As Strickland exits, other Heels face decisions
Amidst a quiet North Carolina locker room, junior Reggie Bullock leaned over to senior Dexter Strickland.
“I enjoyed playing with you, bro,” Bullock said.
It was the final game for Strickland, a three-year starter for the Tar Heels who played for the final time in UNC’s 70-58 loss to Kansas on Sunday. But he might not be the only one.
Bullock and sophomores James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston all will have decisions to make.
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s loss, all three underclassmen said they hadn’t thought about their future. They have until mid-April to declare for the NBA.
“I’m just in it right now with my teammates and just thinking about so many things that could have went different in that game,” Bullock said. “That’s all I can really think about right now.”
All three players averaged a little more than 14 points a game this season but struggled against the Jayhawks, shooting a combined 12-of-43 (27.9 percent). After losing four starters last year, the Tar Heels (25-11) certainly would benefit from some continuity next season, but McAdoo already has weighed his options once before, while Bullock and Hairston may want to leave while their stock is rising.
“I think they’re going to be good (next year),” Strickland said. “It depends who stays. If Reggie, P.J., McAdoo stays, I think they’ll be pretty good.”
On Sunday, only one thing was certain.
“The hardest part is knowing we have a senior on this team that won’t play again,” Bullock said. “He’s definitely one of the best I ever played with in transition, he’s very aggressive on defense, he’s got a nice midrange (game), he’s like a brother to me — I love him.
”He’s always in everyone’s head, trying to tell them to do better and keep your head up. It’s just tough knowing I’ll never play with him again."