The UNC men’s basketball team lost nine of its 13 scholarship players after last season.
How do you even begin to reconcile team chemistry after that many losses? You go to the beach.
Returning sophomore forward Jalen Washington said it’s been different adjusting to seven new faces on the team — five transfers and two first-years. However, he said the adjustment is going well because of the efforts the team has been making to bond.
In July, the team took to the waters of the North Carolina Outer Banks for a brief break from the gym.
The team didn’t take a trip like that last season.
Washington, a native of Gary, Ind., had never had the opportunity to go to the beach before this offseason. Wearing sunglasses and McDonald’s All-American shorts, Washington made the best of his first beach trip, having fun and throwing a frisbee around with his teammates. They broke out the jet skis, surfboards and footballs, and they built bonds.
“It doesn’t necessarily matter how good of a team you have. If you don’t glue and build that proper team chemistry, things don’t go well,” sophomore guard Seth Trimble said. “I’m not even saying that as a diss to my old teammates. We all loved each other, we all hung out, we all just had a great time, but I just feel like we didn’t have the proper chemistry on the court to succeed.”
This year’s team is working to build that chemistry. Graduate student Armando Bacot and senior guard RJ Davis were leaders on last year’s team. They decided to stay, but not many underclassmen on the roster made that same decision.
Washington and Trimble did.