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Monday, April 2, 2012
What's Next: UNC's point guards

By Robbi Pickeral

Looking ahead at North Carolina’s point guard position in 2012-13:

Key losses: Starter Kendall Marshall (early entry, NBA draft); reserve Stilman White (two-year Mormon mission).

Returnees: Senior Dexter Strickland; sophomore Luke Davis.

Key addition: Freshman Marcus Paige.

Player to watch: If you had to pick a top “player to watch,” regardless of position for UNC, it would be Paige, the 6-foot-1 McDonald’s All-American from Iowa. With Marshall gone, he could become the first freshman Tar Heels ballhandler to start his first game since Bobby Frasor in 2005-06, and there will be a great big spotlight on how quickly he adapts.

In January, Williams called Paige “the best point guard in high school basketball this year.”

“He’s a lefty -- I like lefty point guards, I guess,’’ Williams said during his radio show. “He’s a good defender, good passer, good shooter. He understands the game. [A] 4.0 GPA student. His mother was a high school basketball coach, won a state championship. And his older sister plays on the basketball team at Wisconsin. He’s just really a team player and just a true, true point guard out there that’s going to be a big-time player.”

Question mark: How does Davis fit into the mix?

As we learned from White, who started two NCAA tournament games this season with Marshall and Strickland both sidelined by injuries, it’s key to have a third point guard on the roster as an insurance policy. But Davis, who averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 assists in 30 starts as a freshman at Gardner-Webb before opting to transfer, may be capable of adding more than that.

As per NCAA rules, he sat out last season, but gained familiarity with the offense by practicing with the team.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.