North Carolina Tar Heels: #askcoachb

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When our final rankings came out the other day Elijah Stewart came in at No. 94.

Stewart can play, as he has a rangy frame and is a terrific jump-shooter. He’s an explosive athlete who can compete and perform in any conference. He loves to attack the rim in combination with his jumper, which makes him hard to guard. An area of improvement would be his ball handling, as he attacks with speed more than control.

UNC has inquired, as have USC, UCLA and many other programs.

If Tar Heels go after him hard, they will get a visit. His quick-trigger jumper is just what they need.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

It's a great question because early in his career he was considered a long-range shooter. Back in December, I spoke with Justin Jackson (Tomball, Texas/Homeschool Christan Youth Association) about this topic.

To become more than just a shooter, he invested quite a bit of time into his middle game. In his backyard, he has a sport court where he perfected the floater and pull-up jumper.

In fact, the 6-foot-7 Jackson has the best middle game and short game in the senior class.

Once he gets inside the arc, he elevates and rises up with long arms and good bounce, and he has a soft touch.

In time, I see coach Roy Williams running plays for him at North Carolina, and he should develop into a go-to guy. He will be a scoring threat both with the ball in his hands driving and operating in ball screens. Off the ball, watch him run off screens, which will make him hard to guard.

As of today, he is a capable 3-point shooter who will become a consistent long-range threat. His middle and short game is where he scores the bulk of his points.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

When a player's ranking changes, there is usually much more than one factor that goes into the decision. Rankings are one type of measuring stick of where a player is today and where he could go from here. If you look even closer, both Theo Pinson (Greensboro, N.C./Wesleyan Christian) and Kelly Oubre (Richmond, Texas/Findlay College Prep) have five stars and a grade of 96 on a scale in which 100 is the max.

First of all, to move up in such tight quarters such as the top 25, it takes a lot of work. Pinson, a North Carolina signee, has had strong performances along with a high level of production. And, of course, he has terrific upside. We gave him high marks in all these areas. His versatility, super athletic ability and improved jumper are what stands out about his game, and the 6-foot-6, 190-pound prospect is competitive and extremely productive. That’s the reason for the bump in the rankings.

He has plenty of work to do, just like any other player. In fact, we want to see him handle the ball better under pressure and not turn his back to the defense. Also, he needs to work on driving and finishing with his left (weak) hand.

Pinson's move up was all about his outstanding fall and high school season to date. He jumped from No. 13 to No. 10 on our board and along the way jumped over a few outstanding players, including No. 11 Oubre. The Kansas signee is outstanding, with a an extremely bright future. With a strong second half of the season, the 6-7, 190-pound Oubre could jump right back into the top 10. It's never an easy group to crack, as everyone is elite, and it usually comes down to who demonstrates the traits of determination, focus, high energy, multiple efforts, unselfishness, coachability and being a great teammate.

Talent is never enough, but when you do possesses the ability, it's important for a prospect to dominate the games on a consistent basis and try to do everything to help their team win. Who they play with and who they play against is also factored into the equation. Appreciate the question!
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



The top three undeclared seniors are Myles Turner, Rashad Vaughn and JaQuan Lyle.

Turner has only made one official visit so far and that has been to Ohio State. He and his family will be traveling to Oklahoma State this weekend for his second official visit. Other schools on his list are Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas.

Vaughn has been to UNLV and Iowa State on official visits and is planning to visit North Carolina on Feb. 15. He still has Kansas and Kentucky on his list.

Lyle is visiting Oregon this weekend and told me recently that he plans to visit Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Turner will be a real difference maker in college. Vaughn will come in and be a scoring machine, and Lyle will be able to use his instincts and strength to help a team right away. I believe they will all take their time with this decision. Some say Turner is waiting to see who departs for the NBA. It’s way too early to make a prediction on any of these recruiting races.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

When you speak of Tyus Jones (Duke), Emmanuel Mudiay (SMU) and Joel Berry (North Carolina), you are looking at three of the elite point guard recruits in the country. Each brings his own talent, physical tools and traits to play the position. I don't see a drop off among them at all.

Berry has been a starting point guard since his freshman season, so he knows how to lead. He is tough-minded, makes open shots, defends the ball and makes winning plays. Berry was recently was named to the USA Junior National Select Team that will compete in the Nike Hoop Summit in April.

Jones is the best passer of the trio and manages the end of games extremely well. Mudiay has more of the physical tools such as size (6-5, 190 pounds) and speed and is the best driver of the three. From his penetration, Mudiay also displays excellent passing vision.

Point guard is the most important and most difficult position to make the adjustment to the college game, and as future leaders, they all have a huge learning curve processing the game and performing at the next level. Duke, SMU and North Carolina each signed elite players and people with these three point guard prospects.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



UNC has a few problems this year, but so does just about every other team in college basketball. Remember, it's only January.

The Tar Heels are struggling making outside shots, 3-point shots in particular as they are shooting just 30 percent from behind the arc, as well as free throws (61 percent). None of the three players in the Tar Heels’ 2014 class -- Justin Jackson, Theo Pinson and Joel Berry -- are knockdown shooters, although Berry and Jackson are capable of hitting shots and being consistent shooters beyond the arc over time. All three are fairly good free-throw shooters, so that should help the FT percentage immediately.

The Tar Heels had early season distractions with whether or not P.J Hairston and Leslie McDonald would be eligible this season due to off-the-court issues. They lost Hairston, who was one of the better 3-point shooters in the country, and McDonald has only been average shooting the ball.

UNC’s recruiting class, which is ranked No. 4 in the country, will make a big difference next year because this is a special group. They not only bring talent, but also bring the traits that help you win. They are focused on working and winning and they all put a high value on team play over their own accolades.

Berry will bring a toughness and leadership with the ability to finish at the rim and make open shots. Jackson will put points on the board with his offensive prowess and Pinson will help on the defensive end with his super athletic ability. With everyone likely returning except McDonald, UNC will be very deep, talented and more experienced next season.

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