Starting Lineup Still in Flux
This story originally published on
Inside Carolina
Posted Nov 8, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – As the clock winds down to Friday’s season opener, Roy Williams has yet to make a decision about the fifth and final member of his starting lineup.

Senior guard Dexter Strickland, junior wing Reggie Bullock and sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo are set to join rookie point guard Marcus Paige in North Carolina’s starting lineup against Gardner-Webb to open the 2012-13 season.

The other post position, however, is still up for grabs.

“I still do not know who I’m going to start,” Williams told reporters on Thursday. “I really don’t… I’m waiting for someone to step up and say, ‘I’m going to deserve that.’ “

Sophomore Desmond Hubert started in the scrimmage against Shaw on Oct. 26, but was outplayed by freshman Joel James. The rookie scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in 17 minutes, while Hubert scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting and pulled down three rebounds in 15 minutes.

Freshman Brice Johnson and sophomore Jackson Simmons are also in the mix.

Williams has a track record of selecting a starting five and sticking with it throughout the season, but even he acknowledged the lineup could change throughout the course of the nonconference schedule.

“I think it’s because they’re so inexperienced or so young,” Williams said. “Desmond was here last year, but Joel and Brice were not. And Jackson was here last year, but like Desmond, didn’t play very much. So all of them just give you different things on [whichever] day.

“I wish I could evaluate it and say that Desmond’s great on Mondays and Joel’s great on Tuesdays and that’s the way we would start people, but it hasn’t been quite that clear cut.”

Williams also provided some insight into UNC’s potential small lineup options this season. It would be sophomore P.J. Hairston or freshman J.P. Tokoto, not Bullock, manning the four spot in those situations.

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