2011-12 North Carolina Men's Basketball Yearbook

2011-12 North Carolina Basketball Yearbook

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Page 28 of 211

Carolina Basketball 2011-12 DEXTER STRICKLAND • Made 8 of 33 from three-point range (made one three-pointer in the last 14 games). Averaged 5.8 points with a com- bined 11 assists and five turnovers in the NIT • Scored 11 points in the home win over NC State • Scored 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the floor and added two steals in the win at NC State • Was the only Tar Heel to score in double figures at Clemson as he finished with 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting. Made his first start against Al- bany and had a season-high five assists • Scored a season-high 18 points had four assists in 81-67 win over Rutgers • Did not play against Presbyterian on Dec. 12 due to a strained left hamstring. Scored 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the floor against Texas • Averaged 8.7 points and 2.3 assists against Michigan State, Kentucky and Texas • Hit two three-pointers, scored nine points and had three assists and two blocks against Michigan State. TarHeelBlue.com Focus: BACK TO HIS ROOTS by Adam Lucas, TarHeelBlue.com When Dexter Strickland wanted to return to his roots, he didn't go to Rucker Park or The Cage on West 4th Street. He went to YouTube. Strickland spent most of his sophomore season battling a nagging knee injury. His numbers, especially in conference games, were not spectacular—6.2 points per game against league foes, 37.4 percent shooting from the field, and just 3 for 21 from the three-point line. But by the NCAA Tournament, when he says he was playing pain-free for the first time, his stats crept up to 10.3 points per game and 55.7 percent from the field. He was terrific against Kentucky in the 2011 regional final, when he scored 11 points, grabbed four rebounds, had three steals, and didn't commit a turnover while playing ferocious defense. And yet, when he evaluated his sophomore campaign, he decided he could have done more. A trip home to New Jersey—when the Tar Heels played the Wildcats in Newark last March, Strickland was greeted like a conquering hero—reminded him of the player he still believes he can be. "I think going home helped me recognize who I am," Strickland says. "Before I came to Carolina, I was always a scorer. Once I came here, people started to see me as a defensive player. I want to be a defensive player, but I want to be a scorer, too. "When I went home, I touched base with what kind of player I really am. When I was in the recruiting process, I sent highlight videos of myself to some of the coaches. I watched those, and I watched some high school YouTube videos. It gave me a sense of my game again, of how I can fit in with Carolina while still being myself." Strickland says he's capable of blending the way he wants to play with the expectations set forth by Roy Williams. He is well aware that he'll be watching his YouTube videos from the bench if he can't find the right mix. "I have to focus on what will help our team," Strickland says. "It doesn't matter that in high school I felt the most comfortable scoring off the dribble. For our team to win, I have to be able to catch and shoot. That's one of the things I've been working on most this summer. My outside shooting and my midrange game are there. I don't think Carolina fans have seen the type of player I can become." He is reminded that playing outside the framework of the Carolina style of play, and especially outside the framework of this particular offensively bountiful team, can be a quick way to lose minutes. And then, for all his talk about a different game or even a different Dexter Strickland, his plan for his junior season sounds exactly like the player everyone already knows. "At the end of the day, Coach Williams wants someone who plays hard and gives everything he has," Strickland says. "That's what I did in high school, that's what I've done here, and that's what I'm going to do this year. I'm going to give my all. I'm going to play defense as hard as I can. And when you work hard like that, good things happen." PREP Played for Coach Kevin Boyle at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J. • Led St. Patrick to three consecutive New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles (which match state championships in all divisions, private and public schools) • St. Patrick's finished No. 4 in USA Today's national rankings • Named to Newark Star-Ledger's all-state team for the second year in a row as a senior • Scored 20 points and had seven rebounds in non-public state title game • Played in the 2009 McDonald's All-American Game and the 2008 Elite 24 All-Star Game in Harlem • Also earned first-team All-America honors from Parade magazine. PERSONAL Son of Dexter L. and Sheronne Strickland • Born Dexter Terrez Strickland on Oct. 1, 1990, in Newark, N.J. • Communication studies major. 27 Jeffrey Camarati

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