With North Carolina facing the losses of Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall—and likely James Michael McAdoo in 2013—Roy Williams is looking to fill some “big” needs over the next two years. The Tar Heels staff is currently working on bringing South Carolina's Anthony Gill and Damontre Harris and Connecticut's Alex Oriakhi to Chapel Hill as transfers.
At first glance, this may seem a little odd for ol' Roy to be going after so much frontcourt talent. After all, next season UNC will have James Michael McAdoo, Brice Johnson, Joel James, Desmond Hubert and Jackson Simmons at the 4 and 5. However, the only one of those three transfers that will be available for the coming season is Alex Oriakhi.
Because of UConn's postseason ban in 2013, Oriakhi is expected to to be eligible for the 2012-13 season. Gill and Harris will both likely have to take a year off from the game to become eligible.
Gill and Harris were both recruited by Darrin Horn, but the South Carolina coach was fired following a 2-14 record in the SEC. With the hiring of Kansas State's former coach Frank Martin, the two teammates and North Carolina natives are looking for a new school and UNC is at the top of their lists.
In speaking to Inside Carolina on Tuesday, Anthony Gill revealed his lifetime love for Tar Heels basketball:
“I grew up loving North Carolina basketball – the program and the players. Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, he was from the Charlotte area, I saw all of them and watched them progress through the NBA. UNC always has good players coming out to the league each year.”
Will Gill have an issue with taking a year off?
“I’m actually looking forward to the year off, it doesn’t bother me. During that time I could get bigger, faster and stronger.”
Now that's what I like to hear.
Inside Carolina is also keeping up with Alex Oriakhi and updating their “premium” forums with the latest information. Roy Williams briefly spoke to Oriakhi last Thursday and he seemed to like the UNC coach:
"He said they have a big need at my position and talked about how the big men get the ball a lot. It was a brief conversation, but he seems like a great guy and I like him."
Who doesn't, Alex?
Oriakhi confirmed on Tuesday that he is still planning on visiting the Chapel Hill campus. He has been waiting for everyone to declare for the 2012 NBA draft, so he can eye team needs around the NCAA.
I've set up some slides to brief you on these potential Tar Heels. And please keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. Gill and Harris have yet to “officially” contact the university.