage north of 80%, he’ll average 10+ ppg, because he’s shown he can get to the rack at will.
Armando Bacot: Bacot had a dip in form in the Bahamas, but he’s back with a bang thanks to some home cooking! Another two double-doubles are a welcome sight, but let’s have a look at his free throw shooting.
- 10/13 against Tennessee in a game won by 8 points.
- 5/5 against Florida State when Carolina couldn’t shoot from the field to save its life.
This is an area that’s so easy for any player to improve, but Armando has taken it to heart, and it’s reaping immediate dividends for the Tar Heels.
Bacot 5-5 from the line today— chris (@dadgumboxscores) December 2, 2023
Now 39-46 on the season from the foul line https://t.co/KopxLWxv2G
For whatever reason, Bacot does not command the respect of college basketball referees. He’s constantly hacked, pulled, and poked down low. He should be shooting a minimum 12 free throws per game.
Another development has been his rim protection. Florida State had size advantages all over the floor except center. Bacot protected his more diminutive teammates when they got taken to the basket, blocking four shots while carrying just two fouls, one a nonsense “push” and the other a charge when he lowered his shoulder. If Bacot can consistently challenge at the rim without fouling, UNC’s ceiling gets closer to the roof.
Jae’Lyn Withers: Starts against Arkansas and Tennessee netted the Louisville transfer just 28 minutes of game time (16’ against the Razorbacks, 12’ against the Volunteers). When Cormac Ryan was deemed fit to start again, his time dipped to just 6 minutes against FSU.
I have high hopes for Withers. He has good size with svelte strength and an almost snake-like slithering ability to get to the rim that reminds me of David Noel. But he is too absent-minded at times, giving up painful turnovers, like the one where he stopped chasing a loose ball when he saw RJ Davis nearby, only for a Seminole to scoop it from under his nose.
Also, Hubert Davis knows what it’s like to have 4 vs 5 on offense, and he’s not going back. Withers had zero points against Tennessee and just one against Florida State. He hasn’t been prolific in Chapel Hill yet (11 points against Northern Iowa in the Bahamas is his season high), but he needs to pump those numbers up.
Jalen Washington: Washington has shown some intriguing offensive potential this season—he remains 100% from three so far (3/3). But last week, he showed some defensive vulnerabilities that caused Coach Davis to recall him to the bench.
Against Tennessee, Washington gave up two drives to the rim on consecutive plays that resulted in four points for the Volunteers. Against Florida State, he got caught up in a switch catastrophe that led to an open three that he didn’t make an effort to close out, because honestly, there was no way he could close the distance. Splash.
Washington is too important to UNC’s offense—for resting Bacot, and growing the team for both this season and next—to let defense keep him off the floor. It’s imperative that he shore up this part of his game so his minutes climb into the double-digits where they belong.
Whose stock do you think improved against Tennessee and Florida State? Who is falling behind? Let us know in the comments!