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Block Party

Don’t bring that weak tot action!

On Thursday night at Virginia Tech, UNC’s frontline  spent the better part of the evening returning shots to the sender. The Heels tallied nine blocks on the night, six from John Henson, two from Tyler Zeller and one from Harrison Barnes on a Dorenzo Hudson three pointer. With Henson this sort of thing is commonplace but every once in awhile there is an opposing player who thinks he can simply walk into the lane and put up a shot against Henson not fully grasping the length of Henson’s reach. The two most famous examples of this are current NCSU player C.J. Leslie and former Pack guard Ryan Harrow. Both had their “Meet John Henson” moments last season. In the case of Leslie, Henson actually got into his head to the point he was worthless playing against UNC. The latest member of the Meet John Henson Club is Virginia Tech’s C.J. Barksdale who posted Henson up in the first half, decided to shoot the ball then this happened(via the N&O)

Photo Credit: Robert Willet - N&O

Barksdale recovered the ball after the block and must have thought it would be a good idea to try again. Now, you’ve all heard the definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Clearly Barksdale qualifies as being insane because his second shot attempt was blocked also. He was never heard from again.

As impressive as that was, the Tyler Zeller block of Robert Brown actually topped it(via Inside Carolina)

Brown is 6-5 and has shown the ability to posterize opposing players in the past. On Thursday night he drove into the lane with the intention of doing the same to Zeller. The UNC senior was having none of it and made a spectacular block when you take into account Zeller had to jump up and block the ball out of Brown’s hand in midflight. It was a “not in my house” kind of play. It was also a key moment in the game. Virginia Tech was up by four at the time and a spectacular dunk over UNC’s center would have sent the Cassell Coliseum crowd into a frenzy. Instead Zeller corralled the rebound and five seconds later P.J. Hairston nailed a three.

In the past two games, Zeller has been much more active going after opposing players shots around the basket. He is not generally known as a shot blocker but Zeller showed last night he is not some stiff who cannot make defensive plays. Roy Williams already hailed Zeller has the best defensive player on the team for his understanding of the defense and the number of charges he takes. If you add some consistent shot blocking to his resume, that only makes him better.


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21 comments to Block Party

  • AZACCFan

    Remember how only a few weeks ago Zeller was being placed on life support.

    It was great to see John Henson much more focused and playing hard as well.

    How bout those Barnes chest bumps to the opposing players?

  • “Instead Zeller corralled the rebound…”

    And this is the real reason why Zeller’s block was better. Henson’s blocks were nice, but they really meant nothing, as his second was rebounded by Erik Green, who promptly hit a three.

  • LarryS

    “The idea is to not block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe you might block every shot.”

    Bill Russell

  • AZACCFan

    Practice drill:

    Rebound the blocked ball or run. Blocker is eligible to run or rebound as well.

  • 2nd half last night henson looked more active than i’ve ever seen him. hedging on screens, head on a swivel, quick recovery to his man after screen rolls. not sure if he had as many or more blocks in the 2nd half…but he looked like a complete defensive machine.

  • Heel To The End

    might be my imagination, but it seems like Henson is trying to improve on keeping the blocked shot in play. he blocked a couple that he recovered himself.

  • C Michael are you a moderator?

  • “C Michael are you a moderator?”

    C.Michael and Doc both have administrative privileges & can moderate comments.

  • makeitWayne22

    I agree C Michael, but Henson’s blocks can be so disrespectful that it causes the man he is guarding to stop shooting.

  • Heel To The End

    everything in moderator, i always say.

  • LarryS

    I say it would be a privilege to be a moderator.

  • Heel in Purple

    With fairness, you could argue Henson’s second block should have been grabbed by Marshall. He didn’t and then Green per the “Make a ridiculous 3 b/c UNC is the opponent” rule banked in a 3 with Marshall ALL OVER him.

  • ^^^^Agreed. I was just talking about this one particular example in comparison with Z’s block. Of Henson’s 4 other blocks last night, 3 of them resulted in UNC getting the ball back either directly or through a forced TO.

    ^Also agree, HiP. And in general, Henson does do quite a good job of keeping his blocks in play, which is why it is somewhat surprising that his teammates don’t react better to them.

  • LarryS

    I ran across this player on You Tube who has a very effective blocking technique.


  • AZACCFan

    Maybe they need the block drill as outlined above.

    Playing with a guy who can block shots like this is a bit of a mixed blessing. If you expect a block, defense can suffer. I think this was happening early this year. With his team mates watching him block shots. If there is a block opportunity it almost has to be treated like a rebound, which is not easy.

    Maybe this is a coachable play. Of course the UNC staff has to be all over this.

  • AZACCFan


    That play by Jordan was probably illegal as he pinned the ball against the back board.

    But still intimidating.

  • makeitWayne22

    We expect these blocks from John, but i have been blow away by Tyler’s blocks the last 2 games. He is playing grown man defense and rebounding a ton

  • LarryS

    ^^Not unless it hits the backboard before the defensive player touches it….pinning is allowed.

  • Heel To The End

    not a thing illegal about MJ’s block.

  • AZACCFan

    Heel To The End

    I looked it up and you are right. Unless the ball was coming off the back board, trapping the ball against the board is OK. It is even OK to pass the ball to yourself via the backboard.

    If you touch the ball as or after it comes off the board, it is goal tending. I could easily see Henson, Zeller, Barnes or Bullock making that play to pretty good effect.

  • Henson is one of the best players UNC has ever put on the floor, and behind that boyish smile is a killer instinct. He ought to be an all-star in the League as well.

    Zeller’s shadow has gone largely unheralded but it will keep growing until it clearly reveals the stature of his career at Carolina. I loved to hear a friend of mine who went to some school in Raleigh see Zeller playing and say, “When is he gonna *leave*?!”

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