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Monday, June 4, 2012
Weekend roundup: Scholarships, NBA draft

By Robbi Pickeral

Some Tar Heels hoops-related stories, notes and quotes from over the weekend:

TWO AWARDED SCHOLARSHIPS: North Carolina sophomores Luke Davis and Jackson Simmons will be on scholarship next season, according to InsideCarolina. Greg Barnes writes:
The scholarships for Davis and Simmons have been granted on a year-to-year basis and may not be available in future years, according to the school official.

The decision to grant the point guard and forward scholarships isn’t surprising, considering the early departures of John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall to the NBA had left the Tar Heels with only 10 scholarships players for next season -- three under the NCAA limit. Davis and Simmons put them at 12.

As per NCAA transfer rules, the 6-foot Davis sat out last season after leaving Gardner-Webb for UNC. The Raleigh, N.C., native averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 assists his freshman season and is expected to add some depth to the point guard position behind freshman Marcus Paige and senior Dexter Strickland.

The 6-7 Simmons appeared in 23 games for the Tar Heels last season and recorded 15 points and 17 rebounds, total. The Webster, N.C., resident was also on scholarship in 2011-12.

ZELLER UNDERRATED? UNC 7-footer Tyler Zeller is earning a lot of high praise from scouts, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, but still isn’t expected to be drafted until the 12-15 range. Why, Amico asks?
“Well, for one, this is a pretty deep draft with a lot of players who have high expectations,” said a Western Conference GM. “Also, I don’t think anyone really expects (Zeller) to change the course of your franchise. Most expect him to be a unique and talented center that could play an important role, though.”

Especially if he ends up in the right place.
“It’s all going to be about the right fit for him,” the GM said. “If he lands on a team that gives him an opportunity, I expect him to make some contributions. In his case, they’ll probably go unnoticed, but they’ll definitely be there.”

Also, NBA.com followed Zeller around on graduation day. He reflected on his career and moving on to the NBA. Here’s the video.

MARSHALL READY FOR COMBINE: After training at the IMG facility in Bradenton, Fla., for the past month, Marshall was scheduled to return home to Virginia on Sunday before leaving for the NBA draft combine in Chicago on Wednesday, David Fawcett of InsideNova.com reported over the weekend.

Wrote Fawcett:
Although Marshall has yet to face any full contact, Dennis Marshall said his son’s wrist is 100 percent as is his elbow. Marshall fractured his elbow and broke his wrist in North Carolina’s second-round win March 18 over Creighton in the NCAA Tournament.

Kendall Marshall will work out for five or six teams, his dad added, and will find out in about two weeks whether he has been invited to the draft. Marshall and Zeller, as well as Henson and Barnes, are all projected as top-20 picks.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.