Blog Entry

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

Posted on: February 4, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 7:08 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander

Many years down the road, when I hope I'm still in this business and well-connected to players and coaches much more than I am now, that's when I'll have the right to kill a kid over transferring in February.

But I don't know Larry Drew II. At all. I don't know Roy Williams. I don't know the culture of North Carolina basketball under Williams and with Drew. So I'll leave the circumstances regarding the point guard's unnatural jettisoning of the Tar Heels' program to experienced vets who've got plenty more stitches on their lapels than I (which is to say: none).

What I am (barely) qualified to handle: telling you how much this really isn't going to impact North Carolina.

With a 16-5 overall mark and a 6-1 record in-conference, the Tar Heels are currently is second place in the ACC. If they've made it this far with Drew on board, it's unlikely they'll flare off into dangerous territory without him. In fact, many a fan will be all too happy to tell you how often Williams' team won in spite of their much-maligned point guard.

North Carolina has trekked back into successful territory this season thanks to Williams' signature fast, secondary-break offense, along with a defense that's improved significantly in forcing opponents into taking bad shots.

Drew's traditional statistical numbers dipped in almost every category this year, as the shorter leash didn't seem to inspire him to make the most of his minutes.

Not only was he a small part of the 2010-11 UNC machine, the fact Drew started at the 1 for 90 percent of the Tar Heels' games to this point and still managed to pull off being the ninth-most effective player on the team is something that's incredibly rare.

To be frank: starting point guards who get overshadowed, from a production standpoint, by eight guys in front of them usually share a surname with a coach. This just doesn't happen; or, at least it's not supposed to. The fact that it was happening made the UNC fanbase's constant consternation over it all the more legitimate/expected/anticipated/per
missible. Some could argue Drew's "invisibility" on the floor was as much an indictment on Williams' patience as anything, but I digress.

Let's look through a little more evidence. Drew was 224th in assist rate (the percentage of possessions he delivers an assist on) and 397th in steal rate. Those are the only two tempo-free categories in which Drew ranks in the top 10, nationally, and he is hardly elite in either, as you can see. The biggest indictment on Drew's ability (and, by proxy, making Williams look a fool): In his short time replacing Drew as a starter, freshman point guard Kendall Marshall is already fifth-best in the country at distributing the ball. Simply amazing.

With Kendall needing not to look over his shoulder for the rest of this season, his production stands to continue at a high rate, especially in the average ACC.

My take is not revolutionary or original; I'm merely trying to push the stamp down for indelible emphasis' sake — Drew's departure is dramatic off the floor, but hardly impactful on it. Don't expect as much as a hiccup from UNC over this.


Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: February 6, 2011 11:48 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

  Walking into the Smith Center today you saw a who's who of Carolina Basketball. Former, current and future Tar Heel all united in Tar Heel pride. 

The players and coach showed the the team is more important than one player especially Larry Drew and his parents. In case you didn't notice if Marshal had one more point 3 Tar Heels would have had double doubles, still two players is pretty good.

Coach Williams is just showing why he is a Hall of Fame Coach!

Since: Jul 10, 2007
Posted on: February 6, 2011 10:53 am

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

In the short run, it might hurt or it could lead these guys to rally together.  Clearly, he was not a "leader" on the team.  Spoiled to such a degree that even though he was playing better AND the team was playing better w/his minutes down, he took his ball and went home. 

From an objective point of view, the team has been playing much more classical UNC ball lately.  Passionate defense and high octane offense.  Drew held on to the ball and didn't handle the offense to get it into a flow.  That's not to say he isn't a decent player, simply he is not a classic point guard.  Too often he didn't get the ball to the other players in a position to score, held the ball for one or two counts too long when someone flashed open, or simply chose not to make the pass.  He did have some good games, but too often it was a lack of effort.  His demeanor after the win in Miami was one of indifference.  He barely shook hands after a gutsy team performance. 

Stats sometimes can mean something, but when it comes to team chemistry, they can be misleading.  Just because he didn't average 5 turnovers a game doesn't mean he was above average.  For comparison, Donovan McNabb has never thrown many interceptions.  He simply threw the ball away.  Drew simply holds on to it for far too long.

He's still a kid, so you can't criticize him too much, but to me the team will rally and play better.  Losing him will force someone else to step up.  He took his ball and now will have to play somewhere else.  Good luck and don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:26 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple


Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:25 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

Three words: addition by subtration!

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: February 5, 2011 8:44 am

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

Barely a ripple, huh?  Might want to check those stats a little more closely. Since Marshall moved into the starting lineup he's averaging 5 points per game and has 17 assists to 11 turnovers.  His assist to turnover ratio is nearly 50% worse since the switchout.  Drew had 19 assists and 3 turnovers in the last four games since the change.  Drew was playing a key role on the court.  Off the court?  Anyone's guess, I suppose.  But one thing is clear, he couldn't stand the sight of Roy's face for one more minute.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 4, 2011 10:03 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

I agree.  Just look at what has happened to Duke down the line as minutes and bench depth have caught up with them.  Drew had actually been playing much better since coming off the bench.  His experience and minutes gone, UNC has a tough schedule ahead.  Florida State's defense should give everyone an idea of how the team going forward can make up for Drew.  They may be aided by this being a home game as calls generally favor the home team in the ACC.  Florida State will likely get into some foul trouble, particularly in the paint.  This should allow UNC to push even harder on their secondary break showing what their consistency in that area will be.  However, with 7 of their remaining 9 games against the top half of the ACC, I would expect them to lose 3 or 4 down the stretch and finish 3rd or 4th in the conference.  The effects of depth and minutes will continue to hurt them in the ACC tourney, but will not hurt them as much in the NCAA tournament where they can make a nice run to the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight.

Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: February 4, 2011 10:00 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

Plug my mom in to give Marshall a breather. She would do the same as Drew.  Drew was a turnover master,  out of control player who couldn't pass with a bad attitude.  The cancer is gone.  This only HELPS the Heels...

There is nothing negative about this...BYE and best of luck playing for Centenary

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: February 4, 2011 9:58 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

Boar is right.  Drew struggled as a starter but has been a major factor off the bench in the last few games.  Not having him to turn to will definitely take the Heels down a notch.  It makes no sense to say it will have no impact.

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 4, 2011 7:19 pm

Drew's departure a shock wave yet barely a ripple

Predictable, but short-sighted reaction.  Kendall Marshall can't guard anybody for 40 minutes, and Dexter can't run a team as PG.  This will hurt the Tarheels.

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