With NBA defections, UNC ready to go guard-heavy

North Carolina is going from attacking inside with several

scoring options to focusing its attention on the perimeter.

The Tar Heels lost senior 7-footer Tyler Zeller and a pair of

early NBA draft entrees in Harrison Barnes and John Henson off

their front line. That leaves sophomore forward James Michael

McAdoo as the veteran up front for a team that returns four

experienced guards, though two are returning from serious knee


”If they make shots, I’m going to be excited about it,”

Williams said Thursday afternoon at his annual offseason news

conference. ”You’ve got to have some kind of inside threat.”

The Tar Heels should have some of that with McAdoo, a 6-foot-9

forward who played so well late in the year after Henson’s wrist

injury that he even flirted with entering the NBA draft. Now it’s

his turn in the forefront.

”I feel like I’m ready for it,” McAdoo said. ”I feel like

being a leader is something I’m good at, something I did all

through high school, something I’m excited about. … I feel like

I’m more than ready and capable of doing that.”

But there’s no other proven options to put alongside him.

Desmond Hubert offers some size but played about five minutes per

game as a freshman. The Tar Heels are bringing in a recruiting

class that includes center Joel James (6-10, 270 pounds) and

forward Brice Johnson, who at 6-9 and 190 pounds has a lean frame

similar to Henson when he first arrived here in 2009.

With that inexperience inside, it could mean plenty of shots for

guys like Reggie Bullock, Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston on the


”I think it will be a little bit of a change,” said Bullock,

who thrived as a starter after Dexter Strickland went down with a

knee injury in January. ”It’s going to be more of a guard-oriented

team. We’re going to be quicker on the ball, guarding,

defensive-wise. We just need for players to be able to knock down

shots for us this year.”

McDonald’s return should help in that area. Williams said the

junior – one of the team’s best outside shooters in 2010-11 – has

fully recovered from a right knee injury that sidelined him all of

last season.

Williams said Strickland has been cleared for light work such as

jumping, shooting and some running. He said he hopes the team’s top

perimeter defender is fully cleared for workouts by August.

With point guard Kendall Marshall also leaving for the NBA

draft, the team would also likely offer significant minutes to

rookie point guard Marcus Paige. The Iowa native is recovering from

a foot injury in the spring that required surgery.

Williams said Paige’s recovery has gone well.

”There’s no question we’re going to ask him to do a lot,”

Williams said.