UNC secured a big commitment from the #2 rated center in the 2013 class when Kennedy Meeks announced he would attend North Carolina on Friday night. Meeks joins five star power forward Isiah Hicks and four star point guard Nate Britt in the nations #5 rated class. Roy Williams has six offers out to prospects in the 2014 class including PGs Joel Berry and Tyus Jones, center Jahlil Okafor, shooting guard Theo Pinson and small forwards Justise Winslow and Justin Jackson.
Before we can understand what effect the 2013 group will have on the recruiting of the 2014 class we have to take a look at the current roster and the 2012 class’s effect on the future. The 2012 group is one made up of four, four star prospects in PG Marcus Paige, SF JP Tokoto and big men Joel James and Brice Johnson, all four are expected to be in Chapel Hill for multiple seasons.
When prospects look at a program one of the key things they consider is playing time and the role they will play early in their career. It is safe to assume that James Michael McAdoo will be gone in 2013 and if by some miracle he returns for his junior year, no chance he sticks around again for his senior season in 2014. Dexter Strickland graduates after this season with Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock graduating next season. Even with those subtractions to the roster, UNC targets will not see any gaping holes in the roster for the 2014 season. Let’s take a look at the potential roster the way the prospects see it.
PG: Marcus Paige (Jr), Nate Britt (So), Luke Davis (Sr)
SG/SF:PJ Hairston (Sr), JP Tokoto (Jr)
PF: Brice Johnson (Jr), Isiah Hicks (So)
C: Joel James (Jr), Kennedy Meeks (So), Desmond Hubert (Sr)
Perimeter players will have at least a big role off the bench to eye (assuming Hairston sticks around, if not a starting spot could be up for grabs on the wing) but aside from that, the roster above is pretty stacked. It’s going to be very tough to pull in a big time PG in 2014 unless Paige ends up going pro after his sophomore year which is not a given by any means. Pulling the tandem of Jones and Okafor who seem intent on playing together at the next level looks almost impossible as the top two stars in the class will likely head somewhere they can play immediately.
What the roster does present is some temptation for perimeter players. With at least two very talented PGs and a stable of big men who can score but are unselfish, rebound and pass, a couple of big time scorers on the wings could be the missing piece. Carolina has an offer to Andrew Wiggins the top prospect in the 2013 class but even if he comes to Chapel Hill, he’s the #1 pick in the NBA Draft in 2014.
Early rumors have Jones and Okafor leaning towards rival Duke but keep an eye on Kentucky with those two. Pinson has said he might join them but I just can’t see that happening, pairs rarely stick to their word of following each other to college, something will blow up this trio’s plan to stick together. I like the prospects of Justin Jackson being the first to commit to Carolina in 2014 and expect UNC to go perimeter heavy with at least two and likely three wing position players in the class to balance out the roster.
The biggest effect however that the last two classes will have on the 2014 class is the patience it will require out of UNC fans. Fans grew very worried during the time frame that lasted nearly a year between commitments for the 2013 class, don’t be surprised if the same thing happens in 2014. Roy has built a roster full of terrific players who are likely to stay multiple years, he has offered many of the top players in the class, but don’t expect them to jump on the offers looking at the prospective roster in front of them. Rather they will wait and see what happens with the current players and other recruits, some will eliminate UNC from consideration, others will go elsewhere before we find out much about what the makeup for the 2014 team will be. But just as Roy proved with this class, he will add quality players that fit the system and round out the roster for 2014 and beyond.