OK, UNC fans. You’re going to need to have to stop the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the loss of 7-foot freshman center Tyler Zeller.
Yes, Zeller will be a very good college player – someday. You know what he was on this UNC team, though, once everyone gets healthy? About the eighth or ninth man. Yes, Zeller would be valued for his height and the fact he has five fouls to give, but let’s be serious. The Tyler that really matters on this team is Hansbrough.
If you’re rating Zeller’s season-ending broken wrist on a calamity scale of 1-10 – with a 10 being something like a season-ending injury to Hansbrough or Roy Williams quitting in midseason and a 1 being an ankle injury to a walk-on – I’d give the Zeller injury a 4.
Yes, it leaves the Tar Heels a little thin at the post, but c’mon – Hansbrough is the best post player in the country. And have you seen Ed Davis? The 6-10 Davis is a much better rebounder than Zeller right now (he’s averaging a team-high 12 per game), and that’s what the Tar Heels need most in the post. He’ll be the first post player off the bench.
Hansbrough, of course, can do everything -- and he’s close to returning from his shin injury. Deon Thompson, the normal starter at power forward, can score but is an on-and-off rebounder. Davis just needs to rebound and play defense as the Tar Heels’ third big guy.
UNC also can go to a smaller lineup anytime it wants, which is a popular NBA trend, because Danny Green is a jumping bean and can shift to power forward. This squad is still incredibly loaded. Hansbrough will be back soon, Marcus Ginyard not terribly long after that, and it will be even more loaded.
At this point, complaining about Zeller not being around this season is a little unseemly. It’s like complaining that an opulent buffet only has four kinds of dessert instead of five.
So don’t whine. The Tar Heels will be fine – more than fine – without him.