Sunday, December 30, 2007

Injuries testing UNC's depth

North Carolina’s once-seemingly endless depth was so depleted Sunday that small forward Marcus Ginyard also played backup point guard during a 90-58 defeat of Valparaiso.
The new backup shooting guard, William Graves, had played 32 minutes all season before Sunday. The Tar Heels’ depth crisis occurred because backup point guard and shooting guard Bobby Frasor tore a knee ligament Thursday and is out for the season.
Quentin Thomas, who was expected to back up point guard Ty Lawson with Frasor out, injured his left ankle Friday and couldn’t play Sunday night.
So the Tar Heels were counting on Ginyard playing out of position and Graves in a more prominent role.
“Right now I’m just trying to get Coach to put me in at (center), because that’s the only position I haven’t played,” Ginyard joked.
Just last season, North Carolina seemed so talented and deep that the biggest question reporters had for coach Roy Williams was how he would distribute playing time to keep everybody happy.
But Brandan Wright turned pro after his freshman season, and Reyshawn Terry and Wes Miller completed their eligibility. Williams lost top recruiting target Kevin Love to UCLA and didn’t bring in any freshmen.
After Frasor’s season-ending knee injury, North Carolina’s depth suddenly seems ordinary. Post players Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson have been shaky, and their free-throw shooting has been so poor that Williams is hesitant to keep them on the court late in tight games.
Despite all that, the Tar Heels have a roster just about every other coach in the nation would love to work with. The lack of depth is a bit of a concern, but the long TV timeouts during the NCAA tournament give players plenty of time to catch their breath.
That’s when this team will be judged, and lack of depth won’t be as much of a problem then. KEN TYSIAC


Anonymous said...

First, let me preface this by saying that I am not a Tarheel fan, but I think you are way off base. UNC still goes 8 deep even without Frasor. There is no other team in the country that even approaches that. I mean, who has a player like Danny Green coming off the bench? He could start for any other program in the country. With regard to your comments about Thompson and Stevenson - how many teams are "comfortable" with their bigs shooting free throws at the end of games. Also, when have the Heels had a close enough game to test whether Roy Williams wants them out there or not? You are way, way off base. Their 27-2 run against a quality Valpo team plus their 6 wins on the road definitely showed me something.