The North Carolina Tar Heels will start 6-foot-7, 205-pound guard Reggie Bullock in place of Dexter Strickland on Thursday. Strickland tore his ACL against Virginia Tech last week and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season
For all the speculation following North Carolina Tar Heels shooting guard Dexter Strickland's season-ending ACL tear late last week in regards to Strickland's replacement, UNC coach Roy Williams has made it official: It will be sophomore Reggie Bullock, who has averaged 8.4 points per game at 44 percent shooting with 0.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.
By comparison, Strickland averaged 7.5 PPG (.570 shooting percentage) with 2.1 APG and 2.1 RPG.
Bullock has averaged 18.8 minutes of playing time per game during the 2011-12 season, most recently going 2-of-10 against Virginia Tech on Thursday night, with both scores coming in the form of three-pointers.
Bullock's previous role placed him on the bench as starting point guard Kendall Marshall's primary backup. Marshall, who has averaged just under six points per game with almost 10 assists per contest, will retain his starting role.
To fill Bullock's vacancy as Marshall's backup, the Tar Heels have selected freshman Stilman White, who is averaging barely four minutes per game and has only played more than 10 minutes once—during UNC's 99-49 blowout of Nicholls State on Dec. 19.
The 6-foot newcomer to NCAA basketball owns a career-high scoring performance of three points, a feat he achieved three times, all during tournament and non-conference play in December.
Whether UNC will be able to weather the storm and survive the loss of Strickland is a question waiting to be answered as the Tar Heels are in the midst of rebounding from their astonishing 90-57 loss to the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, Jan. 14.
North Carolina had dropped from No. 3 to No. 8 in the AP Poll following that defeat, though the Tar Heels moved up a slot last week to the seventh position, thanks to Duke's upset loss to Florida State on Jan. 21.
For those wondering about Florida State's tendency to knock off Top 5 teams, the Seminoles finally received the recognition they deserve with a No. 23 ranking for Week 12.
If there is any silver lining to Strickland's loss, it is the timing of the injury.
Strickland tore his ACL against Virginia Tech on Thursday, Jan. 19. UNC does not play another game until Thursday, Jan. 26, giving Williams and company a full week to formulate a strategy to fill the team's void.
The Tar Heels will host intrastate rival North Carolina State on Thursday, Jan. 26, a team with a nearly identical record to UNC, but one greater victory in ACC play.