Joel Berry, Jr, PG, 6-0, 195: The ACC tournament MVP, and a member of the All-Final Four team, Berry is UNC’s most accomplished player and now he’ll be counted upon to provide more leadership and intangibles – the kind of stuff that the departed Marcus Paige did so well. With Paige gone Berry is clearly The Man – capital letters – in the Tar Heels’ backcourt.
Nate Britt, Sr, G, 6-1, 175: A valuable reserve the past two seasons – and a starter for half of his freshman season – Britt is likely to enter the starting lineup in place of the injured Theo Pinson, who is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks with a broken foot. Britt has embraced his role as a do-a-bit-of-everything guard, and the Tar Heels will need his perimeter shooting, especially.
Justin Jackson, Jr, WF, 6-8, 210: Jackson was the team’s fourth leading scorer (12.2 points per game) and fourth in assists (nearly 3 per game) last year, and more will be expected given the opportunities with the departures of Paige and Brice Johnson. Jackson is expected to take a step forward. To do so, he’ll have to be a better perimeter shooter (he made 29.2 percent of his 3-pointers last season).
Isaiah Hicks, Sr, PF, 6-9, 242: Though Hicks didn’t start last year, he nonetheless might have been the Tar Heels’ best pro prospect. Even so, he didn’t even consider entering the NBA draft because he felt that strongly about returning for his senior year. If he can limit his fouls he could be in line for the kind of season that Johnson had a year ago.
Kennedy Meeks, Sr, C, 6-10, 260: Meeks’ field-goal percentage and scoring decreased last year from his sophomore season, and he went through the same kind of confounding second-half slump he did in 2015. Still, Meeks re-emerged with some solid performances in the NCAA tournament. Talent isn’t the question here. But can Meeks put it all together for an entire season?