Drew gets the call at point for champion Tar Heels Print
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Thursday, 15 October 2009 12:39
NCAAB Headline News


 CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -Larry Drew II never had to show off much of a jumpshot or take ownership of North Carolina's high-powered offense as a freshman playing behind future pro Ty Lawson.
Those pressure-free days are over.
Now Lawson is in the NBA and the unproven Drew looks likely to inherit the starting point guard job for the defending national champion Tar Heels. It's one of the biggest question marks facing North Carolina as it begins preseason practice with a loaded frontcourt and a lot of inexperience along the perimeter.
``Me and Ty are two different players completely,'' Drew said Thursday during the team's annual media day. ``Coach (Roy Williams) knows that. He told me he didn't want me to be a good player, he needed me to be a good player. When I hear that, all that means to me is just go out and try not to worry about distractions or anything else. I just need to focus on the task at hand.''
One thing is certain: The Tar Heels will look a lot different.
Four-year star Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green graduated and Lawson and Wayne Ellington left early for the NBA. And Drew could be the face of that change as the player charged with directing the fast-paced transition offense that has helped the Tar Heels win two NCAA titles in five seasons.
The point guard position has been critical to the Tar Heels' title runs. The 2005 and 2009 squads each boasted players - Lawson and Raymond Felton - who won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard before heading to the NBA after their junior seasons.
That alone puts Drew in the spotlight even though he hasn't had much chance to show what he can do.
He averaged 1.4 points and 1.9 assists in about 10 minutes per game behind Lawson, and he shared those point guard duties with departed senior Bobby Frasor when Lawson was out with an injured toe in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and the Tar Heels' NCAA opener.
But Drew came to North Carolina as a McDonald's All-American and a pass-first point guard who averaged 9.2 assists per game as a high school senior. And while Drew doesn't have Lawson's baseline-to-baseline speed, Williams says the 6-foot-2 Drew's longer arms could help him be an effective defender by altering shots and deflecting passes.
kland as possibilities at the point this year, but added, ``It's Larry's right now, because if we had to go out there and play right now, he'd know what I wanted a lot more than the other two.''
``He's not Ty and he's not going to be Ty,'' Williams said. ``You have your own skill set. There's some things you do better than Ty, there's some things Ty did better than you. But it's also the same conversation I had with Deon (Thompson). I told Deon, 'You don't have to be our leading scorer. You don't have to be Tyler Hansbrough. You just have to be Deon Thompson just a little bit better because you're older and have a little more work on your game. I think I'll attack it a little more like that with all the guys.''
Drew certainly sounds like he has put in the work. When he went back home to California in the offseason, his father - Larry Drew, a former NBA player and an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks - took him out to lunch, then surprised him with a detailed training regimen with everything from conditioning drills to long shooting sessions that would hone his technique.
``He went to the car, he came back with a folder and just dropped it on the table and was like, 'All right, this is what you're doing this summer. Get committed,''' Drew said.
Now, after a summer filled with 6 a.m. wake-up calls and pickup games, Drew sounds ready for a promotion.
``Larry was in a tough situation last year playing behind Ty,'' said big man Ed Davis, Drew's roommate. ``He wasn't going to see a lot of minutes. That's kind of tough on a person who hasn't done that before in their career. Most people didn't see the real Larry because he only played two or three minutes at a time.
``I know that he can do things that people didn't see last year. He can handle the ball. He can shoot it. But everyone didn't see that last year just because of the situation he was in.''
 

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