Dexter Strickland

UNC’s Dexter Strickland takes shot at NC State


Circle these dates on the calendar: Jan. 26 and Feb. 23.

If in-state rivals, North Carolina and North Carolina State needed any more motivation going into these two clashes this season, UNC senior guard Dexter Strickland provided it. On Friday, following practice, Strickland told Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports that he didn’t think too highly of the Wolfpack:

“They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year. They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can’t put them in the mix.”

The only problem with Strickland’s comments – who is still coming back from a torn ACL – is that N.C. State is already in the mix. On Monday, the ACC coaches picked Mark Gottfired and N.C. State as the preseason favorites. Duke was picked to finished second, followed by UNC.

However, Strickland does have a point here. This is the same N.C. State team that made it to the Sweet Sixteen, but only finished 9-7 in the ACC this season.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is perfect against Wolfpack in his career at Chapel Hill, but this season Strickland lacks the resources he has had in the past. North Carolina has to make up for the production of Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Harrison Barnes.

Roy Williams is going to need to rely on the potential that James Michael McAdoo showed a season ago, as well as depending on freshman Marcus Paige to run the show offensively.

Strickland also told Goodman that he will still be a defensive stopper on the perimeter, but he thinks he will look to score more this season:

“I feel like my role this year is going to be different. I want to get back to having the mentality I had back in high school, getting the the basket and creating for others. I’m still going to lock down on the defensive end, but I’ve been looked at as just a defender. They’re going to see a different player, someone who will attack the rim and score more.”

For the first time in decades, rivals North Carolina, Duke, and N.C. State are all expected to be contenders at the same time and Strickland has only added fuel to the fire.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.