UNC Basketball Recruiting: Breaking Down Heels' Chances of Landing Kennedy Meeks
With only six days left in the early signing period, it's closing in on decision time for 2013 recruit Kennedy Meeks. And it appears that decision will be made Friday night on ESPNU, Matt Hamm of Keeping It Heel reports.
Will it be North Carolina or Georgetown that gets a commitment from the 6'9", 275-pounder out of Charlotte, NC?
That's the question we are all asking, and answers aren't easy to come by.
Ever since Austin Nichols dropped UNC from his list, I've had a feeling "Big Baby" would find his way to Chapel Hill. However, I can't just go on my instincts alone. It takes diligent research to come up with a well-informed conclusion, and even then we are still taking a shot in the dark.
After sifting through piles of quotes from Meeks and finding scholarship issues with Georgetown, I've come to the conclusion he will indeed be a Tar Heel next season.
Meeks took an unofficial visit to North Carolina to attend Late Night with Roy, and hang out with a few other recruits—including 2013 commits Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt.
According to Sherrell McMillan of Inside Carolina (subscription required), Hicks and Britt seized the opportunity to give Roy Williams an assist on the recruiting front:
Those are my boys. We played with each other this summer and at camps and stuff. We laugh and joke around. Sometimes we just try and stay from recruiting and all that so we can have fun. But, Nate and Isaiah were definitely on me.
“If I were to go to UNC, I’d fit in perfectly,” Meeks went on to say. “I was just happy I got to come tonight—it was a great experience.”
That wouldn't be the big man's last visit to North Carolina, either.
Kennedy Meeks took his official visit to Chapel Hill on Oct. 26, with freshman J.P. Tokoto playing host for the weekend. Meeks attended the exhibition against Shaw, and then followed that up with the football game on Saturday.
It wasn't just any football game he attended, either. He got to see the best game of the Tar Heels' season, when they managed to beat rival NC State in the final seconds—thanks to a 74-yard punt return by Heisman candidate Giovani Bernard.
If he is indeed a football fan, would he rather watch an up-and-coming, exciting Carolina team or watch the Hoyas tear up the Patriot League?
That may sound like a moot point to some, but just about anything can factor into a decision as tight as this one. Personally, I'm a huge football fan, and I know that would make a difference to me.
It wasn't just the football team he was impressed with, either. The fans did their part, too, he expressed to McMillan (subscription required):
It was a great atmosphere. I was really surprised by how many people really care about North Carolina basketball. I was walking in with the team and people recognized me and came up and talked to me.
Carolina fans certainly know their basketball recruits. I can attest to that.
Now let's delve into the scholarship issue at Georgetown I had mentioned in the opening. The Hoyas have five offers on the table, without an open scholarship as of now.
Casual Hoya is quick to point out that slots could open with the health concerns of Tyler Adams and the possibility of Otto Porter heading to the NBA. But will Kennedy Meeks be willing to take that gamble?
With his similar size and soft hands, he's drawn many comparisons to former Tar Heel Sean May. As good as May was, Meeks has the potential to be even better.
While his post game needs some refining, his face-up game continued to improve throughout the summer. He even extended his range beyond the arc, which is always impressive from a big.
The best part of his skill set, as it pertains to UNC, is the ability to dish an outlet pass after a defensive rebound. Though he doesn't have the speed to be a Tyler Zeller in transition, it's beneficial to keep him down low for the rebound.
Which School Will Kennedy Meeks Choose?
Carolina bigs are occasionally busted getting out in transition too early, leaving opponents all alone to pick up the offensive board. With Meeks' passing ability, he can stay put without hurting the transition game of Roy Williams' Tar Heels.
Drew Laskey also points out that Roy's run-and-gun scheme can also be beneficial to Meeks, forcing him to cut weight so he can run with the team and not end up exhausted.
That's something Meeks is already working on. He knows that will be crucial if he plans to spend his life playing basketball.
In another Inside Carolina article from McMillan (subscription required), she indicates Meeks has been lifting, running and performing drills every morning and afternoon. What he had to say makes me feel even better about his potential:
I feel way stronger. I feel more explosive than I was before. One time I couldn’t even dunk five times straight. Now, I’m doing it 15 or 20 times in a row. It feels good.
I want to get in pro shape when I get to college. I’m willing and have shown I’m willing to do that because I love basketball and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
That sounds a lot like Carolina's current freshman center, Joel James, who managed to trim off over 50 pounds before arriving in Chapel Hill.
I think the advantages favor North Carolina, and I'm sure he knows there is no place "finer." If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the Tar Heels.
Isaac Hamilton and Tyler Roberson will join Meeks on the National Signing Day Special with their decisions. ESPNU's recruiting special is slated for an hour, starting at 7 p.m. EST on Friday.
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