Could UNC’s depth chart be too crowded for Harry Giles?


Dec 3, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels mascot reacts in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Harry Giles announced that he had trimmed his list of colleges down to 8.

The 2016 power forward, considered by ESPN to be the second best player in the Class of 2016, has a list filled with top-notch programs like Kentucky, UNC, Duke and Kansas.

There is still a long way to go in the recruiting process before Giles gets close to picking a school. There are official visits to take, a junior season to finish up at Wesleyan Christian Academy and an entire senior season to play. But, Giles is one of the top prospects in the nation and his recruitment is already attracting a lot of news around the web.

Giles said in this blog post that he has talked to Carolina “a lot”, and Coach Roy Williams has watched Giles play earlier this year in December. Williams would love to have Giles on campus in the fall of 2016 playing in Carolina blue, but is it possible that Giles could look at the depth chart in Chapel Hill and already see that it is already too crowded to warrant coming to Chapel Hill?

First, let me clarify that this is purely speculation. I haven’t talked to Giles of course, and he hasn’t spoken about this subject. I am assuming two things — 1) That Giles will want to play a lot, preferably as a starter, in his freshman season, which I think is a pretty fair thing to assume. High school kids as talented as Giles is like to be “one and dones”, spending just one year in college before jumping off to the NBA. In that one year, getting playing time and starting is essential. No one and done really wants to sit around on the bench and learn the system behind a veteran heavy team. I’m not sure Giles will be a one and done, but either way, I think it is fair to say that playing time will be a major reason in which college he picks.

2) I am assuming that none of the trio of Isaiah Hicks, Luke Maye and Kennedy Meeks leaves early. Hicks and Maye are highly likely not to leave early, but Meeks is the one that is still kind of up in the air. I don’t think Meeks will leave after the 2014-15 season, but he could end up jumping a year early after the 2015-16 campaign, his junior season. For now, however, let’s assume Meeks, Hicks and Maye are all staying.

If those three stay, Giles would be looking at being the first post player off the bench. A quick projection of a potential starting lineup in 2016-17 might be

PG — Joel Berry
SG — Theo Pinson
SF — Justin Jackson
PF — Isaiah Hicks
C — Kennedy Meeks

depending on how recruiting and the early departures shake out. In the frontcourt, Luke Maye would be the backup power forward and Harry Giles potentially would be the sixth man. In my opinion, he would be ahead of Maye in the depth chart and be the first guy off the bench.

Would Giles really be willing to come to UNC as the first guy off the bench? This will be an interesting development to follow going forward. Again, there are a lot of moving parts to this, depending how much Giles values playing time and who leaves for the NBA, but already I think it is worth mentioning and mulling over.

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

If you are Roy Williams, there is a great example to point to when recruiting Mr. Giles on the benefits of potentially playing that sixth man role. In the recruiting cycle in 2004, the 11th ranked player in the country, Marvin Williams, picked UNC despite knowing that the Tar Heels’ frontcourt was crowded already with Jawad Williams and Sean May.

Williams was the sixth man, averaged 11.3 points off the bench and was named to the honorable mention All-ACC team. Williams was able to come to North Carolina, learn from Coach Roy, win a National Championship and not hurt, but help his draft stock.

Williams would go on to be the second pick in the NBA Draft in 2005 after one season at Carolina and has enjoyed a long, productive 10 year career in the NBA, so the sixth man role worked out for him. Roy Williams could easily pitch that this role would work well for Giles, pointing to Marvin Williams as an example.

Jackson Fambrough’s PASR (Predictive Analytics for Successful Recruiting) model, which can be found here on, lists UNC as the third most likely team to sign Harry Giles for the 2016-17 season. However, there is still a long way to go in the recruiting process. Keep an eye out as the process goes along to see what Giles says about playing time and if he wants to be a one and done, because UNC won’t be the school that can offer him the most in those two areas.