Player of the Week
The pre-season consensus top overall NBA prospect in college basketball is finally producing, and he's doing it in a big way. We've already seen his clutch heroics propel North Carolina to the upper echelon of the ACC standings over the last few weeks. He made the late triple that put the Tar Heels in the lead against the Clemson Tigers, scored 8 points in the final few minutes in a victory against Virginia Tech and then hit the game-winning three against Miami with 6.6 seconds left. That's a handful of ACC magic. This week, there has been no need for his sweaty late-game touch, as he's putting the Tar Heels in the lead by comfortable margins. The Black Falcon (sick nickname, by the way) is averaging 25.5 points (61%) in only 26 minutes in his last two games, with 6 rebounds per, just to add to good measure. He's been utilizing skill (step-back jumpers and catch-and-shoot opportunities) with hustle (put-backs and fast-break points) to produce like many of us expected him to before the season started. His court demeanor is rock-solid, and he hasn't had to resort to selfishness to put points on the board. On top of all this, his defense has been superb. He shows great intensity and good fundamentals. He makes mistakes on this end of the floor, but the effort he puts into closing out and crashing the boards give him a lot of potential in this area. Confidence is obviously a factor for Barnes, and you could tell by seeing the huge smile on his face for the duration of last Saturday's game against North Carolina State. If he can keep his confidence up, then he turns into one of the most potent weapons in the ACC and North Carolina becomes a much better team.
The Other North Carolina Tar Heels
The Black Falcon has been putting in work, but he isn't the only one. After all, it takes a team effort to beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Boston College Eagles by a combined 52 points. Let's start by looking at Kendall Marshall, who recently replaced the struggling Larry Drew II (Drew left the program on Friday, possibly due to playing time concerns) in the starting lineup. Marshall is second in the ACC in assist/turnover ratio at 2.4. UNC is undefeated since Marshall has been starting, and even though his statistics don't jump out at you, Marshall is a very talented playmaker who fits in well with the Tar Heel’s starting lineup. Then in the frontcourt, is Super Noodle Boy John Henson. Henson had a career game against North Carolina State with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. Henson's ridiculous length, agility and bounce help make him the top shot blocker in the ACC (3.0). He teams up with 7'0" center Tyler Zeller to make the Tar Heels the best rebounding team in the conference. The two are slight-of-frame but mobile enough to beat opposing frontcourts in transition and long enough to challenge shots around the rim. North Carolina's roster matches up well against the rest of the ACC, but this week they will be tested. They face Florida State at home on Sunday and then play at Duke on Wednesday. These two games should be very telling. Don't miss 'em.
Boston College Eagles
Reggie Jackson and the Boston College Eagles are suddenly free-falling, losing four of their last five games. Jackson has been cold for a couple weeks, and because of the Eagles' dependency on him, they have been just as cold. The team has lost their last three games by 16, 18 and 32 points respectively. During that time span the usually productive and efficient Reggie Jackson has only averaged 8.7 points on 26.4% shooting from the field and 8.3% shooting from behind the arc. All are sharp contrasts from his season averages of 18.0 ppg, 50.4 FG% and 42.7% 3P%. In his last performance against North Carolina, he scored a season low 6 points as Boston College suffered their worst defeat of the season, losing by 32 points (at home no less). The Eagles were considered one of the best teams in the ACC before this slide. Now they've fallen to the middle of the pack, tied with Clemson and Maryland; behind Duke, North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech. On Saturday they'll play the Virginia Tech Hokies giving them a chance to either climb back up the ACC standings, or fall below a .500 conference record.
Top 5 Seniors
1. Nolan Smith - Smith is a National Player of the Year candidate, due to his impressive play on both ends of the floor. He's leading the ACC in both points (21.0) and assists per game (5.5) by comfortable margins.
2. Kyle Singler - He's one of the most versatile players in college basketball. He provides toughness, scoring, rebounding, passing, experience and an excellent complement to the aforementioned Nolan Smith.
3. Malcolm Delaney - Delaney is one of the most dynamic scorers (18.3) in the ACC. He is remarkably skilled at getting to the free throw line where he converts at a high 86.4 percent.
4. Jeff Allen - The inside yin to Delaney's outside yang. Allen is adept on the block where he uses his wide frame and solid athleticism to score on the block and crash the glass (9.6 rpg). His Virginia Tech team is looking to gain momentum to avoid missing out on the NCAA tournament yet again.
5. Jerai Grant - Grant's offensive improvement from a year ago is keeping Clemson from falling to the bottom of the ACC standings. He's also improved on the defensive end with averages of 1.0 SPG and 3.5 BPG.
Notes: In case you've been chained in someone's gogurt-stained basement for the last week (stop reading this and run for it man!), Duke couldn't stop St. John's sharp offensive execution and the Blue Devils suffered their second loss of the season 78-93... But they rebounded and beat Maryland by 18 in their next game... Also, their stud point guard Kyrie Irving had his cast removed, and is beginning rehab on the little piggy that went to the market... Larry Drew II left the North Carolina program, despite seemingly playing very well in his role off the bench... Jordan Williams has had two straight 20+ point, 10+ rebound games... Wednesday, February 9th offers a North Carolina @ Duke matchup. wh00t!...
Black Falcon? Who came up with this glorious name.
But story goes something liek this- Sullinger, Irving and Barnes were taking a tour of espn (not sure on that) and that they gave nicknames to the 3 of them. Harrison wanted to be an animal since Jordan was Black Cat and Kobe was Black Mamba- so hence the Black Falcon!
Yes, Black Falcon! :)
Notebooks 4 fun
i wanna be the Purple Beaver
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