Kentucky Basketball Scouting Report
Opponent: University of North Carolina Date: 12/13/14
- Very balanced team with 5 guys averaging double-figures.
- Talented mix of players; Paige is a National POY candidate & great freshman.
- Not a good 3-point shooting team; shooting just 28% and don’t attempt a lot.
- Athletic wing players and good size down low.
#5 G Marcus Paige: 6’1’’ 175 JR.
A preseason 1st Team All-American, Paige is averaging 14 points per game for the Tar Heels. He is an aggressive, score-first point guard with the ability to really get going from beyond the arc. Over half of his shots this season have been 3-pointers. He is simply a very talented player, especially when the ball is in his hands.
#44 F Justin Jackson: 6’8’’ 193 FR.
An extremely talented freshman, Jackson has had a great start to his career. He is averaging 10.4 points per game, but has yet to really find his shot from the perimeter. He uses his size and athleticism to make plays inside and he is a good finisher at the rim. We must find him in transition!
#13 F J.P. Tokoto: 6’6’’ 200 JR.
Tokoto was named to the ACC’s All-Defensive Team last season. He is a very athletic wing player who likes to attack the basket and get to the foul line. He is a good rebounder, we must box him out. Tokoto is averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds per game.
#11 F Brice Johnson: 6’9’’ 228 JR.
He is a very versatile, athletic forward with a lot of skill on the offensive end. Johnson has a nice face-up game and is a good shooter out to the 3-point line. He is an outstanding offensive rebounder! Averaging 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
#3 F Kennedy Meeks: 6’9’’ 270 SO.
Meeks has gotten himself into much better shape and it has paid off on the court. He is a very smart player with good feet and hands. Meeks is an absolute load around the rim and is averaging a double-double so far this season with 13.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He is especially good on the offensive glass; he gets good positioning and has a knack for finding the ball. Very good finisher and has nice moves around the hoop.
#22 F Isaiah Hicks: 6’8’’ 230 SO.
Hicks is a versatile forward who is more comfortable at the “4” but has been forced to play on the wing more at UNC. He is a very talented player who is looking to get going when he comes in the game. Hicks is averaging 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play per game.
#1 F Theo Pinson: 6’6’’ 195 FR.
Pinson is an exceptional athlete who is tough to stop once he gets flying to the rim. You have to make him score over top of you and not get blown by; he is a very inconsistent finisher. Very good offensive rebounder.
#2 G Joel Berry II: 6’0’’ 195 FR.
Berry was an outstanding high school player who is poised for a breakout game for the Tar Heels soon. He is a great 3-point shooter, but is just 1/12 on the season. He is going to look to make plays when he comes in the game.
#42 F Joel James: 6’10’’ 280 JR.
James offers UNC some additional size off of the bench. He is big, very strong body on the low block. Good defender with limited offensive game.
Keys to the Game
- Play for Alex. Regardless of the player’s role and contribution to the team, losing a teammate to an injury like the one Alex Poythress sustained can shake a team. In this case, we are losing a starter who was capable of making game-changing plays in big games (just like this one). He will be missed in many ways, but we will have to find a way to respond and work through some adversity today.
- Be prepared to fight for rebounds. North Carolina has the size to at least bother our big men and they are very athletic from the guard positions to their big guys, so this will be a game where we have to really focus on winning the battle down low. #3 Meeks and #42 James are huge bodies that can push our guys around if they don’t come ready to fight around the rim.
- Force UNC into contested 3’s. We usually force our opponents into taking a lot of 3-pointers late in the shot clock because penetrating into our big men is usually not a recipe for success. The Tar Heels do not shoot it well from beyond the arc so forcing them into some end-of-the-shot clock 3’s could get us rolling defensively.
- Be ready to guard! North Carolina is a good offensive team; Marucs Paige runs the show and they are a very good transition team with a number of athletes who can run the floor. Their big men are very skilled around the hoop and can step away and face-up as well. This is a team capable of getting rolling, but if Kentucky guards the way we are capable of guarding we should force them into tough shots just like we have to everyone else this season.