Looking for a bright spot when it comes to the Tar Heels poor play of late?

Well, there is one (and a big one literally and figuratively, at that) in 6’9″ freshman forward Kennedy Meeks.

UNC vs. Virginia 029Meeks scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Monday’s disappointing 76-61 loss to Virginia, which dropped the struggling Tar Heels to 11-7 overall and 1-4 in the ACC.

Don’t blame Meeks, however, as he made the most of his 21 minutes by also dishing out a pair of assists and recording a block and a steal, with only one turnover.

Head coach Roy Williams wasn’t in the mood to seek the positives from another double-digit loss, his team’s second in three games, including a 57-45 setback to Syracuse on Jan. 11.

Despite Meeks’ mostly solid play, Williams apparently isn’t impressed enough with him to consistently pencil him into the starting lineup. That’s not as much of a knock as it appears, however, as Williams has been frustrated in juggling his entire lineup throughout the season.

“If you give me a chance to start in front of somebody, then I’m going to play my butt off and try to make sure that I stay there. And that has not happened yet, whether it was Kennedy (Meeks) for two games, Brice (Johnson) for two games, Leslie (McDonald) for two games,” Williams said after the UVA loss.

UNC vs. Boston College 019Williams was understandably more chipper following Saturday’s 82-71 win over Boston College, which helped the Tar Heels avoid their first-ever 0-4 start in ACC play. He even singled out Meeks for a solid effort in which he scored 10 points and hauled in six rebounds in just 15 minutes.

“Kennedy gave us a huge lift. It’s a hard matchup for Kennedy and Joel (James) and all our big guys because they have to play so much defense out on the court, but Kennedy does give us an ability to score a little bit more inside,” Williams said of Meeks, who added a block and steal to his ledger.

The Charlotte native, averaging 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, has been at his best in the Tar Heels’ most impressive victories. Meeks had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Louisville, and 15 points and seven boards vs. Michigan State.

With upcoming games vs. Clemson, Georgia Tech and NC State, the Tar Heels will need Meeks at his best if they are going to make a run at respectability in the ACC.