David Noel on Leaky Black, 'He Needs To Be a Monster'
In a difficult season that ended in a loss to Syracuse in the ACC Tournament, North Carolina is ushering in a talented group of kids who seemingly can push this program back into a competitive edge. With the class of 2020, Williams has the No. 1 recruiting class in the ACC and No. 2 nationally; the first time in eight years, Williams has topped Coach K and Duke.
With the highest ranking recruiting for UNC since 2009, Walker Kessler, Puff Johnson, Caleb Love, Kerwin Walton, RJ Davis, and Day'ron Sharpe are hoping to help reignite Carolina fans for an explosive season.
Williams is looking to his veteran players to provide the vote of confidence and leadership to lead North Carolina to familiar dominance. But who exactly should that be? On 'The Player and The Fan Podcast,' David Noel spoke extensively about two specific players to fill different roles, leadership, and the monster.
Leadership: Garrison Brooks
Pretty self-explanatory. Brooks has nothing to prove to fans or Coach Williams. Brooks' junior season was the expectation of Coach Williams. With an offense that flows from point guard to big, Brooks walked into a season where he was needed every game; the option to not show up wasn't given. His numbers grew significantly; As a sophomore, he averaged 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds; This year, Brooks doubled his productivity by averaging 16.8 points, 17 steals, 16 blocks, and 8.5 rebounds.
The Lafayette, AL native, exceeded countless records such as being the first Tar Heel to score 20 or more points in seven straight games since Tyler Hansbrough and led the ACC to score in conference games at 18.8 points per game and was second in rebounding and field goal percentage. Last season, Brooks was also the only Heel to miss one game this season due to a cold.
Brooks has been active socially and politically using his platform this offseason to advocate for voting and racial justice. He's shed his shy exterior, and for Noel, that will translate into dominance and leadership with his teammates.
Monster: Leaky Black
Black's flashes were seen last season, and as he steps into his junior year, his leadership and confidence will be needed for him to be the player Williams consistently knows he can be.
His freshman year, he averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.3 minutes. He doubled those numbers his sophomore year, 6.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists; Starting in 31 games leading the team with 40 steals and second with 83 assists.
"If Leaky can be the player that he is capable of being for the North Carolina Tar Heels, then he takes us to a completely different level. I think he transcends every position that's on the floor; He can be the backup to every single position." Noel says on the podcast, "He can be the leader and the defensive stopper. He's probably a jump shot away from even possibly getting drafted."
Black has the potential to be more than just the wing for this loaded team. The North Carolina native fought through frustrations with an injury by his ankle and missed significant time contributing to the team. After going through five different recovery plans, and countless hours of dedication, Black should be a cannon this upcoming season.
In multiple conferences, Williams echoed his mentor, Coach Dean Smith, 'Every seven or eight years, North Carolina needs to have a bad season so fans can appreciate what they have.' No one has higher expectations for this team than fans, and no one wants to redeem themselves more than this program.
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