Posted: 2:56 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
By Brian Barbour
PG Nate Britt, Freshman, 5-11, 165 lbs.
Nate Britt's journey to UNC hasn't been the easiest one. In 2011, Britt was highly touted in the recruiting rankings after a series of impressive performances during the summer following his sophomore season. That led to interest from Roy Williams, a scholarship offer and a commitment to the Tar Heels in November of that year. All signs pointed to UNC getting another solid point guard.
Then things started to roll downhill. A combination of injuries and his own play seeming to plateau a bit, Britt found himself being surpassed by his peers on the summer circuit in 2012. By the time the first RSCI rankings for the 2013 class debuted in September, 2012, Britt was ranked 60th overall. After spending his senior season at Oak Hill Academy, Britt's descent in the rankings continued. Scout.com and ESPN both dropped the future Tar Heel out of their respective top 100 rankings altogether. His final RSCI ranking was 93rd which is actually worse than Larry Drew in 2008.
Clearly, there are a lot of questions. Was Britt simply plagued by injuries? Did Britt hit his ceiling in 2011 and is basically a finished product? Or is there a chance he can regain the form that caught the eyes of scouts and coaches alike in 2011? And the most important question is can Britt find a way to help a team with thin depth on the wings and at the point guard position?
Under ideal circumstances, UNC would start the season with a complete roster and the anticipated starting lineup on the court. That would mean Britt's floor time could be curtailed to a manageable load simply spelling Marcus Paige at different points during the game. However the possible absence of Hairston leaves the Tar Heels beyond thin on the wings and has Roy Williams exploring different lineups. One of those includes using both Britt and Paige at the same time with Paige playing at the wing guard slot. That will be a tough spot for Britt to find himself in, especially in light of how the past two years of his high school career have gone.
Because Britt went from being near McDonald's All-American to barely in the top 100, it is difficult to get a read on him. He didn't play in the all-star games. None of the analysts are giving him much attention like they do if the player is more of a known commodity. With many of the freshman that come to UNC the concern is about adjustment to the college game because the talent is not usually in question. Britt doesn't have that luxury. Not only will he be adjusting to playing college basketball but there are questions about whether he is good enough to be a significant contributor at a place like UNC. This is probably all motivation for Britt as he hopes to prove doubters from the past two years wrong. Given the potential backcourt/wing depth issues, if the "old" Nate Britt is in there somewhere, he needs to make an appearance early and often. At minimal, as long as Britt follows Roy Williams' first rule(don't hurt the team) he should be a nice addition to the rotation.