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Thursday, November 14, 2013
2014 class could be right piece

By C.L. Brown

Roy Williams won two championships in Chapel Hill thanks in large part to three standout recruiting classes. On paper, he just landed a fourth on Wednesday.

Williams delivered one of the nation’s best recruiting classes and gave a comment on each:

Theo Pinson, a 6-foot-8 wing, is ranked eighth in the ESPN 100: “He can do almost everything on the court and do it well. He can handle the ball, pass, defend and he has tremendous savvy.

Justin Jackson
2014 UNC signee Justin Jackson is the nation's top-ranked small forward.
Justin Jackson, a 6-foot-6 wing is ranked 13th: “He’s 6-8 with perimeter skills. He performed well last summer against tough competition, including at USA Basketball events.”

Joel Berry, a 6-foot-1 point guard, ranked 15th: “He is a true quarterback on the floor, but he has the ability to score as well.”

It matches the 2010 class of Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall for the highest average ranking. But the formula for winning titles doesn’t come with a talented class alone.

Williams has proven when he stacks classes the right way, Carolina contends for the title.

As you recall, Matt Doherty recruited the classes who proved to be the cornerstones of the 2005 national championship team. That included the 2002 class that featured Sean May, Rashad McCants and Raymond Felton.

Marvin Williams, from the class of 2004, proved to be a key addition to that team and was in Roy Williams’ first full recruiting class in Chapel Hill.

The starters for the 2009 title team came from portions of the 2005 (Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green) and 2006 (Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Deon Thompson) classes.

The team built to win in 2012 had key starters from three classes in Tyler Zeller (2008), John Henson and Dexter Strickland (2009) and Marshall and Barnes (2010).

Even if James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston are not on next year’s squad, the Heels will still have a nice blend of old and new talents from three straight classes. That once again could be the formula for a serious Final Four contender.

Pinson and Jackson in particular will give Carolina the depth and athleticism on the wings that it has lacked. Berry will team with Marcus Paige and Nate Britt to form one of the fastest back courts Williams has had at UNC.

UNC recruiting classes under Roy Williams

J.R. Smith, SF
Marvin Williams, PF
Quentin Thomas, PG

Tyler Hansbrough, PF
Danny Green, SG
Bobby Frasor, SG
Marcus Ginyard, PG
Michael Copeland, F

Wayne Ellington, G
Ty Lawson, PG
Brandon Wright, PF
Deon Thompson, PF
Alex Stepheson, PF
Will Graves, SF


Ed Davis, PF
Tyler Zeller, C
Larry Drew, PG
Justin Watts, SG

John Henson, PF
Dexter Strickland, SG
Leslie McDonald, SG
David Wear, PF
Travis Wear, PF

Harrison Barnes, SF
Regge Bullock, SG
Kendall Marshall, PG

James Michael McAdoo, PF
P.J. Hairson, SF
Desmond Hubert, C
Jackson Simmons, PF
Stillman White, PG

Marcus Paige, PG
Joel James, C
Brice Johnson, PF
J.P. Tokoto, SF

Isaiah Hicks, PF
Kennedy Meeks, C
Nate Britt, PG

Theo Pinson, SF
Justin Jackson, SF
Joel Berry, PG