UNC freshman center Kennedy Meeks(who Marcus Paige referred to as "Milk Man") has been named ACC Rookie of the Week on the strength of a pair of strong performances against Michigan State and UNCG.
Via the ACC.
North Carolina’s Meeks averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in wins at top-ranked Michigan State and at home vs. UNC Greensboro. Meeks led the Tar Heels with 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win over Michigan State. Meeks scored 11 second-half points as UNC out-scored the Spartans, 47-33, in the period. He also had an assist on a key three-pointer by Marcus Paige.
The 6-foot-9 Meeks, who also hails from Charlotte, N.C., added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds in the win over UNCG. He was 12-of-18 from the floor in the two wins.
Question: Is this team becoming "as Meeks goes, so go the Tar Heels?" Not quite but his play has certainly been critical when UNC has played well. Arguably UNC's best four games this season: Oakland(first half anyway), Louisville, Michigan State and UNCG are have one thing in common: Meeks scored in double figures. He averaged 12.5 ppg and 8 rpg in those four wins. In the other four games that saw UNC struggle with Holy Cross and Richmond and lose to Belmont and UAB, Meeks averaged 4.5 ppg and 5.2 rpg. His minutes have been fairly consistent at between 12-18 minutes with a season low of 5 minutes versus Richmond and a season high 24 minutes in the win over Louisville.
Needless to say, Meeks is a definite plus on the offensive end in terms of his touch around the basket, rebounding and his ability to pass the basketball. Outside of that, his problem is two-fold. The first is his conditioning which has already improved since he arrived in Chapel Hill but still needs to improve. The other is his defense which is a huge question mark right now. The latter may have more to do with limited playing time than the former. Joel James does a better job on that end of the floor than Meeks which means he will continue to start and split time with the Charlotte freshman.
For more on Meeks, check out this piece at GoHeels.com.
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