North Carolina Basketball: 2012 Tar Heels Recruits and Targets

David ScercyContributor IIIDecember 9, 2011

North Carolina Basketball: 2012 Tar Heels Recruits and Targets

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    Coach Roy Williams has done a remarkable job signing young talent for the future of North Carolina basketball. With four of the top commitments in 2012, North Carolina currently boasts the sixth-best recruiting class of 2012, according to scout.com.

    The following slides will introduce you to North Carolina's 2012 recruits, as well as others who have interest in joining the Tar Heel legacy.

Marcus Paige: Linn-Mar H.S., Marion Iowa

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    Marcus Paige is a dicey point guard who has deadly range from outside the arc. He is blessed with a unique ability to get to the basket and finish plays around the rim, despite his size.

    According to scout.com, Paige is rated the No. 2 point guard out of the class of 2012 and is given a 4-star rating. Paige is currently listed at 6'1", 155 lbs.

    In January 2011, Paige announced his commitment to UNC, choosing the Heels over Kansas and Iowa State.

     

    Strengths

    Observers and scouts have reported that Paige is smooth in transition, doesn't turn the ball over and has a unique basketball IQ who understands the game better than most. Paige is not the fastest player in the game, but has a quick first step and can drive to the basket with ease at times.

    Paige is an excellent passer who can find cutters quick and deliver the ball on time. Paige will no doubt excel in Roy Williams' fast-paced transition game.

     

    Weaknesses

    Paige is undersized and needs to develop some strength.

Brice Johnson: Edisto H.S., Cordova, S.C.

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    Brice Johnson is a 6'9", 190-lb power forward from Cordova S.C. and is a beast around the rim. In Oct. 2011, Johnson signed his letter of intent to play for the Tar Heels. He chose UNC over Florida, Clemson and North Carolina State.

    Johnson is as athletic as they come and uses his wingspan to knock down jump hooks with either hand, or spins to the basket and finishes with emphatic dunks.

    Johnson is an exceptional shot-blocker and defender, and appears to understand the importance of playing all out on the defensive end of the floor.

    In 2010-11, Johnson averaged 23.0 points, 15.0 rebounds and five blocks per game for Edisto H.S.

    Johnson is rated the ninth-best power forward of the 2012 class, and was given a 4-star rating by scout.com.

     

    Strengths

    Johnson should have very few problems dominating around the basket on both ends of the floor. He is quicker than most at his size, and can run the floor very well in transition. Johnson is effective at knocking down mid-range jumpers, making him deadly from just about anywhere on the court. Johnson has good hands, and should be a handful defending at the college level.

     

    Weaknesses

    Johnson is not the best post player, and can use some time developing a monster post game. Adding 15 to 20 lbs could take Johnson to the next level.

Joel James: William T. Dwyer H.S., Palm Beach Gardens Fl.

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    At 6'10", 280 lbs Joel James is a monster around the rim. James is rated No. 11 nationally at his position by rivals.com.

    James is a physical basketball player in the post, and is a rebounding machine who understands the art of rebounding position before the opponent even attempts the shot.

    James entertained many offers from a number of schools before naming UNC his future school. James chose the Heels over Florida, Louisville, Ohio State, Miami (Fl.), Clemson and Florida State, as well as others.

     

    Strengths

    One of James' strengths is literally his strength. James should have very little trouble bullying his way around the basket pushing his power around the rim.

    James should be an excellent rebounder at the college level.

     

    Weaknesses

    James will need to continue to develop a dominant post game as well as a mid-range game. It would be a major plus for James to develop a consistent mid-range jump shot.

    James needs to run often and run some more to prepare for what he is facing at UNC. Coach Williams' style of play during games, as well as practices, may expose James. We will see how well James can get up and down the floor, and what kind of effect that style of play will have on him.

J.P. Tokoto: Menomonee Falls H.S., Memomonee Falls WI

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    J.P. Tokoto is a tremendous athlete who has a knack for taking over basketball games on the offensive end. Tokoto is listed at 6'6", 180 lbs and is rated No. 19 at the small forward position by scout.com.

    Tokoto is a dunking genius. He has an unbelievable vertical jump and knows exactly what to do with the basketball when he gets to the rim. His style of finishing plays should be perfect for the Tar Heels, who look to run with the ball as quickly as they get their hands on it. In my opinion, Tokoto is a perfect fit for Coach Williams' style of play.

    Tokoto chose the Tar Heels after entertaining offers from Wisconsin, UConn, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Marquette and Maryland.

     

    Strengths

    Tokoto finishes plays on the offensive end like no other. His basketball IQ is high, and he understands the importance of turning his energy into points.

    Tokoto crashes the boards and is an excellent rebounder.

    There are few players in the 2012 class who have the athletic ability Tokoto has. Simply put, it is very hard not to get excited to know someone of Tokoto's athletic ability will be wearing Tar Heel blue in 2012.

     

    Weaknesses

    Tokoto needs more consistency from the perimeter. It would be lethal for Tokoto to become a good outside shooter. If he develops an outside game, Tokoto may become indefensible.

Possible Target: Charles Mitchell

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    Charles Mitchell is a 6'7", 250-lb power forward from Wheeler H.S. in Marietta Ga. Mitchell is shorter than most college centers, but plays bigger than his size. Mitchell is a very competitive basketball player and hates to lose.

    Mitchell is rated No. 21 at the center position by scout.com, and is still undecided over which college he will attend. North Carolina is on Mitchell's radar, however, I don't think UNC is really in the conversation. I believe Mitchell will attend either Georgia or Clemson.

     

     

Summary

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    Coach Roy Williams keeps reloading and stays ahead of the game as each recruiting year approaches. As long as Roy Williams is running the program, UNC is always considered a magnet for basketball talent.

    Carolina will lose Tyler Zeller to graduation, and likely Harrison Barnes and John Henson to the NBA. Sophomore guard Kendall Marshall may entertain the idea of going pro as well after this year. Freshman forward James Michael McAdoo is on the NBA radar, as well as freshman guard P.J. Hairston. It is essential that Carolina keeps up the recruiting process, and they appear to have a handle on it.

    The next couple years, we will see if these incoming freshmen can continue with the Carolina legacy, and compete for future Final Four appearances. The excitement is already surfacing.