Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/22/12
This time last year, few in North Carolina were familiar with Stilman White. A point guard from Michael Jordan's hometown of Wilmington, N.C., White wasn't really on Carolina's recruiting radar until very late in the process and he didn't commit to UNC until the end of March. White wasn't highly recruited by a lot of schools because it was understood he would take a Mormon mission for two years before playing in college, so his best offers were from Utah State and BYU, which are solid programs but not ACC caliber. But when UNC coach Roy Williams entered the picture the White family reconsidered their original plan. Carolina needed an emergency point guard for this coming season, and the Whites recognized this was a rare opportunity and agreed the 6-foot point guard would play at UNC for a year and then go on his LDS mission. "It was Carolina," White said. "How could I pass on the opportunity?" The emergency Williams hoped to avoid has arrived, as point guard Kendall Marshall broke a bone in his right non-shooting wrist in last Sunday's win over Creighton in the NCAA Tournament. With Dexter Strickland, once the starting off guard and backup point, out for the season with a torn ACL, White has been thrust into the spotlight. "I will do whatever coach asks me," said White, who likely will start Friday for the top-seeded Tar Heels in the Sweet 16 versus Ohio University. "This isn't about me, it's about North Carolina." Justin Watts is a senior who has played four different positions while at UNC but has never been a big-minute contributor. He averages 6.8 minutes per game this season, and the most he's ever played in a game is 23, which came versus Presbyterian during his sophomore season. Watts' career scoring average is about 1 point per game, and his career-high is 13 points as a junior in a rout of Hofstra. Watts is 6-foot-4 and is built like a football player. He appears more comfortable guarding bigs on the lower blocks than running an offense, and he's done both in the same game. He played down low defending N.C. State's talented front line in the first half of the ACC Tournament semifinals versus N.C. State, Watts was playing post defense during one sequence on the court and running the point the next time he was on the floor. Forced to the point because Marshall was in foul trouble, that was just the second time he had played the position in his career. UNC outscored the Pack 11-9 during that stretch, so Watts will enter this situation with a bit of confidence. "If coach Williams asks me to do something it means he thinks I'm capable of doing it," Watts said. "So if I have to play a certain position I will go in and do a good job." Combining White and Watts might make for a really solid backup. White is better offensively especially pushing the ball, seeing the floor, shooting and his awareness of the other Tar Heels. Watts is more experienced, stronger, is a better defender, and has played in big situations before. He was on the 2009 national title team and even played four minutes in a win over Oklahoma in the Elite 8 that year. Their time is here. It should be quite interesting.
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