Forwards David and Travis Wears surprise decision to transfer after only one season in Chapel Hill makes the Tar Heels deep on the outside and thin in the middle.
We are extremely disappointed that David and Travis are leaving the program, UNC coach Roy Williams said in a prepared statement. I love both kids and they would have been very important parts of our team next season. It is a significant blow to our team as we had four post players and now we are down to two."
Williams had met with the brothers during mid-April to discuss their off-season development plans, and the twins apparently gave no indication that they planned to return home to Huntington Beach, Calif., after exams and not return. Williams learned the news via a phone call from the Wears father on Wednesday night.
Efforts to reach the Wear family were not immediately successful.
But teammates expressed their surprise via twitter this morning.
"... The twins are leaving?, guard Dexter Strickland tweeted. "...wow biggest surprise of the day so far...they my boys so all I cud say is good luck!"
Added forward John Henson, via Twitter: "its all good though, because now roy got room to bring a couple more thoroughbreds to the stable."
That may be easier said than done, though, at least in the short term.
Although the Tar Heels perimeter will get a boost with the addition of three McDonalds All-Americans (Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall), they had already lost last years starting forwards, Deon Thompson (graduation) and Ed Davis (NBA early entry). With only 10 scholarship players left on the roster, 7-feet Tyler Zeller and 6-10 Henson are the only ones taller than 6-6.
The Tar Heels likely will try to sign another big man for next season, but with most major recruits already signed, the options are limited.
The best bet, according to scout.com basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep: If I were Roy Williams, and could only make one telephone call, it would be to Kadeem Jack, Telep said Thursday.
Jack, a 6-8 power forward from New Yorks Rice High, has taken recruiting trips to Arizona, Connecticut and Arkansas, Telep said, but had seemed set to go to prep school not because of grades, but because he wanted another year to develop.
The athlete, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, is a late-blooming 4-man who finally hit his stride this year, Telep said. Hes a legit high-major big man. Hes athletic, he runs, he rebounds everything you want in a big guy.
And on the face of it, everything UNC could use.
Without the Wears, 6-6 Will Graves, last years starter at small forward, will almost certainly have to play more minutes in the post. Meanwhile, Barnes, who will compete for the starting position at small forward, might some time in the post, as well.
Besides Jack, Telep said there werent many other options for Williams. Even the JuCo [junior college] players are pretty much picked over, he said.
Said Williams, in his prepared statement: Our coaching staff will look at whatever options are available but its hard to replace two quality players at this time.
David Wear averaged 4 points and 1.7 rebounds in 27 games before having hip surgery that ended his season prematurely; he is not expected to be able to return to the court until June. Travis Wear averaged 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds. Both were McDonalds All-Americans.