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Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Nawf Klina

Only two words are required to recap the season for UNC: national champions.

I felt a pang of jealousy right after the Heels won the title, something I wouldn't have felt had any team other than Carolina won the championship. But I'm over it. I think.

The Tar Heels had a great offense, to be sure, but I'm not sure they received enough credit for their defense, which was also among the nation's best.

With a major exodus of players, both sides of the ball are going to suffer next season.

Set your face to stunned. And then take a look at these numbers:



Tar Heels 2004-2005PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGASean May12327.5%26.817.556.700.6016.91.26Rashad McCants12324.1%25.916.048.942.30.5414.31.23Jawad Williams12620.3%24.013.154.138.10.5711.51.28Ray Felton11322.2%31.712.945.5440.5014.91.19Marvin Williams12520.3%22.211.350.643.20.5810.41.28Jackie Manuel10913.9%21.85.54927.80.536.11.08Melvin Scott11313.8%16.35.137.735.70.454.71.06David Noel11512.2%16.93.954.8350.554.41.17Reyshawn Terry11220.44.52.354.2600.481.91.36Quentin Thomas6518.2%6.30.845.533.30.301.41.06


This is what happens when you've got so much talent that you can comfortably spread the ball around. Guys like Jawad and Marvin Williams weren't asked to take on a heavy burden, and that allowed them to post some very impressive looking numbers in relatively smaller roles (compared to the roles of May, McCants, and Felton).

So here's the problem: the first seven guys in the table? They aren't going to be back. The worst-case scenario ended up coming to fruition for Carolina, and Roy Williams will have to replace all of his superstars.

Sean May should've been the conference's player of the year, but I suppose he'll settle for that national championship ring. May averaged an impressive 26 points and 16 rebounds per 40 minutes (both figures led the ACC). Because of the talent around him, he was only asked to play about 27 minutes per game. He used a significant chunk of his team's possessions while he was in the game, but he was still one of the most efficient scorers in the conference. While not quite the threat to block shots that other centers in the ACC were last season, May was the best rebounder of the bunch.

If your team is good enough to have a guy like Marvin Williams (20 pts and 12 rebs per 40 min) coming off the bench, you know you've got something special. Williams adjusted to the college game immediately, and despite his evolving skills, remained the team's sixth man. I don't blame him for taking his game to the NBA--not because of playing time issues (there are none), but because he's shown that he's ready.

The guys at the bottom of the table--Noel, Thomas, Terry--will probably have much bigger roles next season, if only out of necessity. With seven guys leaving, Roy Williams doesn't have a lot of alternatives. Terry and Thomas obviously didn't play a whole lot, so their numbers have to be taken with a large grain of salt. I wouldn't pay too much attention to Thomas's numbers, especially.

Fortunately, Carolina's recruiting class is awesome, featuring three McDonald's All-Americans (just like Duke's class). With roster spots opening up in the last couple of weeks (May, Marvin Williams, Felton just recently announced their intentions to leave), Williams and his staff are looking at making some additions to the class.

North Carolina will look much different next season, and while it's too much to ask for them to play like a top ten team, it's definitely premature to suggest that the Heels won't be competitive or NCAA tournament-caliber. But here's hoping.