Strickland Headed to Chapel Hill

It used to be that high school basketball stars like Dexter Strickland could enjoy a summer with friends before heading off to college. However, those days are gone and incoming freshmen are now arriving as soon as possible.

Scheduled to report to Chapel Hill on Sunday, the 6-foot-3 guard from Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick actually arrived in the area on Thursday night as he prepares to begin his career as a Tar Heel.

"I'm actually going to see some family members down there before I go," said Strickland. "I'm going to be there by Sunday early in the morning.

"I can't wait. I'm real anxious to get in the gym and get into all of my new classes."

One of five new Tar Heels expected to arrive on campus this weekend, Strickland will actually be moving in with two fellow freshmen when he arrives on Sunday.

"I'm rooming with John Henson and Leslie McDonald," said Strickland. "We're real good friends, so I can't wait to be around them and make that adjustment together."

While he's excited to embark on his college career, Strickland is also admittedly a little nervous about making the move. He's traveled plenty in the past while playing summer ball, but he's never been away from home for as long he will once he hits campus.

"It's going to be different," Strickland said. "I've been on plenty of trips but the longest I've been away from home is like three weeks. I'm looking forward to just experiencing being away from home. It will be good for me."

"I'm a little nervous because I know it's going to be a big change. I think it's going to be a challenge and I like challenges. I think every freshman coming from high school is nervous. I'm nervous about class and basketball - it's normal I think."

According to Strickland, he'll likely choose between wearing No. 5 or No. 7 because the No. 1 that he prefers is already reserved for Marcus Ginyard's final season. But, in his own words, the number doesn't make the player so he's not overly concerned about it. To him, it's the big picture that matters most and he wants to make sure that he gets his college career started off on the right track.

"My No. 1 goal is to do well in my summer classes and stuff like that," said Strickland. "With basketball I plan to work out consistently and I'll be trying to gain weight and get muscle tone. I just want to keep elevating my game while I'm down there. I want to get the most out of what the trainers and coaches have to give me."

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