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A lighter Kennedy Meeks looks to have greater impact in 2014-15

Jul 9, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

Kennedy Meeks AP

Among the players who had a role in North Carolina’s 24-10 finish to a season that featured a 1-4 start to ACC play was freshman center Kennedy Meeks, who posted averages of 7.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Meeks, who moved into the starting lineup in January, wasn’t as consistent as he would have hoped with physical fitness being a factor.

That’s been a point of emphasis for Meeks, and according to multiple reports he’s dropped some 45 pounds since the end of the season. That has home down to a more manageable weight, which has allowed him to do things on the floor he wasn’t able to do during his freshman campaign.

And after finally throwing down a windmill dunk that also kept his teammates from having to run sprints, Meeks has his sights set on another goal according to the Fayetteville Observer.

The number most frequently associated with Meeks – his weight – has remained a focal point during offseason sessions with strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian. Meeks is noticeably leaner, and he said Wednesday that his ideal weight would be 265 pounds.

“People tell me all the time I look great, but I want to feel like I’m great,” Meeks said. “That’s why I’m still working.

“I don’t have a six-pack yet,” he added with a smile. “That’s my goal.”

Meeks will be a key player for the Tar Heels, who fell just short of the Sweet 16 with a loss to Iowa State in the Round of 32 (Meeks finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds). North Carolina will have to account for the early departure of James Michael McAdoo, but Meeks is one of the interior contributors who return to Chapel Hill with Brice Johnson (10.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg) being the most productive returnee.

The backcourt also returns multiple contributors, most notably Marcus Paige, and their three newcomers (Joel Berry, Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson) arrive on campus with the expectation that they too can earn minutes as freshmen.

The key word for both Meeks as an individual and North Carolina as a whole in 2013-14 was “consistency.” This summer, all involved are working to ensure that this won’t be as much of a concern for Roy Williams and his staff in 2014-15.

  1. brianjoates - Jul 9, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Young man has talent, he is just soft. He does not show a desire to play a physical game in the paint. He would rather launch 3’s then box out, grab an offensive rebound and get the and 1. But maybe this next season he will see he won’t break in two with some physical play.

    • klinickal - Jul 10, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      Brianjoates I think you have the wrong player in mind because Meeks is a beast under the rim, the only thing that stopped him constantly was his moto. Now that he is in shape we will see the true Meeks who I have never seen shot a 3.

      Now that UNC has gotten rid of the albatros that was JMcA I am looking forward to a faster more up tempo basketball, that is if the NCaa and McCants don’t distract them too much.

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