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AP Basketball Writer

CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) — North Carolina needs freshman Joel James to provide some bulk up front this fall.

The 6-foot-10 James has lost more than 50 pounds in the past 18 months, but he still weighs around 260 pounds. That puts him in better shape to fill a vacancy along the Tar Heels’ front line with the departures of Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes to the NBA.

It also means he’ll be better able to handle coach Roy Williams’ fast-paced offense. James says he knew that “if you’re not in shape and can’t run, you don’t play.”

Williams says “when he whacks you, you’re going to know you’ve been hit.”

James seems well-suited to fill an open spot alongside 6-9 sophomore James Michael McAdoo up front.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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