When any of the starters on the North Carolina men’s basketball team were benched last season, it was due to injury or foul trouble.
This year, though, it looks like players will be able to sit down for a rest on their own terms when needed.
Friday’s exhibition game against Johnson C. Smith revealed a newfound weapon for the Tar Heels: depth.
The team had nine players with double-digit minutes of playing time in UNC’s sound 101-40 victory over the Golden Bulls.
“It is something to get used to because I'm so used to playing so many minutes,” senior forward Armando Bacot said. “When I'm coming out I’m like, ‘Hey, I want to stay in,’ but all those guys have earned their minutes.”
First-year guard Seth Trimble logged 23 minutes – the same amount as Bacot and junior guard Caleb Love – and he wasn’t shy on offense. He put up 11 points, shooting over 80 percent, and tallied five assists.
Head coach Hubert Davis praised Trimble’s ability to get to the basket any time he wants, and added that he’s an “unbelievable on-ball defender.”
“Seth’s athleticism is real,” Davis said. “His ability to push the ball and be able to be faster than people without the ball while he has the ball, and attack the basket with athleticism and power and strength — it's nice to have on the team.”
First-year wing Tyler Nickel also had a strong debut Friday, putting up nine points, including two 3-pointers, and snagging a steal.