He took home the Most Valuable Player award of the 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational, a tournament North Carolina won.
Berry II is expected to be among the best in the ACC this year and contend for an All-American nomination. He will be the team captain and leader. But he won’t be the team’s best player.
That distinction will go to Cameron Johnson, the graduate student who transferred from Pittsburgh this summer.
Johnson is already drawing comparisons to 2017 All-American Justin Jackson, who was taken in the first round of the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.
Both are tall, lanky small forwards with long reaches. Both are capable of playing lockdown defense on the perimeter and stroking it from outside with silky-smooth jump shots. And, like Jackson last year, Johnson will be the best Tar Heel player this year.
Johnson started last year for a dysfunctional Pittsburgh team that went 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC.
He averaged 11.9 points per game for a team that landed two players, Michael Young and Jamel Artis, in the top five in the ACC in scoring.
That Johnson played efficient offense (44.7 percent field goal shooting and 41.5 percent 3-point percentage) for a bad team in which he wasn’t the main mouth to feed shows tremendous potential — for example, a 24-point scoring outburst in Chapel Hill last January in which he went 6 for 9 from the 3-point line. On defense, the Pennsylvania native averaged nearly a steal per game.
There’s a vacuum left with Jackson’s departure to the NBA, and Johnson is ready to fill it. Berry's jersey is headed for the rafters.
But this year, he’ll have to make room for another on the court.