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Saturday, November 5, 2011
Breaking down the '4' spot

By Robbi Pickeral

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- As top-ranked North Carolina edges closer toward its season opener against Michigan State in the Carrier Classic on Nov. 11, we'll break down each position group. Earlier Saturday, we wrote about junior John Henson's knack for defense.

Here's more on UNC's power forwards:

STARTER: Henson (11.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, ACC-leading 3.2 bpg)

KEY RESERVES: freshmen James Michael McAdoo, Desmond Hubert and Jackson Simmons (who are all learning the "4" and "5" positions); senior Justin Watts (who also plays wing)

STRENGTH: After boasting only three players 6-9 or taller last season, UNC finally has some depth at both post positions. McAdoo, a first-round NBA prospect, may spend more time backing up Tyler Zeller at the "5" spot. But he’s the rookie big man most ready to contribute, and would probably be starting for a lot of other teams.

QUESTION MARK: How much more will Henson score? He doesn’t really need to, not with Harrison Barnes, Zeller, etc. on his team. But he decided to return to school, rather than leave early for the NBA, in part to develop a more well-rounded game. The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year this summer practiced a right-handed hook shot to balance the left-hander he developed last season. But part of Henson’s challenge, coach Roy Williams conceded, will be figuring out when to shoot -- and when to pass it off to a better shooter.

NUMBER TO KNOW: 127 -- The number of blocks Henson would need to pass Brendan Haywood (304 swats from 1997-2001) for the UNC career record. The single-season mark is 120 (by Haywood); Henson recorded 118 blocks last season.