Huffman wasn’t quite as efficient as Brooks offensively, finishing 3-7 from the field for just six points. He did contribute well defensively and grab seven rebounds, but Williams still wants to see more out of the 6-foot-10 forward.
“Huff had five blocked shots," he said, "but you cannot have three turnovers as a big guy in 13 minutes."
In what many see as a two-man battle for game time at center, it appears round one went to Brooks tonight.
Meanwhile, Manley made the most out of his limited playing time, going 3-4 from the field to finish with eight points in just eight minutes on the floor. The Ohio native has been somewhat overlooked by many, coming in as a three-star recruit in the same class as Brooks and Huffman, both of whom were four-stars.
But if Manley continues to perform well when called upon, it’s very possible he could start to see some game time as the season progresses, particularly in games when foul trouble comes into play.
Despite solid performances from the first-year forwards, Maye was undoubtedly the player of the night for North Carolina. In addition to his 18 points, he also racked up 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
The junior seems to be emerging as a leader for the Tar Heels on and off the court, especially in the absence of Joel Berry II. As a forward returning with some experience, Maye has taken up a big role in helping the new players settle, and he said he’s seen them improve considerably in the three weeks since practice started.
“I think we’ve got a lot of potential,” he said. “They’ve just got to keep putting in hard work and really try to get better each day.”
When all was said and done, UNC finished the game with 70 percent of their points coming from in the paint. Add that to 26 free-throw attempts, most of which also came from drives inside, and 20 offensive rebounds, and it’s clear that this team still has inside scoring ability.
By the time the season officially tips off, UNC fans will be hoping their perimeter shooters find their touch. However, after Friday night’s performance, they can at least take some reassurance that Maye and his frontcourt teammates have the potential to step up when called upon.