UNC Basketball: Tar Heels favored for top-50 prospect Jalen Wilson?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts against the Davidson Wildcats in the first half at Dean Smith Center on December 29, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts against the Davidson Wildcats in the first half at Dean Smith Center on December 29, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Does the UNC basketball program have a chance to snag one more commitment from the class of 2019?

After 5-star small forward Precious Achiuwa committed to Memphis on Friday, many thought that North Carolina’s 2019 recruiting class was finished. That may not be the case, though, according to multiple college basketball insiders and recruiting analysts.

In light of the recent coaching shake-up at Michigan that saw John Beilein leave Ann Arbor for the Cleveland Cavaliers, top-50 prospect Jalen Wilson asked to be released from his letter of intent. Upon his release from the school, Wilson plans to reopen his recruitment, and will be immediately eligible to play for whatever program he chooses.

If Michigan doesn’t grant his release — a move that is not expected and would be a black eye on the program, considering the circumstances — Wilson would have to sit out a year before playing at another school.

Assuming the situation plays out as we expect, it appears as if the Tar Heels are one of the favorites to add Wilson to their 2019 recruiting class. So, too, are the Jayhawks, one of his former favorites before committing to the Wolverines in May of 2018.

"“I would look for Kansas and North Carolina to be the front-runners with Jalen Wilson,” said Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi. “Kansas was involved the first time around, has had him on campus before and are of course recruiting Wilson’s five-star point guard friend R.J. Hampton. They would certainly make for a nice, unexpected package deal. Carolina is also said to hold some appeal in Hampton’s mind as a place he always hoped to have a chance to play. Could others push their way in? No question. But as Wilson restarts his recruitment, I see Kansas and North Carolina at the top for Wilson.”"

It’s interesting that Bossi mentioned R.J. Hampton’s interest in North Carolina. What’s even more interesting, however, is how North Carolina would handle its scholarship situation if either or both decided to make Chapel Hill home next season.

It’s widely assumed that if the Tar Heels could get one more commitment in 2019 that junior forward Shea Rush would give up his scholarship in order to make room on the roster. But two more commitments? Is that even an option? And if it was possible, could Roy Williams turn down a pair of players as talented as Hampton and Wilson?

Bossi isn’t the only one who sees Kansas and North Carolina as the front-runners in Wilson’s recruitment. Corey Evans shares his sentiments on the Jayhawks and Tar Heels being the odds-on favorites, noting Wilson’s relationship with Hampton — a strong Kansas lean — as well as the current holes in North Carolina’s roster left by the departure of Cameron Johnson and Nassir Little. Evans goes a bit further, though, stating that he thinks that Williams and the Tar Heels will ultimately get Wilson’s commitment this time around.

"“I think that this is more of a two-horse race between Kansas and North Carolina,” Evans said. “Both should receive official visits before mid-June rolls around. KU has a strong in with his best friend R.J. Hampton, a potential Jayhawks lean, and already, much of the early talk has surrounded Bill Self’s program. However, North Carolina has too big of a hole to fill at the small forward position with the departures of Cam Johnson and Nassir Little. Wilson is a well-thought out kid that will focus on fit and system more than personal relationships. Michigan seemed to be the ideal place in the fall and my guess is that once he gets down it, North Carolina will end up being his destination the second time around.”"

And yet another Rivals recruiting analyst, Dan McDonald, also feels as if Kansas and North Carolina are two of the overwhelming favorites for a Wilson commitment. He also mentions Oklahoma State and Florida as potential destinations for the 4-star forward, but thinks that the Jayhawks are the most likely choice for him.

Expect Wilson to be released from his letter of intent in the very near future, and a swift recruitment to follow. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which he’s more than week or two away from a decision.

Ranked No. 50 in the class of 2019 according to the 247Sports Composite, Wilson is the 13th-ranked player at his position, and No. 8 in the state of Texas.

dark. Next. See what this 5-star prospect had to say about UNC

Stick with Keeping It Heel for all the latest on the Jalen Wilson recruitment, as well as R.J. Hampton and all things North Carolina basketball.