North Carolina Basketball: Strengths and Weaknesses of 2013 Recruiting Class
With the likes of Nate Britt, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, the 2013 recruiting class is sure to make a positive impact on North Carolina basketball. The trio will have a tough time earning a starting spot in their freshman seasons, but they will add great depth to Roy Williams' Tar Heels.
All three players are ranked in the 2013 ESPN 100. However, Meeks and Britt have taken a bit of a slide over the last few months.
Britt is just barely holding on at No. 93.
Rankings aside, each of the UNC recruits bring a hefty share of strengths to the table. They will also come to Chapel Hill bearing a few weaknesses. Many weaknesses will be fixable during their years on campus, but some may never be worked out.
How they improve upon—or counter—their deficiencies will determine their places in Carolina history. But Britt, Meeks and Hicks certainly have the potential to earn a spot in the rafters of the Dean Dome.
Nate Britt, PG
Unlike Marcus Paige coming out of high school, Nate Britt is more of a passer than a scorer. That isn't to say he can't score though.
With his superior quickness, Britt can blow by defenders and finish in traffic, despite his 6'1", 165-pound frame. He has a beautiful touch on his floater too, and can drop it with both hands.
His blazing speed also makes him a deadly weapon when leading the fast break.
He has a nice stroke, and can consistently knock down mid-range jumpers. But he will need to improve his range to force defenders to play him tight.
Britt is an excellent passer, and at times he is very creative. He doesn't play loose, so that keeps his turnovers down. He may have to let it fly a little more to become an impact player for Carolina, though.
Britt's size will be an issue at the next level, as Paige is finding out. While he has the speed of Ty Lawson, he doesn't have the stocky body to absorb contact.
His size also causes him some trouble when facing heavy pressure from the defense.
In addition to adding some bulk, Britt will need to become a more efficient three-point shooter and take a few gambles in the passing game.
Overall, Britt's weaknesses are very similar to Paige's. Even with his speed, don't expect Britt to be the instant solution to UNC's point guard woes.
I expect him to struggle just as much as Paige has this season. And Paige will have a year of collegiate experience under his belt before Britt lands in Chapel Hill.
Kennedy Meeks, C
Kennedy Meeks will hit the Chapel Hill campus with a plethora of skills few centers will ever have.
Meek's court awareness will probably be one of his greatest assets at North Carolina. He seems to know where everyone is on the court, and won't hesitate to dish a sweet bounce pass to a cutter or launch a perfect outlet pass to start a fast break—and he's ridiculously good at it.
Meeks sports an excellent pair of hands, and will suck up a rebound or post feed with ease. That should be very welcome after a season full of bobbles from the Carolina bigs.
He has pulled in 20 or more rebounds in three different games this season.
Those soft hands also provide him with an excellent touch on his shot. He is efficient anywhere from 10 to 17 feet out, and has even worked to extend his range behind the arc.
Though his post game isn't refined yet, he has excellent feet, and shouldn't have a problem expanding his repertoire beyond his already-solid jump hook.
Meek's greatest weakness is easily his lack of explosiveness. That partially stems from his hefty 275-pound frame, but it's unlikely a trimmed-down Meeks would blow anyone away either.
Because of that, Meeks probably won't be filling up highlight reels with dunks in traffic. He'll also be lagging behind on fast breaks, but he does make up for that with the outlet pass I mentioned before.
Kendall Marshall didn't have to run much in transition either.
At 6'9", he is undersized for the center position. Combined with his lack of explosiveness and post game, he will probably struggle on the block in his first season at the collegiate level.
Isaiah Hicks, PF
By no means is Isaiah Hicks fully developed, but there are a lot of positives that come from this power forward.
Hicks is an explosive player that can impact both sides of the court with his leaping ability and quickness. He has a dominant first step, giving him the ability to blow by defenders when facing the basket. On the defensive end, he's blocking everything that comes his way.
In consecutive games this season, Hicks swatted 12 and 14 shots. Don't expect that kind of production at Chapel Hill, but those numbers are pretty impressive at any level.
Hicks brings a couple somewhat uncharacteristic traits to his position. He is a surprisingly skilled passer, with the ability to drop no-look dimes in heavy traffic. He's also a good enough dribbler to break out spin moves and lead fast breaks.
Hicks struggled with consistency on his jump shots early in his high school career, but he has improved since. He is even willing to step back and bury a three now. His stroke is sweet enough that he could eventually become a lethal stretch 4.
Hicks' weaknesses are two of the most typical for power forwards at the prep level.
He doesn't have much of a back-to-the-basket game yet. His go-to move in the post is the turnaround fade, a la James Michael McAdoo and Brice Johnson. As witnessed this season, that won't be enough to cut it at the next level.
It still baffles me that high school coaches neglect that aspect of the game, but that's for another day.
Another issue he will have to work out at Chapel Hill is his strength. At 210 pounds, he has about 20 pounds on Johnson, but looks every bit as lanky. His quickness will only get him so far, so you can fully expect Carolina's strength and conditioning coach to work him hard in the weight room and force feed him about eight meals a day.
This is a pretty solid group of recruits Roy Williams was able to pick up for 2013, and he still has a chance to land top recruit Andrew Wiggins. While I don't expect Britt, Meeks or Hicks to reach superstar status in their first seasons at Chapel Hill, the future of the program is still bright with this solid trio.