Friday, December 28, 2012
No lineup changes (except center) for UNC
By Robbi Pickeral
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams still hasn’t settled on a starting center, as three different players have started the past three games.
But it sounds as if he’s feeling pretty sure of the other starting positions. Asked Friday, in anticipation of Saturday’s game against No. 20 UNLV, if he had thought about making any lineup changes, Williams said no.
“The other four guys haven’t done anything to play their way out, and nobody else has done anything to play their way in,’’ said Williams, whose team dropped out of the polls after losing to Texas.
“P.J. [Hairston] has really done some good things off the bench, but who do you take out? Do you take out Reggie [Bullock]? I think Reggie has done some really good things. And I don’t want to go completely, five small guys out there. But the other four guys haven’t played their way out, and no one has outplayed them at the level that would make you want to make that kind of change.”
Hairston, a sophomore, has averaged 12.2 points (third-best on the team) and 4.5 rebounds off the bench for UNC, and is often on the court when the Tar Heels go to a smaller, four-guard lineup.
At center, meanwhile, the revolving door continues among freshmen Brice Johnson and Joel James, and sophomore Desmond Hubert. Williams actually surprised Hubert (and maybe himself) when he started the defensive-minded player against McNeese State last Saturday; he said he made the choice at the last minute, when he was writing the lineup on a board in the locker room during pregame.
“I started thinking about who I was going to put down, and Desmond was the first to come to mind so I wrote Desmond down,’’ Williams said. “Because none of those guys, again, have established that it’s their spot.”