Friday, February 04, 2011

Larry Drew Leaves North Carolina

The big off-the-court story in college basketball today is Larry Drew II leaving North Carolina. Roy Williams is saying he was blind-sided by this decision, and maybe he was - those of us not inside the program have no way of knowing the truth. But this is interesting when you consider how poorly Drew has been playing for a while. Drew has been a turnover machine, and I've been saying over and over and over and over that he needed to be benched. Roy Williams finally began lowering his minutes, which was a move I credited with leading to North Carolina's hot streak. This was also the move that led Drew to leave the team.

I had criticized Roy Williams for sticking way too long with Drew, but maybe he knew that Drew couldn't mentally handle a demotion? Maybe he was hoping that a few extra minutes of Larry Drew would be better than losing Drew altogether? It's impossible to know right now, but interesting to think about.

Either way, I think this move will be addition by subtraction. Losing Drew's minutes will mean 5-6 extra minutes per game apiece for Dexter Strickland, Kendall Marshall and Leslie McDonald - a pretty good trade-off. Not only that but getting rid of a potentially cancerous personality can make everybody better. With Harrison Barnes finally beginning to overcome his horrible start to the season this North Carolina team is really starting to come on. I could see them working their way as high as a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, particularly if they can pull an upset of Duke. Certainly this team has the raw talent to be a Final Four sleeper if they can ever put everything together.

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