The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday February 28th

Drew brings a revamped game to UNC

Backcourt looks to replace stars

Marcus Ginyard is back for his fifth campaign in argyle and blue. DTH File Photo
Buy Photos Marcus Ginyard is back for his fifth campaign in argyle and blue. DTH File Photo

Back in May, Larry Drew II returned to California for the off season. After only a week, his father, Larry Drew, took Drew II to dinner at a nearby T.G.I. Friday’s. During the meal, the elder Drew left and went to the car. When he returned, he wasn’t empty-handed.

“He came back with a folder and dropped it on the table,” Drew II said. “It was like, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. It was like everything that I would do all day, he just had a schedule. He basically had it all planned before I even got there.”

Drew didn’t have a lengthy motivational speech planned out for his son, though. He simply said, “This is what you’re doing this summer. Get committed.”

And committed Drew II was.

After arriving in Chapel Hill in 2008 as a heralded high school recruit and a fairly prolific three-point shooter, Drew underwent a rocky freshman campaign. He scored only 1.4 points each contest. His field goal percentage was 35 percent, and his percentage from long range was much worse: a dismal 23 percent.

Drew II recognized this fact and entered the summer ready to change the perceptions about his jumper.

Under his dad’s workout plan, the now-sophomore woke up every day at 6 a.m. He’d shoot for two hours and then do some conditioning. After lunch, it was back to shooting.

“A lot of the stuff that we did actually was close-range,” Drew II said. “Working on my form, trying to get my touch right. All my mechanics were OK close to the basket.”

By the end of the day, Drew II would usually hoist close to 1,000 shots — a workout that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.

During the team’s media day, forward Tyler Zeller acknowledged how well Drew II has been shooting in pickup games.

“Last year, I didn’t feel like he had the greatest confidence level,” Zeller said. “(Now) he doesn’t question what he’s doing. He just goes and makes a move right away.”

North Carolina coach Roy Williams will certainly hope this is the case. After losing his two backcourt starters in Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington to the NBA draft, the Tar Heels’ current crop of guards brings an aura of uncertainty.

Drew II will likely be the opening-game starter at point guard but not much else is known. Redshirt senior Marcus Ginyard is a lockdown defender but has never been known as a go-to scorer at UNC.

Still, much like Drew II, such perceptions didn’t stop Ginyard from tailoring his offseason toward a specific part of his game.

“Definitely more shots, more shots, more shots. More shots, no question,” he said.

Redshirt junior Will Graves returns, after being suspended for a large portion of last season. Graves brings a sweet stroke from deep and could be the team’s best chance at outside scoring. But he averaged only 11.2 minutes last year and has never been an established scorer in the UNC rotation.

And there are the two freshman guards, Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald. Both are highly acclaimed, but they are freshman. Williams probably won’t heavily rely on the pair at first.

“If you’re not patient, you’re only cutting your own throat,” Williams said. “I don’t mind the uncertainty as long as the guy that does start plays really well.”

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