By Brian Barbour
While there isn't much stock to be put into this kind of scrimmage, it is the first look at the Tar Heels for the new season. The Blue-White Scrimmage, which capped off the Late Night with Roy Festivities, ended in a 50-50 tie following a runner at the buzzer by Marcus Paige. Playing with Paige on the White Team was James Michael McAdoo, Kennedy Meeks, Leslie McDonald, Brice Johnson, Luke Davis, Denzel Robinson and Desmond Hubert trailed most of the latter part of the contest until a late rally. The Blue Team was made up of P.J. Hairston, Nate Britt, Isaiah Hicks, Joel James, Jackson Simmons, James Manor, Wade Moody and J.P. Tokoto.
- P.J. Hairston did P.J. Hairston things out there. Unofficially he had 20 points and hit four threes including two to start the game.
- Outside of Hairston no one shot the ball particularly well and the free throw shooting was atrocious. That includes McAdoo whose shot continues to look rushed and a little wild. That being said, McAdoo was playing the three and clearly not comfortable there.
- The most impressive freshman was Meeks who collected over 16 rebounds according to the unofficial Inside Carolina. He also scored 16 points, mostly on putbacks. The takeaway from Meeks' play is he used his size to create space, boxed out well and seemingly grabbed every missed shot in his area. It will be interesting to see if he can be that effective versus live opponents. Also of note, he didn't look like he had conditioning issues and the game featured no timeouts or breaks of any sort.
- Isaiah Hicks showed some nice moves and looks like a player with potential. Nate Britt appeared comfortable running the offense and certainly looked the part of a natural point guard. That being said, he didn't really do much to stand out.
- Joel James looked smoother, showed a couple of nice moves around the basket and even hit a 20 foot jumper just inside the three point arc. Having seen both Meeks and James, it is understandable why there is no clear cut starter at the five yet. Both have different skills to offer.
- Johnson was hot and cold. Paige was not much of a factor until late when he hit a three and then the runner to tie the game at the buzzer. Also of note is with six seconds left and down two, Paige called timeout, huddle the White starters and set up a play.
- McDonald hit a three and some shots here and there. Tokoto and Hubert were non-factors as was Simmons. Tokoto's shot specifically didn't look any better than last season but again we will see how it plays out in game versus real opponents.
- The scrimmage had an all-star game feel to it. Not much defense being played and it was pretty sloppy. Roy Williams did some coaching, most of it while leaning against the basket support on one end. That is a break from previous Late Night scrimmages where he normally just watches. The fact this scrimmage was being played a month into practice is probably why Williams was more hands-on.
After the game Roy Williams met with the media. He indicated a decision on Hairston was closer but the NCAA part still needed to play out. Likewise they are expecting McDonald could miss some games due to NCAA related issues. And J.P. Tokoto will miss the exhibition game because he failed to properly file paperwork for a sanctioned Pro-Am game he played in over the summer in Wisconsin. Yes, really.