May 5, 2016
After coming three points short of a national championship, the North Carolina Tar Heels will have to replace some key players in order to compete in 2016-17.
The team will be without Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige, who along with Joel James are set to graduate. While Kennedy Meeks has removed his name from the NBA draft, per C.L. Brown of ESPN.com, Justin Jackson is still undecided about his future and could choose to play professionally.
Unlike Meeks, Jackson has a legitimate chance of being taken in one of the two rounds and was invited to the combine, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. A strong performance could boost his stock, although he is ranked just the No. 62 prospect on DraftExpress and No. 72 by ESPN’s Chad Ford.
It will be a difficult decision for the young player, but considering how much another year could help him, we will assume Jackson will be back playing for UNC next season. If this is the case, the Tar Heels will return a significant portion of last year’s Final Four squad.
When you add this to a solid recruiting class ranked No. 10 in the country by 247Sports, this will once again be a top team in the ACC as well as the nation. A lot can change in the coming months, but here is a look at an early projection for the starting lineup in November.