Current Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 17:16:55 -0500
With the 2014 recruiting cycle winding down, Roy Williams and the North Carolina men’s basketball staff has begun to focus more and more on the class of 2015.
This primer breaks down the 2015 recruiting outlook for the Tar Heels, detailing which prospects hold offers and other prospects who have been garnering attention from the UNC staff.
Be sure to check out our 2014 Recruiting Guide, and stay tuned for a 2016 guide and some notes on the 2017 class. These guides will continue to be updated as the class develops and the recruiting picture becomes clearer.
Based on the roster breakdown for the 2015-16 season, the UNC staff will likely attempt to bring in either one or two post players to go along with an able scorer from the wing. Rebounding and outside shooting will be two areas emphasized in the 2015 recruiting class based on the projected 2015-16 roster and the eight offers already extended.
Note: Player rankings listed are from the 247 Composite rankings system, which compiles rankings data from every major national scouting service.
2015-16 ROSTER OVERVIEW
Players Leaving: Desmond Hubert (Graduation)
Scholarships Open: Two or three
CLASS OF 2015 – OFFERED
With no clear early departure candidates to the NBA Draft after the 2014-15 season (although one or two could easily emerge), the 2015 class will become an important one for UNC. The Tar Heels will likely be looking to bring in a two or three-man recruiting class and have been aggressive and proactive with scholarship offers thus far.
G P.J. Dozier (Spring Valley; Columbia, S.C.), 6-foot-5, National Rank: No. 33
Date Offered: July 30th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Crafty passer with good size who can play either guard position.
Other Schools Involved: Clemson, Duke, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, South Carolina, others
UNC’s Chances: Good. Although he is currently sitting out of action while rehabbing an ACL injury, Dozier appears to be a priority recruit for UNC. His size and ability to play as a combo guard attribute to that, along with his regional ties.
G/F Brandon Ingram (Kinston; Kinston, N.C.), 6-foot-7, National Rank: No. 26
Date Offered: July 30th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Wing scorer and primary outside shooting option.
Other Schools Involved: East Carolina, Louisville, Minnesota, N.C. State, VCU, Wake Forest
UNC’s Chances: Very good. It seems likely that Ingram will end up a Tar Heel when all is said and done. He has been on campus for unofficial visits more than any other recruit, and could be the next addition to the Kinston-to-UNC pipeline, following Reggie Bullock and Jerry Stackhouse.
F Chase Jeter (Bishop Gorman; Las Vegas, Nev.), 6-foot-9 National Rank: No. 22
Date Offered: October 11th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Athletic rebounder with a strong interior presence on both ends of the floor with the potential to develop into a do-it-all power forward.
Other Schools Involved: Arizona, Cal, Duke, Kansas, Michigan, Oregon, San Diego State, UCLA, UNLV, USC, others
UNC’s Chances: Average. The most recently offered player in the class, Jeter’s stock has really risen over the past few months, meaning his recruitment is still taking shape. UNC is arguably the biggest-name program to offer Jeter at this point, which could pay dividends in the long run. It remains to be seen whether Jeter and his teammate Stephen Zimmerman will be looking to play together in college (see more on Zimmerman below).
G Luke Kennard (Franklin; Franklin, Ohio), 6-foot-5, National Rank: No. 15
Date Offered: July 30th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Savvy shooting guard with a well-rounded skill set and ability to do a bit of everything on the offensive end.
Other Schools Involved: Duke, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, others
UNC’s Chances: Not good. Although it is still early in his recruitment, Kennard is expected to eventually end up at Kentucky, and his actions back up that suspicion. The Ohio native has taken three unofficial visits to the Kentucky campus in the past two months.
G Malik Newman (Callaway; Jackson, Miss.), 6-foot-3, National Rank: No. 1
Date Offered: July 7th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Dominant scorer who can play either guard spot.
Other Schools Involved: Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, others
UNC’s Chances: Not good. Like Kennard, most industry experts expect Newman to end up at Kentucky. Considered the most gifted scorer in the 2015 class by nearly every major scout, Newman is a likely one-and-done prospect, meaning John Calipari’s system and philosophy in Lexington will be very attractive.
C Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland, Calif.), 6-foot-10 National Rank: No. 3
Date Offered: December 21st, 2012
Likely Role at UNC: Athletic, high-energy shot blocker and with the potential to be a prolific rebounder on both ends.
Other Schools Involved: Arizona, Cal, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Texas, others
UNC’s Chances: Average. Rabb is an elite prospect but appears to have a predominantly West Coast-oriented recruitment at this point. This is not unusual for a prospect from California, but it could mean that coaches in the East believe he is not likely to come across the country. Regardless, Rabb’s recruitment is still in its early stages and UNC has been involved for a while.
C Diamond Stone (Dominican; Milwaukee, Wisc.), 6-foot-10, National Rank: No. 5
Date Offered: July 8th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Strong-bodied post presence with a refined offensive skill set and ability to dominate on the glass, along with high-level outlet passing ability.
Other Schools Involved: Arizona, Depaul, Florida, Georgetown, Ilinois, Indiana, Marquette, Maryland, UCLA, UConn, Wisconsin, others
UNC’s Chances: Average. Stone does not speak with media often about his recruitment, but has spoken very highly of North Carolina when asked. The UNC coaching staff has made Stone a priority and watched him closely over the summer. However, there is speculation in the industry that Stone may prefer to stay in-state at a school like Marquette or Wisconsin.
C Stephen Zimmerman (Bishop Gorman; Las Vegas, Nev.), 7-foot, National Rank: No. 2
Date Offered: October 10th, 2013
Likely Role at UNC: Highly skilled big man who can run the floor and be a major option in UNC’s primary and/or secondary break.
Other Schools Involved: Arizona, Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA, UNLV, others
UNC’s Chances: Average. Zimmerman’s recruitment remains fairly wide open as he has made few visits to campuses. North Carolina was the latest of the traditional “blue blood” powerhouses to offer the 7-footer, as Roy Williams extended the offer last Thursday.
CLASS OF 2015 – NO OFFER, HIGH INTEREST
The following prospects are those who appear to be firmly on the North Carolina recruiting board but have not yet received a scholarship offer.
G Antonio Blakeney (Oak Ridge; Orlando, Fla.), 6-foot-4, National Rank: No. 44
Chances of UNC Offer: Medium. UNC’s interest in Blakeney is evident and should continue to pick up. He could be in contention for an offer with a very strong high school season. However, right now it seems that he may be more of a backup plan to Ingram and/or Dozier.
UNC’s Chances (If Offered): Average. While UNC would likely be the biggest-name program involved if they were to offer Blakeney, Florida appears to be the team to beat in this recruitment and the Orlando native may choose to stay in-state.
F Carlton Bragg (VA-St. Joseph; Cleveland, Ohio), 6-foot-8, National Rank: No. 9
Chances of UNC Offer: Medium. While UNC would already have Justin Jackson on the roster playing a similar role, Bragg is a major talent and is still only scratching the surface of his potential. The Tar Heels have shown interest and could become more involved moving forward.
UNC’s Chances (If Offered): Low. Bragg is being recruited by almost every major program in the country and is obviously a priority recruit for most. With a number of schools already offering and putting in major work with Bragg, UNC would likely be on the outside looking in if they decided to offer this late in the process.
F Thomas Bryant (Huntington Prep; Rochester, N.Y.), 6-foot-8, National Rank: No. 13
Chances of UNC Offer: Low. Bryant is a major talent but does not necessarily fill a need for UNC in the 2015 class. He has impressive size but is not a true post player, and does not have the skill set to play on the wing in the Tar Heels’ system.
UNC’s Chances (If Offered): Low. Bryant has not been significantly linked to UNC at all to this point, and it is doubtful that he will be moving forward. UNC has also never landed a recruit from Huntington Prep (W.Va), which Bryant recently transferred into. Expect his recruitment to come down to a battle between major programs in the Northeast.
C Daniel Giddens (Wheeler; Marietta, Ga.), 6-foot-10, National Rank: No. 24
Chances of UNC Offer: Low. Based on the recent offers to Jeter and Zimmerman, the likelihood of a UNC offer for Giddens has decreased.
UNC’s Chances (If Offered): Average. Although UNC has not recruited Georgia heavily under Roy Williams, the Tar Heels have a very strong reputation throughout the Southeast and could be a factor with Giddens if they were to offer. At the same time, Giddens has become a priority for a number of other high-level programs, and will continue to be heavily pursued as the year goes on.
G Malachi Richardson (Trenton Catholic; Trenton, N.J.), 6-foot-6, National Rank: No. 16
Chances of UNC Offer: Low. If Brandon Ingram ends up a Tar Heel, he essentially takes the spot that Richardson (a fairly similar prospect) has the ability to step into for UNC.
UNC’s Chances (If Offered): Average. Richardson has embraced the recruiting process and is carrying an open mind about his eventual decision. While many New Jersey/New York area prospects tend to stay in the Northeast, Richardson is entertaining programs around the country.
C Elijah Thomas (Lancaster; Rockwall, Tex.), 6-foot-9, National Rank: No. 10
Chances of UNC Offer: Medium. With four offers out to big men already, Thomas may get lost in the shuffle when it comes to UNC’s recruiting of 2015 post players. However, if all four decide to go elsewhere, Thomas would be a very attractive option. He has attracted more attention from the UNC staff (visits, games attended, etc.) than Giddens at this point.
UNC’s Chances (If Offered): Average. UNC made the first “cut” that Thomas made, as he announced a list of ## schools that he will be considering when making his decision. Although an offer has not yet been extended, there is obviously mutual interest between Thomas and Carolina, and that interest is likely to continue.
CLASS OF 2015 – OTHER POSSIBLE TARGETS
F Marcus Derrickson (Paul VI; Fairfax, Va.), 6-foot-7, National Rank: No. 46
C Cheick Diallo (Our Savior New American; Centereach, N.Y.), 6-foot-9, National Rank: No. 7
G Drew Edwards (Calvert Hall; Towson, Md.), 6-foot-3, National Rank: N/A
F Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake; Rice Lake, Wisc.), 6-foot-9, National Rank: No. 43
F Tyler Lydon (New Hampton; Pine Plains, N.Y.), 6-foot-8, National Rank: No. 73