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Friday May 20th

Tar Heels in the preps: UNC's future recruits shine in the high school hoops scene

<p>&nbsp;East Rockingham High School senior Tyler Nickel will be joining the UNC Men's Basketball team this fall. Photo courtesy of Carey Keyes.</p>
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 East Rockingham High School senior Tyler Nickel will be joining the UNC Men's Basketball team this fall. Photo courtesy of Carey Keyes.

Late January in North Carolina can only mean one thing for the self-proclaimed “Hoop State”: basketball season is officially in full force.

While the North Carolina men’s basketball team battles through ACC play, future Tar Heels are putting their talents on full display in the high school ranks. 

Seth Trimble, class of 2022

Trimble, the younger brother of former UNC player J.P. Tokoto, plays point guard for his hometown school, Menomonee Falls High School. So far, the Phoenixes have jumped out to a 13-2 record and are the No. 3 team in Wisconsin, according to MaxPreps.

On Jan. 22, Menomonee Falls faced off against one of Minnesota's top teams, Totino-Grace. This game featured one of Trimble’s toughest matchups of the season: junior guard Taison Chatman. Chatman, the No. 71 prospect, according to 247Sports, is a shifty guard with elite length, making him a tough player to defend against.

In this matchup, Trimble utilized his explosive first step and potent mid-range shot to lead the Phoenixes to a 83-70 win. In the winning effort, Trimble scored 35 points, showing his ability to create his own shot off the dribble and his three-point range, an area some view as a weakness of his. 

Currently, Trimble ranks second in scoring for his high school’s history, just 112 points behind his older brother Tokoto. 

Tyler Nickel, class of 2022

There are only two words to describe UNC commit Tyler Nickel: bucket getter.

The 6-foot-8-inch small forward plays for East Rockingham High School in Virginia, where this season Nickel has led his team to numerous hard fought victories while setting new personal bests along the way.

In early January, Nickel torched Strasburg High School, scoring a career-high 48 points and adding 12 rebounds and two assists. For the game, Nickel shot nearly 70 percent from the field and chipped in a trio of three-point baskets to lead the Eagles to a dominant 73-41 win.

Just four days later, Nickel matched his explosive performance in the Chance Harmon Classic against Floyd County High School. In the come-from-behind win, Nickel scored 43 points, giving him his second straight game with 40 points or more. 

Despite concerns surrounding his ability to defend, there should be no doubts about his ability to fill up the score sheet on the offensive end. 

Simeon Wilcher, class of 2023

Wilcher is UNC’s lone commit from the class of 2023 so far, but head coach Hubert Davis hopes the crafty guard from New Jersey can be the centerpiece for another elite recruiting class.

Wilcher, a five-star prospect, is ranked as the No. 13 player in his class according to 247Sports. He plays for Roselle Catholic ― the eighth-ranked team in the country according to MaxPreps ― and the team's schedule allows him to face other top teams in the nation.

In just his second game of the season, Wilcher posted a complete outing, scoring 17 points with 10 assists. His double-double helped the Lions earn their first win of the year.

However, no game shines brighter for Wilcher than his game against Plainfield.

Despite only scoring 14 points, Wilcher snagged 10 rebounds and added 10 assists, giving the junior point guard his first triple-double of the season. In the 80-47 victory, Wilcher cemented himself as a true point guard with his ability to score at will, while also creating shots for his teammates.

In Roselle Catholic’s most recent game on Saturday, the Lions faced Hillcrest Prep, a nationally ranked team from Arizona. Wilcher showcased his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor, scoring 24 points and getting three steals, leading his team to a 83-82 win. 

Wilcher’s impressive stat lines throughout this season have lived up to his five-star status, a trend that could boost his ranking into the top-10 in the near future.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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