Among all the questions entering the 2019-20 season, one that got forgotten was how Andrew Platek’s role would factor into the teams’ success. After being a seldom used reserve his first two seasons, it was thought that he could breakout like Brandon Robinson the prior year. What Platek lacked in size and strength, he made up for with his effort plays that never show up in a box score. Recruited as a big time shooter from distance, this was finally the year he could showcase the player Roy Williams once recruited.
His season got off to a strong start scoring 8 points in the season opening win against Notre Dame. He connected on both triples he attempted, in addition to doing the little things he had to just earn court time. 2 games later he scored 9 points, and it seemed as if Platek belonged on the court, not something you could say in his first two collegiate seasons. In the next 3 games, Platek would score 4 points in each contest, before failing to score against Oregon, in the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis. After playing more than 20 minutes in the first 3 contests, Platek failed to reach the 20 minute mark in the final 4 games of November. After a strong start to the month, Platek averaged 5 points per game in the opening month of the season.
December turned out to be a rough month for the Tar Heels, losing 4 out of 6 games they played. It wasn’t the best month for Platek individually either. The most points he scored was 6 (twice), while only playing 20 minutes or more once. He even suffered an injury that forced him to miss the non-conference finale, and the ACC opener of the new year. While his minutes were sparse at times, he shot 50% from the three point line, making the most out of his opportunity during what was becoming a nightmare of a season.
January got off to a rough start, as Carolina lost 5 straight games to start the new year. Yet during that losing streak Andrew Platek found himself in the starting lineup for the first time as a Tar Heel. While it wasn’t based on production, Platek showed glimpses of being a key member of an ACC caliber team. He played a team best 9 minutes in a double overtime loss at Virginia Tech. Those 49 minutes in a conference were more than he played in all of the 2019 ACC season. Platek averaged 5.3 points in the first month of 2020, starting all but 2 games.
For as bad as January started off, February was worse. Carolina lost 7 straight games the second longest in program history. Platek started the 4 games of the month, before moving back to the bench. HIs best game scoring came against Duke, as he scored 9 points. Unfortunately he lost the ball out of bounds late, where it appeared he was fouled, but wasn’t called. He scored 9 points in a loss at Louisville as well, in what would be his last productive game in terms of scoring. In 3 of the last 4 games of the month, Platek failed to play more than 10 minutes, as Christian Keeling began to emerge off the bench.
March was short lived for many college basketball teams, as the COVID-19 virus ended play during Champ Week. Platek scored in the final win of the season against Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. The most minutes he played in March was 9 in the season finale against Syracuse.
Many fans got frustrated with the play of Platek, during the season. At times the frustration was justified, as his play was never consistent, and at times he was a liability. Perhaps had Carolina been more healthy, Platek would’ve found a role best suited for him. That’s the hope for his senior season. Although there’s an abundant amount of talent coming to campus, the team will need an experienced ACC player at times to guide them through the rigors of conference. Hopefully Platek can be that player.