Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
In a few columns this season, I have mentioned the importance of Roy Williams starting his best group. In my opinion, that would be Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto, James Michael McAdoo, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks.
At times, that strategy has been misunderstood. So let me clear things up a bit.
Britt is averaging 23.6 minutes and Joel James is getting 12.4 minutes per game. I do not want those minutes reduced. I just think the best defenders and scorers should be on the floor to start the game.
It's imperative that James and Britt continue to get as much time on the floor as possible because they both need to grow. And they both need to be confident in their abilities for the Tar Heels to be successful down the road.
Britt seems to have found his way against Louisville this weekend. He was driving, dishing and scoring the way he should with his quickness and vision. Hopefully he can build off of that and continue to grow his confidence over the next month.
James hasn't had that big game to rest his hat on yet, but he has looked much-improved since I dropped the first report card of the season last week. The big man hauled in six rebounds in just 11 minutes of action against Louisville.
He had a total of eight over the previous three games.
Before being surprised by a trimmed-up Meeks, I thought James would be the best solution at center for the Tar Heels. But right now, Meeks' natural instincts are out-weighing James' physique. The sophomore still has some catching up to do mentally.
Once he puts it together, though, James will be a beast.
As for J.P. Tokoto, playing time hasn't been an issue for the small forward. He is averaging 27.4 minutes per contest and has started in each of the Tar Heels' five games. However, struggles with his free-throw and jump-shooting have the sophomore hanging his head.
Tokoto is 14-of-39 from the floor, 1-of-7 behind the arc and 12-of-31 at the stripe.
Perhaps a few blowouts will allow him to shoot without the repercussions of a miss. The way he shorts just about every free throw is a good indicator that he is over-thinking the shot. He's also rushing his jumper, which is completely throwing off his mechanics.
Hopefully Coach Williams recognizes this and will keep Tokoto playing late into the blowouts. The kid's a baller; he just needs a confidence boost.