UNC Freshmen Walker Kessler and Puff Johnson Play Limited Minutes Due to COVID Protocol

Walker Kessler and Puff Johnson played under five minutes despite having hot hands; Roy Williams explains their absence.
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C.: Tar Heels walk away with their first win of the season against College of Charleston, 79-60.

With seven incoming freshmen, Roy Williams made the starting lineup 20 minutes into warm-ups with Caleb Love, RJ Davis, Leaky Black, Armando Bacot, and Garrison Brooks. Still, it wasn't long before Williams had multiple subs to accumulate his players in their new atmosphere.

One of the more notable short minutes were Walker Kessler and Puff Johnson. Both players saw the court in under five minutes. Kessler finished the game with 6 points and four rebounds, and Johnson completed the game with a smooth three with his first and only possession of the night. Two hot hands with limited minutes; Why didn't Coach Williams play them longer? Missed practices due to COVID Protocols.

"They've just finished going through the COVID protocols and missed several practices down the last couple of weeks. They're back with us. They're good and gave them a few minutes to hopefully help us down the road."

Other notes worth mentioning for this freshmen lead team:

  • Caleb Love and RJ Davis started at guard, the first time two freshmen guards started in a game for UNC since the 2007 NCAA East Regional final vs. Georgetown (Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington)
  • This is the second straight season a freshman point guard led UNC in scoring in the season opener (last year, Cole Anthony set the ACC record for a freshman in a debut with 34 against Notre Dame).
  • Carolina committed only nine turnovers and equaled that number by blocking nine shots. UNC turned the ball over 18 times in the season opener vs. Notre Dame a year ago.

Next up, Carolina heads to Asheville to face UNLV in game 1 of the Maui Invitational on November 30 at 7:30 pm on ESPN2. 

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