Will UNC go big or stay small this season?
P.J. Hairston's availability was the most pressing issue at Thursday’s media day, but it was far from the only unresolved question.
After utilizing a four-guard lineup at the end of last season, UNC coach Roy Williams said he would like to go back to a conventional lineup, if possible.
“I hope to stay big,” Williams said. “But what I have to do is pick up the best five guys and put them on the court.”
Juniors Desmond Hubert and Jackson Simmons, sophomores Joel James and Brice Johnson and freshmen Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks are all possibilities at center. But starting point guard Marcus Paige and sophomore wing J.P. Tokoto both though that James will eventually claim the spot.
“It’s definitely not a set-in-stone thing,” Paige said. “But based on what I’ve seen and how much he’s improved, I think he has the best chance at this point.”
"I truly believe that Joel’s going to take the ‘5’ spot," Tokoto said.
Alternatively, Williams could go with two point guards, sophomore Marcus Paige and freshman Nate Britt, and play much smaller.
“We could see three guys 6-8 or bigger or two guys I see eyeball-to-eyeball with,” Williams said.
Because of a new NCAA rule which allows teams to begin practice 42 days prior to the first regular-season date, Williams expects the team to hold 29 practices between now and the opener against Oakland. Last season, Williams said the team held 21 or 22 practices, starting on Oct. 18.