June 25th 2009—that's the day Roy Williams watched the biggest parts of one of the most talented teams he has ever coached walk away from Chapel Hill and right into the NBA. Any Coach would love to say they had the privilege to coach the likes of Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green, and join them on the ride to the top of the mountain by winning the 2009 National Championship. On the other side of this story though, not every coach would like to face the reality of the next season with the loss of any of these players, much less all 4 at once.
Roy Williams is setting a standard in Chapel Hill, one where deep tournament runs, and legitiment shots at the NCAA title, aren't few and far between. Rather, he keeps his recruiting at a level where sucess for the North Carolina Tar Heels can stay consistent and remain a prominent name in college basketball. What's up his sleeve for the 2009-2010 season? That's what this article is all about. Roy Williams' 2009 recruting class will be the #2 recruiting class in the country, bringing in five outstanding basketball players, 4 of which were McDonalds All-Americans in High School.
Dexter Strickland, a 6'3'', 185lb shooting guard from St. Patrick High School in New Jersey will be a four star recruit that will be able to continue to show off Roy's "run and gun" offensive style. He was a McDonalds High School All-American, No. 27 in the ESPN top 100 for 2009, and No. 8 shooting gaurd recruit in the country.
He is expressed as a "terror in transition" with the ability to make on point passes on the run, or slash through traffic and get to the rim with ease. He has worked on his jump shot a lot over the past year and has been consistently hitting jumpers from beyond the arc, an area that will need to be fulfilled with the losses of sharpshooters Ellington and Green. Dexter's ball handling abilities are also strong enough he will be able to play at point guard when needed next year for UNC. With Larry Drew being the only remaining true PG, this will help give him some time to rest on the bench, which will benefit the team greatly for tournament time.
Leslie McDonald is a 6'5'', 200lb shooting gaurd from Briarcrest High School in Memphis TN. He is ranked the No. 10 shooting gaurd in the country for 2009, and No. 32 on ESPN's top 100.
What McDonald will offer to North Carolina next year is a solid SG with a good basketball IQ. He is known to be a strong defender on the ball, only struggling sometimes defending players with alot of quickness. He can rebound well and loves to breakout for transition offense. He is the type of player that can create his own shot, but benefits more from a catch-and-shoot situation. From what I have read and seen, he is a Wayne Ellington type of player, just not with that silky smooth touch yet. He can shoot the three, but his best shot is in the mid-range game, with a nice touch up to 20 feet. He will provide a strong backup next year for Marcus Ginyard.
Dont worry, you're not seeing double, Travis and David Wear are twin brothers from Santa Ana, CA. They are similiar in size and skill, and are inseparable, so much in fact they told recruits they wanted to be recruited together. I am going to cover them both in this slide. Travis and David both come in at 6'9'', 220 lbs, and are the No. 9 & No. 10 PFs in the country, also the No. 36 & No. 37 players in the ESPN top 100.
Travis and David both have drawn early comparisons to Tyler Hansbrough, which is of course a compliment, but those are mighty big shoes to fill. Neither one of these guys are too athletic, but both possess a lot of basketball skill and can perform any task asked of them on the basketball court.
Travis Wear is great on the low block with his quick footwork and the ability to score with both his right and left hands. He can run baseline to baseline quickly and isn't afraind to put his body on the line for rebounds and to draw fouls. He will work well in pick and pop situations down low, and he has a smooth mid range jumper.
David Wear is recognized a lot for his high basketball IQ. He plays his post game above the shoulders as well as anyone in the country, as reported by several scouts. Like his brother, David can finish with his right and left hands, and has a nice touch off the glass. He is often a trailer in transition, where he is excellent at popping a mid range jumper.
Both brothers will be great for Roy, as they are willing to be on the court for whatever purpose they are needed, are very fast learners, and are often the hardest playing guys on the court. Hard work always pays off.
The final guy, and perhaps the most exciting player in North Carolina's 2009 recruiting class, is John Henson. Henson is a 6'10'', 195lb power forward from Sickles High School in Tampa, FL. Henson is the No. 2 PF in the country and is the No. 6 player in the ESPN top 100.
John Henson is a stat sheet stuffer. He will blow you away with his ability to run coast to coast, and his ball handling abilities at 6'10'' tall. His only obvious weakness is strength, being that tall and weighing in at 195 will present a problem in college, but that's nothing the UNC training program can't take care of. This guy can make a defensive play at one end and lead the break and make decisions pushing the ball up court like a point gaurd. He is truly amazing to watch. Henson is drawing comparisons to Ed Davis, as he is tall and long, and loves to play defense. His showing at the McDonalds All-American game was impressive, blocking a shot and taking it coast to coast himself for a fast break drunk. If that's not impressive, I don't know what is.
He is a true triple threat player: he can pass, dribble, and shoot. He even posesses range beyond the three point line. He is an unselfish player that loves to share the wealth, and is very accurate with his passes. His length allows him to block and alter shots, and he does a good job at leaving his feet at the right times, not too early and not too late. He is a kid that loves to play the game, and he is very vocal both on and off the court with supporting his team and teammates. Having a guy like this on your team brings nothing but positives.
Henson and the Wear Twins will add to the already impressive UNC front court in Thompson, Davis, and Zeller. This should present quite a problem for offenses throughout the season. The depth down low will allow these guys to stay out of foul trouble as well.
What will Chapel Hill prove in 2009? That is left to be seen. But what can be seen now is that Roy Williams is set out to keep UNC in the top ranks as one of the nation's premier college basketball programs for years to come. The style of play at North Carolina, and the legacy of the school itself, along with a coach like Roy Williams is sure to keep these high school studs making their way through Chapel Hill.
The upcoming basketball season will be an exciting one to watch. With a large group of young players, there will be no "no championship, wasted season" expectations. These guys will be able to come out and prove themselves. North Carolina will still be the team to watch in the ACC, and should make a solid tournament run in March.
North Carolina—we don't rebuild, we reload.