UNC Basketball: What's Next for Tar Heels After Elite 8 Elimination?

Tyler SmithContributor IIMarch 26, 2012

UNC Basketball: What's Next for Tar Heels After Elite 8 Elimination?

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    We just saw UNC suffer a disappointing and unexpected elimination during the Elite Eight round of the 2012 NCAA tournament. Roy Williams and crew must now prepare for discussions involving possible early draft entries for the talented squad.

    Here I have broken down each player and what their likely decision should be. Let's get started.

Harrison Barnes May Very Well Return in 2012

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    When Harrison Barnes notified the Tar Heel squad via Skype that he was attending UNC, every fan across the nation became ecstatic. Arguably one of the more coveted players of Roy Williams tenure in Chapel Hill, Barnes was expected to resurrect a program coming off of their worst year since 2002. 

    While Barnes has provided many a highlight in his two years of starting for the Tar Heels, he has yet to be that dominating force that caused him to be the first ever freshman-selected preseason All-American.

    It is safe to say that Barnes would be a top five pick, if not the first overall, in this year's upcoming draft. However, his decision to stick around and make another pursuit of a championship is very much a possibility.

    Barnes' strong points are shooting and weaving to the basket. His weak points are his dribble game and ability to attack the rim consistently—both of which will be violently exposed in the NBA.

    There were not many times this year that Barnes went hard into the lane and created body contact while finishing.

    Likeliness to enter draft: 70%

    Likeliness to suit up for 2012-13 Tar Heels: 30%

John Henson Would Be Smart to Stick Around

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    John Henson is among the best defenders of the paint in college basketball. This accolade will take you extremely far in college, but not so much in the NBA.

    NBA forwards are the best at backing down and creating contact. With Henson's 6'11" 220 lb frame, there isn't much leverage on his side.

    Should Henson choose to elect for the NBA draft, he will more than likely be a top-10 pick, as he has the same game as Anthony Davis. The most obvious difference between the two players is Davis' ability to score. Henson has one strong move from the block and an outside shot that is still a work in progress.

    Henson would be smart to stick around for another year, pack on 15-20 more lbs and insert himself into the POY candidacy for the 2012-13 season.

    Likeliness Henson enters draft: 40%

    Likeliness Henson returns to Chapel Hill: 60%

Tyler Zeller: Thanks for the Memories and Good Luck

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    Many forget that Tyler Zeller was on the championship squad of 2009. It's easy to forget seeing as he was playing behind Tyler Hansbrough and fighting an injury for the majority of the season.

    There were very high expectations for the McDonald's All-American upon his arrival to Chapel Hill in the summer of 2008. Zeller has proved his ability to be an excellent scorer, defender and teammate.

    The silent assassin, Zeller was undeniably consistent during his four-year tenure in light blue.

    Going into the 2012 NBA draft, you can expect him to be a first-round pick and go on to be a great center in the league.

    Zeller is one of the few remaining true centers in basketball. Couple his finesse and basketball IQ to find a diligent, hard-working and gritty future NBA star. 

Kendall Marshall Will Shine for Tar Heels in 2012-13

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    The loss of Kendall Marshall proved to be detrimental to the Tar Heels' championship run. Losing a floor general of his ability would shatter almost any team in college basketball.

    The one positive to take out of this is that we are almost guaranteed that Marshall will return for his junior season, much like Ty Lawson after the Final Four elimination in 2008.

    The UNC family is a very tight knit and respectable group. The elitists of this group, regardless of their NBA resume, are the ones who brought hardware back to campus to cap off their college career.

    This is understood among the players. Every alumni wants dearly to come back and walk through the Dean Dome with the ring on.

    Marshall has incredible court vision, and he also proved his ability to score when needed—both of which will make him a dangerous asset to the Tar Heels next year.

    Marshall has the will to coach but the ability to play—an uncommon trait among players.

    Next year, Marshall will have legitimate backup with top ESPN-ranked high school PG and McDonald's All-American Marcus Paige suiting up for the Tar Heels—something that should give him great peace of mind in his decision to return.

    Likeliness Marshall enters NBA draft: 15%

    Likeliness Marshall returns to Chapel Hill: 85%

Reggie Bullock Will Be a Star

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    One of the more humble players on the Tar Heel squad, Reggie Bullock's potential is through the ceiling.

    A 5-star recruit coming out of high school, Bullock is built to shine.

    With a 6'7" frame and length to go with it, he is a great on-ball defender and can stroke the outside shot.

    The Tar Heel guards will have great depth next year, with Strickland and McDonald returning from season ending knee injuries.

    Bullock earned his right to keep the starting role, but Williams could shift things up to create an energy boost off of the bench. We'll see.

James Michael McAdoo Could Be Great Hybrid Player

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    What a finish McAdoo had this season. 

    We saw his ability to create fast break, finish at the rim and hit the mid-range jumper all come out during the tournament. 

    While many talk about McAdoo entering the NBA draft and going on to be a lottery pick, it is very unlikely.

    McAdoo and Hairston came in with the intentions of winning a title, something I believe both of them will adamantly chase.

    Roy Williams has two great post players coming in: Brice Johnson, a No. 25-ranked player in the 2012 class, and 285 lb Florida native Joel James.

    Should Henson choose to return, the Tar Heels could boast incredible talent on the blocks.

    Likeliness McAdoo enters draft: 10%

    Likeliness McAdoo returns: 90%