New Year’s Resolutions for UNC Basketball – Daniel Bayer 252 ESPN Radio
I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Why should I plan to start something new or make a drastic change in my life when I know that I am going to just end up not doing it a month from now? I certainly respect those people who can stick to their resolutions, but I just can’t ever do it. If someone asks me if I have any resolutions for the new year I always tell them the same thing, “I plan to only drink craft beers, none from the big beer companies (Bud, Miller, Coors).” I have been able to keep this resolution for the last few years, and yes, I am a beer snob. I do hope to read more, eat healthier, and be more active this year.
In an effort to add to the countless other New Year’s Resolution articles that have been written this week, I have offered up some resolutions for the UNC Basketball team as they begin the ACC season:
•Play better defensively. I know that this has been written by numerous other writers, but it cannot be said enough that defense (and Kansas) are the only things standing in the way of UNC and another National Championship. This team needs to defend better against the 3 (way too many open looks because of the guards not being able to stop dribble penetration) and learn how to defend the pick and roll. Here is a great article on this very issue: http://keepingitheel.com/2015/12/14/unc-basketball-full-breakdown-of-uncs-pick-and-roll-defense/
•Get Kennedy Meeks healthy. I am fully supportive of the team not rushing Kennedy back, especially with how well that Isaiah Hicks and Brice Johnson have played in his absence, but he adds much needed post depth and makes the team a championship contender with his size on the inside.
•Make sure Brice Johnson keeps eating his Wheaties (Note: as I write this, Brice has 39 points and 23 rebounds vs. FSU). Speaking of Brice, he really has been a lot more consistent, and at times dominant, this year. Since Kennedy Meeks has been out with his knee injury, Brice has averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds (9 double-doubles on the season), while shooting over 60 percent from the field (shooting 81% from the free-throw line).
•Find another year of eligibility for Marcus Paige. I know that this is not possible, but one can dream. It is so much fun to watch this guy play and he is such a great ambassador for the university, he will certainly be missed in many ways next year.
•Wear the black uniforms a few more times this season. Not only did UNC play well in these uniforms, but they looked good while doing it.
•Have Sean May talk to Joel James before every game. Here is what I am talking about: http://www.scout.com/college/north-carolina/story/1629042-sean-may-talk-fuels-james. While you are at it Sean, can you lend Joel James your hands for a few games?
•Play better on the road (Note: as I write this, UNC put up 106 points at FSU). UNC’s only two losses of the season came in their only true road games. So, as the ACC conference season gets started, UNC will need to play better on the road (especially against inferior opponents). They have a tough game in the Carrier Dome on Saturday vs. Syracuse, especially with it being the first game back for Jim Boeheim.
•Find a job for Rasheed Wallace with the team. One of my favorite UNC players of all time. I would love to see Sheed on the sideline with the Tar Heels yelling “Ball don’t lie” after opposing teams missed free-throws. I mention this because recently he was sitting court-side at one of the games and was heard calling out screens and giving advice to the UNC players.
•Play for a full 40 minutes and close out games when they have the lead. This was a major goal for the team going in to the season. In their two losses vs. N. Iowa and Texas earlier in the season, the Heels had leads in the 2nd half in both of these games and could not close them out. The team is shooting free throws better this year, which was a major achilles heal the last few years, but they need to learn to put teams away when they have the lead. This team has so much depth and talent, if they play well for a full 40 minutes and not decide to just flip on the switch whenever they get in trouble, this team will be very hard to beat come March.