In the world of recruiting, fans and coaches will never quite know where a player will go, unless they jump on the opportunity right away. Well, some players choose to take their time. Causing the coaches and recruiters to bite their nails to the flesh, only to find if they got that vital piece or completely missed out.
With a great recruiting class of 2014, what else do you need? How about a shooting guard who can fill the void that the Tar Heels will have following this upcoming season? Leslie McDonald will have graduated, and P.J. Hairston, will most likely aim for the NBA. Roy Williams almost nabbed a great player for the position. A four star recruit out of Richmond, Virginia: Robert Johnson, but he missed out as Johnson decided to go with the Indiana Hoosiers just a week ago. Oh well, just like dating there is always going to be other fish in the sea. And for the Tar Heels, let’s just say the fish are jumping.
Already Roy has assembled an outstanding group of players for 2014, and each one of them are five star recruits and listed in the top five of their positions respectively per ESPN 100. Excitement is already brewing like a hot cup of espresso on the Carolina campus as the number one and fourth best small forward recruits, Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson, plus the third overall point guard, Joel Berry, will be joining the Carolina blue.
So far that stacks up the point guard and small forward position. Even this season, the center and power forward position is pretty packed, so I imagine next season it will be the same, but with a clear-cut starter pending on who breaks out this season between Desmond Hubert, Joel James, Brice Johnson, and freshmen Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.
There are three offers left for the Tar Heels, each one more enticing than the next.
Dante Exum, an international from Australia, whose father, Cecil, played for the Heels in the early ‘80s and was part of the 1982
Dante Exum (Photo credit: Jason Edwards)
championship that included the transcendent Michael Jordan. He’s a 6’ 6” point guard with great basketball IQ and is dangerously explosive in the transition game. However, Exum’s not a consistent shooter, as Draft Express noted, he struggles as a catch and shoot type of player and is capable of shooting behind the arc yet averaged a 33% mark at the FIBA U-19 Championships. That’s a vital attribute for Carolina as they love to feed an open two guard on the wing, it gives them the ability to spread the floor and open the defense up, but having a line up with Exum and Paige could prove to be exciting on the court. Also, it’s not set in stone that Exum will even play in college, because he is eligible for the 2014 NBA draft due to his international status.
If Williams misses out on Exum, there’s always Rashad Vaughn out of Findlay College Prep in Golden Valley, Minnesota. The town he comes from exemplifies his shot from the perimeter, golden, something Roy is probably envisioning as a fantastic asset to his lethal transition offense. Vaughn’s a big body, who can use his 6’ 5” frame to inject pain on the interior of a defense, giving the opponents something to think of when he’s on the floor. He is another five-star recruit and the second best shooting guard in the ESPN 100. The only threatening programs to derail his decision to coming to Carolina look to be Arizona and Kansas, with Iowa State looming in the dark. Vaughn visited the North Carolina campus earlier today.
Finally there is the de-commitment of James Blackmon from the Indiana Hoosiers, who he quickly committed to in 2010. He decided he’d rather play the field than be haste in committing without thinking much of it. Blackmon does not have the height (6’ 2”) as the earlier mentioned recruits but he sure does have the quickness and the ability to take a shot off the dribble. Very good at breaking down the defense which could open up other shooters or take the pressure an opposing defense is bringing, off of other key players on the floor.
With all three recruits, there’s a chance that the Tar Heels may or may not see any of them join the extraordinary class of 2014 that Roy has assembled. Yet, each one would be able to provide an instant impact through the versatility that they bring to what would be a veteran Tar Heel squad for the 2014-2015 season, as it would not hurt to add more weapons to an already outstanding set of recruits. There’s time before each make a decision and I’m sure Roy’s putting all he can to try and fill out the class of 2014.