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Preview: A look at what UNC basketball's incoming recruits will bring to the table

UNC men's basketball head coach Roy Williams and the bench observe the game between UNC and Duke. UNC lost 89-76 in Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 7, 2020.

While UNC managed to win just 14 games this season and finished tied for the worst record in the ACC, performances from Tar Heel recruits in their senior seasons of high school offer hope to fans that the storied program can rapidly return to its winning ways.

North Carolina boasts five commits in its 2020 recruiting class, all of whom are ranked among the top 55 in the country by 247Sports. Three are five-star recruits and four were named McDonald’s All-Americans, just the third time in school history that has happened. 

The class is ranked No. 3 in the country behind fellow blue-bloods Kentucky and Duke. UNC still has a slim chance to nab the top spot if it can get a late commitment from another top-10 recruit in forwards Ziaire Williams or Greg Brown. 

Here's a look at what North Carolina's five commits have to offer.

Day’Ron Sharpe

Sharpe is the No. 14 recruit in the country and the highest-ranked recruit in UNC’s 2020 class. The forward is from Winterville, N.C. but played at Montverde Academy in Florida, where he helped lead his team to an undefeated record this season. He has all of the physical tools to succeed at the college level. 

While Sharpe is not a polished product, he should be expected to contribute on the boards and add physicality to an already deep frontcourt rotation on the expectation that both Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot return.

Walker Kessler

Kessler shocked many in the basketball community when he committed to North Carolina over Duke in September. The center is the top-ranked player out of Georgia and was named Player of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association. He is a seven-footer with a versatile skill on the offensive end who will provide scoring on the block and occasionally from the perimeter in the loaded North Carolina frontcourt.

Caleb Love

Love may be the most hyped North Carolina recruit, if not the highest-ranked. He was named the Player of the Year in Missouri and is a top-five point guard in the nation. Love eclipsed the 2,000-point scoring mark for his high school career on March 14. He is an aggressive scorer and should provide instant offense at all levels for UNC.

R.J. Davis

Davis rounds out North Carolina's group of McDonald’s All-Americans and is the No. 54 overall player in the 2020 class. The guard made headlines last week when he was named Mr. Basketball for the state of New York. 

He has been rapidly climbing the high school rankings and projects to be an important source of scoring and distributing for a North Carolina team that often struggled with guard play throughout the 2019-20 season. If Cole Anthony decides to leave for the NBA as he is expected to, the Tar Heels will look to Davis and Love to make an immediate impact in the backcourt.

Puff Johnson

The lone recruit not named to the McDonald's All-America game, Johnson is a four-star recruit and younger brother of former Tar Heel and NBA lottery pick Cameron Johnson. He's one of the top players out of the state of Arizona and played for Hillcrest Prep, a basketball powerhouse. 

He plays a similar style to his older brother, as he's a lanky perimeter shooter at the wing spot. He will be called on to provide points from deep for a Tar Heel squad that had one of the worst 3-point field goal percentages in the country this year.

Despite a year that most would likely deem a failure, it should be an easy one for UNC fans to forget. The incoming class of players gives them five reasons to be hopeful for what is to come.


@DTHSports |

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