Friday, February 4, 2011

Rapid Reaction to Larry Drew Leaving

This picture is of a Tar Heel, not Larry Drew II
When I first saw the ESPN article this morning by Pat Forde reporting that Larry Drew was immediately leaving the Tar Heels I was floored.  I was in class so I wasn't able to consistently check up on the situation but by around 1:00 PM it became apparent that Drew was indeed bolting.  After watching Roy Williams' press conference and letting things sink in I've come to a couple conclusions concerning this whole mess.

1) Larry Drew Sr. was pulling the strings on this one
Look, it is highly possible that Drew II decided he was done with UNC when he was supplanted as the starter.  Still, he seemed to be taking his demotion well and was quietly playing some of the best basketball of his career.  Based on how surprised all his teammates seemed, I don't think he really detested being at UNC.  I think his father decided that Drew II needed to start and told him that to do so he needed to get out of Chapel Hill.  That brings me to my next point.

2) The timing does make sense, but only in the most selfish of ways
For the first 3 hours after the announcement I just couldn't understand the rationale for leaving now.  Drew would have to sit out a year whether he left now or at the end of the season and it wasn't like the Tar Heels were middling in mediocrity like last season.  Then I realized that at this moment Drew II's stock is about as high as its going to get this season.  He just had a great 3 game stretch and perhaps may have convinced some smaller D1 schools that he is a valuable asset.  My guess is that Daddy Drew recognized this and basically told his son that if he wanted to keep his dream of playing in the NBA alive he needed to get out and get out now.

3) If the rationale I just mentioned is true then UNC is well rid of Drew and his father
I supported Larry Drew much of last season and this season.  Even when it became apparent to me early on that Marshall needed to be the starter I still held off on bashing Drew and thought he could be a valuable asset at backup and with his significantly improved defense.  However, this move was remarkably selfish and demonstrated that he put the name on the back of the jersey ahead of the name on the front.  Perhaps he still will end up a decent player, but I'm happy he's no longer a Tar Heel.

4) With regards to recruiting I think people are blaming the wrong culprit
I've seen a lot of people on IC today that Roy Williams needs to stop recruiting from California.  True he has had 4 Cali boys transfer out of the program but I don't think being from California was the deciding factor.  Alex Stepheson handled his transfer gracefully and whether or not it was really due to a sick father it made sense.  UNC had Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson returning in the frontcourt and had two high profile freshmen in the incoming class in Zeller and Ed Davis.  I think the Wears and Drew both can be attributed more to micromanaging parents rather than being from the golden state.  Admittedly, were I Coach Williams I may be a little less likely to pursue California recruits, but I would be way more cautious with regards to the player's parents.

5) The Case for UNC being better off without Drew II this season
Drew's departure opens the door for Kendall Marshall to take full reins of this team and be its leader.  Marshall will likely see 30+ minutes a game now and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up leading the ACC in assists by the end of the season.  The Domino effect on the depth chart will also open up more minutes for both Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock, both of whom have showed promise in reserve roles.  Most players seemed to enjoy playing with Marshall more.  UNC's FG% and 3PT % is bound to improve.  The team seems to be very close and could use this incident as further motivation.  The whole team will be in Chapel Hill during the summer.  UNC didn't have backups who saw significant minutes behind Raymond and Tywon.  Did I mention Kendall MF'ing Marshall?

6) The Case for UNC being worse off without Drew II this season
Marshall is still not that great of a defender and may not be in good enough shape to handle 30+ minutes per game.  Dexter Strickland has improved playing off the ball this season but was ineffective at point guard last year (to be fair to Strickland he was playing PG for the first time).  Drew II sometimes seemed to spark UNC's defensive intensity and there could be a trickle down effect due to his departure.  IC trolls will begin to attack another player on the team now that Drew II is gone.

7) TJ Yates is the man
This seems to be out of nowhere but I just want to draw the contrast between how each handled his situation.  Both entered this academic year with many detractors and both seemed poised to be upended by younger, more promising prospects.  Yates ignored the critics, worked to improve and helped lead UNC through a season full of adversity, breaking school records along the way.  It ended with him leading a game tying drive in the Music City bowl which UNC would eventually win to secure its first bowl victory in a long time.  Drew spend the summer in California working with his father instead of in Chapel Hill getting used to playing with his teammates.  He was thoroughly mediocre throughout most of the season and eventually was replaced in the starting lineup by Marshall which ended with this whole debacle.  Lets put it this way.  When TJ Yates is out at a bar in Chapel Hill, most Tar Heel fans will want to buy him a beer.  Drew II will be lucky if he gets served by the bartender.  Larry Drew is no longer a Tar Heel.  I'm really not sure if he ever was.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I too thought of the Drew-Yates comparison and posted it on IC (the thread name escapes me). They really are polar opposites of how to handle adversity. And in Drew's case, if you can't handle it, at least be graceful and timely with the decision, instead of leaving the team out to dry.

    Oh well. Here's to hoping the rest of the team keeps the winning momentum up.

  3. The above is a thorough theory and is based on pretty sound reasoning and some solid evidence. One bit of information from it which particularly impressed me was the statement that LDII spent the summer with his father in CA rather than in the gym in Chapel Hill. Strong evidence of his failure to advance his skill levels.

  4. The downside of Drew leaving.

    If Marshall gets hurt, UNC is screwed.

  5. The article on IC is really enlightening too about his mom. What a pair of parents. Unless the parents/relatives are Tar Heels (see McAdoo, James) I almost want to stop recruiting players with NBA parents. Davis was a better player but apparently also had a detached attitude similar to Drew's

  6. Scott May was an NBA player and that worked out pretty nicely for us I'd say.

  7. You will never see LDII in a bar in NC again, so I doubt he is worried about who serves him a beer. And no, as evidenced by his summers in CA, he never was a Tar Heel. Pity for UNC he didn't make this decision after last season.