It had been 12 long months since a restless Roy Williams last fielded a commitment. Nate Britt was the bearer of the good news, a star point guard at Oak Hill Academy who will team up with Marcus Paige at the point beginning next season.
North Carolina peaked early on the class of 2013 recruiting front, snatching Britt and Oxford (NC) power forward Isaiah Hicks before the start of their junior basketball seasons. And so while other high-major programs have been unwrapping recruiting presents for the better part of the last year, the Tar Heels have floated in limbo.
The Tar Heels struck out on Indiana-pledge Troy Williams, and despite optimism in some Chapel Hill inner-circles, were promptly dismissed by Julius Randle. Randle, who was formerly the program’s primary target, eliminated the Heels from his list last month. North Carolina never made it far in the recruitment of Austin Nichols, despite at one point pursuing him harder than any other school. And UNC was never a serious contender for Jabari Parker, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect.
After a long wait—the second-longest recruiting drought of Roy Williams’ Carolina tenure—his patience was finally rewarded.
Williams made a huge splash—in more ways than one—scoring 290-pound center Kennedy Meeks, one of the premiere pivots in a class light at the position. The Charlotte native, as expected, chose North Carolina over Georgetown on Friday, announcing his choice during an ESPNU Signing Day special.
“Just the atmosphere, the fans, the alumni, the teammates, just all fit in and made me feel like high school gain,” Meeks said while explaining his choice. “Once I get in the conditioning program, I feel I’ll be alright [to run].”
A wide-bodied inside presence with soft hands and a solid low-post game, Meeks is one of the best rebounders in his class and an adept passer from the post. The bruising 6-foot-8 pivot will need to slim down by the time he arrives on campus, and he’ll have the perfect teammates to help him. Freshman Tar Heel center Joel James lost 50 pounds between the start of his senior year of high school and his arrival at North Carolina.
Meeks is the third and likely final piece of UNC’s talented and balanced 2013 class. Despite specious claims from the nation’s top prospect that his recruitment is still wide open (it’s not), the Tar Heels are on their last breaths in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. Wiggins will choose between Kentucky and Florida State in the spring.