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UNC Basketball Summer Preview: Paxson Wojcik

Can the Brown transfer carve out a significant role?

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

The past week or so has brought with it even more roster turnover as Elliot Cadeau announced his decision to reclassify and join the Heels for this upcoming season on May 30th. Shortly thereafter, Simeon Wilcher requested release from his national letter of intent with plans to play for another team. With that, Carolina still has three scholarships open, but the window for filling them is closing quickly. Given the increasingly unpredictable offseason, we continue our player previews with another experienced guy we know will be around: Paxson Wojcik.

Past Previews links:

Armando Bacot

Cormac Ryan

When Wojcik committed to Carolina, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the roster that figured to be cleared up in due time. Many moves have been made since that time, but the picture still isn’t completely clear. One thing is for sure, though: The departures of D’Marco Dunn and Wilcher and the arrival of Cadeau all seemingly benefit a player like Wojcik.

Similar to the last two players we’ve previewed (Bacot and Ryan), this will be Wojcik’s fifth year playing college basketball. He spent two seasons with Loyola Chicago and another two with Brown. Last year with the Bears, he averaged 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 46.1% from the field, 38.0% from three, and 68.9% from the free throw line. He’s shot 36.4% from three for his career.

I doubt Wojcik was expecting a significant role even when he became the first player out of the transfer portal to commit, but the presence of Cadeau does make things interesting. The difference between Wojcik being a Blue Team member and having a legitimate place in the lineup likely hinges on his shooting prowess. Having a dynamic play-maker such as Cadeau could simplify things for guys like Wojcik.

In theory, a trio of Cadeau, Bacot, and RJ Davis should create enough disruption offensively that it will essentially come down to surrounding them with shot-makers. Wojcik is a guy who can bring that. His lack of athleticism could be a concern for ACC competition, but he compensates with his intelligence and communication on the floor. At this stage in his career, he certainly understands spacing and movement well enough so it’ll be about his ability to knock down open, set threes.

In his last season with Brown, Wojcik had the ball in his hands a great deal. He finished top five in the Ivy League in scoring, rebounding, assists, and assists-to-turnover ratio. Clearly, the dude knows how to make things happen offensively, whether it be for himself or for his teammates. The transition to playing off the ball more could be difficult, but Wojcik is an experienced player and he is in Chapel Hill to win above everything else.

Defensively, Wojcik could have issues going against high major competition. With the presumed lack of size in the backcourt, he could be asked to guard players who are taller and more explosive. Still, Wojcik is a tough kid and not at all the type of guy to take plays off. He can bring value with his intensity and commitment.

Wojcik has been given high praise for his leadership. The command he has, both on and off the court, and the trust from his teammates are big reasons for his success. Wojcik understands the situation he’s stepping into with this Carolina team. The significance of his role remains to be seen but at the very least, he will be a respected voice in the locker room who’s not afraid to hold guys accountable. Regardless of on-court production, the Tar Heels can certainly benefit from having a player like that.