Roy Williams Previews 2009-10 Tar Heels

With the 2009-10 North Carolina basketball season set to begin on Friday, read head coach Roy Williams' preseason analysis of each scholarship player on the roster.

SENIORS
MARCUS GINYARD #1

Bio: 6-5, 210

2008-09 Stats: 1.3 pts, 2.7 reb (6.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg in 2007-08)

Roy Williams: "Marcus's health is better than it's been in the last year and a half. He's got his explosiveness back and he's more confident than he's been in a long time. ... "He has enough savvy to handle (playing multiple positions, including point guard). I think it's a great asset to have someone with Marcus's kind of versatility ... I do believe Marcus will be the main leader, but he has more help ... I think we are going to ask Marcus to be a great leader, but it is not going to be all-consuming like it was at times for David Noel."

DEON THOMPSON #21

Bio: 6-9, 245

2008-09 Stats: 10.6 pts, 5.7 reb

Roy Williams: "Deon is much more prepared to handle a leadership role. It will be good for him. Sometimes in the past he has gotten too tough on himself. But now he can't allow himself just to focus on what he's doing. He can't allow the tough moments to dominate him because he has to be more of a leader. That will help him a great deal."

JUNIORS
WILL GRAVES #13

Bio: 6-6, 240

2008-09 Stats: 4.0 pts, 2.6 reb

Roy Williams: "Will is an extremely important part of our team because he is the best perimeter shooter. He is a tremendous threat to shoot the ball from really deep and that can open up the court for the rest of his teammates. With his size and strength and power, he can also be a big-time offensive rebounder. Over the years he has learned to slide his feet and I think he can be a really good defensive player as well."

SOPHOMORES
ED DAVIS #32

Bio: 6-10, 225

2008-09 Stats: 6.7 pts, 6.6 reb

Roy Williams: "Ed has tremendous ability to rebound the ball in a crowd. The ball seems to find his hands. He is an exceptional shot blocker, which really helps erase some of his teammates' defensive mistakes ... Ed wants to be a complete player. He doesn't want to be thought of as just a banger and a bruiser, a rebounder and a shot blocker. He knows he has some offensive skills he really wants to improve on and that is what he focused on in the offseason."

LARRY DREW #11

Bio: 6-2, 180

2008-09 Stats: 1.4 pts, 1.9 ast

Roy Williams: "Larry understands the focus on him. He will enjoy that part of it, of being extremely important to our team. I think with all the work he has done this summer he will benefit from that challenge. ... Larry's play in the ACC Tournament and in particular the first round of the NCAA Tournament gave him some confidence, and it should have. Those minutes were important and he should use them as a springboard to begin this season."

JUSTIN WATTS #24

Bio: 6-4, 210

2008-09 Stats: 0.7 pts, 0.7 reb

Roy Williams: "Justin really improved defensively. His biggest challenge is to take care of the basketball. Athletically he gives you a chance because his explosiveness allows him to do things defensively and allows him to get the ball off the backboard. If he gets more fundamentally sound passing the ball and knocks in some shots, he's going to be able to help us a lot."

TYLER ZELLER #44

Bio: 7-0, 240

2008-09 Stats: 3.1 pts, 2.0 reb

Roy Williams: "It's mind-boggling the level of comfort and amount of knowledge Tyler gained by playing in those last 13 games. He will be a completely different player early in the season than we would have seen had he not played. He knows how physical the game is, plus the speed, the power and strength you need to be successful. He learned you can't lose your concentration, you have to play every possession - things he would not have known if he hadn't played in those games."

FRESHMEN
JOHN HENSON #31

Bio: 6-10, 195

Roy Williams: "John will begin the season on the perimeter as a three and I think he will stay there all season. He has tremendously long arms and will probably block more shots than any perimeter player in college basketball. With Ed (Davis) and Deon (Thompson), we may block more shots than any team I've ever coached. John has the ability with his length to hurt you inside and also step out and put the ball on the floor or shoot it."

LESLIE MCDONALD #15

Bio: 6-4, 215

Roy Williams: "Leslie is sound fundamentally and a very good shooter. We hope and think he can develop into a great shooter. He has a wonderful mid-range game where he can drive into that 12 to 16 foot range and score. He's very good defensively. We'll ask him to handle the ball some at the point and I think he will be able to handle that. He's just a really good all-around basketball player."

DEXTER STRICKLAND #5

Bio: 6-3, 180

Roy Williams: "He's a tremendous athlete with speed and quickness. Dexter has played some point guard and we are going to ask him to play more point guard. Defensively, it's been a long time since we've had a guy like him. He's such a threat with his speed and quickness. He will be able to push the ball and run with the guys when they have the ball at a pace that is hard for people to match."

DAVID & TRAVIS WEAR #34/43

Bio: 6-10, 225/235

Roy Williams: "David and Travis are fundamentally sound basketball players with size who both have tremendous attitudes and work ethics. They handle the ball well and can score inside and outside. I am impressed that their school won two state titles in what we know is a very competitive high school system. They will be able to do a lot of things that will help our team win games, too."

(Photos by Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina. Quotes provided by UNC Athletic Communications)


Inside Carolina Top Stories