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Not only were folks concerned about the fact that North Carolina would be starting the season with only one true wing, but that player being J.P. Tokoto made it even worse. What they saw was a guy who shot 1-of-11 from downtown and struggled with jump shots in general as a freshman, meanwhile forgetting everything else he did.
Statistics don't necessarily reveal potential. That's what our eyes are for.
Tokoto showed promise with his vision, rebounding, on-ball defense and overall activity. We never saw him give up on a play as a freshman, gutting out every minute he was on the floor. As far as the shooting was concerned, I noted many times in previous articles dating back to last season that mechanics seemed to be his greatest flaw.
His release was usually a little late, and he was rarely balanced. He had a tendency to lean and spread his legs while shooting. Even after his extra workouts this summer and guidance from assistant coach Hubert Davis, he kept falling back into the same bad habits this season.
That put the young small forward right back on the hot seat. Tokoto was just 1-of-7 from downtown in his first five games, and he received the bulk of the blame for the Tar Heels' three-point loss to Belmont after going just 4-of-16 from the free-throw line.
It seemed most everyone was getting fed up with the sophomore.
Suddenly, as if he flipped a switch, Tokoto found his stroke and started letting the game come to him instead of forcing the issue. He has averaged 12.8 points per game on 56.9 percent shooting since putting up a four-spot against Louisville.
He's also 3-of-5 from downtown during that span. By no means is he setting the world on fire with threes, but you'll notice his body is now balanced and in perfect alignment. That has resulted in his improved efficiency.
Against Davidson, Tokoto showed off his multifaceted game with 22 points, 11 boards, two assists, four blocks and five steals. He was also 5-of-6 from the stripe and 1-of-2 behind the arc.
I'm sure there are some folks who will still want to focus on his three turnovers or the fact the Tar Heels were playing Davidson, but let's be real. The kid has game. He just needs some time to polish it.