Larry Drew leaves North Carolina after losing starting job

Speculation was rampant for months during the offseason that Larry Drew would leave North Carolina, so it isn't too big of a surprise that the oft-criticized point guard has apparently decided to transfer.

What is shocking, however, is the timing.

According to an report, Drew has left North Carolina with nine games to go in the regular season and the Tar Heels in the midst of a stretch of nine wins in 10 games. Instead of helping the Tar Heels make an NCAA tournament run, Drew will sit out the rest of this season and all of next season if he transfers to another Division I program, and he'll only have one year of eligibility remaining no matter what.

The report that Drew's leaving comes roughly 10 months after he issued a 179-word press release last April insisting that he "was not transferring anywhere" and that he "would always be a Tar Heel." Drew became a scapegoat for the Tar Heels missing the NCAA tournament last season, struggling with turnovers and perimeter shooting after inheriting the job from incumbent Ty Lawson.

Although Drew ultimately lost the starting point-guard job to highly touted freshman Kendall Marshall in mid-January, both had consistently split time for much of the season anyway.

In his last five games, Marshall has logged 20.8 minutes a night, averaging 5.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.0 turnovers. Drew's production during that same stretch was similar but not quite as good: 2.8 points, 4.2 assists and 1.0 turnovers per game in 19.6 minutes a night.

The loss of Drew will force North Carolina to rely heavily on Marshall for the remainder of the season because the options behind him now aren't promising. Combo guard Dexter Strickland played some point guard last season, but he played exclusively shooting guard in high school and the experiment did not go especially well.

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