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Defense, leadership, heart?
HeelPrints readers weigh in on Heels

North Carolina fans aren’t used to what they are seeing this year with the struggling Tar Heels basketball team. (2/3)

While few envisioned another national championship, there were hopes of the Heels competing for the ACC title. After all, they had two starter quality players back, one of whom, Ed Davis, many thought could go pro early, and another, Deon Thompson, that had lots of experience as a senior. Plus, some thought the freshmen class would add a lot, especially John Henson, who some thought might be a one and done. And then there’s fifth-year senior Marcus Ginyard who was considered the best defender and an adequate offensive threat with great leadership skills.

Well, it hasn’t exactly turned out as planned as the Heels have faltered on the road to teams like Charleston and at home to teams like Virginia. Readers of HeelPrints are weighing in.

“It’s time to sit Ginyard,” said Greg of Holly Springs, NC. “He is not providing anything positive to the team. Thompson and Davis have been soft and inconsistent. Henson and Wear twins have been a bust versus reputation.” Greg said he liked the three-guard lineup with Drew, Strickland and Graves because they scored better in an uptempo style versus the half-court sets. He lamented the loss of Zeller whom the Heels need back as soon as possible. “It’s time to change things up and go with the players who are going to give the energy and play hard versus favoring seniority,” he said in mentioning McDonald and Watts.

Linda of High Point, NC says that she has been disappointed in the on-court leadership of Ginyard and Thompson. In addition there is a lack of intensity, speed and focus, plus there is a need for a smarter, quicker point guard. “Beyond that, I wonder if perhaps the biggest issue of all is that maybe there are too many stars in this last recruiting class, many trying to make a good show for themselves, and too few looking out for the team,” she said.

Linda says that Drew II is arrogant, something she has rarely seen from a Carolina player over the years. “He is good at times, but I just don't think he understands what it means to wear that uniform and play for one of the best college programs in the country. Maybe he has his eye on the NBA, and maybe his NBA Dad has given him the impression he is better than he is,” she said.

She says the Heels just aren’t playing together as a team with some members of the team caring more about themselves than the team. “Maybe the sophomores were spoiled partaking in the spoils of a group of upperclassmen who worked hard to end their careers on a National Championship, but it is unacceptable to hear game after game that the focus and intensity were not there.  That's a rudimentary requirement of a Tar Heel.”

Clay of Charlotte says that strong defense leads to a strong offense and that showed in the victory over NC State. “I was impressed with their defensive effort in the 2nd half of that game,” he said. “It created the momentum for them to win.” He says if they get back to defense, which is another mainstay of Tar Heel teams in the past, they could work their way out of this.

David of Raleigh agrees. “If they play some defense, they can win but that’s a big ‘if.’”

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