UNC Basketball: Tar Heel Players Who Need to Pick Up Their Game

Lucas ParolinCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2013

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 10:  Marcus Paige #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels sets the defense against the Miami Hurricanes during play at Dean Smith Center on January 10, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miami won 68-59.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The North Carolina Tar Heels are not exactly having the season of their dreams, as they have fallen short of the rankings for the fourth straight week and are sitting at a less-than-inspiring 12-5 record.

Some of their struggles can be considered predictable, as they lost four very important players to the NBA draft in 2012. However, much of their play can be blamed on the underperformance of current Tar Heels.

Here are the Tar Heels that need to pick up their game ASAP. 

Marcus Paige

While he has shown improvements as of late, there are still many areas the young point guard has to improve on, mainly on offense.

Even though Paige does not need to shoulder the scoring load on this team, 6.9 points per game is way too small of a contribution for a player of his caliber. Add that to the fact he only shoots 33.3 percent from the floor and less than 30 percent from three-point range and you have a recipe for a bad year. 

It’s fully expected that Paige will only get better, and he has been improving with every game. Unfortunately for him, though, these are the Tar Heels, and they need him to step up quicker if they want to make any noise this year.


Desmond Hubert

Hubert’s job was not going to be easy right out of the gate. He has to be the starting center of a team that featured Tyler Zeller last year. Some tough shoes to fill, right there. 

Hubert is also still very young. The center is only a sophomore and played only 4.9 minutes per game last season—compared to 11.4 this season. 

However, it is hard to overlook the youngster’s struggles. His 1.4 points per game and 2.0 rebounds a game just simply are not going to cut it for the Tar Heels. They need Hubert to be a more dominant presence inside—especially grabbing rebounds. 

Some will say to give him time as he matures, but the season will come to an end fast if he does not speed up the process.


James Michael McAdoo

It’s hard to argue against a player that is posting career numbers in virtually every column, but hear this out. 

What the Tar Heels need the most, more than points, stops or even rebounds, is leadership. It is time for McAdoo to step up to this role.

Some will say that he has, as he is the team’s leading scorer, rebounder and is second in steals. He also leads the team in minutes, with 29.6 a game. 

What we want to see form McAdoo, really, is a more vocal presence on the floor, mirroring his second cousin, NBA Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo.

Once he starts to do that, he will be clearly marked as the Tar Heels' main player and they can go back where they belong: The rankings.