Commentary

Another big season for UNC

Updated: November 4, 2009, 4:46 PM ET
By Dick Vitale

How important is a coach who can flat-out recruit in a program that has great tradition?

The answer is ... very important. Just take a trip down to Chapel Hill, N.C. Look at what the Tar Heels have done.

How many teams could lose three first-round draft picks (Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington), plus a fourth player who was an integral member of a national championship team (Danny Green), and still compete for an ACC regular-season title? That's the case with UNC this season.

Many people would believe it is rebuilding time. Instead, Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams and his staff simply reloaded.

When the ACC preseason poll came out, the magic of Williams was on display. The Tar Heels were picked as the co-favorite in the league.

Williams went out and brought in an incredible recruiting class, including John Henson. All reports indicate he is the real deal and an impact diaper dandy. The Wear brothers (David and Travis), Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald, all will be contributors to the success of Carolina.

Then you look at the returning talent. Ed Davis is ready to become a star. Marcus Ginyard is back and healthy as Williams welcomes his tenacious defender to the lineup. Tyler Zeller returns after missing most of last season due to injury.

Look at the size up front. Let's not forget veteran starter Deon Thompson, who will be a major factor as well.

A key player in the backcourt will be Larry Drew, who will get his opportunity to see lots of PT (playing time).

Losing all of that talent, the Tar Heels will still find a way to compete. As long as Williams is on that sideline, watch out. He is a workaholic, never resting on the laurels of his past success. Williams is about being the best he can be today and tomorrow, always chasing that dream of North Carolina's being a contender year in and year out.

Williams is exactly like that guy eight miles down the road, Coach Kzyzweski. They are always pursuing the opportunity to be at the top of the mountain.

North Carolina will be fun to watch during the 2009-10 season. This will be a different team, very exciting and unique. It won't have the penetration ability and driving off the dribble a la Lawson, but it will utilize the pass more and get its break going.

It will be another big season for the Tar Heels, and key reason is a coach named W-I-L-L-I-A-M-S!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.