Friday, June 20, 2008

High expectations could be burden for Heels

ESPN analyst Digger Phelps’ words immediately came to mind earlier this week when I heard while on vacation that North Carolina underclassmen Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green were withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to school.

On April 25, when I told Phelps that Lawson and Ellington were “testing the waters” of the NBA draft, the former Notre Dame coach replied quickly and decisively. “They’ll be back,” Phelps said.

While working out for NBA teams, Lawson, Ellington and Green all came to realize what Phelps knew from the start. The 2009 draft isn’t expected to be as strong as this year’s draft, so all three probably will benefit financially from another year of college that should help them get picked higher a year from now.

What does this all mean for the Tar Heels?

For starters, it’s a credit to the players and the program that it appears they are in good enough academic standing to have a chance to return for another year. Many times college players who have their hearts set on leaving for the NBA have difficulty making it to their spring semester classes, but that’s apparently not the case with the Tar Heel players.

On the court, it means North Carolina will be an overwhelming favorite to win the NCAA title. The Tar Heels will have an astounding eight McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster, with senior center Tyler Hansbrough almost certain to break the ACC scoring record while he pursues national player of the year honors for a second straight season.

This is a good thing, of course, for the Tar Heels and their fans.Coach Roy Williams has said often over the past few years that he prefers talented players with experience. He will have that in 2008-09.

The only problem is that the Tar Heels will face incredible pressure to win the NCAA title because the expectations will be so high. Despite two straight ACC championship seasons, a segment of fans remains frustrated with the Tar Heels’ meltdowns against Georgetown in the 2007 East Regional final and against Kansas in the 2008 national semifinals.

Nothing less than an NCAA title will satisfy some of those fans. Every slight misstep or flaw on the team next season will be analyzed to death. That will be a heavy burden for Hansbrough and his teammates during November, December, January and February as they labor knowing that what happens in March and April is the only thing that matters.

– Ken Tysiac

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

..."Every slight misstep or flaw on the team next season will be analyzed to death"...
Don't just point to the fans for over-analyzing and over-reacting. Looks like you're the one getting it started. Anyway, doesn't the media play a major part in shaping fan's opinions to begin with?

Tres said...

what a wonderful problem to have. Go Heels!!

Anonymous said...

All the tarheels have to do is foul foul and foul some more for the championship. It should be a given that the tarheels will score score and score some more and now with the defensive presence of Frasier, Drew and the other two freshmen, plus the athleticism of Ellington,Lawson and Hansborough stealing the ball, plus Green and Ginyard getting thiers, I see a defense that will stack up as one of the best in History. Good lord has there ever been such a fast explosive and hungrier team in college basketball?

terrybyers said...

All the tarheels have to do is foul foul and foul some more for the championship. It should be a given that the tarheels will score score and score some more and now with the defensive presence of Frasier, Drew and the other two freshmen, plus the athleticism of Ellington,Lawson and Hansborough stealing the ball, plus Green and Ginyard getting thiers, I see a defense that will stack up as one of the best in History. Good lord has there ever been such a fast explosive and hungrier team in college basketball?

TrustInRoy said...

UNC is expected to compete and/or win the title every year. Why should the pressure be any bigger this year?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the with the highe expectations. I just hope Roy Williams is over Kansas, especially since most of those guys graduated. I still can't get over him sitting on the side lines shaking his head like he did in the Gerogetown game and again in the Kansas game. He neeeds to know he is on camera. "Come on Roy" call time out next time.