With the 2022-23 college basketball season beginning in under a week, it’s go time for programs across the country. For the UNC basketball program, the expectations are very high coming off a Final Four run a year ago.
But like every team, there are question marks surrounding the roster.
CBS Sports’ Zachary Pereles wrote on every top 10 team going into the season. And for the UNC basketball program, his biggest question with them is the production off the bench.
Here is what Pereles wrote on the Tar Heels’ and what his concern is with the roster outside of that starting five:
North Carolina finished 348th out of 358 Division I teams in KenPom.com‘s bench minutes metric last season, and its 13.4 bench points per game ranked outside the top 300 nationally as well. Puff Johnson, the younger brother of former Tar Heel and current Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson, can play both forward spots and showed promise late last year, including 11 points in the title game. Fellow forward Justin McKoy also returns.
More question marks come elsewhere along the bench. Are Dontrez Styles and D’Marco Dunn — two top-100 recruits in 2021 — ready to contribute in the backcourt? What about Seth Trimble, the No. 30 overall prospect in 2022 according to 247Sports? There must be answers for North Carolina to live up to its preseason ranking.
Last season, UNC relied on the starting five to carry them through the NCAA Tournament with contributions from Puff Johnson and a few others. But the primary production came from that “Iron Five” as they were a huge reason why they made it to the title game.
Now, the hope for UNC is that players like Johnson, Dontrez Styles, D’Marco Dunn and Seth Trimble among others step up. The situation for the Tar Heels off the bench this year is a lot better than last season. But it can still be a problem if they don’t get that production.
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