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Of all the wildcards on the roster, Joel James' development will have the greatest impact on this team—whether positive or negative.
Roy Williams struggled with his center rotation last season. Hubert provided no offense and James simply made too many freshman mistakes.
This eventually forced Williams to go with a small lineup, featuring James Michael McAdoo as the center. The Tar Heels were more successful with this lineup, but it was only a temporary solution.
Coach Williams' scheme requires two dominant posts to open up the floor for the rest of the players. That's the scheme that brought home two titles to Chapel Hill.
Now that James has had some time to reflect, he pinpointed his greatest issue in an interview with Go Heels TV this summer.
You’re always harder on yourself. I feel like I was frustrated. Just a lot of anger, a lot of frustration upon myself, knowing I could do a lot more.
Have you ever heard the saying. ‘Confidence is like deodorant; if you don’t have it on, you stink?' That’s what it is.
That's the unfiltered truth. A player can have all the physical tools in the world, but that means nothing if he doesn't have confidence.
James definitely has the tools. He stands at 6'10" and weighs 280 pounds right now, with a shooting touch most big men would make a deal with the Devil for. With the help of the coaching staff and the former Tar Heels that regularly visit Chapel Hill in the summer, James is building on his skill set and his confidence.
If he can put it all together this summer, James may develop into the most feared center in the ACC. And Roy's dual-post scheme will be back in full force.
If he doesn't, the Tar Heels will have to rely on the offensively challenged Desmond Hubert or freshman Kennedy Meeks. If those options fall through, others will be forced out of position with a smaller lineup once again.
As far as development is concerned, Joel James will be the most important wildcard in this stack.
There will be a lot of discussion over the offseason involving each of these players listed. Some will have faith in them; others will deny their potential.
No matter the perception of these wildcards, though, everyone can agree North Carolina's season is riding on their contributions.