Five-star prospect talks recruiting, UNC basketball
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams has put an obvious emphasis on recruiting front court players, which is why the Tar Heels are currently in the running for a number of elite bigs in the class of 2019.
Partially responsible for that emphasis is Williams’ preference to play with a traditional lineup, trotting at least one, if not two, legitimate big men out on the court at all times. Another key factor is the team’s apparent struggles against larger lineups last season, most notably a 21-point beat down by Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
So Williams and his staff have tabbed a number of five-star prospects in the class including the No. 2 prospect, Vernon Carey, and Minnesota native Matthew Hurt, who’s ranked fourth overall in the class. North Carolina is also hot on the trail of five-star center Armando Bacot, who looks to be favoring the Tar Heels at this point in his recruitment.
Also on the radar is Will Baker, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound center from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Baker has interest from a number of schools including Baylor, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA.
He’s made unofficial visits to both Baylor and Texas A&M, but appears to have more interest in the state’s flagship school, which is less than a half hour from where he lives. He’s also unofficially visited UCLA, who many feel is the Tar Heels’ toughest competition in his recruitment. Don’t count Kansas out, though, because the Jayhawks appear to be in a good position with Baker, too.
Rivals recruiting analyst Corey Evans recently watched Baker and a number of other elite prospects play in Colorado Springs at the U-18 USA Basketball tryouts. Baker talked about his recruitment, the teams recruiting him hardest and his thoughts on each. He also spoke highly of the Tar Heels, and his experience with the team to this point.
“Roy Williams is a basketball legend and I think that I would learn so much from him,” Baker said. “He [Williams] says that he works with the bigs in practice, which is really cool. I just like the program a lot and they came down and talked to me for a home visit a month or so ago. It was cool to sit down and talk with them. I like them.”
Williams offered Baker a scholarship in September, and then took trips to see him play in January and April. There’s no doubt that Williams is recruiting Baker hard, attempting to snag at least one elite big man in the 2019 class.
Baker is the No. 16 overall prospect in the class of 2019 according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s a top-5 center in the class and the No. 2 player in the state of Texas.
Stick with Keeping It Heel for more on the Tar Heels’ pursuit of Baker in the coming months.