Posted: 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 28, 2013
By Brian Barbour
Born and raised in Kinston, NC, Reggie Bullock was tabbed as a high major recruit early in his career at Kinston High School. In fact, Bullock(along with Kendall Marshall) received a rare early offer from Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams. Bullock would commit to UNC during his sophomore year. From that point, Bullock performed steadily leading his team to a 3-A state title and being named to the McDonald's All-American team. The Recruiting Services Consensus Index rated Bullock as the #15 recruit in the class of 2010. Bullock was part of North Carolina's much touted 2010 recruiting class which included Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall. That class was hailed as the one which would "restore" the Tar Heels after the much maligned 2009-10 season which saw UNC end the season in the NIT.
Bullock played around 14 mpg as a freshman and for much of the season shot the ball decently. In early February, Bullock hit 4-7 threes vs Boston College and was shooting 34% from beyond the arc. Following that outing, Bullock shot began to falter going 2-20 over the next seven games. In late February, UNC announced Bullock was out for the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Bullock had surgery to repair the knee and made a full recovery.
As a sophomore, Bullock began the season as North Carolina's top reserve coming off the bench behind junior wing guard Dexter Strickland. Bullock played high level defense and provided an offensive boost as a perimeter shooter much the same way Danny Green did for UNC during the 2007-08 season. In mid-January, Strickland was lost for the season to an ACL tear thrusting Bullock into the starting lineup. As a starter Bullock shared the floor with four players who would later be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft. As such his role was simple, play defense, rebound and knock down threes. Bullock did all three efficiently and thrived in the support role versus that of primary offensive option. Bullock shot 37% from three as a starter including going 5-10 against Ohio in the Sweet Sixteen essentially saving the Tar Heels from upset.
With the mass NBA defections after the 2011-12 season, Bullock would become a key cog in the 2012-13 team. Bullock largely embraced the role of both primary scorer and also facilitator dishing four or more assists on 16 different occasions. Despite the added responsibilities, Bullock continued to be an effective defender and rebounder. Bullock would hit three or more three pointers in 16 games and recorded four double-doubles on the season. Aside from his play on the court, his leadership on a fairly young team that struggled at times was vital. Overall, Bullock ended his UNC career with the reputation of being an efficient offensive player(as evidenced by his offensive efficiency rating of 128) and top-notch defender often drawing the opposing teams toughest wing player as his assignment.
In general, Bullock was extremely well-liked by the Tar Heel fan base and one would be hard pressed to fine an ill-word spoken of him by anyone. He was a son of North Carolina and native of the same hometown that produced former Tar Heel Jerry Stackhouse. In addition, he endeared himself to UNC fans with this:
There is no quicker way into the heart of a Tar Heel fan than to embrace the vitriol of the rivalry with Duke. Even beyond that, Bullock was a high character individual who brought maximum effort every night on both ends of the floor. His decision to leave after his junior season has been widely accepted in the fan base with significant signs of support as he moves to the NBA. Bullock is seen as a prototypical "Carolina Way" player who represented the school in outstanding fashion on and off the court.
The most oft-used projection for Bullock at the next level is the aforementioned Danny Green who is now a starter with the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, Green's explosion on the scene as a solid starter who can hit threes and play defense only bolsters the possibilities for Bullock. Both players came from the same system and coaching with similar skills they can contribute. Bullock is 6-7 perimeter player which an accurate three point shot and reputation as a solid defender. He also rebounds the ball well at his position and most importantly understands his role.
Bullock doesn't have the skill set to be a team's primary scoring option nor is it likely he would ever be an all-star. His handle is average and his athleticism likewise is only slightly above par. That means he is going to have trouble creating his own shoot or driving to the basket against NBA defenses. Like Green, Bullock has a specific set of skills that should be very useful should he land on the right team. If anything, NBA scouts saw a preview of this in 2012 when Bullock was a perfect fit on a team loaded with offensive options. Bullock was there to play defense, hit threes, clean-up rebounds and generally be a glue guy.
Bullock's profile as a shooter/defender means he will likely not see his name seriously raised until late in the first round. That is the point where the upper level playoff teams are selecting and in some cases looking for an extra piece to fill very specific needs. That is also an ideal situation for Bullock. If he can sign with a team that has most of the pieces in place and simply needs him to be what he is, that should lead to a fruitful career along the lines of what Green is experiencing now.
From a durability standpoint, Bullock has undergone two procedures on his knee, once while he was in high school and another two years ago. By all accounts, there are no concerns for his knee or health in general. He did miss one game during the 2012-13 season for a concussion suffered during a collision in practice. Besides that, Bullock appeared to be healthy and his play reflected that.
Reggie Bullock has the physical tools and skill set to play at the NBA level. His contributions at UNC as a role player turned primary scorer were integral in the success of both the 2012 and 2013 teams. It should be noted that Bullock is a winner having won a state title in high school and was a part of two UNC teams which won the ACC regular season. Whichever NBA team ends up with Bullock will get a solid player on the court and a great individual off of it. Assuming he can find the right fit, he should be able to contribute positively to a team's success.