Kennedy Meeks is just the latest 2013 prospect to land a scholarship offer from Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC has already locked up Nate Britt and Isaiah Hicks to verbal commitments and has five more offers on the table.
Troy Williams is the talk of the town, as he has narrowed his future schools to North Carolina and Kentucky. Though he is the focus right now, there is plenty of talent left on the board for the next round of recruiting.
If the Heels can seal the deal with one or two more of these prospects, it could be a hell of a team going into 2013. Let's take a look at the players Coach Williams has offered scholarships to thus far.
Position Rank: No. 2
Not only did Roy Williams manage to snatch up a 4-star point guard in Marcus Paige for 2012, he looks to have a 5-star floor general waiting in the wings. On November 29, 2011, junior Nate Britt, out of Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., gave his verbal commitment to North Carolina.
Britt is an extremely talented young player. His game is somewhat reminiscent of Kendall Marshall, as both are the definition of a “pure” point. He has a pass-first mentality, coupled with superb vision and dribbling skills.
Like Marshall, he doesn't have great hops, but he does have a much quicker step than that former Tar Heel. He also boasts a great outside game—defenses won't be allowed to back off this kid. His release is a little slow, but he does have a nice stroke.
Britt will have no trouble getting in the paint, either. The combination of a quick first step, change of pace and ankle-breaking dribbles will put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses. At 6'0”, he doesn't have great height, but he makes up for that with a quick release on layups and floaters.
It kind of reminds me of Derrick Rose, when he penetrates—minus the insane athleticism.
According to Inside Carolina, Chapel Hill is exactly where Nate Britt wanted to land:
“They [UNC] have got a lot of history and growing up, North Carolina was my dream school. So, once they offered, it was pretty much me making sure it was the right fit for me.”
As talented as Paige and Britt are, it's almost a shame they will be arriving only a year apart.
Position Rank: No. 1
Troy Williams may be all the talk among the Tar Heel faithful, but there is a reason Jabari Parker is ranked higher than him. Williams is simply the closest to making a decision—at least we think he is.
Both players have great finesse to their games, but Parker puts a little power on it. He isn't huge, but he does have an inch and an extra 35 pounds on Williams. Parker uses every bit of his size and doesn't shy away from contact.
Jabari Parker's game is also very refined, and could start at the collegiate level already. Another year and this young 5-star prospect will be on pace to dominate. Between his range, slasher mentality, ability to block shots and pick off passes, he already does just about everything you could want from the 3.
Don't expect a decision anytime soon, though. According to Inside Carolina, he plans on making plenty of visits before he comes to a decision.
“It’s probably a million schools on the list," he said. "I am going to make sure to look at every school because you never know what will happen tomorrow. I just want to look at everybody.”
OK, maybe not a million, but there are 13 we are aware of—including North Carolina and Kentucky. Like I said, it may be a while.
If Troy Williams falls through, there is still a great option out there—perhaps even better. And you can bet Roy Williams will be releasing the hounds on Jabari Parker.
Position Rank: No. 2
Please don't take what I said about Jabari Parker as a knock against Troy Williams. Williams is still very impressive, and North Carolina would be lucky to pick him up.
Williams is a slasher and a great open-court player. He still needs to fine-tune his shooting, but he does boast a nice range—though he lacks consistency from deep.
He also likes to jump passing lanes and take steals coast-to-coast—usually ending with a smooth dunk. He has a pretty effortless lift and should continue to be a high flier at the collegiate level.
Williams also uses his length and athleticism to fly in out of nowhere for a block. Endless energy is what this 5-star's game is all about.
Whether he ends up with the Heels or the Kentucky Wildcats, there is no doubt Troy Williams will make his team better—and he'll do it on both sides of the ball.
Check out the latest Troy Williams highlights from Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
We're also keeping track of Troy Williams' decision here at Bleacher Report.
Position Rank: No. 1
Somebody needs to check Julius Randle's birth certificate. There is no way this man is junior in high school. He is listed at 6'8” and 215 pounds, but he looks and plays much bigger—and older.
Aside from his mid- to long-range jumper, this 5-star's game is completely developed.
Randle is already a good dribbler, which is an area that can be slow-developing from the 4. Coupled with his athleticism, he gets to the basket with ease—even from the top of the key.
He isn't a finesse guy, either. Get out of the way, or he will run you over.
Like most high school prospects, he still needs to develop some post moves with his back to the basket. He does have a nice repertoire though, using his pivot foot and pump fakes to perfection. Double-teams do not slow this man-child down.
Randle's physicality also makes him a brick wall on the defensive end, having no problem boxing out for rebounds. Good luck backing him down in the post, too.
Julius Randle has earned his spot at the top, and he will get no argument from me.
Don't get your hopes too high on Randle, though. According to Pack Pride, it appears he may be leaning toward NC State:
"Their playing style is exciting. Coach Gottfried can coach. He came in and did a major job with the team this year. They have great assistants, great facilities, and great fans. There's nothing I don't like about NC State.”
To each his own, I guess. That comment, combined with the fact he has developed a friendship with the Wolfpack's 2012 5-star recruit Rodney Purvis, I'm thinking the Heels don't have a chance. The offer is still out there, though.
Position Rank: No. 4
There may be three power forwards listed above Isaiah Hicks, but his game is still pretty special. The 6'8” and 210-pound Hicks is also Carolina's second 5-star verbal commit for 2013.
Mesh John Henson's skill set with Tyler Zeller's ability to run the floor, and you have Isaiah Hicks.
Hicks doesn't have the length of John Henson, but he'll swat just as many shots. He positions himself well when defending the post and has the body to get physical. He'll also use his pure athleticism to peg a layup in the halfcourt or in transition.
On the offensive end, he's also developed a decent mid-range jumper and can knock it down on a pull-up. He doesn't create many of his own shots at this stage, but he does help create them for others with some smooth passing for a 4.
Hicks still needs to develop some post moves with his back to the basket and extend his range a bit. But according to his coach and Inside Carolina, that's exactly what he's doing in the offseason:
My next goal with him, when we start our individual workouts in April, is extending his range out to a foot behind the three-point line. We want to make his 20- to 22-foot jumper look like his 15-foot one. We’re trying to do everything we can to get him prepared to play in the ACC.
His skills fit the Roy Williams system, but does his personality, Coach Brunelli?
He’s so unselfish. That’s just his nature.
The [UNC] coaches, I’ll never forget, told him they had tickets for him behind the bench at the Nicholls State game in December. As a team, we decided to go and had seats in the top part of the upper deck. When we picked up our tickets, Isaiah told the [UNC coaches]: ‘Thanks, but I’m going to sit with my team tonight.’ The [UNC] coaching staff was like ‘Wow.'
That's exactly what is expected of players that don the Carolina blue.
Position Rank: No. 2
Think Sean May in Big Baby's body and you have Kennedy Meeks.
I'll be completely honest and say that what I've seen of the 4-star Meeks, I haven't been greatly impressed. There seems to be a little too much standing around.
That isn't to say he's not a talent. Much like Sean May, he puts a nice touch on the ball, making him a great finisher in the paint. At 6'8” and 255 pounds, he also has the body to bully the opposition in the post.
He is also a good passer and a very efficient rebounder, but would still benefit from a little extra activity in his feet.
Playing in the Carolina system, I'm sure Meeks would slim down a little bit, but I don't see him being a runner. With the incoming athleticism of the 2012 and 2013 classes, that may not be an issue.
I'd probably be a little more excited about Meeks if he was at least three inches taller. I just don't see him having an advantage over collegiate centers, aside from his weight. I also think Tar Heel Nation will be just fine with Joel James at the 5.
Position Rank: No. 5
Now this is a center I can get on board with. I honestly don't understand why Austin Nichols is ranked lower than Meeks, but who am I?
The 4-star Nichols appears to be Tyler Zeller reincarnated—just three inches shorter. That's still an inch taller than Meeks, though. And who knows how much he will grow over the next year.
Just like Zeller, he isn't a freakish athlete, but he runs the floor very well and won't hesitate to lead a fast break—even with the ball in his hand. He does seem to get up a little better than Z, but not by much.
Nichols needs to develop a little more of a post game, but already has a nice hook in his bag of tricks. Sound familiar? He also has a good shot from mid-range and a nice stroke from the charity stripe.
As a matter of fact, Nichols sealed a win with two clutch free throws in the final seconds.
I swear I didn't read this quote before writing the previous five paragraphs. Nichols relayed his offer conversation with Roy Williams for Inside Carolina:
“He just said that he saw me this weekend and that I reminded him of Tyler Zeller because I have good hands and run the floor. Then he said he offered me a scholarship. He said he liked how I played and wanted to build the relationship.”
Perhaps I'm reading a little too much into things, but he also wears a familiar number on his jersey—44. I'm just sayin'.
All I can say is, look out for North Carolina in 2013. This could be a team of the ages.