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Why Stillman White Suddenly is Very Important to the Tar Heels: Fan’s Perspective
The North Carolina Tar Heels certainly did not need any more bad news. After a horrific loss to the Florida State Seminoles, the Tar Heels were already reeling. Then came the news that defensive wizard Dexter Strickland was lost for the season. It was almost enough to send this long time North Carolina fan into a depression. Then I remembered that the Tar Heels are still the deepest team in the conference and things didn't look so bad.
Despite my optimistic nature, the Tar Heels still have plenty of problems to fix where this injury is concerned. One of the biggest keys to overcoming this is how well freshman point guard Stillman White can adjust to playing more minutes.
A huge defensive loss on the perimeter
Dexter Strickland was clearly the Tar Heels best defender on the perimeter and that is where he will be missed the most. From an offensive standpoint, Strickland was the least talented of the shooting guards. Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston are both much better shooters from the outside, so the loss at the two guard should be minimal. With both Bullock and Hairston, Carolina should be just fine.
Lack of depth at the point guard position a concern
While Carolina has plenty of depth at shooting guard, they are not so fortunate at the point guard position. Kendall Marshall has been fantastic all season long, but Dexter Strickland was his primary backup. With Strickland gone, the Tar Heels are forced to put freshman point guard Stillman White at the helm more often. White has averaged just under five minutes per contest so far, and has looked fairly solid in his limited action.
White could be better than expected by the end of the season
One thing I can say about Stillman White—the guy is confident with the basketball. He also seems to have a very high basketball IQ. In high school, White was a huge part of his team's scoring offense. As a Tar Heel, he will not need to worry about scoring nearly as much. The Tar Heels have plenty of that spread out at every position. What they will need is someone who can distribute the basketball competently in the absence of Kendall Marshall.
The Tar Heels are going to miss Dexter Strickland regardless of how well Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston and Stillman White pick up the slack. Strickland was the Tar Heels primary defensive perimeter player, and the one guy that could shut down the best guard for the opposition. Hopefully the Heels will find their way around this problem before the NCAA tournament gets here. Perhaps Stillman White will be a large part of that solution.
*Southern is a lifelong Tar Heels fan that drinks the "Micheal Jordan is the greatest of all time Kool-Aid" proudly. He also counts the 1982 NCAA championship win as one of the greatest moments in college basketball history.
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