Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lack of Leadership Evident With Young Tar Heels

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
When Harrison Barnes committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels (4-3), basketball guru's started to place them into the elite category.

The 'Heels were conceived to go along way with freshman sensation Barnes leading the way.

Barnes was pegged as an AP Preseason All-American, No. 1 overall player in the 2010 recruiting class, and the No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2011 NBA draft.

This is all before Barnes even touched the court in a college basketball jersey.

The 'Heels opened the season with a blowout win over Lipscomb, followed up by manhandling Hofstra, but was soon "upset" by the Minnesota Gophers.

Ensuing the loss to Minnesota, the 'Heels dropped another game against Vanderbilt.

North Carolina began to regain confidence with back-to-back wins over UNC-Asheville, and the College of Charleston.

However, tonight (11/30) the 'Heels picked up their third loss on the season against the No. 20 Illinois Fighting Illini (7-1).

It's a reoccurring theme for the 'Heels. Every since Ty Lawson left for the NBA, North Carolina has not filled his shoes. Larry Drew III has continued his poor decision-making turning the ball over on average three times in their losses.

He has also been absent in the scoring column. Right now, Drew isn't playing like he deserves to start for North Carolina.

Kendall Marshall has shown a lot of upside at the point guard position dishing out a team-high four assist per game. He turned the ball over four times against the Illini, and only one I can remember was actually where he played carelessly with the ball, other times was miscommunication.

Before the Illini game, Marshall possessed an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 3-to-1.

Tyler Zeller has blossomed into the most consistent player for North Carolina averaging 14.7 points, and 7.2 rebounds.

Barnes has yet to transition to the player he is capable of being. John Henson is a bright light for the 'Heels.

Henson is a very skilled post player with the ability to be something great. However, everybody knows the 'Heels have talent with a combined eight former McDonald's All-Americans resting on their roster.

After watching North Carolina drop their third game during their last five game stretch, it's clear that this young team could benefit from some leadership, and direction.

Barnes was conceived to be the leader for North Carolina, but hasn't stepped up to fill that role early in the season. Zeller has made strides, but teams realize how fragile North Carolina is in the paint and makes their bigs a non-factor.

The lack of leadership is tearing the 'Heels apart, slowly but surely. After a disappointing month of November, the 'Heels have yet to determine who will lead this young team.

Despite the heavy expectations, if Barnes is able to take charge of this team, North Carolina could reemerge as one of the more dangerous teams in the NCAA.

However, with hard work, dedication, and more experience, I expect this 'Heels team to find their leader and create a new identity once conference play begins.

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