They led a 80-64 win against Wake Tech on Tuesday, during which the pair combined for 32 points and eight assists, constantly moving the ball around and creating opportunities for the offense. According to O'Han, it was Palmer who led the charge.
"Brooks is our rock. He's the X-factor for this team. He does a little bit of everything. The floor general," O'Han said.
Palmer had his own praise for O'Han, complimenting his scoring abilities and referring to him as his co-leader of the team.
Palmer's goal heading into the season was simple: "Go undefeated."
That ambitious goal failed to survive the first game of the season as the Tar Heels dropped a 73-66 nail-biter to Moravian Prep last Saturday. Following the loss, Palmer simplified his mission.
"Get better every day," he said.
He headed into Tuesday's matchup with that goal for himself and his teammates in mind. His mindset was similar. Avoid a two-game losing streak and help his younger teammates take full advantage of the unique opportunities in front of them because, in O'Han's words, "It goes by quick."
Palmer and O'Han's shared focus on the development of the team and their need to win games is what has made them such strong players — and now, leaders — the past three years.
There was a feeling, however, that the contest against the Eagles would be pivotal in establishing the course of the season.
"We felt like we should've won the game on Saturday, so (we needed) to get back on track," Palmer said.
The Tar Heels did just that on Tuesday night, knocking down nineteen field goals and going 6-14 from deep in the first half. Keeping the Eagles to 2-10 from the 3-point line was also key to a 17-point lead at halftime.
Things slowed down for the Tar Heels as they were outscored 32-31 in the second half, but Palmer and O'Han's encouragement of the younger players and frequent ball movement never ceased along the way to the team's first win of the season. That encouragement led to 20 assists as a team for the Tar Heels, compared to a meager eight for the Eagles.
Off the court, Palmer and O'Han could be heard talking to their teammates during the game, advising how to attack the situations in front of them.
Tuesday's win gave the Tar Heels a spark, and Palmer hopes to build on to that and gain some momentum in the coming weeks. Respect for Palmer in the locker room is clear. His teammates bought into his goals for the season and executed them against the Eagles.
Soon the team will move into the tougher portion of the schedule, playing top high schools such as Word of God Christian Academy and Huntington Prep, known for producing excellent Division-1 basketball players.
Until then, Palmer's mindset remains simple.
"Get better every day."
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