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** Wednesday was the first day of the fall signing period for college basketball and UNC inked a pair of top-20 prospects in the 2011 class.
P.J. Hairston (18th overall, No. 6 SG) averaged 25.4 points and 8.1 rebounds at Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley as junior and currently plays at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder committed to the Tar Heels in Aug. '09.
"He has an ability to shoot that basketball," Williams said. "He can really shoot it. He's always been a good defender as well. I don't think I've ever seen him play a game where he didn't take at least one charge. And now he's gotten even a little bit better at putting the ball on the floor and taking it to the basket and rebounding…
"He has a good feel for the game. I talked to him last night and in [Hargrave's] second game, he had 30 points and took three charges. So I like that part of it, but you do have to talk about his ability to shoot the ball before anything else."
James McAdoo (4th overall, No. 1 PF) was tabbed the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 22.5 points and 9.9 rebounds in leading Norfolk Christian to the state championship last season. The 6-foot-8, 215-pounder committed to UNC in Sept. '09.
"[He's] very athletic and has an ability to score," Williams said. "He can put the ball in the basket, can block shots, can run… He can come out of nowhere and make some big-time blocks."
McAdoo's versatility will provide the coaching staff with options when determining how to play Tar Heel great Bob McAdoo's second cousin.
"He's Marvin Williams-ish," Williams said. "You don't compare people, but Marvin we didn't stick in the post. We let him do other things and that's probably what we'll do with James, too."
** On Nov. 1, Harrison Barnes earned distinction as the first freshman to be named to the AP's Preseason All-America team since its inception prior to the 1986-87 season. Four days later, Barnes struggled in his first official exhibition game as a Tar Heel, scoring seven points on just 2-9 shooting and recording six turnovers against Barton.
"I think it bothered him," Williams replied when asked how the performance affected Barnes. "I asked him if he was a little nervous because he appeared that way to me or if it was just a bad night, and I think his reaction was more that it was a bad night kind of thing. He's worked hard in practice and had one of his best practices yesterday. I think he'll play well."
** The starting lineup from last Friday's exhibition – John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Larry Drew, Dexter Strickland and Barnes – will "more than likely" stay intact for Friday's season opener against Lipscomb, according to Williams. The slight hesitancy stems from the fact that the second unit beat the starters in a couple of competitions in Wednesday's practice, prompting Williams to tell his roster that maybe he needed to switch the white and blue teams.
** Junior point guard Larry Drew pointed to fellow classmate Justin Watts as being the Tar Heel that has changed the most since last season.
"I think he's been doing a tremendous job so far, in terms of effort and in doing the little things that help make the team better," Drew said. "Last year I don't think we had anybody that did the little things as well as Justin is doing them know. We'll definitely see another side of Justin that we haven't seen yet."
When asked to define the "little things," Drew provided the following response: "He talks on the court, especially on the defensive end. He's orchestrating guys, letting guys know what's going on on the court. If somebody has their head turned and they can't see what's going on, he'll [say], ‘screen right', ‘screen left', ‘back pick,' ‘watch the corner,' ‘guy cutting.' Just little things like that that really help to make the team better."
** The 2009-10 edition of the Tar Heels was eventually labeled as a group that said the right things in the locker room and to the media, but ultimately failed to put those words into action on the court.
Through the first four weeks of practice this season, that trend appears to have remained in the past.
"In general, especially when we're out there on the court, guys get the job done," Drew said. "They put more effort into getting the job done and doing what Coach asks of us, as opposed to last year when we were lethargic or lazy for whatever reason. Guys just weren't on the same page, but I think guys are picking it up this year."