Preseason Hoops Outlook

With the start of college basketball practice less than two months away, <i>Inside Carolina</i> breaks down the roster, with player analysis of the 2004-05 Tar Heels from UNC head coach Roy Williams ...

North Carolina returns all five starters and all important reserves -- and adds three newcomers expected to contribute -- from a team that finished 19-11 last season, including a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The return of the key components -- and the presence of the winningest active coach by percentage in college basketball -- brings high expectations. The Tar Heels are projected as consensus preseason Top 10 in the polls.

"Everybody's expectations are so much higher just because everybody's back," Williams said. "It doesn't do any good if everybody's back unless they have improved. Hopefully they've adopted more completely an attitude of team first, that the defensive side is the most important side, an attitude of more completely being concerned with the bottom line of the game result, not individual results. Our kids made strides last year, but the improvement has to continue. Not just individual abilities, but a gradual and genuine improvement of the team coming first.

"The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back. The lack of success for a few years here makes young players look for more individual goals and individual achievement. Our players looked too much for those individual results. We are going to continue to emphasize."


Bio: 6-9, 218

2003-04 Stats: 12.6 pts, 5.4 reb

Roy Williams: "We need to work to put Jawad in position to be more successful on offense. He's not a true post-up player and last year his shot was not as successful as we would like, so we need to get him the ball in places where he can be more effective. Plus, he has to rebound the ball better for us to be a good team."


Bio: 6-2, 190

2003-04 Stats: 9.9 pts, 2.7 ast

Roy Williams: "Melvin shot well overall last year until the last 8-10 games. We need him to shoot well all year. We also want him to continue to do a better job with basketball, not turn it over and play better defense."


Bio: 6-5, 189

2003-04 Stats: 6.5 pts, 3.3 reb

Roy Williams: "Jackie has worked hard in the spring and summer to improve his shot. We changed his shot some and he accepted those changes and has worked on it pretty doggone hard. He had some technique issues, but he also was not as confident in games. We charted over 3000 free throws in practice last year and he shot 78 percent, as opposed to 48 percent in games. ... Jackie's the best defender on our team. He has really good instincts and a toughness about him that allows him to guard people for a long time. His length helps him, also."

C.J. HOOKER #356-2, 188 (0.4 pts, 0.7 reb)

Bio: 6-1, 198

2003-04 Stats: 11.5 pts, 7.1 ast

Roy Williams: "Nobody puts as much pressure on himself to play well as Raymond Felton. Raymond is work-ing hard to develop a more consistent outside shot. That's one part of his game he wants to improve. I also think his decision-making with the ball will be much more positive for us after a year in our style of play."


Bio: 6-4, 207

2003-04 Stats: 20.0 pts, 4.6 reb

Roy Williams: "I've said it several times – Rashad is the most analyzed player by the media and fans I have ever coached. I thought he matured a great deal last year and I know it is something he is working on to this day. He shoots the ball so well. We've asked him to work on taking the ball to the basket to become a more complete offensive player. If he puts the ball on the floor, then guys can't run out on him on his jump shot like they did last year and he can be even more effective. We want him to continue to do better job on defense, as well."


Bio: 6-9, 266

2003-04 Stats: 15.2 pts, 9.8 reb

Roy Williams: "Sean can do some really nice things around the basket. Conditioning is the biggest thing he needs to work on for this coming season. We don't want him to lose weight, just shift it around. Hopefully he will gain more strength and have better stamina. That will help him finish better inside. He has wonderful hands. It's hard to find anyone with better hands. His footwork will improve as we work on his balance."


Bio: 6-6, 224

2003-04 Stats: 5.4 pts, 4.9 reb

Roy Williams: "His hand injury was a much bigger issue than I thought it would be. He really struggled to catch the ball in traffic because his hand bothered him more than people knew ... David will once again be asked to guard bigger players. However, I think this year he better understands how to use his speed and quickness that will win out over his lack of size. We need him to bring toughness to our defense and rebounding."


Bio: 6-9, 230

2003-04 Stats: 0.5 pts, 1.0 reb

Roy Williams: "Byron can help us right now defensively and I think he'll better understand how he can help us on both ends of the court this year. He needs to screen, box out and defend and let his offense take care of itself."


Bio: 6-11, 267

2003-04 Stats: 0.0 pts, 1.0 reb

Roy Williams: "I am still concerned about our inside scoring. We need an inside threat to establish a proper mix from the outside. We need more of a low post presence. Somebody needs to help us score inside."


Bio: 6-8, 214

2003-04 Stats: 1.6 pts, 0.8 reb

Roy Williams: "I am hoping Reyshawn will be much more confident after a year of ACC basketball. He has nice tools, but he needs to relax. When he got into games, he often would commit a quick foul or turn the ball over. A lot of that is a result of not being confident. With more play and better play, that will lead to more play again and that should help his confidence."

JESSE HOLLEY #06-3, 190 (0.7 pts, 0.6 reb)

Bio: Williams - 6-9, 230 (Bremerton, Wash.) ... Miller - 5-11, 185 (Soph., JMU transfer), Thomas - 6-3, 175 (Oakland, Calif.)

Roy Williams: "It's hard right now to tell about our depth because you never know how young players will adjust to ACC basketball. However, on paper, it looks better having newcomers like Marvin Williams, Quentin Thomas and Wes Miller, provided everyone else can stay healthy. ... Quentin and Wes grew up playing the point guard position and that should help us. It allows Raymond to play a few minutes less, but play more effectively. ... Marvin gives us another player with size who is very gifted."

(Quotes courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications. Photos by Getty Images.)

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