Four future UNC basketball players have been named to 2019-20 high school All-American squads, but none higher than the third team.
The North Carolina basketball program signed its best recruiting class in at least 10 seasons, and quite possibly, the best of Roy Williams’ 17-year tenure with the Tar Heels. They captured three 5-star recruits, four McDonald’s All-Americans and five players in the top-54 of the 247Sports Composite. Three of those players — Walker Kessler, Caleb Love and R.J. Davis — won Gatorade Player of the Year honors in their respective states, while the latter also set a school and county scoring record with nearly 2,500 points.
But judging by the way that the MaxPreps 2019-20 All-American teams shook out, you’d have thought that the UNC hoops program had turned in a mediocre performance on the recruiting trail this year.
The member of UNC’s 2020 recruiting class that fared the best in MaxPreps’ year-end honors list was Davis, who made third team All-American. Although he isn’t undeserving of being considered among the Tar Heels’ best incoming freshmen next season, it’s somewhat peculiar that he finished above all three of North Carolina’s 5-star signees. Regardless, his place among this season’s All-Americans is undisputed, given that he averaged 26.5 points, eight rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game en route to a record-setting career.
5-star UNC signees Caleb Love and Day’Ron Sharpe were both named to the publication’s fifth team, despite the fact that both are widely considered to be among the top two or three players at their respective positions. Love finished his senior season at Christian Brothers College averaging 26.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, three assists and 2.5 steals per game. His season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic just a couple of games short of the MSHSAA Class 5 title game. Sharpe averaged 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play per game on an absolutely loaded Montverde Academy squad that featured both Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes.
7-foot, 245-pound Walker Kessler, a consensus 5-star prospect who’s ranked No. 17 in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite, didn’t make any of MaxPreps’ five All-American teams. Instead, he was named to a group of 25 players who received an honorable mention.
However MaxPreps feels about the Tar Heels’ star-studded 2020 recruiting class, it’s this group of five players, in addition to an existing front court that includes All-ACC performer Garrison Brooks and rising sophomore Armando Bacot, that is going to guide the UNC basketball program back to the promised land.
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