December 20, 2018, on

Nassir Little mixes up a defensive rotation. The freshman is in the wrong spot now. Confused. Frustrated. North Carolina head coach Roy Williams halts practice.

“What were you doing?” Williams asks him on this recent afternoon in Chapel Hill.

Little doesn’t know the answer. Just doesn’t. He wishes he did. He lifts his chin. Doesn’t hide. Doesn’t give lip. “I don’t know,” he admits. “Where should I be?”

He never found himself searching for answers like this in high school. He was so athletic that if he wanted to block a shot, he’d simply stretch his long noodle arms and swat away the ball. If he wanted to steal a ball, he’d simply roll his arms into the passing lane, and magic happened. He never had to read a scouting report, never had to think about how to guard someone.

But that’s all he’s doing now: thinking, thinking, thinking. He’s realizing defense isn’t necessarily an effort thing, a wanting-it-bad-enough thing. It’s an angles, timing, precision, position thing. And he’s learning that side of the game for the first time at the highest level of college basketball. (READ FULL STORY HERE).