In recent weeks, the Carolina basketball program has been marred by the disturbing allegations made by former player Rashad McCants. But before too long, attention will once again shift to happenings on the court and there will be a trio of talented fresh faces on the floor for the Tar Heels.
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Justin Jackson, the 6’8”, 185-pound wing player is expected to arrive in Chapel Hill shortly to begin summer school classes.
The man from Texas says he’s already putting in the work in the weight room necessary to bulk up and prepare himself for the physical play that awaits him in ACC action.
Additionally, he’s enlisted the aid of former NBA player and coach John Lucas to sharpen his on-court skills. Jackson went through a dramatic growth spurt in high school, but maintains a precise jump shot that has him comfortable anywhere on the floor.
The sky appears to be the limit for Jackson, who was named the co-MVP of April’s McDonald’s All-American game thanks to his game-leading 23 points on 11-14 shooting. That’s the kind of sharp shooting Head Coach Roy Williams has been searching for.
Joel Berry, a two-time state champion and three-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida, is primed to make some noise in Chapel Hill. Berry will add even more depth to the Carolina roster.
He’s still recovering from a bone bruise in his ankle that has limited his mobility, but upon regaining strength, Berry’s physicality is impressive.
One of the most notable aspects of Berry’s game is his defensive intensity, especially on the perimeter. The Tar Heels have notoriously struggled to guard the three-point shot in recent years. An added boost in that department could pay dividends.
There’s one more incoming freshman to keep an eye on. The lanky 6’6” Theo Pinson combines athleticism with quickness. The Greensboro native can still handle the ball despite his towering height. As a high school senior, Pinson averaged 23 points per game and led his team to its second straight state championship at Wesleyan Christian Academy.
Coach Williams says he likes bringing in proven winners. Pinson certainly fits in that category.
It remains to be seen what type of immediate impact this tantalizingly talented trio can make in the SmithCenter come November, but their progress will be followed with much interest by the entire college basketball world.