In the late hours of Sunday evening, Hubert Davis and the UNC men’s basketball program added another piece to their 2023 recruiting class with the commitment of Texas senior forward Zayden High.
High announced his decision on ESPN2, picking the Tar Heels over Arkansas, Michigan, Texas and Villanova. According to the 247Sports recruiting database, High — the No. 48 player in the country — is the second top-50 commit in the Tar Heels’ 2023 recruiting class, joining No. 19 combo guard Simeon Wilcher from New Jersey.
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward spent his first three seasons at Smithson Valley High School in Texas, averaging 21 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in his junior year. He will play his final high school season at AZ Compass Prep in Chandler, Arizona.
When he arrives in Chapel Hill next fall, High could be an immediate contributor to a team that might lose a number of pieces from this year’s squad. Here are three things to know about High and what he could bring to the Tar Heels.
He’s a late bloomer
Just three years ago, High was an overlooked, undersized 6-foot-1 guard. Now, he’s being described as one of the biggest “late bloomers” in the country.
Following an eight-inch growth spurt since his first high school season, High has maintained many of his guard skills to dominate both inside and out. Despite his now larger frame, High looks comfortable as a ball handler and acts as a three-level scorer.
Still a mostly unknown commodity in April, High dominated the Amateur Athletic Union’s EYBL Orlando circuit as a member of JL3 Elite, where he averaged 21.7 points and shot 57 percent from the floor. In a matchup with top prospect – and former UNC commit – GG Jackson, High recorded 27 points and eight rebounds. His play was even more impressive the following day, when he scored 31 points and drilled three 3-pointers in a loss to Team CP3.
After Jackson committed to UNC in late April, all of the Tar Heels’ roster spots were seemingly filled, which forced Davis and the coaching staff to break off High’s recruitment. But once Jackson announced his decision to reclassify before flipping his commitment to South Carolina weeks later, the Tar Heels turned their attention back to High, who took his official visit in late September.