North Carolina loses senior reserve center to torn ACL

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In four seasons at North Carolina, senior center Desmond Hubert didn’t see much in the way of playing time. Hubert averaged 4.1 minutes per game in 21 appearances this season, and after playing a total of 25 minutes in the first two games he didn’t play more than eight minutes in any game.

Thursday it was announced that Hubert will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. According to the school, Hubert suffered the injury in practice last week.

“Desmond is our best defensive post player and a wonderful kid who helps us in so many ways that fans don’t see each day but our coaches and his teammates appreciate,” head coach Roy Williams said in the release. “I just hate it for the youngster that he won’t be able to play any more in his senior season.

“Desmond is a great teammate and they will rally around him and give him plenty of support.”

Without Hubert much isn’t expected to change in North Carolina’s interior rotation, with Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks still being the starters and Isaiah Hicks and Joel James serving as the reserves. But it does mean that the Tar Heels won’t have an option to turn to should another of their big men go down during the stretch run.

North Carolina bounces back from disappointing Bahamas opener

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Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels were scheduled to play just two games in the Bahamas this weekend, and the quick trip from Chapel Hill did not get off to the best of starts. With missed free throws down the stretch and poor perimeter shooting being the culprits, the Tar Heels dropped an 84-83 decision to the Providence Storm Friday night.

North Carolina had no such issues against the Bahamas All-Stars, as they dominated from start to finish in the 109-52 victory. As a team the Tar Heels shot nearly 63 percent from the field, and they finished the game shooting 7-for-13 from three after making just three of their twenty-five attempts on Friday.

Isaiah Hicks leading three UNC players in double figures with 19 points, with freshman Justin Jackson (16 points) and senior Desmond Hubert (12) joining Hicks, and in total eight players scoring at least seven points against their overmatched opponents.

Free throw and perimeter shooting were issues for North Carolina for most of the 2013-14 season, as they finished the year ranked dead last in the ACC in the former and ninth in the conference in the latter category. So those will be areas they’ll look to improve upon heading into 2014-15, and the improved perimeter depth should help matters.

After  dealing with the P.J. Hairston fiasco at the beginning last season, Marcus Paige and company ultimately won 24 games and fell just short of reaching the Sweet 16. With Paige leading the many returnees and a freshman class heavy on perimeter talent (Jackson, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson), the expectation heading into 2014-15 is that North Carolina will field a far more formidable team. North Carolina was able to bounce back from Friday’s disappointing performance Saturday, finishing their short trip to the Bahamas on a positive note.

“Our guys knew we played poorly yesterday and they came out with much better focus,” Williams said in the school’s recap of the game. “We didn’t finish last night the way we wanted to, but today we were much more in tune with what we wanted to do.

“We were much better defending on the ball, were more unselfish with the ball and our shots went in the basket, which was also a product of better passing.”