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Mike DeCourcy: Bench Larry Drew

Something for you while you are picking through the leftovers. Not to mention this will be another example of fans loving a columnist for one column when generally they accuse him of being pro-Duke or pro-UK or whatever. If you don’t believe me, go to Inside Carolina and count the number of times someone prefaces a comment by saying, “Normally I don’t care for/agree with/like Mike DeCourcy but…”  At any rate, DeCourcy calls for the benching of Larry Drew, which is not a novel idea nor does it go far enough for some UNC fans who would rather he’d never play again

Roy Williams ought to have seen enough by now.

In the calendar year 2010, this is what North Carolina junior Larry Drew has produced as the Tar Heels point guard: a 12-16 record, 35 percent shooting, more than 3 turnovers per game.

Williams always has believed in Drew and told Sporting News during the preseason, “He’s gotten an unfair rap — and I mean very unfair — for being the sole reason things went poorly.”

With the Heels now 3-2, however, Drew is shooting 27 percent. In two games against high-major opponents, UNC averaged 18.5 turnovers. Even if one believes in Drew’s skills, it’s apparent he no longer does.

It’s time for Williams to make a change. If Drew really is the champion Williams believes him to be, being demoted will push him to fight harder to win back his job.

Williams himself said after the loss to Vanderbilt in Puerto Rico that playing time must be earned. If that really were the standard, Drew would find his gear hanging from a wooden peg in the UNC locker room.

Honestly this is nothing new among UNC fans. Benching Larry Drew was all the rage after the first game much less today following five substandard performances. DeCourcy does make a valid point about benching Drew might cause him to actually play better. I, for one, think some lineup shifts and role changes might lead to some better play from multiple players. Whether that happens or not is anyone’s guess.

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36 comments to Mike DeCourcy: Bench Larry Drew

  • nativeheel

    I am in agreement. It has long been my contention that the Heels will never win ANY championships with LD II as our starting point guard. He lacks both the skill and the will to be such for UNC. The time is now to make a change before we get into ACC play. The numbers are just not there for him to remain as a starter!
    Go Heels!!

  • chapelhillfan

    Thanks. As you point out, this will come as no surprise to folks on here. But, we all know Roy is stubborn. He may choose to live and die with Drew out of principle and/or spite (b/c he has to know the fanbase wants Marshall to start). I love the guy, but I think Dean would make the changorgy conference play for the good of the team.

  • wb3

    No doubt drew has been terrible. But Roy said on Monday that marshall hasn’t been playing any defense. Unfortunately he is the better option for now, but only by default

  • Heels Perspective

    Roy essentially signed Kendall Marshall 4 years ago. I love his committment to the Heels and think he a better option at least offensively.

    I have two questions though:

    1) Did this committment to Marshal handcuff Roy to a degree in not being able to attract guys like Irving or Brandon Knight?

    2) If Roy were to “bench” Drew would this disrupt what little team chemistry there is at this point?

  • faustus1500

    I will say it once and I will say it again. I am not buying the “Drew plays better defense schtick.” Bobby Frasor was a much better defender than Ty Lawson, but do you know what the Heels did just find with Lawson at the point.

  • wb3

    ^ just watch kendall’s defense. He can’t keep his man in front of him. It’s not a schtick, sadly

  • faustus1500

    ^once again Frasor was a solid lock down defender like Drew. Lawson…..well….it wasn’t until the end of the 2009 season that he started play solid defense. I mean do you remember the number of guards who had career days against Lawson?

  • I think there is a difference between “being a better defender,” and having the “ability to be a better defender.”

    Bobby Frasor was a better (and more consistent) defender than Ty Lawson, especially within the concept of a team defense. However, when Lawson did turn it on, he was a much better defender, especially on the ball, than Frasor was, because of his strength and quickness.

    This is somewhat similar to what we have now, in that Drew has the ability to be a better defender, and we have seen flashes of this the last two games, but he doesn’t do it consistently. What makes things more interesting/complicated is that in this case, Marshall is the one who is (appears to be) the better option on offense, which makes it harder to go with the guy who may or may not play better defense.

  • Andy In Omaha

    UNC needs to score some points….bad.
    What I see out of Marshall is the potential to be a good defensive player. If he’s getting the lion’s share of the minutes he’ll know he needs to tighten the screws defensively in order to stay on the court. I would much rather have Marshall out there who can develop into a good defender while producing enough on offense than Drew where you know you’re going to get a 4 assist, three turnover, lousy shooting night.
    And in terms of chemistry, it may help. I see no leadership from Drew at all. While the rest of the squad is working out in NC, he’s out in California.

  • carolinablue74

    I think Roy sees a upgraded version of Marcus Ginyard in Drew. A so-called perimeter defender, who can shoot better but just as sloppy with the ball. The question is does this team really need another Marcus Ginyard (upgraded or not) for 2010-11 season?

  • gregrustin

    we are the laughing stock of the country. coach K would have drew cleaning lockers. i have had enough. i even thing HBarnes will do better with KMarshall dishing the rock to him. Roy may have won 2 championships, but last I looked we both put pants on in the mornings. he is not infallible…just stubborn

  • faustus1500


    When I watch Marshall, I see Deron Williams after his broken jaw. Williams lost weight after breaking his jaw and then started to become the great point guard that we know. While man to man defense is something Marshall needs to work on, he is currently averaging more than twice as many steals as LDII does.

  • ^Williams is much more explosive than Marshall, but I could definitely see Marshall developing a similar all-around game.

    As for the steals, you have to be a little careful there because there is no distinction made between a steal when a player takes the ball directly from the man he is guarding, and a steal a player gets credited by grabbing a tipped ball or intercepting a pass out of a double team. I’ve never understood why there hasn’t been a movement to better track the type of steal a player gets credited for.

    That being said, it would not surprise me at all if Marshall ends up being a better (team) defender than Drew because of his size advantage.

  • faustus1500

    ^I agree. It is like Danny Green’s blocks. The steals say to me that Marshall has quick hands either way. The key to Drew’s defense is his lateral quickness and his length. Hpowever, I think the ability to cause turnovers is crucial in UNC’s fast breaking offense.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    I don’t care who the better defender is. This is crazy. If it was Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker who was on the roster and they didn’t play defense as well as Drew (and they actually may not) Roy probably wouldn’t start them either and we’d be losing games that we shouldn’t lose as a result. What is Roy’s goal for this year - to win 20+ games or to have one his players win defensive player of the year?

    I thought the number one priority for a point guard was to run the offense effectively? Playing defense is also important, but is it as important as running the offense effectively?

  • OldSchool

    Roy is beyond stubborn. He kept starting Ginyard last season when even Ginyard must have known his game had passed him by. But it’s all good no matter what. The Heels will be back strong within the next year. Hairston will give us plenty of perimeter scoring and McAdoo will liven up the inside. Barnes will stay another year (unless he turns into a dominating star in the next few months). Henson will be better next year (no way he leaves with the extremey limited game he has now).

  • makeitWayne22

    Real question is what happens after the Tar Heels go 0-3 over the next 3 and fall to 3-5 on the season. Roy will get to see a real PG on Sunday when CoC comes to town, completely schools are backcourt similar to last year. Then a trip to Ill, followed by a game against Kentucky.

  • 40yrheel

    i wish the solution was as simple as “bench drew, play marshall”.
    either way, this team is not very good.

  • Heel in Purple

    C. Michael:
    I agree with your angst on how steals are measured. However, having more steals does prove that one has better anticipation than the other. If you’re stripping a guard, you anticipate the dribble, while picking off passes is anticipating passing lanes and the other PG’s body language.
    Marshall has picked off passes, which leads to quicker buckets than just stripping a guy because you are usually moving towards the basket. He seems very good as the FS/Interceptor on our halfcourt and fullcourt traps. Being a better anticipator should be more important than just having length. And the change in offensive efficiency is undisputable.

    Better to go down swinging the biggest stick you have (3 freshman getting more minutes/starting) than with a twig.

  • AZACCFan

    The next three games are going to be brutal.

    NO two ways about it.

    At least Zeller is making progress.

    Still seeing way to much collapsing on UNC offensive players with success. Barnes, Henson and Zeller continue to have trouble finding open teammates when this happens.

    I hope they are working on this in practice. And that Henson can keep working on his free throws. In the UNC-a game, he at least hit the rim or better on all his FTs. Which is progress. I just don’t see how he can act so calm on the line when these are not going in.

    It would be nice to see what happens with a changed lineup from the beginning Sunday. Keep the poorly producing players on the bench for at least the first 10 minutes, or until the starters fail.

  • makeitWayne22

    ^ again sadly i dont see that happening. Still see Drew and Dex starting, and after 10 minutes only producing 12 pts. I am finally seeing this team for what it is, and not what i want it to be.

  • william

    Just think how bad last season might have been without the defensive stalwarts Drew and Ginyard in the starting line-up. I don’t think we can chance giving up on Drew’s superior defense just to get some extra offense.

  • unc steph

    No reason to bench Drew or Marshall. This is what Roy recruited. He knew what he was getting before they even arrived. We are always seeing Roy do his hand motion for Drew to speed up the court. Larry Drew is not Ty Lawson or Raymond Felton, neither is Marshall. Roy needs to change his “style” and slow it down for his “current” personnel. If he does not this will be an ugly year once again for all of us.

  • gregrustin

    does anyone remember when Dean slowed up the game and made an adjustment for the young Ed Cota. he (Dean) created a two man high/low between Ed and Jamison that went on to give ACC teams fits. I loved it and IT WORKED!!!! there are time to make adjustments and go with what and who works.thats all we crazed/lunatic fans are asking for.

  • UNC Steph. I have accepted the fact that having another Lawson is a few years away, if ever again. With that being said, I’m still not convinced that Drew is superior to Marshall. While he may not be Lawson, he might be DJ Augustine, or any version of a step below. Marshall seems to have confidence, looks and congratulates teammates, has a little swagger, and by God y’all have better noticed the fact that he looks right down court for an outlet pass after scores and rebounds. That is something Lawson did do when he’d spot Ellington already at half court after a made basket.

    Really folks, if we are going to lose, I’d rather do it with the most exciting line up available to us. I think that, no pun intended, STARTS with Marshall.

  • gregrustin

    ditto jbowling…id rather lose with kids fightin their “arse” off then just lolly gaggin around. marshall,bulloc and barnes seem to be fighters. lets get them two other warriors and see what we can do.

  • JohnBrownsBooty

    benching Drew would disrupt the chemistry of this team?


    Drew being allowed to remain on the roster is what’s disrupting the chemistry of this team.


  • chapelhillfan

    I couldn’t care less if Drew can’t handle a demotion. I am sick and tired if watching him pound the basketball and go nowhere while the offense stagnates. Marshall has the swagger and confidence we need, plus he is outplaying Drew overall. Alas, Roy is stubborn and will refuse to adjust his style to fit his roster like Dean did year in and year out. I’d give Drew another three of four games to prove we are wrong, then I’d bench him by mid- December. Folks will not and should not tolerate another NIT season, I don’t care about the excuses.

  • faustus1500

    Maybe winning two titles got to Roy’s head. He is thinking, “I won two titles, these sports writers haven’t even won a single game. Whatever I feel is right is obviously right.” A great amount of success in short amount of time can cause even the most humble of men to have big heads.

  • ^^^. I’d love to hear Confucius’ quotes about Roy.

  • william

    OK. It is decided. Henceforth, Marshall shall be the starting guard with all the benefits, amenities and rights thereto….

  • uncgirl50

    Larry has my full support, but I have to agree. At this point he’s just not bringing the game we need. It’ll at least be motivation for him to play better if he’s benched for at least a few games. Kendall will gain some good experience and confidence as well. But that is only my opinion, Roy knows best!

  • marcus62660

    I don’t think Larry Drew cares whether he is the starting point guard or not. I’ve never been convinced that his committment to this team (or basketball in general) is what it should be in order to perform at a high level. I think he is the poster child for the dreaded “sense of entitlement” issue.

    That comment may get a laugh or two so let me back it up.

    I had a lengthy conversation this week with 3 people who are directly associated with the basketball program in different capacities, one of them having been there since LDII’s freshman year. They watch him every day and they are unanimously convinced that his general attitude is the crippling factor in his failure to progress.

    Two years ago, we watched him as a freshman and had high hopes that he would emerge as a leader. That hasn’t happened. We’ve been spoiled by the Ford, Smith, Felton, Lawson eras, so we naturally assume that the next guy coming through will display the same talent and leadership qualities. Bad assumption.

    Forget comparing talent levels, because I honestly believe that Larry Drew possesses an abundance of talent that we will never see. It will always be hidden by his attitude.

  • makeitWayne22

    ^ spot on, Larry doesn’t have the desire to be great. He is a rich kid from LA, that is more interested in getting his rap career to take off, than Carolina bball. Kendall could be a spark that the whole team needs. Dex is Melvin Scott to me, and Roy never gave Melvin Scott starter minutes, because he had a guy named McCants on that team. Just look to the bench Roy a lot of your problems will be solved.

  • 52bgJ

    off with Drew’s head! j/k, no seriously, Butch should approach Roy about making him a football DB-he can’t be more lost than the ones we’ve got.

    I guess THF has given his opinion on this with the subtle graphic add.

  • faustus1500


    How does one player look awesome against Michigan State and then suddenly descend to awful play. I think you are somewhat right about the sense of entitlement. However, I think the problem is that he didn’t expect it to be as hard as it has been. Sometimes when you have things come easily to you in life you expect it to stay that way.