Summer Musings from Roy Williams

LAS VEGAS --- Despite being allowed 10 practices in preparation for his team's trip to the Bahamas in mid-August, North Carolina's Roy Williams will only use half.

Williams said he plans to use five – the same number he utilized back in 2005 with a group led by freshman Tyler Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor and Marcus Ginyard.

Part of the reason Williams had to cram the five practices and the trip within a week is because he has two weddings to attend (both are relatives of current players).

The other part is because he wants his players to enjoy the end of the summer.

"They don't have much time to be home," Williams said as he observed high school tournaments in Las Vegas.

The benefit of this trip, as opposed to many teams' overseas trips in the past held prior to Labor Day, is that freshmen are able to participate.

That means Williams will get his first look at top-ranked Harrison Barnes in game action while wearing a Tar Heels uniform.

"It's unfair that people are talking about him as a savior," Williams said. "But he has come right in and already earned the respect of the veterans with his work ethic and focus."

Williams said that Barnes has more of an aura to his arrival in Chapel Hill than any freshman he's brought in since he has taken over at North Carolina. Hansbrough was a big-time player, but he wasn't ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Williams already sees similarities between the two, though.

"Tyler is the most driven player I've ever coached," Williams said. "I think Harrison will be number two. He has tremendous focus, self-discipline and is so driven."

* Williams also said that Will Graves, who played between 242 and 247 pounds a year ago, is down to 236 and that should bode well for him not being quite so reliant on the 3-point shot. Graves will play on the trip to Nassau after having ankle surgery the first week of June.

* John Henson arrived in Chapel Hill at 183 pounds, played last season at 188 and is now up to 208. "He's putting on weight because he's still maturing, he's done a good job in the weight room and he's eating so much better," Williams said.

* Williams also said that it was a difficult transition for both Henson and fellow frosh Dexter Strickland, who were learning new positions in their first year in college basketball. Henson had to play some small forward just to get on the court while he's more of a power forward and Strickland was learning to play point guard in a reserve role behind Larry Drew.

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