Heels To Start Three Freshmen In Opener

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina coach Roy Williams announced his probable starters for Saturday's season opener versus Gardner-Webb with an emphasis on "probable." They will be Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Reyshawn Terry, David Noel and Tyler Hansbrough.

Williams also noted Quentin Thomas, the sophomore pegged in the preseason as the leading candidate for the starting point guard spot, has a sore left foot but will play.

"I've started three freshmen before, but I'm not sure if I have in an opener," Williams said during Thursday's press conference at the Smith Center.

Williams added he expects to use a nine-man rotation primarily that also includes Byron Sanders, Danny Green and Wes Miller. That, along with the probable starters, is not set in stone.

"I may just start five different people to make y'all mad," he said, chiding the members of the media on hand.

Williams again declined to say if the reason Frasor will get the nod over Thomas is due to performance or Thomas' injury.

"During practice, [Thomas] has not been very comfortable," Williams said. "So I tried to give him a breather and get Wes some extra repetitions."

When asked what Ginyard had done to earn the start, Williams replied, "He's just played better. Like I said during the preseason, he's the best player I've ever seen operating with one hand because he couldn't catch and he couldn't do some other things. But he just has a great feel for the game defensively.

"He's very coachable. He can take a suggestion, or a statement or an explanation and turn around and do it pretty quickly after that. It's not rocket science, the guy's played better.

"I've said this many times before, ‘Coaches don't determine who starts, players do.' The kids that are going to play are the ones who have gotten the most minutes in the exhibition games, and their play has warranted that."

The defending national champs lost all five starters and its top seven scorers either to graduation or early entrance to the NBA. According to STATS, the Tar Heels lost the largest percentage of their points (91.0) and the second largest percentage of their rebounds (87.1) of any team in the nation from last season.

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