UNC Basketball: Patrick Baldwin tipping his hand?

Has 5-star UNC basketball target Patrick Baldwin tipped his hand?

Patrick Baldwin, Jr. is one of a handful of 5-star recruits that Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels have targeted in the class of 2021. Baldwin is a 6-foot-9, 190-pound small forward, and the second-highest ranked prospect on the Tar Heels’ recruiting board for next season.

A senior at Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wisconsin, Baldwin eliminated 10 schools last week when he announced a list of finalists that includes Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Northwestern, UCLA, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In doing so, he eliminated the likes of Florida, Kansas and Marquette, among others.

To those unfamiliar with the circumstances, it might seem odd the Wisconsin-Milwaukee made Baldwin’s top-10 list. Not only is the school in close proximity to his home town, but it’s also where his father, Patrick Baldwin, Sr., is the head coach.

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Those factors have the Panthers on a short list of programs that Rivals recruiting analyst Corey Evans thinks have a lead on the rest of the pack for Baldwin’s commitment. In Evans’ mind, it’s Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina, along with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, that currently have the edge.

” . . . Duke, Kentucky, Milwaukee and North Carolina look to be in the best shape in Baldwin’s recruitment, though Northwestern or Virginia could be a darkhorse,” Evans writes. “It wouldn’t be a surprise if this came down to the Blue Devils and the Panthers, as Milwaukee employs Baldwin’s father, Pat Baldwin Sr., as its head coach.

It will be a tough decision all the way around, but Baldwin will not have any shortage of suitors to choose from. He has never taken an official visit, so I would expect for him to enjoy a few of those before deciding as a commitment.”

There’s no timetable for a decision from Baldwin, but as Evans notes, he’s yet to take any official visits. That’s been aided the past couple of months by the NCAA’s recruiting dead period caused by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Once things begin to get back to normal, expect Baldwin to take trips to some of the schools that he’s considering, and begin to trim his list down even more.

Baldwin has terrific length and athleticism that allow him to excel at either forward position, and help him create mismatches on both ends of the court. He can score from all three levels, runs the floor well and isn’t afraid to drive the lane for big finishes above the rim. He also handles the ball extremely well for a big man, and possesses an outstanding basketball I.Q.

Baldwin is ranked third overall in his class according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s second among players at his position, and first in the state of Wisconsin. All six of Baldwin’s Crystal Ball predictions point toward Duke as his likely landing spot next year, but only one is from this calendar year, so we won’t put too much stock into that.

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