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Sunday, January 8, 2012
TMA: Strickland's stats, McDonald's status

By Robbi Pickeral

The Morning After: Thoughts, notes and anything else that didn’t quite make this space after North Carolina’s latest game (in this case, the No. 4 Tar Heels’ 83-60 victory over Boston College on Saturday afternoon.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina shooting guard Dexter Strickland wasn’t thrilled that he didn’t make a jump shot during his team’s victory over Boston College on Saturday. But he did a little bit of everything else – driving to the basket to score 5 points, making 3 steals, grabbing 2 rebounds, tossing 2 assists and blocking a shot.

The fact that the junior adds so much to the team besides scoring is key, coach Roy Williams said.

“All the experts are wondering why I’m not playing Reggie [Bullock] or [P.J. Hairston] instead of Dexter,’’ he said. “… The guy’s shooting, before today’s game, 56 percent from the floor, and he’s the best defensive player we have.

“And you can’t have five guys out there on the court thinking they’re Peyton Manning. And Peyton Manning – not this year – has to have guys who are blocking for him. You’ve got to have a team. … Dexter’s a guy who’s not looking for his shot all the time, gives us a physical guy. Every loose ball that Dexter’s involved in? You know what mostly happens? Dexter mostly gets it.”

MCDONALD NOT QUITE FULL GO: A team spokesman clarified that junior Leslie McDonald, who had reconstructive knee surgery in August, has not been cleared to fully practice, although he has been cleared to do more in practice.

Williams said Friday that McDonald, a junior who averaged 7.0 points per game last season, worked out in five-on-five drills during most of Tuesday’s practice, had some soreness and had to sit out Wednesday, then went through most of practice Friday. “And we’ll see how it feels tomorrow. So right now, you’re in the exploratory stage of seeing how it is,’’ Williams said then.

McDonald is getting closer and closer to be cleared to practice all-out. A decision has not yet been made about whether he will return this season or redshirt, but Williams said he expects the choice to be made in the next couple of weeks.

QUOTEWORTHY: UNC forward John Henson, on rebuilding Boston College: "They started five freshmen, they’re a feisty team, and they’re going to be good in the future. Hopefully I won’t be here when it happens.”

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.