Tudor: Repeat of 2005?

Caulton Tudor considers the potential for a domino effect on draft defections.

All three are still in the process of sorting through their situations, but Hansbrough could wind up facing the same sort of question May had to confront in ’05. May clearly preferred to return to school for his senior season, but the decision basically was taken out of his hands when Felton and McCants opted out.

Hansbrough has not been as emphatic about his desire to return and make another run at a national championship ring, but it’s clear that he enjoys the college game and campus life. Upon first arriving in Chapel Hill, his primary goal was to win the title. He still wants to accomplish that goal as much as ever. But if Lawson and Ellington leave, the lineup would be so gutted that the ’09 team would be a substantial long shot to make a deep NCAA run.

The key figure is Lawson, of course. Should he leave, the starting point guard next season almost certainly would be much injured Bobby Frasor, Hansbrough’s classmate and close friend.

But Frasor, who missed almost all of ’08 with a knee injury, lacks the quickness and passing skills of Lawson. Recruit Larry Drew, a 6-footer from Woodland Hills, Calif., should be able to add some speed to the playing rotation, but isn’t rated in the same pure playmaker class with Lawson.

Ellington’s decision is crucial, but not to the extent of Lawson. Should Ellington exit, Roy Williams would at least have some options at wing guard, starting with junior Danny Green. There would be some loss of quickness and perimeter defense, but Green would provide enough outside shooting expertise to keep some pressure off Hansbrough inside.

I think the really clear differences between Tyler Hansbrough now and Sean May in 2005 is (1) May was coming off a incredible NCAA Tournament and MOP Final Four performance which made his stock mich higher than it had been before and (2) The cupboard was going to be completely bear in 2006 with only David Noel and a group of freshman which had one known commodity in Hansbrough.  It was easy to see how May was looking at the possibility of playing 2006 on a weak team as a detriment to his stock so he took the opportunity and left.

Hansbrough, even if both Ellington and Lawson is not looking at a bear cupboard situation.  That team which presumes Bobby Frasor as the starting PG, Marcus Ginyard as the starting SG, Danny Green at SF, Hansbrough at C and Deon Thompson at PF is basically the 2006 team that went 23-8 and finished 2nd in the ACC.  Add to that group reserves that included Will Graves, Alex Stepheson, freshmen Tyler Zeller, Ed Davis and Larry Drew, you still have to believe that team is a favorite to win a weakened ACC and let’s be honest, lesser teams have won the title.  I am not they would be a favorite but a senior laden team with plenty of junior support and some talented freshman can do a lot of damage in the NCAA Tournament.

I am also not totally sold on Lawson being the dealbreaker, at least not as much as I was last season.  I will grant having him makes this team the best team in the country even if they lose Ellington.  However if Lawson gets replaced by Frasor spelled by Drew, I still think that team can gel for a title run.  A UNC team with that makeup I still believe can make a national title run.  Especially since it will be rely on interior scoring with a longer three point line in play which is going to open up the post some.

Tudor also goes on to question whether a team that loses all three would be able to win 10 ACC games and 20 overall.  I think they can and Tudor does point to the 2006 team as an example of a low expectation team performing well.  Regardless of what happens, the performance of the incoming freshman will be key aspects to next season, particularly if you are looking at defections of any sort.


13 Responses to Tudor: Repeat of 2005?

  1. C. Michael says:

    FYI, on the “Early Entry Page” at nbadraft.net, Lawson and Ellington have been “downgraded” from “Likely to Enter,” to “Likely to Return.” Hansbrough is still, “On The Fence.”


  2. HEEL4EVR says:

    Does Tudor ever write anything that is positive (not just about Carolina, but about anyone)? Perhaps Tudor & Barry Saunders should quit the N&O and start their own talk radio show (with additional negative daily updates from Skip Bayless)….

  3. Chris says:

    Tudor must be having a bad reaction from some medication he’s taking. No way all three players would be taken in the middle of the first round. He must be confused and be thinking about Memphis or Kansas. Way too much other talent coming out this year, my bet is that all three stay next year to finish the deal.

  4. C. Michael says:

    Everyone talked about this being one of the best classes of freshman ever, and the funny thing is, even though UNC did not have a single signing from that class, they may benefit the most from it! All the one-and-done frosh are now taking up draft positions (and money) from the 3 Heels, who in normal years, would be likely to leave.

  5. 52BigGameJames says:

    I agree with Russell in a previous post–Ty is the greatest threat to leave, and if he does, so be it. Any who have serious designs on making a title run next season would have to be properly motivated (like say Tyler). With marginal draft status (in part due to his Semi-final performance), Ty should in my estimation, be chomping at the bit to have another chance to redeem himself, and at the same time further refine/develop his game. That dedication and commitment to constant improvement, at the level you’re currently at, would be a major indicator for me, were I a pro-scout, but that’s just me. When you’ve won a NC, it changes the equation for marginal 1st rounders. This AIN”T that situation!! Dean Smith built a tradition of delivering players to the NBA who were seasoned, developed and ready, and that formula generally paid off with long and steady careers. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It is, and I hope will continue to be one of the things that has made UNC different and unique–to try to justify these marginal sit’s is total BS.

  6. Josh Bowling says:

    I hear ya BigGame

  7. Josh Bowling says:

    I think Roy William’s assessments play a part as well. I am getting tired of hearing how Roy did a better job of coaching Kansas Monday night than he did coaching UNC on Saturday. I hope that incoming freshmen won’t be affected by this. It is my wish that we seriously don’t have any transfers because players are not knowing wether Roy is on their side or not.

  8. Big Apple Heel says:

    Josh, to your point, an item about the sticker incident from today’s N&O below:

    Several fans have weighed in on Williams’ decision to support his former employer, and Zeller sided with those who found the act commendable.

    “I thought it was pretty cool. He did coach Kansas, so he has some loyalty to them. I thought it was pretty cool, him wearing that,” Zeller said. “I don’t think it really matters, just because he used to coach there so he knows people there, he has loyalty to the school – I just think that’s the kind of person he is.”

  9. w says:

    calm down….everything’s going to be allright…

  10. I agree with THF. After the 2005 title the team was gutted, but still went 23-8 (12-4) against the odds and despite what the so-called experts said. How? Coaching and a great incoming bunch of freshmen. Even if Tyler and Ty and Wayne left, the talent available with returnees is superior to the post-2005 team. And with Tyler Zeller, Ed Davis, and Larry Drew coming off the bench we would be in a good place.

    My take is Tyler and Ty go, and Wayne doesn’t.

  11. Josh Bowling says:

    Nobody is going anywhere (except those that are considering transferring because they aren’t confident that the coach is on their side). These 3 freshmen are going to come in, experience the upperclassmen win a title, and will enjoy their part in it, and hand that experience down to the Wear boys, John Henson, and Dexter Strickland. The domino effect of success at UNC has already begun. Thanks Roy, and class of 2005.

  12. DeanForever says:

    Ughhh…..will he or won’t he? I STILL need to be convinced that a competitive player such as Hansbrough, who comes from a family immune to money problems, is going to walk away from a potential title run and cash some paychecks for sitting on the bench in the pros. I mean, we are to the point where some people have speculated that Danny Green will even turn pro! ?!?

  13. Josh Bowling says:

    It’s a little crazy isn’t it DeanForever?

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