Bullock, men's basketball team refocus for rebound against Miami

The North Carolina basketball team’s win against then-No. 20 UNLV on Dec. 29 looked like a turning point in the 2012-13 season.

But that momentum didn’t translate into success in Sunday’s ACC opener at Virginia, as the Tar Heels fell 61-52.

Coach Roy Williams said that he was “very discouraged” after the UVa. loss — and apparently he wasn’t the only one.

To regroup before tonight’s game against Miami, junior guard Reggie Bullock called a players-only meeting earlier this week.

“Me being a leader on this team,” Bullock said, “I just felt like, coach gave us our meeting, and he told us everything he needed to tell us.

“But I just felt like the players needed to talk about it, because we are the people actually going out on the court and performing the duties.”

Bullock said some of last year’s leaders — Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and John Henson — called a players-only meeting after the 33-point drubbing UNC took at the hands of FSU, and he thought it had a positive effect.

The Tar Heels took the opportunity this week to tidy up things Bullock thinks could be holding them back.

“I was talking with Joel (James), I was talking with the freshmen. Like, ‘Joel, how do you want it in the post, how do you want the ball in the post?’”

Williams has a laundry list of things he wants the Tar Heels to improve upon, such as inside scoring, less turnovers in the paint and more consistent outside shooting.

And Bullock added that the Tar Heels have been inconsistent, but he’s seen what their potential can amount to.

“When I wasn’t playing against UNLV, I could see how strong our team can be without one of the vets, leadership guys out there playing,” he said. “As a team, how we came out against UNLV, we have to be able to come out like that every game.”

Williams said he didn’t ask what was said at the meeting, as he doesn’t expect players to ask about coach’s meetings.

He also said Bullock is taking an increased role in the leadership of this team.

“He’s developing into one of our leaders that everybody keeps asking me about,” Williams said. “He’s getting more involved in that. Generally the best leadership comes from respect.”

Bullock, along with the other experienced Tar Heels, knows what it will take to compete with the rest of the ACC — and that mission starts tonight against Miami.

“I feel like our season has been going up and down, but we need to keep it at a steady pace before we get deep into conference and pick up our level of play,” Bullock said.

“I felt like it should start now, we shouldn’t wait.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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