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North Carolina Basketball: Prioritizing Tar Heels' List of Recruiting Targets

Rollin YeattsSenior Analyst IINovember 18, 2016

North Carolina Basketball: Prioritizing Tar Heels' List of Recruiting Targets

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    With North Carolina's roster filling up for the 2014-15 season, Roy Williams needs to carefully select the prospects he wants to spend the most time recruiting.

    Currently, UNC's roster is full with the three incoming recruits and only one guaranteed departure in Leslie McDonald. If no other Tar Heels leave, Luke Davis and Jackson Simmons—both preferred walk-ons—would forfeit their scholarships.

    But there is a good chance both P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo will skip their senior seasons for the NBA. That would open up a maximum of two spots for UNC's remaining recruiting targets.

    Considering players are plentiful at every position except shooting guard, that's where Ol' Roy needs to focus his attention.

    The following is a prioritized list of North Carolina's 2014 recruiting targets.

Roy Williams Can Go Ahead and Scratch These Guys

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    According to Scout.com, Carolina has three 3-stars, four 4-stars and two 5-stars remaining on its target list. You can go ahead and consider the centers and power forwards removed.

    There is no way Roy Williams is pursuing them right now.

    It isn't that there aren't some fine players on that list, such as Trayvon Reed and Isaac Haas. But both are centers, and UNC already has three on the roster.

    That means there are only four legitimate players left to target, and all of them have landed on the 2014 ESPN 100.

    Now it's time to prioritize.

4. Ahmed Hill, SG

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    According to Inside Carolina (subscription required), Roy Williams' assistants have been watching Ahmed Hill this summer in the Elite Youth Invitational. But UNC still hasn't offered the 6'5" shooting guard out of Augusta, Ga. 

    The Tar Heels may want to do that soon if they want to keep their options open.

    Hill ranks No. 33 on the ESPN 100, and already has a long list of offers. He's also "trying to come up with a list now," according to Jeff Borzello at CBS Sports. He would like to trim it "probably down to six" before he takes his visits in the fall.

    Hill would fit very well in Williams' system with his athleticism and ability to dominate the transition game. He's a high-flier that doesn't mind absorbing contact on his way to the rack.

    He's also a good passer, and isn't the type of guy that feels he needs to get his shots. He seems to be more into winning than making his own headlines.

    That's always nice to see in this era of recruiting.

    I imagine the only reason Williams is holding off on sending an offer his way is because he doesn't want to lose space for the other guys that have received offers.

3. Justise Winslow, SF

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    Justise Winslow is one small forward that can't be removed from the list. He's more of a point-forward with his skill set, which means he would be perfectly comfortable at the 1, 2 or 3.

    He is also ranked No. 15 on the ESPN 100.

    Winslow has an excellent frame at 6'6", 210 pounds, and he already knows how to use it. Usually the physical aspect of the college game is what shocks freshmen, but that won't phase this kid.

    Backing down and driving through opponents are the most efficient aspects of his offensive game.

    When he's not doing that, he's weaving through traffic to get to the rim, dropping dimes or drilling pull-up jumpers. He isn't quite as efficient as you would like from downtown, though.

    It would be nice to pick up a pure shooter in case Hairston leaves with McDonald. Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto or Justin Jackson may be able to step up in that role, but there are no guarantees at this point.

    That said, Winslow is kind of a risky proposition. However, he can develop as a shooter under the tutelage of Hubert Davis.

    And everything else he brings to the game makes him worth the risk.

    He's only sitting at No. 3 on this list because there isn't a lot of reported activity going on between Winslow and the Tar Heel coaching staff. This could be a byproduct of all the talk about him joining forces with top prospects Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor.

    All three are still considering Duke, Baylor and Kansas.

    But Winslow has been mum on this topic for the most part. According to FayObserver.com, he did finally admit the possibility of a trio would be a factor.

    I don't know if it's a big or little factor, but it is a factor. To be able to go with those guys would make that (team) very elite because they're the top, elite guys.

    I want to go to school with them, but all three of us have to do what's best for our families. If it happens we go to school together, all three of us, that'll be the best.

    Winslow still could consider other schools. He doesn't seem nearly as dedicated to the idea as Jones and Okafor.

    And the Tar Heels would have enough talent to make him happy.

2. Devin Booker, SG

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    There are no questions about Devin Booker as a shooter. In fact, he's widely considered the top of his class, and sits at No. 16 on the ESPN 100.

    Booker has a hair-trigger release, and is virtually automatic when he is set. That means he would be the perfect fit for Roy's dual-post system, which opens up a lot of kick-out opportunities.

    There are a lot of playmakers at the other positions, too. That should open up even more opportunities for Booker to tickle the twine.

    He isn't just a shooter, though. He is expanding his game and becoming more reliable off the bounce and in transition.

    Booker can bring more than enough to the table to make the Tar Heels a contender in 2014-15. He isn't in the top echelon of athletes, so having quality players surrounding him will be a key to his success at the collegiate level.

    North Carolina and Devin Booker are really perfect fits for each other, so it's time for Coach Williams to turn up the recruiting pitches a notch or two.

    There may be one guy stopping Roy from releasing the hounds, though.

1. Rashad Vaughn, SG

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    There is only one shooting guard ahead of Devin Booker on the ESPN 100, and that is No. 11 Rashad Vaughn. It is with good reason, too.

    Vaughn is one of the most dynamic and athletically gifted players in his class. He may not be labeled a marksman like Booker, but he is pretty darn good. He has a nice, high release, and can drill pull-up, step-back and spot-up threes with consistency.

    He also exhibits superior dribbles for his age, which allows him to be effective in so many ways. There aren't many guys in this class that can weave through defenders or stop on a dime like Vaughn.

    The Tar Heels may not "need" a superstar with the players they will have on the roster for 2014-15. But Vaughn will be just that, and it never hurts to have extra talent.

    Especially since he doesn't mind dishing the rock and excels in the transition game.

    Vaughn is the best fit on Carolina's list of remaining targets, and would instantly put the Tar Heels in contention for a title.

    A couple weeks ago, Inside Carolina (subscription required) reported that Vaughn is still considered UNC's top target for 2014.

    The only concern is that his parents haven't visited the campus yet, and that will be a big part of his decision-making process. “My parents will need to visit wherever I go and feel good about it,” he said.

    He did go on to say he may not have to visit UNC again, but the folks in Chapel Hill would feel much better about their chances if he did.

    If Ol' Roy can lock down this kid, the 2014 recruiting class may be one of the best he has put together in his tenure at North Carolina. And that says a lot.

     

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