Joel Berry Ii is one of the easiest examples to point to whenever UNC coach Roy Williams' coaching prowess is questioned. Since joining the Carolina squad in the 2014-2015 season, Berry has developed from a seldom-used role player into arguably the best point guard in College Basketball. His incredible improvement over the years helped catalyze two of UNC's best seasons to date. A look back at his college career, an outlook on this season, and an examination of his strengths and weaknesses shows why he is one of college basketball's best.

2015-2016, UNC finishes 33-7

The 2015-2016 season saw the Tar Heels claim the regular season ACC title and take a trip to the National Championship game. With senior guard, Marcus Paige, out for the start of the season, the reins of the offense were given to Joel Berry II, and he delivered. Berry played so well in Paige's absence that many wondered whether or not Roy Williams would continue to start Paige at the point once he was healthy again. Berry averaged 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in his sophomore season.

Paige did reclaim the starting point guard spot eventually, but Berry proved just as effective at the off-guard spot as he was at the point, offering some relief for Paige during his mid-season shooting slump.

After a stellar year and huge tournament run, the Tar Heels were sent packing in the championship game that season on a heartbreaking buzzer beater by Villanova's Kris Jenkins. This would be Marcus Paige's last game at Carolina, leaving the point guard duties to Berry the next season.

2016-2017, UNC finishes 33-7

The 2016-2017 season saw Joel Berry II come out with a vengeance.

He upped his scoring totals to 14.7 points per game (his career high and second-best for the team) while also contributing 3.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest. The Tar Heels cruised to another ACC regular season title and a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.

Carolina looked poised for another title run, but they hit a snag in their first tournament game against Texas Southern when Berry sprained his right ankle.

Berry played through this injury in their next game against Arkansas (another Carolina win) but aggravated it in the following game against Butler. Luckily for UNC, the team had a few rest days before their next game, but disaster struck again.

In the Sweet 16 game against Kentucky, Berry sprained his left ankle, leaving the Tar Heels to wonder if he'd be able to return that season. He did. Berry powered through the injury to help UNC defeat Oregon in the Final Four and then Gonzaga to bring the championship back to Chapel Hill. Berry was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and became just the seventh player ever to score 20 points in consecutive championship games.

What's in store for 2017-2018?

Berry will look to improve on his best season as a college athlete. North Carolina saw a mass exodus of talent this summer, losing Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt, Justin Jackson, and Tony Bradley to either graduation or the NBA draft, so the burden of the team's success will rest largely on Berry's shoulders. Carolina did bring in freshmen Sterling Manley, Brandon Huffman, Jalek Felton, and Andrew Platek, as well as Pittsburgh transfer, Cam Johnson, to ease that burden. After one game in the books, the Tar Heels look poised for another successful season.

One thing that will hamper Berry this season is his current injury. Berry broke his hand this offseason (the injury was completely unrelated to basketball; he slammed his hand into a door), so he has yet to see the floor.

It is his shooting hand that broke, so we'll just have to wait and see how this affects his shooting touch. All signs point to him coming back in a week or two, so he'll look to start his senior campaign soon.


Berry is a fantastic shooter from all over the floor. He's a decent scorer off the dribble and great at hitting moving shots. With his shooting comes an innate ability to draw fouls, coupled with fantastic free throw shooting. For a guard, he's a decent rebounder. He's also an above-average defender with a knack for steals. He's a great teammate and a true student of the game.


While he is a great shooter, Berry can be a bit streaky. After a couple misses, it's hard for him to get going again, which often leads him to focus too much on scoring and too little on play-making.

He's a bit wild at times on offense and can become foul prone on the defensive end. This is mostly due to his small size (Berry stands 6'0" with shoes on). He can get pushed around on offense, leading to bad passes and turnovers, and bullied on defense, resulting in easy scores or fouls.

Overall Analysis

Berry is an athletic combo guard with great shooting touch who can score in a variety of ways. His best trait is his touch from behind the three-point line. While he may be a bit undersized and a tad slow at the NBA level, his heart and work ethic will endear him to many pro scouts. At best, he is a late second-round draft pick and a solid role player in the NBA. For now, though, he will shine in his final year as an NCAA athlete.