UNC Basketball: Tar Heels on the outside looking in for 5-star prospect?

Does the UNC basketball program have a shot at 5-star small forward Harrison Ingram, or are the Tar Heels on the outside looking in?

Last month, 5-star class of 2021 prospect Harrison Ingram announced his list of 10 finalists, eliminating nearly two-thirds of the schools that had extended scholarship offers to him. After turning down programs such as Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Texas and UCLA, it was Arkansas, Baylor, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Purdue, Stanford, Tennessee and Texas A&M that made the cut.

According to recruiting analysts and experts, as well as those closest to the situation, Ingram appears to be leaning toward Stanford or Purdue. Everyone else, including North Carolina, is apparently on the outside looking in. But how close are the Tar Heels to breaking through and leveling the playing field with the likes of Stanford and Purdue? Rivals recruiting analyst Corey Evans talked about that on Wednesday, noting which programs he thinks still have a shot, outside of the main contenders.

“Harrison Ingram is not one that has found it difficult to find a quality suitor list,” Evans writes. “Last month, he narrowed things to a final 10 and while I do believe that it will eventually come down to Purdue, Stanford and maybe two or three others, we still do have some time to go before a commitment is made.

Focused on a group that also includes Arkansas, Baylor, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, Ingram will likely use all of his official visits during his senior year before deciding. However, if a decision was made today, I would say that Baylor, Louisville, Michigan and UNC would have best chance with him. However, he does have family in the Memphis area and is intrigued by the idea of playing for the Vols if they were to also land another comparable talent like Kennedy Chandler or Paolo Banchero.

However, things are not going to end today which is why I would keep an eye on Michigan. They have picked up the greatest amount of ground compared to any of his finalists in recent weeks and if things remain on track, could be the winner of the Ingram recruitment.”

Though the Tar Heels don’t currently appear to have the inside track on Ingram, Roy Williams and company certainly won’t stop trying. Elite wings have eluded North Carolina over the past few recruiting cycles, leaving noticeable holes on the perimeter where they’ve lacked quality long-range shooters and slashers.

The good news for North Carolina is that there appears to be plenty of time left in Ingram’s recruitment for things to change. Whether or not that bodes well for the Tar Heels is yet to be seen, but we have seen Williams and his staff pull off some pretty remarkable recruiting feats over the past few years.

A 6-foot-7, 210-pound small forward out of St. Mark’s High School in Dallas, Texas, Ingram is ranked 15th in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s sixth among players at his position, and No. 1 in the state of Texas. Ingram is a versatile wing with the ability to play multiple positions on both ends of the floor. He’s got great strength and size for a small forward, handles the basketball well, passes with efficiency, rebounds adequately and has a nice offensive game overall.

Stick with Keeping It Heel for all the latest on the Harrison Ingram recruitment, and everything UNC basketball.