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UNC Basketball: New Year’s Resolutions

Hubert is optimistic and we should be too.

North Carolina v Kansas Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Tar Heel basketball team heads into 2024 with a 9-3 record. Not bad after a tough non-conference slate with six home games and six neutral site matchups, including five contests against teams currently ranked in KenPom’s top 27. The new year starts out with a dangerous 3-game road stretch that is sure to be stressful.

Let’s take a look at what player, coach, and fan New Year’s resolutions should be for 2024.

Armando Bacot

Armando’s resolution should be to work on his confidence. The fifth-year super senior has the experience, the post moves, and the rebounding ability. Sometimes it feels like he settles for a two-foot fadeaway rather than taking it hard to the rack. He’s the man. He just has to own it.

RJ Davis

Kind of hard to find a weakness in RJ’s game right now. He’s been on an absolute tear of late; smooth, reliable, and money. If there’s anything you could point to it’s his deniability at the rim. Because of his size he often gets his shot swatted when going inside among the trees. He could resolve to develop his creativity when laying the ball up to catch taller players off guard and avoid getting blocked.

Harrison Ingram

Ingram is an incredible get out of the transfer portal; an excellent stretch four. He may not quite have Brady Manek’s shooting prowess but he’s a better defender. And at 43% from three on the season thus far the offensive firepower is there. He may just want to resolve to be more consistent as it seems like his shot is fairly streaky. Not necessarily a bad thing, but he tends to stop shooting once he has missed multiple times. Keep the intensity but try to stay out of foul trouble. He currently is tied for the most fouls on the team.

Cormac Ryan

Another boost of energy out of the transfer portal, Ryan came in as a known sharpshooter. Unfortunately, he’s currently at a 29% clip from distance. Cormac’s resolution should be to work on his shot selection. We know he has the ability to sink the three, but like Ingram, improved consistency would make the Carolina offense that much more difficult to defend.

Elliot Cadeau

One thing I remember from my week at Carolina Basketball School is BEEF when shooting free throws. Bend your knees, Eyes, Elbows, Follow-through. Cadeau is 57% this season from the foul line. If you’re a guard and primary ball handler at the end of games, that has to get better. He’s been excellent when attacking the rim and finishing so I think more of that assertiveness is in order. Elliot is the other player tied with Ingram for the most fouls on the team so that’s an aspect of his game to work on.

Seth Trimble

Not much to complain about with this guy either. He has made a big jump from his freshman to sophomore year, accepting the torch from Lockdown Leaky and ratcheting up the defense while also showing some improved shooting ability. Feels like Seth’s aspiration should be to posterize someone every game. He obviously has the hops and aptness to assault the rim, but almost seems like sometimes he may take off too early? No doubt he’ll get one soon and it shall be glorious.

Jalen Washington

Maybe not completely unexpected, but another pleasant sophomore surprise, Washington balled out in the last game against Charleston Southern. It may just be an embarrassment of riches in the frontcourt with Bacot, Ingram, Withers, and High, but it feels like Jalen should be getting more minutes. Also feels like he is rarely on the court at the same time as Bacot, which could be a pernicious combo. He currently clocks only 8.5 minutes per game so his intention for the new year should be to break through that big man logjam. Could be as simple as being more aggressive. He’s got the footwork and the touch around the basket or from the outside.

Jae’Lyn Withers

Another solid find for Hubert in the transfer portal, Withers’ aim for 2024 should simply be to continue carving out his role on this team. He’s a high-energy, super athletic addition of depth to the roster. He only needs to not try to do too much, let the game come to him, and he and the team will find success.

Paxson Wojcik

Wojcik’s resolution should be to take care of the basketball. Don’t turn it over. Don’t take ill-advised shots. Keep up the effort but keep it in check.

Zayden High

The objective for High in the new year is similar to Wojcik’s. Don’t overthink it and slow down. Keep your composure. That was a weird exchange in the Charleston Southern game where he shoved the ball into the opponent’s chest after a basket while chirping a few choice words and ultimately earning a technical. Energy is great but not at the detriment of the team.

Hubert Davis

In 2024, Coach Davis should resolve to continue to use and develop his bench. In his first two seasons as coach, the bench was non-existent, relying on an Iron Five to carry a massive load of minutes every game. So far this season, Hubert seems to be much more comfortable letting his bench get some PT, and for the most part the level of play has not been a drastic drop-off. It’s not likely UNC will still be rolling 10-deep come March, but it’s definitely beneficial to have an offensive spark and a shutdown defender you can bring in as reinforcements.

Fans

Finally, for UNC basketball fans everywhere, our resolution should be to stay even keel. Don’t let any one game or even stretch of games get you too high or too low. Hubert is still learning as a coach. There is a lot to be optimistic about the present and the future. Next year we will hopefully see Elliot Cadeau joined by Ian Jackson and Drake Powell! But for now let’s revel in the final run for Tar Heel heroes Armando and RJ, remember Carolina legend Big Grits, and just enjoy the 2024 ride.

Happy New Year to all!