Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
Sophomore J.P. Tokoto will also be looked to for a spark from the wing position. But his freshman campaign left a lot to be desired, making him one of the bigger offseason projects for the coaches at UNC.
Tokoto was a non-factor from the perimeter, shooting just 1-of-11 from three-point range. In spot-up and off-the-dribble situations, his body was too loose, causing him to be unbalanced and inaccurate.
According to Inside Carolina, former Tar Heel Shammond Williams has already made Tokoto aware of his flaws.
“During the season he would see my elbow kind of come out, off to the side like a chicken wing almost,” Tokoto said. “So now I’m locking it in position and I’ve seen tremendous results from just that."
In addition to the help he's receiving from Shammond Williams and assistant coach Hubert Davis, Tokoto has taken it upon himself to arrive 15-20 minutes early for workouts to practice his spot shooting with the ball machine.
He is showing the character and dedication it takes to be great. And that's good news, when you consider he is one of the more impressive athletes—and probably the most active player on the Tar Heels roster.
Tokoto also proved to be one of the top on-ball defenders Roy Williams had at his disposal last season. And that was as a freshman.
He averaged 0.5 steals over just 8.6 minutes per game. Not to mention 1.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists.
Tokoto will, however, have to be a little more selective with his passing. He has excellent vision for the position, but too often he tried to fit the rock in extremely tight windows. That was a big part of his 31 turnovers.
Experience and playing time should fix that issue.
North Carolina needs Tokoto to become a productive player with the lack of depth at the wing. And, by all accounts, the rising sophomore appears to be mentally ready for the challenge.
Now he just needs to show it on the hardwood.