NEW ORLEANS – Talent and raw ability has never been the question with Jalek Felton, the first-year backup point guard on the No. 5 North Carolina men’s basketball team.
Whether or not he can be consistent with his play and learn to do what it takes to be a good team player at the college level has been, rather.
In that regard, Felton’s play in UNC’s 86-72 win against Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic coupled with his recent effort in practice could be seen as a step in the right direction.
Against the Buckeyes, Felton, in just 12 minutes of action, went for 12 points, all of which came from the 3-point line, and dished out five assists.
But what Felton did in practice leading up to Saturday’s game was what impressed his head coach the most.
“He dove on the floor yesterday in practice for a loose ball for the first time in his life,” Roy Williams said of Felton. “He’s 18 years old – first time he’s ever dove on the floor, and he’s hurting. But he sucked it up and played today.”
And played well, at that.
Felton didn’t get off on the right foot against Ohio State, but quickly made amends. Soon after spelling Joel Berry II for the first time of the game, he made a careless pass that resulted in a turnover and an easy bucket for the Buckeyes.
Turnovers were what limited Felton to just five minutes of action in UNC’s loss to the Wofford Terriers on Wednesday, and it looked like they could be a problem again against Ohio State.