Author Archives: Adrian

About Adrian

I'm the editor of Maple Street Press's Tar Heel Tip-off, and live in Raleigh with my wife and 2-year-old daughter. I grew up along the banks of the Allegheny River, and terrorized the WPIAL as a pass-first point guard. Follow me on Twitter @FreeportKid.

Carolina’s Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 90-81

If you missed the first installment, it’s right here (including a description of the methodology):

Jumping right back into it:

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Carolina’s 100 Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 100-91

Late Night with Roy, the official tip-off to the 2011-12 basketball season, is right around the corner. So, in addition to myriad cheesy skits, that signals the arrival of some Carolina basketball content here at Tobacco Road Blues. While I’ll roll out some season preview stuff soon, let’s get started with a more historical look at the UNC program. I’ve been kicking around the idea/framework of a Top 100 list for a couple years for inclusion in my perpetually-in-progress Carolina Basketball Encyclopedia. Recently, shadzillao5 (sweet screen name, no?) brought up the idea on the Inside Carolina message boards, leading me to consult my old notes on the topic. Before revealing picks 91 through 100, I’ll introduce some ranking methodologies and guidelines that were used in creating this list. There are no right or wrong answers in creating a list like this (OK, maybe the inclusion of Larry Drew or Adam Boone is a wrong answer), but the following rules will help provide a little clarity and transparency regarding the rankings.

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Defensive Development in the Carolina System

New readers –

This is launch week on Tobacco Road Blues, the new site dedicated to Duke and UNC sports. This afternoon's post comes from Adrian Atkinson, a contributing writer. He'll be covering UNC sports, and basketball in particular. If you're interested in writing for TRB, follow the contact link to the right. Enjoy.



Quantitative Look at Defensive Development in the Carolina System

Conventional wisdom declares that experience matters in college basketball, especially on the defensive end of the court. While effective defense is a function of myriad physical traits—lateral quickness, length/wingspan, and strength, to name three—it is also heavily dependent on a player’s mental attributes. The ability to communicate with teammates, to make crisp and timely help rotations, and to execute the nuances of a complicated defensive scheme are all things that can be mastered irrespective of a player’s level of athleticism. But they can rarely be mastered without a healthy dose of experience. Shared court time with teammates—both on the practice floor and in game situations—is essential for developing the type of defensive IQ and chemistry that all championship-caliber teams have.

Moreover, there is an interaction effect between a player’s experience and his physical traits. By reacting instinctively rather than thinking, a defender can gain a half-step of quickness that might be the difference between a successful help rotation and an unsuccessful one. On the other hand, a player who is not yet acclimated with a defensive scheme can often look paralyzed with indecision on the court. This lack of experience and defensive understanding can erroneously manifest itself as a lack of quickness or effort.

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