Tudor: UNC could face more pro defections

Tudor: UNC could face more pro defections (Image 1)

Is North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams on the verge of another lineup reconstruction project?

It's possible and, in Williams' case, potentially frustrating.

For now, the Carolina focus is on Villanova in a first-round NCAA game on Friday  at 7:20 p.m.

But once the season ends, which could be Sunday in Kansas City against No. 1 South Regional seed Kansas, it could be déjà vu time for Williams and his staff.

A year after losing underclassmen Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes and John Henson to the NBA, draft deliberations will again engulf the program when this season's final game is over.

Carolina's James Michael McAdoo (6-9, sophomore), Reggie Bullock (6-7, junior) and P.J. Hairston (6-5, sophomore) are almost certain to at least consider leaving.

McAdoo and Bullock are projected as first-round locks in what is expected to be a weak NBA draft pool, and Hairston's impressive play during the past month has elevated his stock.

Should all three leave, Williams will face a sweeping lineup changeover that will be even more of a challenge than after 2011-12.

After losing senior Tyler Zeller (7-0), Henson (6-10) and Barnes (6-8) after 2011, Williams had to switch from an inside-oriented offense to a perimeter strategy that took much of the regular season to come around.

Should Bullock and Hairston leave — along with senior Dexter Strickland — Williams likely will have go back to an inside focus next season and wait for a small army of inexperienced bigs to jell.

Williams potentially is looking a rotation that includes four rising sophomores — playmaker Marcus Paige (6-0), J.P. Tokoto (6-5), Joel James (6-10) and Brice Johnson (6-9) and rising juniors Desmond Hubert (6-9) and Jackson Simmons (6-7).

On the way are two more bigs — Isaiah Hicks (6-9, Oxford Webb High) and Kennedy Meeks (6-9, West Charlotte) along with 6-1 guard Nate Britt (6-1, Oak Hill, Va.).

Williams and his staff are still in the chase highly touted Andrew Wiggins (6-7, Huntington Prep, W.Va.), but so are Kansas, Kentucky and Florida State.

Even if the explosive Wiggins signs, Williams probably have to work with his weakest group of perimeter shooters in years.

• • •

The Tar Heels will not be alone in the anxiety suite when it comes to early exits. They will have company among current ACC members in addition to future members Louisville, Notre Dame and Syracuse.

N.C. State is virtually certain to lose current juniors Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie.

Maryland could lose rising junior center Alex Len and possibly wingman Dez Wells. The 7-1 Len doesn't have a lot of experience but is projected as a lottery pick.

Virginia junior wingman Joe Harris probably will return but may review his chances.

Others who will give it some consideration include Wake Forest's Travis McKie (6-7, rising senior), Florida State's Michael Ojo (7-0, rising soph) and Miami star Shane Larkin (6-0, rising junior).

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