All around the Blazers, they’re pushing Nicolas Batum to be more assertive, to find the next echelon, and he promises one thing on his health and his game. “It’s coming.” Read More. Written by Shams Charania on Dec 17, 2014
Harrison Barnes scored only nine points in each of the last two games, ending a streak of 24 straight double-figure outings that started following a nine-point showing at Duke in February.
Tar Heels coach Roy Williams isn’t overly concerned about Barnes’ lack of production.
"I told you guys that last year, and every one of you thought I was crazy," Williams told reporters Monday night. "At the end of the year, you forgot that I told you that. You didn't say I was right; you just forgot I told you."
Barnes noted his struggles to finish at the rim.
"There’s not too many concerns," Barnes said Tuesday. "I missed a lot of open shots. (Monday) was just a matter of finishing a layup and making some free throws. Those are things you can correct. For the most part you just have to continue to play. With so many games right back to back, you just have to have a short memory."
James Michael McAdoo ‘s overall lack of aggressiveness helps explain why the forward hasn’t been more effective this season.
“Thinking about it at first, I didn't think it would be as hard,” McAdoo said. “But going into this stretch here at home, I'm looking forward to it, just to where I can get into a groove and hit my stride.”
McAdoo is averaging just 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.9 minutes.
“This is a big change from a small private school league in Virginia to the ACC,” Williams said. “He's playing against guys just as big, just as quick, long arms and those kind of things — it's a huge adjustment for him, being asked to do it against that caliber of player every single day.”
Tar Heels forward John Henson is the ACC’s early leader in rebounds (10.6 per game), blocked shots (3.3 per game) and double-doubles (five).
Add an effective mid-range jumper to his repertoire and the elastic 6-foot-11 junior would loom as a supreme weapon on both ends of the court.
“I’m hitting them in practice and just building off of it,” he said.
“I’ve worked on those shots a lot, day after day,” he said. “But hitting them in a game is something that builds more confidence than anything. Just trying to become a complete player. Finally, it’s starting to come around.”
Through the Tar Heels’ first ten games, Harrison Barnes’ scoring efficiency on catch-and-shoot/0-dribble possessions is a robust 1.51 points per possession. This includes a sizzling 55.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
On possessions in which he takes a single dribble, Barnes’ efficiency falls off to 0.81 points per possession.
When using multiple dribbles, it drops further to 0.66 points per possession. With 2+ dribbles, Barnes is shooting just 31.3 percent through 10 games with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.33 (3 assists, 9 turnovers).
Julius Randle says that he has discussed teaming up with some of the other top recruits from the 2013 incoming class, most notably Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon.
"We have a special class with a lot of top talent," Randle said. "I have played with Aaron Gordon at Nike Global … I really enjoyed playing with him. He plays hard all the time. He's a great teammate."
Randle and Gordon both have Kansas on their recruiting list.
"I have talked to Jabari about playing together," Randle said. "He said he wants to play with me."
Randle and Parker have Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and Missouri in common.
Noah Vonleh is one of the most highly recruited high school sophomores in the country.
Syracuse and North Carolina appear to be the early leaders for the 6-foot-7 forward.
"Syracuse has real long guys and I feel like I'd fit into their defense," Vonleh said. "North Carolina, I like the way they get up and down the floor and their coach said I remind him of Harrison Barnes."
University of Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy said he gave passes to 26 NBA officials for Saturday’s game against North Carolina. That's believed to be a record for a UK game, at least in recent seasons, he said.
That the NBA and its players' union reached a new collective bargaining agreement reduced the request for passes from 58.
Of the thought of trying to fit 58 NBA officials in Rupp Arena, Peevy said, "I was losing sleep."
Peevy also issued 309 media credentials. When UNC came to Rupp Arena two years ago, he issued 308 media credentials.
In a rivalry that's never short on words, Doron Lamb offered a comparison between the number one ranked Wildcats and fifth ranked Tar Heels.
"I think we're more talented than them, really, on offense and defense," said Lamb, UK's sophomore shooting guard. "We block shots way more than them, I think. I think our guards are way better than them. We're ahead of them a little bit, I think."
Lamb said the Wildcats are eager to show fans across the country they’re deserving of their top ranking on a prime-time stage.
"We want to be on top and be the best team in the country," Lamb said. "We have swag now that we believe we are the best team in the country, we want to be the top team."