James Michael McAdoo’s departure could greatly alter UNC’s recruiting plan going into the 2015 and 2016 classes. JMM leaving means UNC will have six big men on the roster for next season.
2014 Big Men
Kennedy Meeks: Sophomore
Brice Johnson: Junior
Joel James: Junior
Isaiah Hicks: Sophomore
Jackson Simmons: Senior
Desmond Hubert: Senior
When you project that out one more year, the cupboard looks more bare. In 2015, Meeks and Johnson will be beasts as juniors and seniors respectively, but depth could be a problem. If Isaiah Hicks and Joel James don’t take steps forward this coming season, UNC could only be two deep down low without some help from recruiting.
Even if McAdoo would have stayed, Roy Williams knew that he had to go get one or two really good post players in the 2015 recruiting class. Now that JMM is gone, the need is greater. Luckily for UNC, there are some good options in the 2015 recruiting class at both positions.
UNC has offered six recruits according to ESPN recruiting services, including offers to five of the top five prospects. First overall prospect Ivan Rabb, 4th overall Steven Zimmerman and 5th overall Diamond Stone all play down low and all are rated as 96 overall by ESPN. UNC has offers out to all three prospects.
Steven Zimmerman has seven schools in the race for his talents according to 247Sports. Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, UNC, UNLV and Louisville are all listed on Zimmerman’s short list. He will most likely trim that list to three or four schools before making his choice as soon as this summer.
Zimmerman’s mother tweeted on March 28th that Roy Williams came to visit them in Las Vegas, so UNC is going hard after the talented big man. Zimmerman’s mom also offered some helpful insights on Twitter, saying that their family hasn’t set up any visits yet with UNC. Also, his mom said in the same Twitter chain that he is not basing his college decision on location, but on the right fit from him. This helps UNC and is a bad sign for all the West Coast schools who think Zimmerman is a lock to stay out West. Zimmerman is from Las Vegas, so I expect UNLV to be at the front of the race along with Kansas and potentially UNC.
Ivan Rabb is listed as the top prospect in the ESPN 60 for Juniors, and UNC is not at the front of the pack in the race for his talents. Arizona looks to be in the lead for the 6-9 big man, but Rabb still has a lot of teams on his list and is really early in the decision making process.
Diamond Stone hails from Wisconsin, so the Badgers and Marquette are pushing hard for the 6-10 forward’s talents. Per a Clarion Ledger report, Stone and 2nd overall prospect Malik Newman could be looking to package their recruitment together. ESPN lists just 4 schools that Newman and Stone have in common, and UNC is one of them. The other three schools both prep stars have in common are UCLA, Arizona and Kentucky. Stone and Newman are both still long ways away from their decisions, but if Carolina could land the package deal of these two stars, watch out.