Williams undecided on one starting spot

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams said he feels “fairly comfortable” about having freshman point guard Marcus Paige, senior shooting guard Dexter Strickland, junior small forward Reggie Bullock and sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo in Friday’s season-opening lineup against Gardner-Webb.

But the second post position? As of Thursday’s 2 p.m. ET news conference, Williams hadn’t made a decision.

“As we stand here right now, I still don’t know who I’m going to start,’’ Williams said. “… I’m waiting for somebody to step up and say, ‘I’m going to deserve that,’ but it may be OK, if not. We may change the lineup throughout the course of the pre-conference season, too.”

Williams has a history of preferring to stick with the same starting five throughout the season, but losing four-fifths of the starting lineup from last season’s Elite Eight team -- including the entire frontcourt -- may change that philosophy.

The Tar Heels boast plenty of experienced wings in Bullock, Strickland, Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston, but are light in the post. McAdoo came on strong at the end of last season, but only started three games. Classmates Desmond Hubert (who started last week’s exhibition game, but averaged only 4.9 minutes last season) and Jackson Simmons (42 total minutes last season) were buried deeper on the bench in 2011-12. And Joel James and Brice Johnson are freshmen.

“It is a little bit unusual,’’ Williams said of not having his starting lineup set the day before the season opener. “But I think it’s because they’re so inexperienced or so young. Desmond was here last year, but Joel and Brice were not. And Jackson was here last year, but like Desmond, he didn’t play very much. So all of them give you different things on [a different] day.

"If I could evaluate it and say, ‘Desmond’s great on Mondays and Joel’s great on Tuesdays,’ that’s the way we would start people. But it hasn’t been quite that clear cut.”

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.