Zeller Leads UNC in 'Secret' Scrimmage

The debut of freshman Harrison Barnes was actually overshadowed.

Tyler Zeller, according to an observer in attendance, was actually the best player on the floor for UNC's 89-49 rout over UNC Greensboro in Sunday's "secret scrimmage."

This exhibition game is a closed-door event per NCAA rules, so no one other than the team and staff is allowed in the gym, it does not appear on the team's schedule, and the school can't publicize details from the game.

There's a reason why Zeller is on FoxSports.com preseason lists instead of his frontcourt mate, sophomore John Henson. Zeller is more skilled, can score in the post and also runs the court just as well as Henson.

"He runs the floor on every possession," the person said. "He works so hard for position. He was the MVP of the scrimmage and looked like a lottery pick."

While Zeller was the most dominant player on the floor - and this wasn't again elite opposition - Barnes's abilities were still impressive.

"He's ridiculous," the observer said, though Barnes didn't have a huge statistical outing. "He's one of the most polished freshmen I've ever seen."

And the person said it's not like Barnes forces a lot of shots, either.

The word was that Larry Drew has improved, played under control and shot the ball well – making three or four 3's in one 10-minute stretch. Dexter Strickland will spend nearly all of his time playing shooting guard with the addition of freshman Kendall Marshall (who saw significant minutes at the point, posting eight points, seven assists and three steals).

Strickland can be a lock-down defender and was far more comfortable not having to make decisions with the ball in his hands.

"He's a ridiculous athlete. He can be pretty special with the way he pressures the ball."

* Henson was just OK. He bothered UNC-Greensboro with his length and showed an improved jump hook with both hands, but wasn't dominant like Zeller.

* Freshman Reggie Bullock shot it well early, but then struggled a bit from the field.

* Justin Knox was solid, but still has a ways to go in terms of learning the system.

* Justin Watts played power forward. He rebounded, defended and did the little things that could make him a poor man's David Noel.

* UNC-Greensboro was overwhelmed talent-wise by UNC, but there were a few bright spots: Junior college big men Aloysius Henry and Aaron Brackett – as well as 6-foot-7 wing David Williams – all competed and showed flashes.

* The Tar Heels have a public exhibition scheduled for Friday at the Smith Center against Barton College.

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