CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina freshman forward Tyler Zeller, who has missed about 13 weeks with a fractured left wrist, will likely play against N.C. State on Wednesday night.
Coach Roy Williams said the 7-footer had made the decision Monday to return, rather than take a redshirt season, “and I told him that was the decision we would go with unless he went home and slept on it and came back today and changed his mind.”
A team spokesman said later that Zeller later arrived at the Smith Center, he had not changed his mind.
Zeller scored 20 points in two games before his injury, and will add much-needed depth to a bench that could use it, considering senior Marcus Ginyard is out for the season with a foot injury and wing Will Graves is suspended.
Williams said he left the decision totally up to Zeller.
“Tyler’s mom and day and I were on a conference call from my office on Saturday,’’ Williams said. “I told them in was clearly Tyler Zeller’s decision; mom and dad told me they were very comfortable with me and Tyler Zeller making the decision. And I expressed to them again that I was not part of the decision; I told them that if it was 15 years ago I wouldn’t’ even a young man consider giving up a year for five regular-season games and whatever postseason games we might have. But he would really like to help this team; he would really like to play.”
-- Robbi Pickeral