In a class thin at the point guard position, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams found a gem in Marcus Paige (#22). It’s impossible for Williams to have found a better replacement for outgoing point guard Kendall Marshall. The Tar Heels also got a couple of forwards with a lot of upside in small forward J.P. Tokoto (#69) and power forward Brice Johnson (#36) because of their athleticism, length and raw talent. Those two also fit into Williams’ system perfectly since they love to get up and down the court and excel in transition. Although center Joel James (#57) doesn’t have the same upside as his counterparts, he’s also a great get for North Carolina because of his ability to rebound, block shots and physical presence inside.
Get to know the recruits
I’m not sure it was possible for North Carolina head coach Roy Williams to find a better replacement for Kendall Marshall than Paige. Paige is a guy who does an unbelievable job of anticipating when his teammates will get open and he does an even better job getting them the ball. He has great court vision and is an intelligent player. In addition to creating opportunities for his teammates, he’s able to score himself, too. He has a smooth shooting stroke that extends to the three-point line and is very good in the mid-range game. One thing he can improve on is his strength.
Johnson is a guy who has all the physical tools in the world (other than strength) between his athleticism, length and how mobile he is. He gets up and down the floor very well and will be a terrific fit for the Tar Heels. He is a superb rebounder and shot-blocker but can improve on his ability to score inside. However, he does have the ability to knock down the jumper out to 15 feet although he can improve his consistency on those types of shots. He has good hands and is able to alter shots even if he’s not able to block them as well. Another significant thing Johnson can improve on is his strength.
James has terrific size and strength in the low post and uses it to push people around in the paint. He does a very good job of rebounding and displays a nice mid-range stroke. He also has the ability to consistently knock down the 15-foot jumper and is a solid shot-blocker. He fights well in the interior as well and makes sure weaker opponents have trouble scoring on him inside. However, he needs to improve on his low post scoring moves and foot work to become more of a scoring threat in the paint, although he has shown some signs of development.
Tokoto is a high-flying wing who is an outstanding finisher, especially above the rim. He can finish around the bucket through contact and excels in transition. He has a great combination of athleticism, size and length and rebounds well for his position. However, he needs to learn how to create his own shot better off the dribble in addition to developing a better shot. He’s a guy that will fit into North Carolina head coach Roy Williams‘ system very well but if he wants to take his game to the next level he needs to improve his perimeter shooting.