North Carolina was already expected big things from its incoming freshmen. Those expectations just got raised.
The dismissal of senior forward Will Graves just a week before practices begin leaves the Tar Heels without one of its best perimeter shooters and an experienced upperclassman on a team filled with talented — but young players. Transfer Justin Knox is now the only scholarship senior on the team.
And, for those who think Graves’ ouster has something to do with the many issues surrounding the UNC football team right now, think again.
“This is 100 percent not related to any NCAA matters on campus,” UNC coach Roy Williams said in a prepared statement. “I hate this for Will. He worked extremely hard this summer to get himself physically in the best shape he’s been in years, but he did not do everything he needed to do to be a part of our basketball program. This is a huge blow to our team, but an even bigger blow for Will. Playing for the Tar Heels meant so much to him.”
The 6-6 Graves has been on Williams’ bad side before. In February 2009, he was suspended for breaking unspecified team rules and spend the rest of the season practicing with the team and sitting on the bench during games. Carolina did win the national title that season, making Graves’ suspension less of an issue then. Remember, forwards Travis and David Wear also transferred during the summer, robbing UNC of most of its frontcourt depth.
Another year in the NIT? It’s 50-50 at this point.