Never count out Roy Williams. He'll soon be ready to get back on the grind. And if you can't count him out, you certainly can't count out the North Carolina Tar Heels for a 2012 ACC title.
While the team isn't laden with proven "stars," I truly believe there are a few in the making. But UNC's potential success in their ACC run doesn't just rest on their shoulders. In order to compete with the likes of Duke, Florida State and the revived NC State program, role players must make significant contributions to the team.
What defines a role player?
I consider a role player to be someone that doesn't provide the largest chunk of scoring or passing. This can be a player off the bench or even a starter. While they don't top the stat sheets or consistently land a spot on SportsCenter's Top 10, the contributions they make are invaluable and help to mold a true team.
A couple of stars simply don't make a team. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen—as good as they were—would have never won six titles without the help of John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington, Bill Cartwright or even Luc Longley (among others).
Those aren't exactly household names, and anyone that wasn't watching the NBA in the '90s would probably have no clue who they are. Just ask Jordan, Pippen or Phil Jackson—they'll tell you with a smile and six rings.
However, in this situation, it doesn't necessarily mean this year's role players won't be stars in the future.
This is college basketball. Sometimes the potential stars have to sit behind the more developed and experienced players. So don't take anyone I label as a "role player" on this squad to be a below-par player with little or no future.
That said, let me tell you who you won't find on these slides.
Though there are many question marks over the head of James Michael McAdoo, he has been pre-labeled a star by the media and fans alike. I firmly believe Reggie Bullock will be the leading scorer, coming off a solid 2011-12 campaign and emerging from the shadow of Harrison Barnes.
I also feel Marcus Paige will be the starting point guard. With the exception of Stilman White, one can never consider a Roy Williams point guard to be just a role player. I also feel he will provide a significant portion of the offense to go along with his dishing of the rock.
On to the role players.