The upcoming basketball season for North Carolina will display a front court that is very deep, very tall, and very versatile. Opposing teams will face a large amount of difficulty down low with this Tar Heel team.
North Carolina returns an experienced senior in Deon Thompson, red-hot Ed Davis returning from a head turning freshman year, and 7-foot sophomore Tyler Zeller.
Deon Thompson will be the leader and the crutch these young Tar Heels will lean on when times get tough. At 6'8" and 245 lbs Thompson possesses the size it takes to stand his ground and get physical.
He will get his time to shine as this will be the first year he will be on the floor without Tar Heel legend, Tyler Hansbrough. Thompson was very productive in the first games of '08-'09 when Hansbrough was out suffering from an injury.
As long as Thompson can learn to stay consistant throughout a season, which is something he has struggled with, he will pose as a go-to guy for the offense. He continued his play in the off-season for the USA team where he had several solid performances.
Ed Davis returns for his sophomore year, turning down the chance to enter the NBA draft after he caught the attention of many scouts. At 6'10 Davis is very tall and has an enormous wingspan.
He created game-changing defensive performances time and time again last season, ending with 65 blocks and averaging 6.6 rebounds a game. He also began showcasing a left handed hook shot in the NCAA tournament that proved to be hard to defend and very rewarding.
Ed Davis is set to have a break-out year for UNC, and should develop into one of the better players in the country.
Both Deon Thompson and Ed Davis are among the 50 preseason candidates for the 2009-10 John R. Wooden Award, All-American team, and Player of the Year trophy.
Tyler Zeller will enter this season back in regular form, the Tar Heel faithful hope at least. He went down in the second game of the season last year with a broken wrist and didn't return until three weeks left in the regular season.
He returned to help the team's depth for the NCAA tournament but was hesitant on offense and was behind on defense causing him to get into foul trouble.
But he began the season with an impressive performance against Pennsylvania, racking up 18 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 block in his freshman debut as a Tar Heel. Expect to see him back in this form for next season.
As if that wasn't enough, the incoming recruits for North Carolina include three of the top ten forwards in the country. John Henson is the No. 2 ranked power forward, he is gaining comparisons to Ed Davis, at 6'10" he is also very tall and long, he has incredible ball handling ability and a deep range on his jumpshots.
David and Travis Wear are the No. 9 and No. 10 power forwards for 2009, both are 6'9" and can finish with either hand. They too have the ability to shoot the mid-range jumper.
Roy Williams only issue will be finding time to get all of this talent on the floor during the season, an issue that any coach would love to have.
Having six players ranging from 6'8" to 7-foot tall will enable North Carolina to clog the lane, and have a huge advantage on the glass and with points in the paint. This will pay off as the season gets deep into ACC play and tournament play. Foul trouble will be another problem that North Carolina can hopefully avoid since they can alternate so many players on the floor.
While the back court still holds many unanswered questions for this season, the front court will be the backbone of this young North Carolina team for years to come.