The North Carolina Tar Heels have locked down 2013 recruits Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Nate Britt with the signing of their Letters of Intent. The only thing left in the open is where top recruit Andrew Wiggins will land.
We will find out about Wiggins soon enough, and you can expect an update to this article if head coach Roy Williams can lure him to UNC.
But, for now, we have three excellent new Tar Heels to learn about that are sure to have bright futures at Chapel Hill. In the following slides, I'll do my best to educate you on this promising group.
*Roy Williams' quotes come courtesy of Inside Carolina.*
*All rankings and ratings are from the 2013 ESPN 100.*
Birth Date: Feb. 5, 1995
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
High School: West Charlotte
Weight: 290 lbs. +/-
Rating: 4 Stars
When looking at a kid of Kennedy Meeks' stature, passing ability is not the first thing that comes to mind. But of all his skills, his passing is one of the most impressive.
Not only is he good at it, he loves dishing the rock. Meeks won't hesitate to drop a dime to a cutter or unwind an outlet pass to start a fast break.
Meeks hasn't fully refined his post game, but he has a solid drop step to lean on as he enters the collegiate ranks. He also has surprising range for a big guy, knocking down jump shots from 15 feet and beyond.
He has soft hands that help him to snag rebounds and post feeds with ease.
Meeks is not a superior athlete, which could change with some weight loss, but don't expect anything dramatic. He has a short vertical that keeps him from playing above the rim.
His short vertical will also become an issue with rebounding at the next level. At 6'8", he is a little short for a center, so positioning will be key for him to be effective on the boards.
Because of size disadvantage and lack of superior athleticism, Meeks will really need to expand his repertoire in the post. It's nice to have a big man with range, but he isn't going to make a living dropping treys.
With the debacle that was the center position this year, it's tough to say exactly what Meeks' role will be in 2013-14. It was a carousel of Joel James, Desmond Hubert, Brice Johnson and James Michael McAdoo.
Until McAdoo took over with the small lineup, it was rare any center got more than 15 minutes on the floor.
That means the competition will be wide open this fall, but I don't see Meeks jumping into a starting role right away. Unless James, Hubert and Johnson show absolutely no improvement, he'll probably just get no more than 10 minutes per game.
We are very pleased that Kennedy has chosen to attend UNC. He is a wonderful kid who has a very supportive family. He's done an excellent job in the classroom and has skills that will really help our team. He may be as good a passing big man as I have ever seen in half-court situations and he throws the outlet pass like Kevin Love did when he was in high school. He has great hands and can score inside.
Birth Date: July 24, 1994
Hometown: Oxford, N.C.
High School: JF Webb
Weight: 210 lbs.
Rating: 5 Stars
Isaiah Hicks is an extremely active player with a penchant for blocking shots on help defense. He also does an outstanding job of staying in front of his opponent in one-on-one situations.
His length and quick feet should translate to future dominance in the collegiate ranks.
Hicks has a solid face-up game, and can take many other bigs off the dribble. His stroke looks smooth and natural, so his shooting range should expand as he continues to develop.
At this stage in his young career, Hicks will be most impactful in transition. He runs the floor well, and is an excellent finisher at the rim.
Hicks also joins Kennedy Meeks as a big man with the rare ability to drop dimes.
Though his stroke is pretty sweet, Hicks has yet to become a consistent jump shooter. He hasn't developed much of a back-to-the-basket game either, so he will have his struggles in the half court during his first season in Chapel Hill.
Much like Johnson, Hicks has a very wiry frame that will to be bulked up. He's about 20 pounds ahead of Johnson in that area, but he certainly doesn't look like it.
Hicks will need to put on some weight to compete with those ACC bigs.
With James Michael McAdoo coming back for his junior season and Brice Johnson having a year of experience under his belt, it's going to be tough to find minutes for Hicks in non-blowouts.
Like Meeks, he will probably spend most of his freshman season riding the pine. I believe he could be just as solid a contributor as Johnson was during his freshman campaign, but there will be too much experience ahead of him.
Isaiah is a wonderful young man who can do things both inside and outside that will be effective at our level. He can block shots and he can also get out on the floor and be a tremendous player. The people in Oxford were ecstatic when he came back to Webb last year and the people at UNC will be ecstatic with him as well.
Birth Date: Jan. 13, 1994
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
High School: Oak Hill Academy
Weight: 155 lbs.
Rating: 4 Stars
Nate Britt is all about speed. He is excellent at running the break, and will blow by anyone without elite speed. This also makes him a solid driver in the half court.
Britt likes to lure his defender in to open space, where he can blow by and have full momentum in the lane. Since he is undersized, the southpaw has developed a beautiful floater he can drop with either hand.
He will have to lean on that floater heavily to be an effective scorer at the collegiate level.
Britt is also an excellent passer, as one should expect from a Carolina point guard. Though he isn't the gunslinger Kendall Marshall was, he is at least smart with his passes. Britt doesn't make too many mistakes in the passing game.
Britt's frame is very similar to Marcus Paige's. Most point guards will outweigh him by about 20 pounds, so creating space will be key for the incoming freshman.
He also needs to develop a consistent three-ball, which will pull defenders in and allow him to use his elite quickness to blow by.
Britt has a very interesting situation he is coming into.
Paige is the clear-cut starter at point for the 2013-14 season, but the Tar Heels will be thin at the 2 and 3 positions with Reggie Bullock heading to the NBA. If J.P. Tokoto can develop some range and Coach Williams can land Andrew Wiggins, that will all change.
But if neither of those things happen, I wouldn't be surprised to see Britt occasionally take the lead at point while Paige shifts to the 2.
Otherwise, you can pretty much expect Britt's role to be purely a backup to Paige at the point. He may get as many as 15 minutes per game, depending on Paige's conditioning.
Nate is a tremendous student-athlete in every sense of the word. His family emphasized both aspects and he is a true example for everyone. He is a leader on the court, someone who enjoys getting the ball to his teammates. However, he also can score himself. Nate’s a wonderful kid and he’s going to do a lot of wonderful things in our program.