It is no secret that inconsistent point guard play has hurt the North Carolina Tar Heels over the past season and a half. In the 2010 class UNC brought in Kendall Marshall which should help cure that, and now they have followed that up with another quality floor general in Paige in the 2012 class.
Paige is a perfect fit because he complements Marshall very well. Marshall has been, and always will be a true pass first guy who does everything he can to get others buckets while not hunting shots himself. That can be a great thing as obviously you want your point guard to be a facilitator, but at times also it can be tough in late clock situations when you need your primary ball handler to make a play.
While Paige isn't quite the slick passer that Marshall is, and isn't as big physically, he does have a far more advanced offensive game in terms of getting to the rim and scoring or knocking in jumpers. Paige, while still being a true point guard, can also get a bucket on his own if it is needed. Whether that means he gets to the rim and finishes with his athleticism and savvy or it means hitting jumpers, Paige is more than capable of doing it.
In that respect while Paige and Marshall are both similar in that they are point guards who at their core simply want to run a team, but it also means they are different enough that they can be on the floor together at times when North Carolina will needed added ball handling. Also Marshall could guard the shooting guard position while Paige could take the point guard, so defensively it would be no issue.
During the 2009-10 season the Tar Heels seemingly were playing without a reliable point guard on the floor. Starting in the 2012-13 season, it looks like right now that they could have two floor generals they can trust on the court at the same time.
The impact that this decision has on Carolina is clear, the Tar Heels are getting an excellent floor general that will help them, but also it is far more reaching than just that. Schools such as Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, and others were all after Paige.
Typically kids from the Midwest are the toughest to get to leave their region, but Carolina was able to do that with Paige, and now all of the schools in that part of the country are being left to scramble.
It is a weak year for point guards in 2012, and with Paige off the board that now means four of the top six floor generals have already committed. Only Houston Hoops teammates L.J. Rose and J-Mychal Reese are available from that top six. Also ranked prospects Braxton Ogbueze, Nino Jackson, Kareem Canty, Mike Gesell, and James Robinson are uncommitted.
With so many teams in need of quality point guard play, the fact that so few ranked players at the position are available means that the recruitments of those kids are going to get even more heated, especially for the teams that were after Paige.
Many coaches will say that the point guard position is the most important one on the basketball court. North Carolina was able to land their guy, and someone who could be a McDonald's All-American, and now the other schools are hoping to get what they can, as the list of available floor generals keeps getting thinner and thinner.