Roy Williams

Who will develop as a post presence for UNC next season?


Kansas’ Jeff Withey had his way with the North Carolina front line in a dominating second half that helped the Jayhawks to a 70-58 win Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16. He had 16 points, 16 rebounds, and five blocks and looked like a player at times with little to no resistance against him at the rim.

While it is true that North Carolina had changed to a smaller and more versatile lineup part of the way through this season, its inability to do much of anything against Withey in that second half highlights a problem: what will the Tar Heels do about an interior presence next season?

James Michael McAdoo is projected to be a first round pick in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft, ready or not as he may be for that stage. Draft Express currently has him as the No. 19 overall pick. He certainly did not play like a first round selection Sunday, going 5-of-19 from the field for 11 points and being unable to keep up with the physicality of Withey down low. So who remains?

Sophomore-to-be Brice Johnson will be the returner who logged the most minutes this season, having averaged 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in just over 10 minutes per game. He is still wiry and will have to continue to add significant muscle, but is beginning to come along offensively from where he was at the start of the season.

He’ll be joined by his fellow sophomore in the front court, Joel James. James is the opposite of Johnson, a beefy space-eater in the post who averaged 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in close to ten minutes per game. He will need to develop along with Desmond Hubert, who should be returning.

The incoming recruiting class has a pair of post players in 6-8 forward Isaiah Hicks and 6-9, 275-pound Kennedy Meeks. Hicks is the best of that duo, having won North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year this season. But will he or any of the others be able to make an instant impact?

North Carolina’s success often goes along with an interior presence. Among them are Tyler Zeller, Sean May, and Tyler Hansbrough. We’ll be keeping an eye on how Marcus Paige continues to progress at the point guard position and how freshman Nate Britt can be brought into the fold at that spot as well, but don’t forget about the void on the interior.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.