Season Analysis: Desmond Hubert
Season stats: 1.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Per-40 minute stats: 4.9 P, 7.1 R
Season in a sentence: Desmond Hubert played well defensively as a sophomore, but his offensive limitations helped Roy Williams make the move to a smaller lineup.
Season highlights: Hubert was in the starting lineup for Carolina's first five games. He was solid in the win over Mississippi State in Maui, shooting 3-of-3 from the field for six points to go with two rebounds and two blocks. He played limited minutes in the next seven games, and fell out of the starting lineup for most of those, but then reassumed his slot as a starter in the home game against McNeese State.
The next game was probably Hubert's best as a Tar Heel. He blocked two shots early in that game and set the defensive tone in a game Carolina desperately needed to win, and also contributed three points and three rebounds.
His energy was impressive at Florida State, as he scored an ACC-high tying four points, including this vicious one-handed dunk on a feed from Reggie Bullock:
Hubert quietly had a good two-game stretch early in ACC play, as he contributed two blocks and two steals in a solid homecourt win over Maryland. In Carolina's next game, a home tilt against Georgia Tech, he added six rebounds and five blocks, his career ACC highs, and played a career high 22 minutes.
The sophomore consistently made his biggest contributions on defense. He won seven defensive awards from the coaches, the second-most on the roster, and won the Brendan Haywood Award as the team's top shot blocker.
Against the ACC: Once Carolina made the move to the smaller rotation at Duke, Hubert's minutes were very limited. He played double-digit minutes just once in the regular season after the switch-a 12-minute stint at Maryland. His playing time in that game was first necessitated by foul trouble for James Michael McAdoo, but Hubert earned his place on the court with two blocks in 12 minutes. In Carolina's next game, a senior day loss to Duke, Hubert's lone basket was this follow dunk in the first half:
Hubert's per-40 minute averages against ACC opponents were 5.1 points and 6.7 rebounds.
Postseason: Hubert played 10 minutes in the quarterfinal win over Florida State, scoring two points, blocking two shots and grabbing one rebound. That was the majority of his ACC Tournament action, as he played just six minutes against Maryalnd (two points, two rebounds and a block) and two minutes against guard-heavy Miami.
Hubert did not score in Carolina's two NCAA Tournament games and collected one rebound.
Areas of improvement: The areas in which Hubert needs to improve depend on what you want him to be as a Tar Heel. If you want him to be a well-rounded post player who is a threat on both ends of the court, then there's little doubt about the primary area for improvement: offense. Hubert showed good discretion with his shooting last year, and actually hit 54.3% of his field goals (up from 44.4% as a freshman). That's the good news. The bad news is that those shots were limited almost exclusively to shots within two or three feet of the basket, and opponents largely did not defend him outside of that radius.
Regardless of his field goal contributions, Hubert's free throws must improve. He was 3-for-14 last season (21.4%) and is 4-for-27 (14.8%) in his Carolina career.
Season stats: 3.6: Hubert's blocks per 40 minutes last season. To put that into perspective, John Henson averaged 4.8 blocks per 40 as a sophomore and Brandan Wright averaged 2.6 blocks per 40 in his one year in Chapel Hill.
66.7%: Hubert's field goal percentage after Carolina's switch to the smaller rotation. That's the good news; the bad news is that he was just 4-of-6 from the field.
Adam Lucas is a GoHeels columnist and the editor of CAROLINA.